OTTAWA - Today in Question Period, NDP Fisheries and Oceans critic Fin Donnelly questioned the Minister on plans to make sweeping changes to section 35 of the Fisheries Act, essentially stripping habitat protection out of the legislation.

According to a leaked document released by a former DFO employee, the Harper government may be planning to dilute the habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act. The Conservatives may delete habitat protection from Section 35(1) of the Act. According to the source, they plan to ram this change through using the Budget Omnibus bill.

“At a time when the government should strengthen habitat protection, the Conservatives plan to gut one of the strongest environmental laws in the country,” said Donnelly. “These changes will set Canada back decades.“

“The Conservative government is systematically dismantling environmental protection and regulation,” said Donnelly. “By eliminating provisions to protect fish habitat, they can push through their agenda of pipelines, oil super tankers, mega mines and other projects that harm the environment.”

“With the stroke of a pen, this government could wipe out decades of progress and condemn future generations to clean up the mess they’re making. It’s reprehensible.”