Ottawa- Senator Tobias C. Enverga Jr. moved second reading in the Senate of Bill C-40, establishing the Rouge National Urban Park, the first of its kind in Canada. He is the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, and his speech today initiated the debate there after the bill was passed by the House of Commons on January 26, this year.
“Bill C-40 is an opportunity to provide, once and for all, the level of recognition and protection that the Rouge deserves,” said Senator Enverga. “… the bill … for the first time in the Rouge’s history, will specifically prohibit harmful activities such as poaching, polluting, dumping, theft of fossils, harassment of wildlife, hunting and mineral extraction. Indeed, this is a significant step forward in protecting the park’s fragile resources, protections that are not currently there.” If passed, Bill C-40 will give the Rouge National Urban Park the highest protection in history, much higher than the current protection given by the Province of Ontario.
Senator Enverga continued by saying that: “Bill C-40 will also dramatically increase park law enforcement measures which will ensure that Parks Canada wardens will have a year-round presence in the park. This, combined with strict penalties, will help ensure that invaluable assets — flora and fauna, fossils and artifacts — are protected to the full extent of the law.”
Another commitment by the Government of Canada highlighted by the Senator in his speech is the $143.7 million over 10 years and $7.6 million annually thereafter in funding to support the creation, management and operation of the national urban park.
There is currently no funding provided for the Rouge Park by the Province of Ontario, and the bill will increase the standards of ecological protection from what is currently the case in provincial parks like the Algonquin.