Speech to Introduce Bill C-698, An Act to amend the Navigation Protection Act (Tod Creek).

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to introduce a private member's bill to restore federal environmental protection for the Tod Creek watershed. This protection was removed from all rivers, lakes, and streams on Vancouver Island by the Conservative government in 2012.

The Tod Creek watershed covers 23 square kilometres on the Saanich Peninsula. Its headwaters are found at Maltby Lake, but it also includes Prospect Lake, Durrance Lake, three other smaller lakes, 29 wetlands, and many small creeks as it winds it way to the Saanich Inlet.

Over the years, a wide variety of volunteer groups have undertaken efforts to preserve and enhance this watershed. In the last 15 years, there has been significant progress in restoring salmon runs by improving fish habitat and creating a fishway around the waterfalls 450 metres upstream. Today significant efforts are also under way to protect the watershed's headwaters at Maltby Lake, a jewel of a lake with near-pristine water, surrounded by 172 acres of undisturbed forest and wetland and the home of a rare freshwater jellyfish.

Restoring federal environmental protection to the Tod Creek watershed would put the federal government squarely on the side of local efforts by Friends of Maltby Lake, Friends of Tod Creek, the Peninsula Streams Society, and others to restore and protect this precious urban watershed.