FLOW MONITOR   

Freshwater Platform Commitments, Election 2021

FLOW   |   September 2021 

Canadian Election 2021.png

As the federal election enters the home stretch, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the commitments that the major parties[1] have made to protect Canada’s freshwater. FLOW has been advocating for better federal freshwater law and policy since we were established in 2008, so we wanted to know: what do the various party platforms say about key FLOW priorities?
 

There is no easy fix to Canada’s ongoing water crisis. Rather, there are a number of federal freshwater priorities that should be acted on concurrently and with conviction (we outline seven key priorities in this 2021 document). But in recent years, FLOW has largely focused our efforts on three critical actions that must urgently  be taken at the federal level to safeguard Canada’s freshwater:
 

  1. Establish a Canada Water Agency: building institutional capacity and interjurisdictional coordination is critical. The Agency must be constructed in the right way, as FLOW and 50 other water organizations from across the country highlight in our Five Foundational Pillars for the Canada Water Agency document.
     

  2. Renew the Canada Water Act: the Canada Water Act is Canada’s primary federal freshwater legislation, yet it has not been modernized since it was passed in 1970 and has not been funded to effectively implement its provisions since the early 1990s. FLOW and our partners from the Water Security for Canadians Initiative outline 13 key priorities for renewal of the Canada Water Act in our May 2021 submission to the federal government.
     

  3. Create a Canada Water Fund: we need to invest in protecting our waters. We can do so by funding freshwater projects at the local level that create much-needed local jobs, strengthen our water security, build climate resilience, and the improve overall quality of life for all people in Canada. FLOW and our partners in the Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters have been advocating for a new Canada Water Fund that will provide $225 million per year for these types of win-win projects.
     

Below we have pulled out commitments from all the party platforms that align with each of our three key priorities. Before we get into it, a few important notes:
 

  • Only official party platform documents were referenced, with page numbers provided. The numbers in brackets, ex: (22), represent the page of the corresponding party’s document where the campaign promise was located.

  • The language cited below was pulled directly from the party platform documents without edits or commentary by FLOW.

  • Individual campaign promises and/or speeches were not included. As such, just because something is not included does not mean the party has not spoken on the issue. If there is an area you are particularly invested in, we encourage you to undertake additional research.

  • The parties have been ordered in accordance with the number of seats they occupied in the House of Commons as of August 2021.

  • As a non-partisan charitable initiative, FLOW does not endorse any one party or platform.

  • Many parties have made additional commitments to freshwater beyond what is cited below. We would encourage you to read the full platforms to understand how each party plans to address freshwater concerns.

  • For a more detailed breakdown of platform commitments across a range of freshwater priorities, please see our freshwater platform comparison here.
     

1. Establish a Canada Water Agency

Liberal

Establish and fully fund a Canada Water Agency in 2022, working with partners to safeguard our freshwater resources for generations to come, including by supporting provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners, in developing and updating river basin and large watershed agreements. (50)
 

Conservative

N/A
 

New Democratic Party

N/A
 

Bloc Québécois

N/A
 

Green Party

N/A

2. Renew the Canada Water Act
 

Liberal

  • Modernize the 50-year-old Canada Water Act to reflect our new freshwater reality, including addressing climate change, Indigenous water rights. (50)
     

Conservative

N/A
 

New Democratic Party

N/A
 

Bloc Québécois

N/A
 

Green Party

N/A

 
Create a Canada Water Fund
 

Liberal

  • Implement a strengthened Freshwater Action Plan, including an historic investment of $1 billion over 10 years. This plan will provide essential funding to protect and restore large lakes and river systems, starting with the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River System, Lake Simcoe, the Lake Winnipeg Basin, the Fraser River Basin, and the Mackenzie River Basin. (50)
     

Conservative

  • Provide funding for watershed protection, including restoring funding for the clean-up of Lake Simcoe and maintaining funding for the Great Lakes in Ontario and Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. (74)

  • Invest an additional $3 billion between now and 2030 in natural climate solutions focused on management of forest, crop and grazing lands and restoration of grasslands, wetlands, and forests. (74)

  • Reinstate Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund. (74)
     

New Democratic Party

  • Expand federal funding to respond to disasters, and support communities in proactively adapting their infrastructure to withstand floods, forest fires and other extreme weather events. (86)
     

Bloc Québécois

  • Will fund to counter erosion of shorelines. (22)
     

Green Party

  • Using the existing Green Infrastructure Fund, launch a national program to restore natural buffer zones along waterways, and carbon sinks through ecologically sound tree-planting and soil re-building. (24)

     

Individual platform documents used:

Liberal Party Platform – Forward. For Everyone. 2021

Conservative Party Platform – Canada’s Recovery Plan,2021

NDP Party Platform – Ready for Better: New Democrat’s Commitments to You, 2021

Bloc Québécois Party Platform – Bloc Québécois Plateforme Politique, Bloc 2021

Green Party Platform – Platform 21. Be Daring. Green Future.

 

 

[1] We define a ‘major party’ as one that was invited to participate in the National Leaders Debate. This includes the Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada, New Democratic Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, and the Bloc Québécois Party.

 [RF1]Link Emily platform comparison document