Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach has passed his motion with the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, calling on the federal government to help establish a $1-billion watershed security fund in partnership with the province and private investors.
“The BC NDP government has made a historic investment in watershed security that centres on Indigenous and community-led governance. After the devastating fires, floods and droughts that B.C. has recently seen, there is an urgent need to restore our watersheds, build climate resilience and create good-paying jobs. To seize this full opportunity, the federal government needs to come to the table in a substantial way,” he said.
Requests from standing committees go directly to the government and normally require a response to Parliament within 120 days. However, according to Bachrach’s office, Liberal committee members amended this stipulation during debate so that government need only provide a response to the committee, and in no specific time frame.
Nonetheless, speaking to the magnitude of watershed management, Bachrach is urging local governments, First Nations, NGOs and landowners to come together.
“Our committee heard a compelling presentation from the B.C. Wildlife Federation that highlighted the collaboration that exists between groups,” said Bachrach. “A timely federal investment would build on that collaboration and allow BC to meet the challenge that climate change poses for our watersheds.”
He noted the federal government provides some funding for watershed protection via the Federal Freshwater Action Plan, but it has largely gone to other parts of Canada.
Correction: an earlier version of this story stated the government had 45 days to respond to the motion, but the time frame is actually 120 days under normal circumstances. The above story has been corrected.