It’s amazing and shocking at the same time. On one hand, Canada has protected nearly 8% of its oceans since 2015. On the other hand, the government is still considering allowing oil, gas and mining in some marine protected areas. We would never allow drilling in a National Park -- we shouldn’t allow it in marine protected areas either.
This issue came to a head in 2017 when the federal government released draft regulations for a new marine protected area off Newfoundland that would allow oil and gas activity to occur. The resulting controversy led to the establishment of an expert panel on standards for marine protected areas.
The good news? The panel recommended strengthening ocean protections. The bad news? The government is under pressure from oil and gas interests to keep these protections weak. They want to see oil and gas still allowed in some types of marine protected areas.
Oil and gas is not only a threat to existing marine protected areas but also to future ones as Canada works to meet its target of protecting 10% of its marine environment by 2020.
We have just a short window to make our voices heard! Please join thousands of other Canadians in adding your voice to encourage the government to ensure that marine protected areas are truly protected.