November 15th, 2022 - 3:08pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                               

November 15, 2022

 MASSE’S BILL TO CREATE OJIBWAY NATIONAL URBAN PARK PASSED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE TODAY: C-248 passed the committee with the NDP, Conservatives, Bloc MPs voting in favour with the Liberals voting against it

(OTTAWA) – Today, Brian Masse’s MP (Windsor West), private members’ bill C-248 to establish Ojibway National Urban Park passed in the House of Commons (HOC) Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development. In a bizarre twist, the government’s amendments to the bill were ruled out of order by their own Liberal committee chair. The vote to pass the bill at committee was 6 to 5 with the NDP, Conservatives, Bloc MPs voting in favour and all the Liberal members voting against.

“The bill to establish Ojibway National Park is the culmination of years, if not decades, of work by many residents of this region fighting to protect this unique ecosystem in one of the most heavily developed areas in the country. It has been a real privilege to be the one who brought this bill to the House of Commons. Today, is another step in the legislative process. The appearance as witnesses at committee in support of the bill by Caldwell First Nation, the City of Windsor, Wildlands League, and Friends of Ojibway demonstrated uniform consensus in support of the legislation. So, thank you to everyone who has worked for years to make this happen,” stated Masse.

The proposed Ojibway National Urban Park (NUP) would include Ojibway Park, Spring Garden Natural Area, Black Oak Heritage Park, the Tallgrass Prairie Park, Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, and Ojibway Shores, a vital 33-acre greenspace and the last remaining, undeveloped natural shoreline in Windsor-Detroit. It is home to hundreds of endangered species that rely on migration through surrounding local parks for survival. If connected, this area of approximately 900 acres, including the Detroit River could become one of North America`s treasures. It serves not only as a home and larger ecosystem to these species, but also provides mitigation of flooding due to climate change and natural heritage areas that our community can enjoy, appreciate, and use for healthy living space and ecotourism.

On June 8th of this year in a vote of 169 for the bill and 147 against C-248 passed second reading in the HOC. The bill had the support of the Bloc, Green Party, Conservative party, the NDP, and two liberal MPs. On October 28th, at HOC Environment and Sustainable Development Committee Caldwell First Nation, the City of Windsor, Wildlands League, and Friends of Ojibway testified in favour of the bill.

On August 27, 2019, a townhall was held in Windsor where the idea of Ojibway NUP was formally discussed by many local, national, and international organizations, and many individual citizens. Over the past three years a consensus has developed for all these publicly owned properties, parks, and preserves be combined into a National Urban Park. The results have been that all Windsor municipal, provincial, and federal officials have committed to this. Local Essex MP, Conservative Chris Lewis, spoke in favour of the bill in the debate.

“This is an essential step in making this park a reality. Now C-248 goes to the HOC for third reading in early February and a final vote soon after.  I want to thank my colleagues for their support. All those years of work by so many people across this city and country brought this day about,” Masse stated.