April 6th, 2023 - 7:12pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2023
VICTORY: MASSE’S NEGOTIATIONS WITH CABINET MINISTERS LEAD TO LIBERAL GOVERNMENT GOING TO VOTE FOR HIS BILL C-248 TO CREATE OJIBWAY NATIONAL URBAN PARK
Bill C-248 will achieve unanimous support from all parties in the House of Commons when the vote takes place later this month
OTTAWA, ON – Today, Brian Masse’s MP (Windsor West), revealed that after discussions and negotiations with the federal Innovation Minister and the Government House Leader the government has decided to vote his private members’ bill C-248 to establish Ojibway National Urban Park (ONUP) at third reading in the House of Commons (HOC) at the end of April. Third reading is the final step in the HOC in the legislative process for a bill which after it passes goes on to the Senate
“The bill to establish ONUP 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. With the government now supporting the bill it will achieve unanimous support in the House. This can hopefully speed up action in the Senate where there is already support for the bill. Parks Canada needs begun to speed up the processes that need to be done such as finalizing the transfer agreements with the City, Transport Canada, the Province, the co-management agreement with Caldwell First Nations, and the parks management plan. Additionally, Parks Canada has committed to completely these and opening the park before the Gordie Howe Bridge opens. Time to speed things up. ” stated Masse.
The proposed ONUP 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. 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.
On August 27, 2019, a townhall was held in Windsor where the idea of ONUP 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 Caldwell First Nation and 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 and at press conferences.
“This is an essential step in making this park a reality, 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 about,” Masse stated.