Mr. Speaker, I rise to request an emergency debate pursuant to Standing Order 52, that in making this leave of motion the House do now adjourn.
The reason for this emergency debate request is recent scientific reports. They were published, admittedly, on September 17, but the gravity of the science contained in this news has taken a while to permeate into Parliament. I hope to seek from the government side an increased focus on climate action with a specific concern related to this entirely Canadian impact.
I refer, of course, to the scientific report in Nature Climate Change, entitled “Rapid coastal deoxygenation due to ocean circulation shift in the northwest Atlantic”. This report is the result of an international effort by scientists from the University of Washington, the University of California, Los Angeles and a number of other U.S. universities, as well as Dalhousie University and McGill University and a scientist from within the federal government's Department of Fisheries and Oceans, all of whom are saying something quite alarming.
The report notes that scientists have been tracking a global phenomenon, as reported in Science magazine earlier this year, namely that the whole of the oceans of the whole planet are losing oxygen content. However, our own Gulf of St. Lawrence, fully within Canadian waters, may in the words of one scientist be “the canary in the coal mine”.
I certainly know that you know the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Mr. Speaker, not only as a member of Parliament as well as Speaker, but coming from Atlantic Canada. For those who do not, the Gulf of St. Lawrence is bordered by Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and coastal New Brunswick.
Few places in the world can match the rich aquatic life of this extraordinary region. The fisheries are of great value to our economy.
It has a landed value of fish species, from plaice, halibut, wolfish, haddock, hake, monkfish, redfish, flounder and herring to crab and lobster, as well as from aquaculture in that region in the billions of dollars, a billion a year at least, plus tourism.
The emergency is that the death of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a disaster economically, ecologically and socially. The terminus of the moment to save it could be as soon as four years from now, which requires real action on an emergency basis.
I can see my time is at an end. I beg the House and I beg you, Mr. Speaker, to allow the House to treat this as the emergency it is.