North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney is taking the federal government to task for its failure to ban the sale, distribution or installation of foam docks and floats in Canadian waterways.
In a letter to Steven Guilbeault, minister of environment and climate change, Blaney pointed out that Washington State recently passed and signed a bill to ban the use of foam in Washington waters as of June 1, 2024, effectively taking action, while Canada refuses to do so.
“The House [of Commons] has recognized that expanded polystyrene can have harmful effects on the marine environment, and it is critical we stop pollution at its source,” Blaney wrote to the minister. “Our nearest neighbours have taken action on removing foam from their waters, which raises the question of why Canada has not taken action and, further, has no intention of taking action.”
Blaney has introduced private members’ motion M-80 to ban foam from aquatic environments. She noted in her letter to the minister that there are several petitions urging the government to take action on foam in Canada’s waters.
“How is it possible that we are still intentionally putting toxic substances in our waters, given that there are safer, less toxic alternatives available?” asked Blaney. “Why does the Liberal party care so little about protecting Canada’s waters, even as it claims to care about the environment?”
Dock flotation foam is a leading cause of plastic pollution in Canada’s waterways, according to a media release from Blaney. She mentioned that there are readily available Canadian products that could replace the foam-containing structures and are much safer for Canada’s waters.
In Blaney’s riding, there are two businesses, New Wave Docks and Poseidon Ocean Systems, that make alternatives to foam for dock structures and have been recommended by Surfrider Foundation, an organization focused on protecting the oceans and beaches, the release stated.
Despite the availability of such alternatives, and despite the numerous petitions on the topic, the government has said it has no plans to ban the use of foams, according to the release.
“Minister, your answer to the petition on banning foam is unreasonable, unacceptable and, quite frankly, lazy,” Blaney wrote. “Canadians want their government to act on this matter, not sit around and wait for foam to become an environmental hazard. Other governments, such as Washington State, have recognized the urgency of this issue and are acting. You have the power to do the same.”