Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, during the week of August 8th this past summer, I
had the opportunity to travel the Redknife and Trout Rivers, on to Jean Marie River and Fort Simpson; areas that my Dad -- bless his soul -- traditionally travelled, along with myself at a very young age. I have learned to appreciate the traditional areas that I grew up in, as countless others of my generation have done.
During my trip I saw something that really bothered me that I hadn't seen before in this area. In many areas there was a very noticeable brown-coloured foam on the water. Madam Speaker, I have travelled on many lakes and rivers in the Northwest Territories, and this is not a natural occurrence.
In my opinion, this foam did not look like it could be explained by a rise in the water temperature. In addition, in these same waters, I was very disturbed to see a great number of dead fish floating about. Most of them were suckers, northern pike and whitefish.
I do not know what caused the foam on the water or the dead fish, but I suspect that, from the look of things, it may have been the result of an increase in levels of toxic substances. If this is the case, then we must increase our efforts to protect our land from our downstream neighbours who seem to have little or no regard for our land, our waters, our way of life, or our legacy to our children.
I wanted to let the Members of this House know, Madam Speaker, that perhaps more effort is needed to preserve our environment. I am aware of the monitoring programs and water quality studies carried out by the Department of Renewable Resources in cooperation with other jurisdictions, and I applaud their efforts. But I am saying that we cannot assume that those who do not have a stake in our future, namely our neighbours who share our waters, will be as concerned with the quality of our northern lakes and rivers.
I would like someone to tell me that this is a natural occurrence and my concern is misplaced, but I don't think that will be the case. I will be following up on this issue with the Minister of Renewable Resources to find out what has caused this particular problem in the Redknife and Trout rivers, and what is being done, or will be done, about it.