Bill proposed for PWC use on Canadian lakes

OTTAWA – Canada’s Senate has passed a bill that will allow local cottagers' associations to ban or impose restrictions on personal watercraft (PWC) on the country’s lakes, the Times & Transcript reported in an article today.

While the bill was passed in the Senate this week, it still must pass through the Commons.

If the bill is passed, the government would be obligated to act on proposed regulations from a municipality or cottagers’ association unless there were pressing reasons not to, stated the newspaper.

Conservative Senator Mira Spivak, who introduced the bill, told the newspaper that personal watercraft have become a concern throughout Canada because of noise, safety risks and pollution.

She also added that the bill is not for the purpose of banning PWC but "to give local communities the ability to have a choice and to decide what they want on their lakes," according to the newspaper.

In theory, local groups have the ability to petition the Canadian Coast Guard for vessel-specific regulations, but the process has never been used successfully, the newspaper reported.

"In the process through the boating regulations there's 20 steps," Spivak told the newspaper. "At any of those steps some bureaucrat can say no and that's it, and that has happened."

Spivak told the newspaper that lobbyists for manufacturers have fought the legislation all along.

While the bill had the support of about 80 organizations, it is opposed by the Canadian Marine Manufacturers Association, which includes Bombardier. That manufacturer in particular is recognized as being closely connected to the current Liberal government in Canada, according to the newspaper.

Liberal MP Clifford Lincoln, who is sponsoring the bill in the Commons, told the newspaper that he is sure the bill will be reintroduced in the next session of Parliament.

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