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Parties for the ocean start on Parliament Hill

On Monday afternoon, WWF-Canada joined a group of oceans champions on Parliament Hill to launch the 1st All-Party Ocean Caucus of 2016, an event that saw lively and inspiring conversations on Canada’s oceans, a bounty of sustainable seafood, and a surprise appearance from the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Coast Guard, Hunter Tootoo.

WWF-Canada staff on their way to Parliament Hill in Ottawa for the 1st All-Party Ocean Caucus event of 2016. © WWF-Canada

WWF-Canada staff on their way to Parliament Hill in Ottawa for the 1st All-Party Ocean Caucus event of 2016. © WWF-Canada

Now in its 4th year, the All-Party Ocean Caucus is a group that’s open to all federal Members of Parliament and Senators from different political parties, their staff and other decision makers with a shared interest in a healthy marine environment.

A caucus is a grouping of MPs around a specific issue or their party affiliation. All MPs are part of a caucus for their political party, so Liberals are part of the Liberal Caucus, and Conservatives part of the Conservative Caucus. But MPs who want to explore specific issues can also participate groups open to all parties, such as the All-Party Caucus on Climate Change or the All-Party Women’s Caucus. What’s unique about the All-Party Ocean Caucus is that it’s the only group that focuses exclusively on marine issues for people working on the Hill.

With the support of two Caucus co-chairs, Ocean Caucus events put big ideas about ocean health front and center in the capital, covering everything from acidification, incredible Arctic marine areas, and innovative technological and social approaches to conservation. We’ve even helped organize an MP oyster shucking contest on Sparks Street.

L- R Ocean Caucus Co-Chair Scott Simms, (MP for Coast of Bays — Central — Notre Dame), WWF-Canada President and CEO David Miller, and Co-Chair Fin Donnelly, (MP for Port Moody — Coquitlam) at the All-Party Oceans Caucus launch on Monday. © WWF-Canada

L- R Ocean Caucus Co-Chair Scott Simms, (MP for Coast of Bays — Central — Notre Dame), WWF-Canada President and CEO David Miller, and Co-Chair Fin Donnelly, (MP for Port Moody — Coquitlam) at the All-Party Oceans Caucus launch on Monday. © WWF-Canada

With oceans receiving more federal attention than they have in over a decade, the Caucus continues to be an important forum for leaders to tackle broader issues impacting Canada’s ocean agenda. In fact, this kind of shared dialogue remains more important than ever as the country works towards ambitious conservation goals, including its aim to increase the number of protected marine and coastal areas from 1.2 per cent today to 10 per cent by 2020.

Canada’s oceans need the support of MPs and other leaders to effectively address the many challenges they face.  WWF is proud to be part of the All-Party Oceans Caucus and we’re very happy to see that we have like-minded partners in government, First Nations, business, NGOs and the public. Together, through continuing cooperation, we can set the highest standards possible for Canada’s oceans so that nature and communities continue to thrive.

Expect to see more All-Party Ocean Caucus events throughout the year.

Close up of two northern resident Killer whales (Orcinus orca) surfacing in the waters off the central coast of British Columbia, Canada © Natalie Bowes / WWF-Canada

Close up of two northern resident Killer whales (Orcinus orca) surfacing in the waters off the central coast of British Columbia, Canada © Natalie Bowes / WWF-Canada