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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated promises Tuesday to update legislation that governs water use while formally announcing the Canada Water Agency is to be headquartered in Manitoba's capital city.

Trudeau said his government's first priority is to update the act regulating the use and development of the resource in Canada.

"The threats and realities facing our environment have changed since it was written in 1970," he said in a news conference Wednesday.

"Updating this act is about ensuring that we have the tools to work with provinces and territories on protecting and restoring shared waters."

Trudeau didn't provide details about how the Canada Water Act would change.

The current act provides a framework for co-operation with the provinces and territories concerning the conservation, development and use of Canada's water resources. It does not account for the effects of climate change or the importance of Indigenous rights.

The federal government's budget released earlier in the year allocated funds for the creation of the agency and suggested it be headquartered in Winnipeg.

The prime minister didn't say where in the city the headquarters would be located or when it would be up and running.

Trudeau also met with high school students at The Forks— where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet — Wednesday morning and joined them in a guided tour of a garden of native plants.

@JustinTrudeau promises to update act around use and development of water in Canada. #CDNPoli

He also made brief campaign stops in Portage la Prairie, Man., and in a federal riding in south Winnipeg. Trudeau previously announced four byelections will be held June 19 to fill vacant seats.

In the Manitoba riding of Winnipeg South Centre, Liberal candidate Ben Carr is looking to win the seat held by his father, longtime MP and former cabinet minister Jim Carr, who died in December.

The southern Manitoba riding of Portage-Lisgar was left vacant when Conservative MP and former interim party leader Candice Bergen resigned in February.

The other byelections are in Ontario and Quebec.

Trudeau said he has made appearances in every federal riding in which there's been a byelection since he has taken office.

"The choice people are going to make in these byelections and in the election in a couple of years is about who we are, who we want to be and what kind of world we want to build for our kids."

Trudeau's final stop in Winnipeg took place at the University of Winnipeg with a town hall.

The prime minister fielded questions on mental health, addictions, homelessness and immigration.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2023.

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