Harper kills Navigable Waters Protection Act

Harper kills Navigable Waters Protection Act

Postby Oscar » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:18 pm

How is fracking and water protection affected by eliminating the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission?

[ http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18503 ]

December 14, 2012

This morning the Senate approved Bill C-45, Harper’s second omnibudget bill of the year, and Governor General David Johnston will give Royal Assent once more to this troubling trend of the Harper government.

There is widespread concern about the sweeping changes to environmental legislation and removal of critical safeguards for water protection. Bill C-38, the spring omnibudget bill, repealed and replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with a new act that eliminated 3000 federal environmental assessments.
[ http://o.canada.com/2012/08/23/harper-g ... -projects/ ]

The Harper government also gutted protections for fish habitat with amendments to the Fisheries Act. With C-45, the Harper government is abdicating their responsibility on 99% of lakes and rivers through the overhaul of the Navigable Waters Protection Act leaving “protections” for 97 lakes, 62 rivers and three oceans.

Tucked away in the changes of over 60 pieces of legislation, this second budget bill eliminates the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission (HMIRC). Bill C-45 eliminates the Commission by transferring its powers and responsibilities to the Minister of Health. Although this has failed to garner any in-depth media coverage, this change could have significant effects on fracking, tar sands development and the multiplicity of industries that deal with hazardous materials.

What does the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission do?

In general, the HMIRC safeguards worker safety by assessing compliance with the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), and plays a key role in educating workers on health and safety risks, safe handling, proper storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous materials. They also register claims for trade-secret exemptions on disclosing information on hazardous materials.

Industry must provide adequate information on hazardous materials on labels and more importantly on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) with requirements outlined in the Hazardous Products Act and the Controlled Product Regulations. According to the HMIRC’s 2011-2012 Report on Plans and Priorities, the Commission’s responsibility includes ensuring that MSDSs for “products with trade secrets used by workers in Canada disclose complete and accurate information to reduce workplace-related illness and injury.”
[ http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rpp/2011-2012/ ... hi-eng.pdf ]

The report goes on to say “MSDSs must fully disclose all hazardous ingredients in the product, its toxicological properties, the safety precautions workers need to take when using the product, treatment required in the case of injury, and other pertinent information.”

To see the nine categories of information that must be outlined on an MSDS, click here:
http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/legisl/msdss.html

The MSDSs provide information on the potential hazards including health, fire, reactivity and environmental hazards and how to work safely with chemical products. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety says the MSDS are important to the “development of a complete health and safety program.”
http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/legisl/msdss.html

A recent study in the journal of Environmental Health detailed the health risks of women in manufacturing and other industries handling chemical products which highlights the need for an independent body to effectively regulate and monitor industry.
[ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/hea ... le5411115/ ]

What kind of claims does the Commission receive?

The Commission receives requests for exemptions from a wide range of industry players including oil and gas, chemical and electronics companies. According to the List of active claims as at December 06, 2012, DOW chemicals as well as fracking companies such as Baker Petrolite Corp., Calfrac, Schlumberger Canada Limited and Trican Well Service Ltd. have applied for trade-secret exemptions.
[ http://www.hmirc-ccrmd.gc.ca/active/index-eng.shtml ]

Any company dealing with hazardous materials in fracking, tar sands development or other industries would be regulated by the HMIRC.

Has industry been in compliance?

As mentioned, the HMIRC assesses claims for exempting disclosure of chemicals and ensuring whether MSDSs are compliant with WHMIS. The HMIRC website provides details on how many decisions they made in the last year and how many decisions were out of compliance with WHMIS requirements:
[ http://www.hmirc-ccrmd.gc.ca/data-donne ... -eng.shtml ]

- In 2011-2012, 90% were not compliant
- In 2010-2011, 83% were not compliant
- In 2009-2010, 77% were not compliant

The MSDSs contains much more information about the material than the label. Clearly, the number of MSDSs out of compliance pose not only a threat to worker safety but also water and environmental protection.

Concerns about the elimination of the Commission

The Commission is an independent and arm’s length agency and with the transfer of its powers directly to the Minister of Health, there are concerns that the Commission will lose its independence.

With a budget of $4.5 million the Commission has 25 staff including four screening officers. The budget bill changes will get rid of the Commission’s four screening officers with only a Chief Screening officer remaining. Based on the numbers of industry MSDSs that were found to be out of compliance with WHMIS requirements, there is a significant need for staff to regulate industries found to be out of compliance.

Is Health Canada able to take on the work of the Commission?

In April, 840 Health Canada employees were told their positions would be cut, and the federal government announced plans for Health Canada’s budget to be slashed by $416.5 million by 2014-2015, with cuts of $200.6 million annually after that. The transfer of the Commission to the Minister of Health raises serious concerns about Health Canada’s ability to adequately fund and carry out the Commissions responsibilities.

The elimination of the HMIRC raises significant concerns particularly within the context of Harper’s broader trend to strip away environmental and water protections through budget cuts and changes to other pieces of environmental legislation.

While the omnibudget bills are a significant violation of democratic principles and a threat to our water sources, Harper seems to be stoking the fires of dissent and solidarity particularly with indigenous communities as seen with the recent surge in strength of the Idle No More movement. [ http://www.hmirc-ccrmd.gc.ca/data-donne ... -eng.shtml ]

This movement is encouraging and provides hope that – despite the abdication of the Harper government’s responsibilities on water and environmental protection - people are rising up to take up the challenge themselves.

Emma Lui
Water Campaigner
Council of Canadians
Tel: 613-233-4487 Ext. 239
Fax: 613-233-6776
Email: elui@canadians.org
http://www.canadians.org/water

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Changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act impacts First Nations Treaty rights and paves the way for more pipelines

[ http://canadians.org/node/3672 ]

October 30, 2012 - 6:00 pm

Since 2009, the Harper government has slowly clawed back protections from the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) with a final fatal blow in Bill C-45 [ http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/ ... -2012.html ], the most recent omnibudget bill. Aside from removing the word ‘waters’ from the title of the Act and renaming the legislation the Navigation
Protection Act (NPA), Bill C-45 strips protections from 99% of lakes and rivers leaving only 3 oceans, 97 lakes and 62 rivers under the purview of the NWPA. According to Natural Resources Canada, there are 31,752 lakes in Canada alone. The list of oceans, lakes and rivers kept under the NWPA, set out in Schedule2 of the budget bill, does not include some of the provinces largest lakes.

Ecojustice recently released the legal backgrounder Bill C-45 and the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Dating back to 1882, the NWP is one of Canada’s oldest pieces of legislation. Originally the NWPA prohibited any ‘work’ constructed or placed in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable water without Minister’s approval and if the project would substantially interfere with navigable waters, it automatically triggered an environmental assessment under the Canada Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA).

The NWPA was weakened in the 2009 budget when the federal government created a tiered classification system that allowed certain projects to be exempted from federal scrutiny. According to Ecojustice, some strengths stemming from the 2009 budget included the increase of some enforcement powers, the ability of the Minister of Transportation to implement injunctions and an
increase in fines.

Bill C-38, the spring omnibudget bill, scrapped the old CEAA and replaced it with one where approvals required under the NWPA will not trigger environmental assessments.

Key changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act

Ecojustice’s legal backgrounder highlights the intimate link between navigation and environmental protection. According to the backgrounder, Bill C-45 legislates several significant changes to the NWPA:

- Companies will not have to notify the federal government that they are building a ‘work’ that interferes with navigation and will not need to get the Minister of Transport’s approval.
- The Minister will no longer have authority under the Navigation Protection Act to remove obstructions or request that they be removed. This could have serious environmental consequence. Sunken vessels and other obstructions may release harmful substances.
- The changes removes all automatic public consultation requirements squelching the public’s democratic right to provide input on projects that could potentially interfere with navigation and consequently the environment.

First Nations Treaty Rights

The changes in Bill C-45 could seriously hamper aboriginal rights. Ecojustice states, “Although the Crown has a duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate aboriginal peoples where the Crown is contemplating conduct that could adversely impact aboriginal rights, no such duty lies on private entities.” The federal government is not only washing their hands of protecting lakes and rivers, they are also washing their hands of their constitutional duty to consult with First Nations. The Athabasca Chipewyan
First Nation decried the changes to the NWPA and the violation of First Nations treaty rights: “’I am seriously concerned. We have seen the erosion of our people’s Treaty rights throughout various forms of legislation over the past decade. The new proposed amendments in Bill C-45 are proof to us that the government hold little stock in our rights and title and are creating more loop holes for industry to continue annihilating our lands,’ stated Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. ‘We hope
there will be a public outcry that echoes our sentiment. After all, we all share the responsibility to protect mother earth.’”

Tearing down critical regulations for future pipeline projects

Through legislative changes, particularly the two omnibudget bills, the Harper government has greased the wheels for industry to ram through projects that could have serious implications on water quality, ecosystems, climate change and public health. The Ecojustice legal backgrounder highlights that significant rivers in British Columbia, such as Kitimat and Upper Fraser rivers which lie along Northern Gateway pipeline, are not included in the Schedule of ‘protected waters.’

The NPA definition of works astonishingly does not include pipelines and power lines. The protection of navigable waters therefore falls to the National Energy Board (NEB). While the NEB is required to look into impacts on navigable waters based on the National Energy Board Act and Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act, Ecojustice warns that the process under these acts “are not environmental assessments, and the degree to which the NEB is competent to assess the navigation impacts of pipelines is open to serious debate.”

Will oil and gas companies opt-in?

Section 318 (4) of the NPA will outline an opt-in clause. For waters not listed in the schedule, private companies can request that the NPA apply to their project. According to Ecojustice, “The NPA would allow the owner of a work to opt into the regulatory process, if the Minister deems it justified in the circumstances.” Key to this section is that this opt-in process is voluntary and there is no legal requirement for the Minister or the proponent to request this. Ecojustice adds that: “This provision inappropriately places the decision of applying the regulatory regime in the hands of the proponent.”

Harper government offloads responsibility to individuals and organizations

The federal government is evading their responsibility to protect navigable waters and dumping it onto individuals, groups and businesses to bring a court case forward. The Ecojustice backgrounder highlights that the onus of protecting navigable waters now falls on common law and onto “private citizens, public interest groups and businesses (ie. outdoor adventure companies) with a vested interest in preserving navigable waters as a public and economic resource.” Individuals, groups or businesses may not have the resources to bring forward a court case nor is it even their responsibility to regulate pipeline construction, building of dams or other private companies’ projects.

Dumping prohibition retained

The prohibition on dumping is kept intact and applies to all waters, not just those in Schedule 2 of the budget bill. The changes in Bill C-45 close a loophole and prohibit the dewatering of any navigable waters. However, this is little consolation given that protections have been stripped from 99% of the lakes and rivers in Canada and First Nations territory.

Lakes, rivers and other waters are a commons meaning that communities not only have rights to use them sustainably but they also have a responsibility to protect them. Under the Public Trust Doctrine, governments have the legal obligation to protect commons prioritizing community interests over private interests. The changes to the NWPA highlight a larger problem – that the Harper government is shirking responsibility in several critical areas including respect for First Nations Treaty rights, developing a long term
energy strategy and water protection. The fights against the pipelines in B.C. have been inspirational, with First Nations playing a leading role. As governments continue to fail in their obligation to protect the environment, First Nations, progressive groups and social movements may be the only hope in safeguarding lakes, rivers and other waters.

Tags: Omnibudget
[ http://canadians.org/tags/omnibudget ]

Emma Lui
Water Campaigner for the council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/tags/omnibudget ]


= = = = = =

RMs 'ecstatic' with water law changes opposed by Idle No More

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatche ... -1.1388588 ]

By Kathy Fitzpatrick, CBC News Posted: Jan 07, 2013 7:29 AM CT Last Updated: Jan 07, 2013 7:27 AM CT

The Idle No More movement and Saskatchewan’s rural municipalities are on opposite sides of the fence regarding protection for navigable water.

Members of Idle No More have been in the headlines recently with flash mobs and road blockades across Canada in protest of a budget bill that they say affects First Nations rights.

Idle No More concerned about water

Among their concerns is the federal Navigable Waters Protection Act, which protesters say takes away their right to consultation on construction projects that could affect water bodies.

The chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Perry Bellegarde says indigenous rights over land bordering water were never given up in the treaties.

"And so we need to be involved with the whole issue of water, and the monitoring, and the control, and the review, and the regulation and everything else," he said.

SARM declared victory

But members of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) are claiming a victory with the change to navigable water legislation.

'We’re ecstatic about that.' — SARM president David Marit reacts to new navigable waters legislation

"We’re ecstatic about that," president David Marit told delegates to SARM’s mid-term convention back in November.

"It’s a long fight that we’ve had to deal with and we finally got what we wanted."

Under the omnibus Bill C-45, the law has been renamed the Navigation Protection Act.

Small streams are no longer under federal scrutiny. In fact, in Saskatchewan, only three bodies of water remain under Transport Canada’s oversight: the South Saskatchewan River, the North Saskatchewan River and Lake Athabasca.

Less bureaucracy the result, RMs say

Marit said the change is the result of a 10-year battle waged by Saskatchewan RMs.

"We were the leading advocate across Canada on this issue and we got it," he said.

He said it means streams that only run during the spring season no longer come under the Act. And there’s "one less bureaucracy that we have to go through for approvals on either bridge or culvert replacements."

Under the old Act, RMs had to submit a project description and plans to Transport Canada, and wait for approval. Some smaller projects and water bodies were exempted under an earlier round of amendments in 2009.

Marit says "what was left in and what was left out, nobody really knew so you had to get it clarified", adding bureaucratic delay.

MORE:

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatche ... -1.1388588 ]
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Re: Harper kills Navigable Water Protection Act

Postby Oscar » Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:27 am

Big Oil doesn't want the Navigable Waters Protection Act restored

[ http://canadians.org/blog/big-oil-doesn ... t-restored ]

June 6, 2016 - 4:47pm

The Council of Canadians wants the Navigable Waters Protection Act restored and enhanced.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has previously highlighted, "The Harper government killed the Navigable Waters Protection Act, stripping protections from 99 per cent of lakes and rivers in Canada. Major pipelines and inter-provincial power lines now have the green light to cross over and under more than 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers without federal scrutiny."

Among the promises made by the Liberals in their election platform, they stated, "Stephen Harper’s changes to the Fisheries Act, and his elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, have weakened environmental protections. We will review these changes, restore lost protections, and incorporate more modern safeguards."

The responsibility to do so falls to Transport Minister Marc Garneau and (acting) Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

But the Globe and Mail is already reporting, "The Liberal government is feeling pressure from industry over a campaign pledge to restore regulations surrounding project permits and environmental assessments after a series of changes by the Conservative government in 2012. The Trudeau government is planning to launch a consultation on the environmental assessment process,
possibly this summer, and lobby groups are anticipating possible changes such as the relisting of specific rivers and navigable waters that the Harper government had removed from regulations."

In February 2013, the Canadian Press explained, "The first budget omnibus bill [C-38] in June [2012] contained a replacement for the Environmental Assessment Act and also a provision to remove pipelines and power lines from provisions of the Navigable Waters Protection Act. ...But then the government surprised many close observers by going even further in a second omnibus bill, C-45 [in December 2012]. The Navigable Waters Protection Act was changed to the Navigation Protection Act, significantly reducing its
scope over Canada's waters."

That article adds, "Documents obtained through the Access to Information Act show [that the radical overhaul of the Navigable Waters Protection Act in the Harper government's C-45 omnibus bill] came, in part, from the pipeline industry. The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association met with senior government officials in the fall of 2011, urging them not just to streamline environmental assessments, but also to bring in 'new regulations under [the] Navigable Waters Protection Act', a CEPA slide presentation shows."

And the CBC notes that the request for changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act and other acts (including the Fisheries Act) came in December 2011 from, "A group called the Energy Framework Initiative (EFI), which is made up of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (now the Canadian Fuels Association) and the Canadian Gas Association."

Just some of the members of just one of these groups - the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers - includes: BP Canada Energy ULC, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy Inc., Chevron Canada Resources, ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corp., Corridor Resources Inc., Encana Corporation. ExxonMobil Canada Ltd., Husky Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Resources, Koch Oil Sands Operating ULC, Marathon Oil Canada Corporation, Murphy Oil Company Ltd., Nexen Energy ULC (a wholly owned subsidiary of
CNOOC Limited), Shell Canada Energy, Suncor Energy, Syncrude Canada Ltd. and Total E&P Canada Ltd.

While we are pleased the Trudeau Liberals made the promise to restore water protections, we must also be aware that the Energy Framework Initiative - meaning the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the Canadian Fuels Association, and the Canadian Gas Association - presumably are lobbying hard to maintain the gutting of the
Navigable Waters Protection Act.

The Globe and Mail notes, "Companies or industry groups, among scores registered to lobby on the review of environmental assessments, include Shell Canada, the Canadian Electricity Association, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Ontario Power Generation Inc., and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd."

The Council of Canadians calls on the Trudeau government to protect lakes and rivers by reviewing the legislative changes made by the Harper government, restoring the lost protections for freshwater, and implementing strict safeguards for water within the framework of the United Nations-recognized right to water. We intend to participate in the upcoming federal consultation process and demand the relisting of all rivers and waterways.

To see the short list of lakes and rivers currently protected, please click here:
[ http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts ... .html#h-27 ]

Further reading

Changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act impacts First Nations Treaty rights and paves the way for more pipelines (October 30, 2012) [ http://canadians.org/node/3672 ]


Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]


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Federal government asks for feedback on water protection review (Deadline August 31, 2016)

[ http://canadians.org/blog/federal-gover ... ion-review ]

June 21, 2016

The Council of Canadians will be participating in the federal consultation process on the Navigation Protection Act to ensure the relisting of all rivers and waterways.

In terms of background on this, the Harper government gutted the former Navigable Waters Protection Act in omnibus bills C-38 and C-45 in 2012. C-38 removed pipelines and power lines from provisions of the Navigable Waters Protect Act while C-45 significantly reduced the Act's scope over Canada's waters. Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has commented, "The Harper government killed the Navigable Waters Protection Act, stripping protections from 99 per cent of lakes and rivers in Canada. Major pipelines and inter-provincial power lines now have the green light to cross over and under more than 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers without federal scrutiny."

It's clear that the Energy Framework Initiative pushed for those changes. That group was made up of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (now the Canadian Fuels Association), and the Canadian Gas Association. The membership of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers includes Chevron, ExxonMobil, Husky, Imperial Oil, Nexen, and Shell.

Then during the last federal election, the Liberals promised to "review these changes, restore lost protections, and incorporate more modern safeguards. ...We will modernize the National Energy Board, ensuring that its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in fields like environmental science, community development, and Indigenous traditional knowledge."

Unfortunately, it appears that some of the same corporations and their lobby groups are already pushing to stop the promised restoration of lost protections and the incorporation of modern safeguards. The Globe and Mail reports, "The Liberal government is feeling pressure from industry over a campaign pledge to restore regulations surrounding project permits and environmental assessments... Companies or industry groups, among scores registered to lobby on the review of environmental assessments, include Shell Canada, the Canadian Electricity Association, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Ontario Power Generation Inc., and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd."

Our main opportunity to intervene will be when the House of Commons resumes sitting on September 19. That is likely the earliest date that the government will announce the MPs who will sit on a committee to review the Navigation Protection Act, with deliberations to follow after that. But there are two significant opportunities to intervene before then - both of which have summer-time deadlines of July 20 and August 31.

The first deadline (July 20) relates an open comment form on the "Environmental Assessment Processes: Draft Terms of Reference for Expert Panel". While focused on the mandate of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, it also notes the "complementary mandate" of the "Minister of Transport [to] review changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, restore lost protections and incorporate modern safeguards."

The principles we would encourage you to highlight in your response include:

• The starting point should be to restore all the protections gutted by the Harper government from the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
• Inclusive and welcoming public consultations should be held in every province and territory.
• The Indigenous right to free, prior and informed consent must be explicitly recognized in all environmental reviews.
• Separate and substantive consultations with Indigenous communities on a nation-to-nation basis must take place.
• Decision-making must be based on principles of social equity, ecological survival and governance by the peoples most impacted.

The second deadline (August 31) relates to a questionnaire generally informing "the Government’s review of environmental and regulatory processes". It asks, "The Government of Canada is conducting a comprehensive review of its environmental and regulatory processes. Please tell us what are the key things the Government of Canada should take into account in its review?"

Sample responses (as highlighted in the Peoples Climate Plan) might include:

• We want a plan that aligns with the science of climate change. Bold climate action ensures Canada meets its commitments to a 1.5°C world by keeping its fossil fuels reserves in the ground.
• We want a plan that builds a 100% renewable energy economy. Bold climate action ensures Canada transitions to a 100% renewable energy economy by 2050, creating over a million clean, safe and rewarding jobs.
• We want a plan that is justice-based. Bold climate action enshrines justice & reconciliation for Indigenous peoples, ensures no worker is left behind in the transition to a clean energy economy, and takes leadership from those hit hardest by the climate crisis.

The one question specifically on the Navigable Waters Protection Act states, "The intent of the Navigation Protection Act is, and has always been, to protect the public right of navigation.‎ The recent amendments to the Act concentrated its application on 162 of Canada’s busiest commercial and recreation-related navigable waterways. How were you impacted by the changes made in 2012 to the Navigation Protection Act, and what improvements, if any, would you like to see considered?"

The responses we would encourage you to highlight in this form are:

• The protections that were cut from the Navigable Waters Protection Act by the Harper government must be fully restored.
• All lakes, rivers and waterways must be protected by this Act.
• Strict safeguards for waterways must be implemented within the framework of the United Nations-recognized human right to water.
• Water sustainability and water justice at the heart of all policy and practice, water can no longer take the back seat to other interests and priorities, such as 'free trade' agreements, mining and pipelines.
• Water must be recognized as a public trust, a common heritage to be protected for all people and future generations.

To access the websites for these two surveys, please click here: (Deadline - August 31, 2016)

[ https://www.canada.ca/en/services/envir ... views.html ]

We will soon be releasing a report on restoring and enhancing the Navigation Protection Act that we will be asking you to send to your Member of Parliament. We will also be asking you to take a photo and send a jar of water from the lake or river you live by that is no longer protected by the Navigation Protection Act (more details on that soon). And please note that Barlow's new book Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada's Water Crisis - which argues for a new water ethic to protect water in Canada - will be published on September 19. [ http://ecwpress.com/products/boiling-point ]

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]

= = = =


Our Right to Water: Assessing progress five years after the UN recognition of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation

[ http://canadians.org/sites/default/file ... r-1115.pdf ]

DATE - November 2015

This is a follow-up to her first, Our Right to Water report.

We have launched a new report written by Maude today to mark Human Rights Day. It examines the progress that has been made in key areas to fulfil the right to water, including in the courts and in relation to corporate control and influence. It also looks at what still needs to be done to protect water from increasing pollution and to increase community access and control.
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Re: Harper kills Navigable Waters Protection Act

Postby Oscar » Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:55 am

Leave Navigation Protection Act ‘as is,’ say municipalities

[ http://www.hilltimes.com/2016/09/14/lea ... L_CAMPAIGN)&goal=0_207adb2c89-e6ecc31d8c-90669285&mc_cid=e6ecc31d8c&mc_eid=37c29b0f13 ]

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September 14, 2016

The Liberals are feeling pressure from environmental groups to immediately restore the protections eliminated under the Harper government.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau was tasked in his mandate letter with reviewing the previous government’s changes to the Navigation Protection Act, and restoring 'lost protections,' and incorporating modern safeguards.

A group representing Saskatchewan rural municipalities says it's planning on lobbying Ottawa against making changes to the Act. Hill Times file photo
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Re: Harper kills Navigable Waters Protection Act

Postby Oscar » Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:26 am

Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis

[ http://ecwpress.com/products/boiling-point ]

by Maude Barlow In book stores on September 19, 2016

Passionate and cogent, this could be the most important book of the year for Canadians

We are complacent. We bask in the idea that Canada holds 20% of the world’s fresh water — water crises face other countries, but not ours. We could not be more wrong. In Boiling Point, bestselling author and activist Maude Barlow lays bare the issues facing Canada’s water reserves, including long-outdated water laws, unmapped and unprotected groundwater reserves, agricultural pollution, industrial-waste dumping, boil-water advisories, and the effects of deforestation and climate change. This will be the defining issue of the coming decade, and most of us have no idea that it is on our very own doorstep.

Barlow is one of the world’s foremost water activists and she has been on the front lines of the world’s water crises for the past 20 years. She has seen first-hand the scale of the water problems facing much of the world, but also many of the solutions that are being applied. In Boiling Point, she brings this wealth of experience and expertise home to craft a compelling blueprint for Canada’s water security.


Reviews

“An insane road trip to the Canadian water apocalypse courtesy of the corporate forces of ignorance and greed, and a blueprint for a rational, prosperous and dignified future by the visionary prophet of democracy and sustainability.”
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“Maude Barlow is one of our planet’s greatest water defenders. In this indispensable book, she brings her hard-won wisdom home, demonstrating that Canada is already in the midst of our own water crisis. With great warmth and precision, she also shows that by taking up the call for ‘water justice — so intimately connected to other struggles — we can start to build the society we want. This book has all the facts, forceful analysis, and moral clarity that Canadians will need to wake up and join this most urgent of struggles.” — Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
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Re: Harper kills Navigable Waters Protection Act

Postby Oscar » Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:36 am

Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapter demands restoration of the Navigable Waters Protection Act

[ http://canadians.org/blog/quill-plains- ... ection-act ]

September 15, 2016 - 10:23 am

Federal transport minister Marc Garneau will be overseeing the review of the Navigation Protection Act.

The Council of Canadians (Wynyard) chapter is taking the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) to task for its stance against restoring the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

In 2012, the Harper government gutted the former Navigable Waters Protection Act in omnibus bills C-38 and C-45. C-38 removed pipelines and power lines from provisions of the Navigable Waters Protect Act while C-45 significantly reduced the Act's scope over Canada's waters. The word "water" was even removed from the Act when it became the Navigation Protection Act. Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has commented, "The Harper government killed the Navigable Waters Protection Act, stripping protections from 99 per cent of lakes and rivers in Canada. Major pipelines and inter-provincial power lines now have the green light to cross over and under more than 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers without federal scrutiny."

During the October 2015 federal election, the Liberals promised to "review these changes, restore lost protections, and incorporate more modern safeguards."

The Council of Canadians has argued that: The protections that were cut from the Navigable Waters Protection Act by the Harper government must be fully restored; All lakes, rivers and waterways must be protected by this Act; Strict safeguards for waterways must be implemented within the framework of the United Nations-recognized human right to water; Water sustainability and water justice at the heart of all policy and practice, water can no longer take the back seat to other interests and priorities, such as 'free trade' agreements, mining and pipelines; and that Water must be recognized as a public trust, a common heritage to be protected for all people and future generations.

But the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities doesn't want to see those changes made.

The Hill Times reports, "A group representing rural municipalities in Saskatchewan is sending representatives to Ottawa next month to lobby against expanding federal authority over local waterways, as advocates jostle for influence on the future of Harper-era changes to environmental regulations. Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), said members of the organization will travel to the nation’s capital in October to address, among other pressing issues, potential changes to the Navigation Protection Act, which regulates developments on traversable water bodies in Canada. 'The federal government, we understand, is looking at possibly making changes', he said. 'We hope the government listens to an organization like ours and maybe just leaves things as is.'"

Quill Plains (Wynyard), Saskatchewan chapter activist Elaine Hughes has written Dwight Hagen, the councillor for the Rural Municipality of Barrier Valley, about this.

Hughes says, "I’m wondering if you can tell me how SARM could approve/support such a resolution (or idea) to follow thru with this insane lobby? ...This is a national embarrassment – how long do they/we think we can continue to assault, abuse and contaminate our drinking water?! This is a blatant example of short-sightedness, ignorance and total lack of understanding our precious waterways and the absolute necessity of protecting them – at all costs. This has nothing – repeat – nothing - to do with ‘installing culverts’ or ‘building roads’ ... it’s about corporate greed and irresponsibility."

Her email also went to Regina MP Ralph Goodale (who is the federal minister of public safety), the minister of the environment Catherine McKenna, and health minister Jane Philipott.

In June, The Globe and Mail reported, "Companies or industry groups, among scores registered to lobby on the review of environmental assessments, include Shell Canada, the Canadian Electricity Association, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Ontario Power Generation Inc., and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd." And The Hill Times tells us the groups opposing changes to the Navigation Protection Act could include the Canadian Construction Association, Cameco Corporation (the Saskatchewan-based uranium giant), the Canadian Electricity Association (the advocacy arm for electricity utilities), oil giant Shell Canada, and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (which includes Kinder Morgan Canada, TransCanada Pipelines Limited, Enbridge Pipelines Inc., FortisBC Inc., and other oil and gas corporations).

In terms of a timeline on the review and a decision on the Act, The Hill Times reports:

• June - the federal government announced it would launch a comprehensive review of environmental agencies and regulations, including of the Navigation Protection Act
• This fall - the House of Commons Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities will start reviewing the Act
• This fall until early next year - the federal government will hold expansive consultations with Indigenous groups, provinces and territories, stakeholders and the public on the regulations
• Early 2017 - the Committee is expected to submit its report and recommendations to Parliament
• 2017 - Transport minister March Garneau will study the report produced by the Committee and decide whether to proceed with whatever recommendations are proposed

Liberal MP Kate Young, who is the parliamentary secretary to the minister of transport, suggests the focus of the review will be on the listed waterways and whether or not more "should be added".

For more on our "Every lake, every river" campaign, please click here:
[ https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/ ... n.id=52987 ]

Tags: chapters:
[ http://canadians.org/tags/chapters ]

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: Harper kills Navigable Waters Protection Act

Postby Oscar » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:34 am

Hottest lobbying issues this fall

[ http://www.hilltimes.com/2016/09/19/hot ... L_CAMPAIGN)&goal=0_207adb2c89-aa8ff5e9ff-90669285&mc_cid=aa8ff5e9ff&mc_eid=37c29b0f13 ]

Industry, international trade, and environment are the top three topics showing up in active lobbying registrations, providing clues as to what will be the most lobbied subjects as MPs resume their roles on the Hill.

By SHRUTI SHEKAR Monday, Sept. 19, 2016 12:00 AM

As the House begins its fall session, heavy lobbying is about to start again.

Looking at the top 10 topics in active registrations on the federal lobbyists’ registry, as of Sept. 15, these are likely to be among the topics most often discussed between lobbyists and public office holders: industry, international trade, environment, taxation and finance, health, economic development, transportation, science and technology, infrastructure, and employment and training.

Industry (1,410 registrations)

This makes sense when one considers that Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains—in a job that used to be called Industry minister—has been the most lobbied member of the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet since the Liberal government took over last year. Typically, past Industry minsters have also been among the most lobbied, if not the most lobbied, members of cabinet.

“They’re the ones who are the face of the government to business most often,” Earnscliffe Strategy Group lobbyist Robin Sears told The Hill Times early this summer. “They’re the ones you need agreement from on foreign investment, any changes in your operations or your investments in Canada, layoffs. They’re just basically the gateway, classically, in most governments to the business community for all of its issues.” Jackie Choquette, vice-president of public affairs at Hill & Knowlton Strategies, said in an interview with The Hill Times that having a topic such as industry among the most lobbied subjects make sense, given this government’s stated priorities.

“The government has as one of their top priorities expanding the middle class. That means jobs, that means industry talking about how we spur economic growth in various regions across the country,” Ms. Choquette said.

International trade (1,161 registrations)

Greg MacEachern, vice-president of government relations at Environics Communications, said in a phone interview that “the U.S. election has created some doubt about the future of the TPP with both the Republican and Democratic candidates suggesting that they were not 100 per cent supportive.”

He added that “as a result, there is no immediate pressure for the Canadian government to say where they stand on it.” Chad Rogers, a partner at Crestview Strategy, said in a phone interview that another area that will be heavily lobbied is trade with China. “CETA and TPP might be in serious jeopardy. It’s a question of momentum and everyone who’s on the China file is about to become a lot more popular and everyone who’s been diligently working on the [other] trade agreements in the last five years is less popular as their momentum slows down dramatically,” Mr. Rogers said.

Environment (1,041 registrations)

Mr. Rogers noted that those lobbying on the environment are probably going to focus heavily on how the government prices carbon. “We are now at that point where we are about to decide how we consistently price carbon between federal and provincial systems, and industry has to play a role,” Mr. Rogers said. “Everything you do to price carbon dramatically affects the price and costs of doing business, and I think industry has gotten past the hysteria of, ‘Carbon tax will kill jobs,’ to, ‘Okay, our shareholders already expect us to price carbon. Just give us an idea of how you want the regime to be.’”

There is a wide range of groups registered to lobby on the environment, ranging from academic institutions, to environmental activist groups, to private-sector companies whose businesses are most likely to be affected by environmental policy, such as those involved in energy or mining.

MORE:

[ http://www.hilltimes.com/2016/09/19/hot ... L_CAMPAIGN)&goal=0_207adb2c89-aa8ff5e9ff-90669285&mc_cid=aa8ff5e9ff&mc_eid=37c29b0f13 ]
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Re: Harper kills Navigable Waters Protection Act

Postby Oscar » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:13 am

Trudeau much like Harper on environmental protection

[ http://canadians.org/blog/trudeau-much- ... protection ]

April 11, 2017 - 9:24 am

Op-ed by David Suzuki and Maude Barlow, The Province, April 10, 2017 [ http://theprovince.com/opinion/op-ed/da ... protection ]

The federal Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities recently released its long-awaited recommendations on whether the Trudeau government should put protections back on 99 per cent of lakes and rivers in Canada. Released the day after World Water Day, the recommendations allow the federal government to abandon its responsibilities to protect the 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers in Canada and communities’ rights to navigate these waterways.

The very first recommendation advises the Trudeau government to keep protections off of 99 per cent of lakes and rivers in Canada and Indigenous communities. The committee report recommends that the process of adding waterways to the list of protected waterways be “rapidly improved,” putting the onus on the public, First Nations or stakeholders to make the case for protecting local waterways.

The committee — dominated by Liberal MPs — abandoned its opportunity to distinguish itself from the former Conservative government led by Stephen Harper. At the nudging of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Harper government in 2012 stripped protections from all but three oceans, 97 lakes and 62 rivers under the Navigation Protection Act, formerly the Navigable Waters Protection Act. The 2012 changes also exempted large pipelines and power lines from scrutiny under the act, recently giving the Trudeau government ammunition to approve pipelines like Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain and Enbridge’s Line 3.

The committee recommends that Transport Canada be included in the decision-making on environmental assessments for pipelines and power lines that cross navigable waters. However, it is unclear whether the assessments will only include the meagre list of waterways created by the former government or all lakes and rivers at risk from a pipeline or power-line project.

The NPA, along with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Fisheries Act, is at risk of being further undermined by U.S. President Donald Trump’s deregulation agenda, which includes slashing water protections and major cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has recently argued that regulations cause competitiveness “imbalances,” adding pressure to Trudeau’s government to keep protections low.

Many Indigenous nations and groups made submissions to the committee pointing out that the NPA violates Indigenous treaty and water rights without free, prior and informed consent. The recommendations call for consultations but in some cases require project proponents like oil companies rather than the federal government to consult with First Nations. And they stop short of implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Trudeau government’s obligation to obtain free, prior and informed consent.

The recommendations continue to put lakes and rivers — used for transportation, recreation, fishing and more — at risk from pipeline, dam, fish farm and mining projects. Navigation is inextricably tied to the environment. What’s at stake is our obligation to pass on healthy waters and healthy ecosystems to future generations.

If it wasn’t clear already, the Trudeau government is so far continuing in the footsteps of the Harper government by basing our economy and society on a fossil fuel and resource extraction agenda. But people are hungry for change. Many in Canada voted for the Trudeau government because at the time he represented a chance for “real change.”

With Trump’s deregulation agenda now towering over us, it’s vital that the Trudeau government keep its election promises by restoring and enhancing water protection in this country. In the coming weeks, the Trudeau government will officially respond to the committee recommendations.

What we do now matters. We must come together to keep the pressure on the Trudeau government so that it reverses Harper’s legacy on water and the environment. It’s up to us to help humanity get on track to a cleaner, healthier future. If we do it right, water will be nature’s gift to teach us how to live more lightly on the earth, in peace and respect with one another.

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster and host of CBC’s long-running series, The Nature of Things. Maude Barlow is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians and author of "Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse and Canada’s Water Crisis".

Tell Trudeau to keep his water protection promises. Let’s protect every lake and every river here:
[ https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/ ... n.id=52987 ]


Maude Barlow's blog
National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/maude-barlow ]
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