Trudeau gvt. abandons 99% of Cdn. lakes and rivers

Trudeau gvt. abandons 99% of Cdn. lakes and rivers

Postby Oscar » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:37 am

High and dry: Trudeau government abandons protections for 99% of lakes and rivers in Canada

[ http://canadians.org/blog/high-and-dry- ... ers-canada ]

March 23, 2017 - 11:38 pm

The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities tabled long-awaited recommendations on the Navigation Protection Act, formerly the Navigable Waters Protection Act today. Despite being the day after World Water Day, the recommendations fail to recognize the importance of water. The first recommendation advises that protections be kept off of the 99% of lakes and rivers, encouraging the federal government to abandon its responsibilities to protect waterways and communities’ right to navigate.

As Ecojustice notes in its submission, “The public trust doctrine is a legal concept that holds that certain natural resources are so crucial that they cannot be privately owned and are instead held by the government in trust for the benefit of the public and future generations...Public rights such as navigation are central to the public trust doctrine.” [ http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/Commi ... nada-e.pdf ]

This was an opportunity for the Trudeau government to distinguish itself from the former Harper government who outraged Indigenous communities, environmental groups and prominent Canadians such as David Suzuki, Sarah Harmer and Gord Downie [ http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/artists ... -1.1280672 ] when it removed protections from 99 per cent of lakes and rivers in Canada.

The Council of Canadians has repeatedly called for protections to be restored and enhanced for every lake and every river including in this video with Maude Barlow [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5clsuzdOo8 ] and the report Every Lake, Every River: Restoring the Navigable Waters Protection Act. [ http://canadians.org/report-everylakeeveryriver ]

The Council issued this press statement today [ http://canadians.org/media/recommendati ... ers-canada ] and Political Director Brent Patterson explains why the Liberals broke their promise on the Navigable Waters Protection Act. [ http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts ... .html#h-27 ]

Unprotected lakes and rivers

In the first of eleven recommendations, the Standing Committee recommends that protections be left off of 99 per cent of the waterways in Canada. The Standing Committee calls for the federal government to “rapidly improve the process of adding waterways to the Schedule” and “that a public awareness campaign be put in place to inform stakeholders of the process.” Recommendations 6 and 7 advise the government to clarify who can ask for a waterway to be added to the List of Scheduled Navigable Waters and on what grounds” and that Transport Canada explain “why a waterway is or is not added to the schedule.”

It is deeply disappointing that the Standing Committee did not recommend that protections be put back on all lakes and rivers despite many submissions calling for such action to protect all waterways in Canada. This puts the onus on the public to make the case to put protections back on waterways when it is the federal government’s responsibility to protect waterways for current and future generations. Recommendations 6 and 7 appear to soften the ground for Transport Canada to deny protections in some cases. This criteria remains to be seen and it is unclear whether the federal government will obtain community consent on this criteria.

Pipelines and powerlines

In 2012, the former Harper government removed federal scrutiny of large pipelines and powerlines under the NWPA. The Standing Committee recommends that Transport Canada be included in the decision-making on environmental assessments for pipelines and power lines that cross navigable waters. It is unclear what the Standing Committee considers “navigable waters” - whether it is the scant list of waterways [ http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts ... .html#h-27 ] created by the former Harper government or any lake or river that is at risk from a pipeline or powerline.

Trudeau’s government has already given the green light to tar sands pipelines such as Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain and Enbridge’s Line 3 as well TransCanada’s NOVA Gas pipeline, which will transport fracked gas from northeastern B.C. to Alberta.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline crosses 1,309 waterways in B.C. and Alberta, many of which are not on the Schedule of protected waterways.

Complaints processes

In Recommendations 9, the Standing Committee proposes that the Transport Canada “create an efficient administrative complaint mechanism...to assist the public with the resolution of possible impediments to navigation” for waterways not listed in the Schedule. This gives communities the ability to oppose project that could put waterways at risk. This is a positive recommendation. However, it remains to be seen how Transport Canada will decide on complaints and opposition to projects. It is concerning that the federal government departments have approved projects like the Kinder Morgan pipeline and Site C despite opposition from communities. This mechanism should establish a community’s right to say “no” to projects that threaten waterways. Although the Trudeau government approved the Site C mega-dam, an effective complaint mechanism should given communities the power to stop projects like this as concerns have been raised that Site C will indeed impede navigation.

Recommendation 10 urges the Transport Canada to restore “the ability of officers of Transport Canada’s Navigation Protection Program to accept and address public complaints regarding the right to navigation as part of a larger and more comprehensive complaint resolution process.” This could assist community members to voice their concerns and complaints without having to navigate costly and time-consuming court systems. Funding would need to be provided so that Navigation Protection Program is adequately funded and staffed to effectively address complaints. Navigation Protection Program offices should be given the power to reject projects to project waterways.

Consultations with Indigenous communities, provinces, territories and stakeholders

Several recommendations simply outline what the federal government should, at minimum, be doing already. Several recommendations call for the federal government to consult with First Nations, provinces, territories and stakeholders on the the criteria for the aqueous highway test (Recommendation 4), which waterways should be included in the Schedule including funding for applications (Recommendation 5) and when future changes to the act are made (Recommendation 11).

Some of the Standing Committee recommendations (Recommendations 3 and 8 ) also puts the federal government’s responsibilities to notify communities and hold public consultations on project proposals by recommending that project proponents such as oil, gas and mining companies notify and consult with communities. This is an abdication of the federal government’s responsibility to protect waterways and to protect communities’ rights to navigation.

Recommendation 3 calls for the government to “examine ways of preserving, protecting and respecting navigation on waterways on traditional aboriginal lands and recognize the special relationship that Indigenous communities have with waterways.” The committee noted in its report that First Nations and Indigenous groups all “voiced concerns that they had not been properly consulted...many suggesting that without full, free and informed consent from Indigenous groups [such as the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs submission] [ http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/Commi ... iefs-e.pdf ] on changes to the NPA, that the Act may violate Indigenous historical treaty and water rights.” Still none of the recommendation include the obligation of the federal government to obtain free prior and informed as required by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Minor” versus “major” projects

The former Harper government began clawing back protections under the NWPA in 2009. That year, the federal government weakened the NWPA by creating a tiered system that reduced the number and types of projects into categories of “major” and “minor” works or projects. In its dissenting opinion, the NDP calls for the federal government to delete the minor works and waters order. Ecojustice has noted that the 2009 clawbacks “reduced transparency and accountability by eliminating the need for public notification and consultation on all projects that the government determined would not substantially interfere with navigation. The recommendations keep the minor works order in place.

Protecting every lake and every river

These recommendations are inadequate to protect every lake and every river in Canada. As National Chairperson Maude Barlow stated today, “This was an opportunity for the Standing Committee and the Trudeau government to show leadership on water protection, and it is deeply disappointing that they have failed to do so.”

The Trudeau government will be required to formally respond within 120 days, or by July 21, 2017, and is expected to hold consultations on draft legislation this fall.

We must remember how we rely on the lakes and rivers in our community for navigation, drinking water, fishing or recreation. There is nothing more important than clean water. It is now up to us to take action to protect every lake and every river.

Learn more about our Every Lake, Every River campaign and how you can get involved.
[ http://canadians.org/EveryLakeEveryRiver ]

Tags: right to water
[ http://canadians.org/tags/right-water ]

pipeline
[ http://canadians.org/tags/pipeline ]

Blog Categories: Water
[ http://canadians.org/categories/water ]

Emma Lui's blog
Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/emma-lui ]
Oscar
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7251
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:23 pm

Re: Trudeau gvt. abandons 99% of Cdn. lakes and rivers

Postby Oscar » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:25 pm

Trudeau breaks another election promise leaving 99% of lakes and rivers unprotected in Canada, says Council of Canadians

Media Release June 21, 2017

The Council of Canadians is condemning the Trudeau government’s response to the review on the Navigation Protection Act and its announcement that it will leave 99% of waterways unprotected in Canada. This move breaks the Liberal promise to restore protections lost when the Navigable Waters Protection Act was eliminated by the Harper government. [ https://www.liberal.ca/realchange/envir ... sessments/ ]

“We are deeply disappointed in the Trudeau government’s response to protecting the right to navigation and freshwater in Canada,” says Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “The key failing in the Trudeau government’s response is that it will leave 99 per cent of lakes and rivers unprotected from mega-dam, mining, fish farm and other industrial projects. There is also no clear commitment from the federal government to include pipeline reviews back under this legislation.”

Yesterday, Transport Canada issued a response accepting the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities recommendations, the first of which recommends leaving only a scant list of 99 rivers, 64 lakes and three oceans protected under the Navigation Protection Act, formerly the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

“Only 1 per cent of the 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers in Canada will be protected under the Navigation Protection Act,” says Emma Lui, water campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “The federal government is abandoning its responsibility and its promise to protect people’s right to navigation and safeguard freshwater in Canada. This is also a clear violation of the government’s obligation to obtain free, prior and informed consent under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Transport Canada states it will provide clarity on a process to add navigable waters to the Schedule of lakes and rivers. But the process could be so laborious and restrictive that it could effectively exclude certain lakes and rivers from the act for good. This puts the onus on communities to make the case to put protections back on waterways when it is the federal government’s responsibility to protect waterways for current and future generations.

During the October 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party criticized the Harper government's "elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act" and solemnly promised to "review these changes, restore lost protections, and incorporate more modern safeguards." [ https://www.liberal.ca/realchange/envir ... sessments/ ]

“Voters elected the Trudeau government in 2015 because they were hungry for “real change” from the Harper government’s harmful legacy on freshwater and environmental protections,” says Lui. “Many communities have urged the Trudeau government to take the most straightforward action possible – immediately restoring the gutted protection that had been in place for decades to protect 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers – but the government has ignored these demands. This is a clear betrayal of voters.” -30-

For more information or to arrange interviews:

Dylan Penner, Media Officer,
Council of Canadians,
613-795-8685,
dpenner@canadians.org. Twitter: @CouncilOfCDNs
Oscar
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7251
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:23 pm

Re: Trudeau gvt. abandons 99% of Cdn. lakes and rivers

Postby Oscar » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:32 pm

Feds leave 99 per cent of lakes, rivers unprotected

[ https://canadians.org/blog/feds-leave-9 ... nprotected ]

June 28, 2017 - 1:55 pm

( There is no clear commitment from the Trudeau government to put pipeline or powerline reviews for these waterways back into the Navigation Protection Act. - Emma )

By Emma Lui, published in The Hill Times, June 28, 2017 [ http://www.hilltimes.com/2017/06/28/fed ... ted/111918 ]

The list of broken election promises by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is growing longer, with another one added last week.

Last Tuesday, the Trudeau government tabled its response to the House Committee on Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities’ recommendations on the Navigation Protection Act (NPA), formerly the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA).

The Trudeau government had the opportunity to keep its promise and restore protections to lakes and rivers in Canada, but didn’t. Instead, it is leaving 99 per cent of lakes and rivers unprotected from dam, pipeline, fish farm, mining, or other industrial projects. This means that if a company proposes to build an industrial project “in, on, over, under, through, or across” 99 per cent of lakes and rivers in Canada, the company does not have to apply for a permit under the act even if the project could affect boating, recreation, or other forms of navigation.

There is also no clear commitment from the federal government to put pipeline or powerline reviews back into this legislation. The government’s report, tabled by Transport Minister Marc Garneau, includes reference to a process that can be used to add navigable waters to the current schedule of 97 lakes, 64 rivers, and three oceans. The government will consult with First Nations and other stakeholders about this process and other issues throughout the summer. Alarmingly, this essentially leaves the responsibility with communities to make the case for a local lake or river to be protected.

Under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the federal government is obligated to obtain free, prior, and informed consent on policies and laws affecting water. This is especially important given there are countless lakes and rivers that run through the traditional territories of indigenous peoples.

During the October 2015 federal election, Trudeau’s Liberal Party criticized the Harper government’s “elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act” and solemnly promised to “review these changes, restore lost protections, and incorporate more modern safeguards.”

Many of the submissions to the committee, including by First Nations, called for protections to be put back on all waterways. Yet the Trudeau government fails to take the most straightforward action possible: restoring the gutted protection that had been in place for decades to protect 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers across Canada.

It is becoming ever more clear that the Trudeau government is carrying on the legacy of Stephen Harper’s former Conservative on water and greasing the wheels for the pipeline and extreme energy industry. The federal response to an access to information request by Greenpeace revealed that Harper’s 2012 budget bill changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act were guided by the advice of industry associations. Big Oil and Big Hydro were among the corporations lobbying against restoring the NWPA around pipelines and power lines.

Earlier this year, and in stark contrast to the Trudeau government’s approach on water, New Zealand and India took bold steps to protect their rivers. New Zealand granted the Whanganui River the same legal rights as a human being. Days later, India legally recognized the Yamuna and Ganges rivers as “living entities.” These historic decisions recognize the importance of water and its undeniable links to nature and life.

Restoring protections for the NWPA for every lake and every river is a key opportunity for Trudeau government to show leadership on water protection. The federal government needs to make protecting water a priority; it shouldn’t be left to the rest of us to prove the case.


Emma Lui's blog
Water campaigner for the Council of Canadians
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/emma-lui ]
Oscar
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7251
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 3:23 pm


Return to Water/Oceans

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron