April 29, 2016

Well over 300 Ottawa Centre residents packed a room last night to participate in Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna's climate change consultation. The public townhall is part of new initiative launched by the federal government encouraging people to 'have our say' on climate change. 

There is no doubt of the appetite for public consultation towards a national climate plan.

I had RSVP'ed on Monday and wound up getting an email yesterday afternoon suggesting I was too late to participate in one of the official group discussions, but could attend in 'overflow.' I know others who wanted to participate but sent in their request after Monday and received a reponse saying the event was at capacity, and they would be contacted were there another townhall held, so who knows how many others may have attended (note: there absolutely should be!). 

April 29, 2016

Niagara Centre Liberal MP Vance Badawey supports the FTZ designation.

On April 15, the Government of Canada announced "the designation of the Niagara Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Point, serving the region's 12 municipalities from east of Hamilton to the United States border." According to the media releases, "This is the first FTZ Point established in Ontario."

The federal government claims, "The FTZ Point will promote Niagara as a hub for international trade and will attract foreign and domestic investment."

The Welland Tribune reports, "The designation announced last week — the culmination of a decade of work by local economic development organizations — gives the region a competitive edge in luring investment, by offering easier access to government programs allowing qualified companies the ability to defer taxes and tariffs charged on goods being imported."

April 29, 2016

The Council of Canadians South Niagara chapter and allies protest the biodiversity offsetting plan in front of Niagara Falls City Hall, April 12, 2016.

The Council of Canadians South Niagara chapter has been opposing the loss of provincially significant wetlands in their community and protesting against a concept called biodiversity offsetting.

The concern has been that Niagara regional council would permit 13 acres of provincially-significant wetland in the city of Niagara Falls to be destroyed to accommodate a $1 billion "Paradise" development project, which includes a hotel, entertainment facilities, apartment housing, and a private school.

April 28, 2016

Karunananthan speaking at the United Nations, May 2015.

On April 7, Blue Planet Project campaigner Meera Karunananthan participated in a Guardian debate on how to end water pollution in Latin America.

The Guardian had framed the debate as, "Latin Americans are not necessarily affected by water scarcity, but clean water scarcity. While the region’s water resources could provide each person with around 34,000 cubic metres of water every year, the average person only has access to just over 300 cubic metres. Across the continent, garbage, mining effluent, and industrial and agricultural waste are routinely dumped into water basins and aquatic habitats. ...The result? Contaminated lakes, rivers and dams which expose people to toxins and disease, and reduce the availability of freshwater."

April 28, 2016

The Parliament of Wallonia

The Parliament of Wallonia passed a resolution today opposing the ratification of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The resolution calls on the Walloon Government "not to grant full powers to the Federal Government [of Belgium] for signing the CETA between the European Union and Canada."

The Walloon government represents Wallonia, a self-governing region in Belgium which accounts for 55 per cent of the territory of that country and one-third of its population. The resolution was backed by the PS group, cDH and Ecolo. The Parti Socialiste (Socialist Party) holds 30 of the 75 seats in the Parliament of Wallonia. The cDH (Centre démocrate humaniste or Humanist Democratic Centre) hold another 13 seats, while Ecolo (Environmentalist) holds 4 seats. Together, that means PS, cDH and Ecolo had majority support for this resolution.