September 30, 2016

Photo by Russell Monk.

A court case relating to the Digby Neck quarry NAFTA investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) challenge will be heard in early 2017.

The case is significant because it will deal with the question of whether a Canadian court or a NAFTA tribunal is the appropriate forum for corporations to challenge environmental assessment decisions.

September 30, 2016

Council of Canadians organizers Robin Tress and Angela Giles were at the TPP protest yesterday morning outside the hotel where the TPP hearings were being held.

The Council of Canadians North Shore chapter presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade hearing in Halifax yesterday. Committee members visited the Atlantic provinces this week seeking input on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Chapter activist and Unifor Local 2215 member Darlene McIvor raised concerns about the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision in the TPP and specifically the Digby Neck quarry controversy.

The ISDS provision in the TPP would allow transnational corporations to sue the governments of the twelve signatory countries over public interest legislation that impacts their future profits. A special tribunal would make the ruling outside of the regular court system and award costs to the transnationals.

A similar provision exists in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

September 30, 2016

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke to a capacity audience of 300 people in Vancouver last night.

She was joined on stage by environmentalist David Suzuki for a discussion on the main themes in her new book Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis.

Vancouver-based Council of Canadians campaigner Emma Lui posted to Facebook, "Wonderful night tonight at Maude Barlow's book launch in Vancouver! And she was joined by David Suzuki. What a duo!"

Vancouver Cooperative Radio was also there last night and will podcast the speeches on their Redeye program here.

September 29, 2016

Over the past two days a major health care summit has occurred in Ottawa at the Chateau Laurier Hotel. The summit, titled “A New Health Accord for All Canadians,” is a partnership between the Canada 2020 think tank and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). This summit featured variety of stakeholders and speakers including senator Chantal Peticlerc, Dr. Granger Avery the president of the CMA, Dr. Gaétan Barrette the Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services, and Dr. Jane Philpott Canada’s Minister of Health. This summit comes at a pivotal point in the history of medicare with a new health accord being negotiated in coming months and an urgent need for national pharmacare (among many pressing topics).

September 29, 2016

The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter was at the rally at Guelph City Hall on September 26 and is now preparing for the upcoming debate on November 7.

The Guelph Mercury reports, "Local residents will get a chance in November to tell Guelph council what they think of commercial bottling of area groundwater, as a result of a motion passed unanimously by council after about 300 people staged a noisy anti-Nestle rally Monday [September 26]. ...Supporters of [Councillor James] Gordon’s motion filled the gallery in council chambers and overflowed into a separate viewing room in city hall. The gallery gave Gordon a lengthy standing ovation after his opening remarks during the two-hour debate."

Nestle is applying to the provincial government for a 10-year renewal of its permit to extract 3.6 million litres of water a day from the Grand River watershed. The Aberfoyle permit expired on July 31, but Nestle has continued to pump water under the terms and conditions of the old permit as the ministry reviews its application.