March 25, 2017

The Council of Canadians London chapter attended a public meeting in Sarnia hosted by the International Joint Commission (IJC) on March 22, World Water Day.

The International Joint Commission is an independent bi-national organization established by the United States and Canada under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. As noted on the IJC website, "Canada and the United States created the International Joint Commission because they recognized that each country is affected by the other's actions in lake and river systems along the border."

That website also notes, "The International Joint Commission will be holding public meetings to gather information from the public on the IJC's draft Triennial Assessment of Progress (TAP) report and the Progress Report of the Governments of Canada and the United States under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement."

Six meetings have been organized, one of which was this one in Sarnia.

March 25, 2017

The government of Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall intends to close the Saskatchewan Transportation Company, a provincial crown corporation created in 1946 by the CCF government of Tommy Douglas.

CBC reports, "In this week's provincial budget, Finance Minister Kevin Doherty announced STC would be shuttered after more than 70 years of continuous service to some 200 communities. Workers to cancer patients to seniors have expressed outrage."

That article highlights, "University of Regina professors JoAnn Jaffe called STC an essential public service. She doubts a private operator will serve smaller communities or provide anywhere close to the number of jobs that are being eliminated. Fellow University of Regina professor Cindy Hanson said the closure will lead to more pollution and more highway damage if people are forced to drive cars and trucks. The poor, elderly or disabled will simply not be able to travel."

The Saskatchewan Transportation Company's freight service is scheduled to end of May 19 and passenger service is to stop on May 31.

March 25, 2017

The Council of Canadians Sudbury chapter held a public forum to promote their city's water and wastewater systems and to challenge bottled water.

Chapter activist Terri MacKinnon tells us, "On World Water Day the Sudbury Chapter hosted 40 people for an animated evening discussing the Sudbury City water and wastewater and the bottled water industry."

MacKinnon notes, "After former chapter chair Andre Clement roused the audience by speaking about the Council of Canadians and the activities of the local chapter, Glenn Murray, the chief organizer of the event, presented a short film called The Story of Bottled Water. This 8-minute animated video described the history of bottled water and how the bottled water industry 'sold' us on the need for drinking bottled water. It also described the greed of the industry and the dangers to the environment presented by plastic bottles."

March 24, 2017

Barbara Ronson-McNichol and Clyde McNichol

The Council of Canadians Sudbury chapter is mourning the passing of Barbara Ronson-McNichol.

Chapter activist Terri MacKinnon tells us, "Members of the Sudbury Chapter worked with Barbara on her Benny Forest campaign, and saw her at other protests. She was an avid activist for the poor and homeless, too."

The Sudbury Star reports, "Barbara Ronson-McNichol, a longtime academic and activist from Cartier who devoted the recent years of her life to stopping logging in the Benny forest, has been identified as the pedestrian struck and killed by a train on Highway 144 in Moncrieff Township on Wednesday. Ronson-McNichol, whose Anishinaabe husband Clyde McNichol claims the area of Benny forest as family territory, fought tirelessly to halt logging there, even going to jail for the cause. She was arrested for a second time only this past Monday for blocking a logging road in Benny and was to appear at the Sudbury courthouse next month on charges of mischief and breach of bail conditions."

March 24, 2017

The Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter, in collaboration with Ecology North and the Government of the Northwest Territories, hosted a public forum on March 23 titled, The Past, Present and Future of the Mackenzie River: A Discussion on Climate Change Impacts and Transboundary Waters.

Chapter activist Lois Little was the moderator for the evening.

The Globe and Mail has reported, "The Mackenzie River, including its two great upstream supply lines, the Peace and Athabasca rivers, travels 4,241 kilometres before it reaches the Beaufort Sea. Its watershed spans three western provinces and two territories, covering approximately 1.8 million square kilometres, the largest by far in all of Canada and triple the size of France."

And Maclean's magazine has noted, "The watershed is threatened by climate change — occurring faster there than almost anywhere else on Earth — as well as by upstream development such as Alberta’s oilsands or British Columbia’s hydro dams."