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Barlow calls on Trudeau to establish a federal ministry of water

Barlow speaking at the ‘Untrouble the Waters’ summit at the University of Illinois in Chicago today. She says, “We are not governing these Great Lakes as if they matter, as if they need to be here in the future.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has called for the creation of a federal ministry of water.

In an interview with Metro Canada news, Barlow says, “Where are our governments? We have a right to demand this.”

She adds, “Really we have not cared for water in this country at all.”

Barlow has previously stated, “The Trudeau government must take leadership in developing a new national water policy and strategy, asserting its right to do so while recognizing those areas of jurisdiction that come under provincial and territorial domain. This will mean working in cooperation with other levels of government and incorporating local community consultation and input. As well, there are at least 20 federal departments and agencies with responsibilities for water management that need better coordination.”

And she has highlighted, “All policy and strategy should be based on the fundamental principles of water sustainability, water justice and public trust while also recognizing the special inherent and treaty rights of First Nations.”

Key priorities for the federal ministry could be:

1- reinstating the Navigable Waters Protection Act

2- reinstating and improving the Fisheries Act

3- reinstating and improving the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

4- establishing national enforceable drinking water standards

5- establishing national enforceable wastewater disposable standards

6- retooling and properly funding the Canadian Environmental Protection Agency to do its job

7- mapping and protecting groundwater with enforceable national standards

8- properly funding the new water and wastewater fund and use it to promote public water services

9- fulfilling the promise of safe water on First Nations within five years and recognizing the inherent Indigenous right to water

10- rejecting the Energy East pipeline and planning the transition away from the tar sands

11- banning the shipping, burial and transport of extreme energy on our near the Great Lakes and other waterways

12- banning fracking

13- bringing in strict rules on mining

14- promoting local, sustainable food production

15- protecting and renewing forests and wetlands

16- removing all references to water from all trade and investment agreements

17- rejecting false market solutions to the water crisis.

To read more about these priorities, please see pages  227 to 241 of Barlow’s book, Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis. (Start a monthly gift to the Council of Canadians of $10 – or increase your current monthly gift by $5 – and we’ll send you a free copy!)

For more on our water campaign, please click here.