Bill C-69 does not respect Indigenous rights and environment minister Catherine McKenna says the Kinder Morgan pipeline would have been approved under this legislation.
The Council of Canadians is challenging Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
As I have highlighted in blogs and water campaigner Emma Lui has noted in blogs and this webinar, Bill C-69 fails to protect water and does not make environmental reviews credible (as the Liberals promised in the 2015 election), it doesn't restore lost protections, incorporate modern safeguards, it does not protect all waterways, it allows offshore oil and gas drilling to be expanded, it does not incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, and it gives Big Oil speedier reviews.
2- SUBMISSION TO HOUSE OF COMMONS STANDING COMMITTEE
In our submission to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue highlighted C-69 should enshrine United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Standards in environmental assessments, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) should only play an advisory role, and Bill C-69 must be consistent with Paris Climate Agreement and 2050 phase out of fossil fuels.
3- CHAPTER ACTION
The Guelph, Edmonton, Kent County and NWT chapters have also submitted their concerns about Bill C-69 to the federal government.
NWT chapter activist Lois Little wrote, "We need legislation that rigorously safeguards our freshwater resources and enshrines the United Nations recognized 'obligation to protect' drinking water from being polluted. We need legislation that protects our fresh waters for the vital place these resources play in all aspects of our ecosystem and for the central role that water protection plays in reconciliation with Indigenous nations. We need legislation that commits to an ecosystem approach to watershed management and protection; anchors forward thinking national water policies and strategies; and safeguards our water from commodification and exploitation. The proposed Navigable Waters Act does none of this. We ask that you either revamp the Navigable Waters Act or develop a new Canada’s Water Act that is ecosystem and human rights focused."
4- ONLINE PETITIONS
We have launched the online 'Protect Every Lake, Every River' petition now signed by 7,305 people. That petition says, "The proposed changes of the Canadian Navigable Waters Act falls short of what Indigenous nations, environmental and community groups called for during the Standing Committee review."
We have also launched the online 'Offshore drilling not worth the risk' petition now signed by 8,881 people. That petition says, "Days before tabling changes to reform environmental assessments with Bill C-69, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna approved British Petroleum’s (BP) application to drill up to seven exploratory wells off the coast of Nova Scotia. Bill C-69 further weakens the regulation of offshore drilling Nova Scotia by granting more power to east coast petroleum boards."
If you haven't signed these petitions yet, please do!
5- SPREADING THE WORD, MOBILIZING ACTION
- Council of Canadians honorary chairperson Maude Barlow noted that the federal government has failed to protect water as promised when she received her Water Warriors Award recently at the Water Docs Film Festival in Toronto.
- The Montreal chapter joined with more than 40 groups based in Quebec in an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau that states, "We remind you in particular of your government's commitment to end fossil fuel subsidies. This commitment must be reflected in the government's investment decisions, but also in the current environmental assessment reform, Bill C-69, which currently opens the door to exemptions for carbon polluters in the oil industry. It is imperative that your government eliminate any possibility of such an exemption in these new environmental reviews."
- Halifax-based organizers Angela Giles and Robin Tress, along with the South Shore chapter and allies, expressed concerns about the offshore provisions and the lack of protection for oceans, in this recent 'unwelcoming party' for BP that attracted extensive media coverage, including this Chronicle Herald news report.
- Giles was also recently quoted in Le Devoir stating, "The reality is that the oil industry can not promise us that there will not be a spill. For us, the game is not worth the effort. We do not want to become the next Gulf of Mexico."
6- NEXT STEPS!
- Barlow and Mi’kmaq lawyer Pam Palmater have just published this op-ed that highlights, "The Canadian Navigable Waters Act does not restore protections to pre-2012 levels, breaking yet another Liberal election promise. It also still exempts pipeline and power lines, leaving waterways unprotected under the act by failing to restore protections. It’s time for real change that protects water – not more broken promises."
- As we noted in this blog, the Trudeau government refused to refer the Canadian Navigable Waters Act to the Transport Committee for study. That means we need your support to keep finding creative ways to highlight that Bill C-69 doesn't protect lakes and rivers in this country and is another broken Liberal election promise.
- We'll be raising our concerns about Bill C-69 this Friday in partnership with allies at this protest outside the Liberal Party convention in Halifax!
- On Tuesday, we are organizing this rally on Parliament Hill against federal legislation to override British Columbia's opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline (which would have been approved under C-69) highlights that the federal government will take emergency action to protect pipelines but not water.
- And please join us at our annual conference in Ottawa on June 22-24 where chapter activists from across the country will come together to strategize on how to ensure the water protections and environmental reviews we all want.