(left-right) Renate Weigel, Trudy Thorgierson, Alistair MacGregor, Donna Cameron
The Council of Canadians Cowichan Valley chapter met with NDP Member of Parliament Alistair MacGregor to present him with a copy of Maude Barlow’s book Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis.
Chapter activist Donna Cameron tells us, “Trudy Thorgierson, Renate Weigel and myself met with Alistair on May 25th. Renate donated Maude’s book, Boiling Point, to Alistair. He spends a lot of time flying from our west coast riding to Ottawa and back so uses that time to read. He was appreciative of receiving the book and we also gave him a sheet of information about action we would like taken to save our water. He said he would pass that information along to Linda Duncan, the party’s environment critic.”
Twenty-two Council of Canadians chapters across the country are presenting 49 MPs with Boiling Point as a key debate approaches in the House of Commons on the restoration of the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
In 2012, the Harper government decimated that Act by removing federal oversight on pipelines and power lines and reducing its scope to just 159 lakes and rivers, leaving more than 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers without federal scrutiny.
In January 2013, CBC reported, “A letter obtained by Greenpeace through access to information laws … reveals the oil and gas industry was granted its request that the [Harper] government change a series of environmental laws… The letter [from the Energy Framework Initiative, a group that includes the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers] specifically mentions six laws that relate to the oil and gas industry’s ability to do its work [including] the Navigable Waters Protection Act.”
During the October 2015 federal election, Justin Trudeau criticized the Harper government’s “elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act” and specifically promised to “review these changes, restore lost protections, and incorporate more modern safeguards”.
But now rather than recommending that those lost protections be fully restored, the Liberal-dominated Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities suggests, “That the government maintain the Schedule [of 159 lakes and rivers] but rapidly improve the process of adding waterways to the Schedule by making it easily accessible, easy to use and transparent and that a public awareness campaign be put in place to inform stakeholders of the process.”
Our view, as argued in Barlow’s book Boiling Point, is that all 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers should be immediately listed and protected under a restored and enhanced Navigable Waters Protection Act.
Trudeau has until July 21 to make his decision.
Please “Tell Trudeau to keep his water protection promises. Let’s protect every lake and every river!” by responding to this action alert.