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ELECTION 2011: Slop pails or recognition of a human right?

Day 29

SLOP PAILS: The Winnipeg Free Press reports, “Northern aboriginal leaders are angry that the federal government is continuing to let them live in third world conditions at reserves by sending them 999 slop pails and 805 45-gallon water pails. The Island Lake Tribal Council says it asked Indian Affairs to help solve the water crisis on its four remote reserves. …Chief David McDougall, of the St. Theresa Point First Nation, says what they got was a shipment of water containers and slop pails. He says each of the four community also got a sewage truck, but they don’t have the resources or fuel to run it. McDougall says Ottawa is expecting 15 people in one house to share a slop pail rather than ensure the communities have running water. He says that is degrading and unacceptable.” On July 28, 2010, the right to water and sanitation was recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, and on October 1, 2010 the UN Human Rights Council affirmed that the right to water and sanitation is contained in existing human rights treaties and is therefore legally binding and equal to all other human rights. Stephen Harper opposes recognition of the right to water and sanitation. When asked if he supported this human right, Michael Ignatieff would only say Canada has some ‘international responsibilities’.

MELANCTHON QUARRY – DUFFERIN-CALEDON: The Orangeville Banner reports, “Conservative (candidate and MP) David Tilson, Liberal Bill Prout and the Green Party’s Ard Van Leeuwen did their best to address (at a recent Dufferin-Caledon all-candidates debate) the topic at the top of residents’ minds in the area — The Highland Companies’ application for a 2,316-acre quarry in Melancthon. Although it’s largely a provincial issue, each candidate promised, if elected, they would support residents in their fight, but responded in different fashions.’ Tilson said, “If experts say that the water is going to be destroyed or the air is going to be destroyed, I would encourage a federal environment assessment, but experts are going to have to provide that. But I will certainly support you in your opposition to this quarry. I can only tell you if an environmental assessment is required federally, I would encourage that. When I look at the water that is in Melancthon, I can’t believe that is not an issue for an environmental assessment, but there has to be evidence put forward that it is required.”

SOUTH FRASER HIGHWAY – DELTA-RICHMOND EAST: The Delta Optimist reports, “Looking to fill the seat held for almost 18 years by Conservative MP John Cummins, who’s retiring from federal politics, are Liberal Alan Beesley, Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the NDP’s Nic Slater, the Green’s Duane Laird and independent John Shavluk. …On the question of the South Fraser Perimeter Road, (NDP candidate) Slater questioned whether it was a land grab instead of a transportation project. He also noted there’s no reason why an electric rail system isn’t used.”

PERIMETER SECURITY: The Toronto Star editorial board writes, “Today the Harper government looks reflexively to the United States for geopolitical cues. It is more about projecting force and cutting trade deals than delivering generous aid. …Harper’s overarching priority has been to forge closer ties with Washington, with mixed results on border issues and trade. At home, Harper has pushed our Arctic claims and invested in the military. But he bungled our bid for a seat on the UN Security Council. He froze Canada’s modest $5-billion foreign aid program, and did nothing to make it more open and less bureaucratic. He tilted aid to Latin America and away from poorer African states. He threw Canada’s nuanced Mideast policy to the winds. And he has shown scant interest in peacekeeping, arms control and climate change.”

GREAT LAKES: Derek Coronado, co-ordinator of the Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, writes in the Windsor Star, “Recent reports have shown declining freshwater resources throughout southern Canada, including the Great Lakes basin. The lakes are under increasing pressure from climate change, consumption and pollution. For example, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin are host to the full range of the nuclear fuel chain from mining and milling to waste sites. …Here in the Great Lakes basin, many people realize that the Great Lakes are a significant environmental treasure not only for Canada, but the entire planet. For decades, Canada and the U.S. have attempted to protect the environmental quality of the lakes through the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. However, the GLWQA has not been updated since 1987. The U.S. and Canada have essentially agreed to revise the GLWQA, but it’s not been a high priority for either country and the process has been dragging on for almost seven years.”

NEWSPAPER ADS: The Council of Canadians will be running an ad campaign in Metro newspapers from coast to coast starting this coming Tuesday. The ads, mostly on the front-page of the newspaper, have the potential to reach more than 200,000 voters. You will see our ‘Vote for Democracy’ ads in those newspapers, but also on our e-mail lists, on social media, and more. For an advance look in video-format, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxfMcwARE5o. You can also see it as the top banner on our website now at www.canadians.org.

TODAY’S POLL/ SEAT PROJECTION: Yesterday, ThreeHundredEight.com projected the outcome of the federal election to be 150 seats for the Conservatives, 76 for the Liberals, 36 for the New Democrats, and 45 for the Bloc Quebecois.