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Guelph chapter to call on Liberal MP to protect waterways

Speed River

The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter and allies will be calling on Liberal MP Lloyd Longfield to take action to protect lakes and rivers.

Guelph Today reports, “Next week, on Wednesday, Mar. 22, three organizations will come together and take a stand on the issue of water protection in Guelph and across Canada. The event is part of World Water Day. A crowd will gather in the park, 1765 Gordon St. (across the river from The Boathouse) at 4 p.m. Some words will be said at the gathering, a group photograph will be taken, and participants will be asked to sign a message that will be delivered to Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield. The message is a demand for stronger federal water protection measures.”

The article adds, “The Council of Canadians, Wellington Water Watchers, and the Guelph/Wellington Coalition for Social Justice are hosting the World Water Day gathering.”

The photo will be taken at the confluence of the Speed and Eramosa rivers.

Event organizer Karen Rathwell says, “It’s a photo snap and a quick message signing to send to Lloyd Longfield, to say we need the government to step up and protect those 99 per cent of our rivers and lakes that are now unprotected. It’s a beautiful watershed and a beautiful water system, and we really need to step up to protect our fresh water in Ontario.”

In December 2011, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers pushed for changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Fisheries Act in Canada (as well as a number of other Acts including the Species at Risk Act). By June 2012, federal oversight of pipelines and power lines were removed from the Navigable Waters Protection Act and by December 2012, the Navigable Waters Protection Act was changed to the Navigation Protection Act, significantly reducing its scope of rivers and lakes by delisting 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers from federal oversight.

During the October 2015 federal election, Justin Trudeau stated, “Stephen Harper’s changes to the Fisheries Act, and his elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, have weakened environmental protections. We will review these changes, restore lost protections, and incorporate more modern safeguards.”

But 17 months after taking office, the Liberals have not taken any real action on this file apart from various consultation processes.

Twenty Council of Canadians chapters will be participating in World Water Day. To find out about those actions, please click here.