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NEWS: Barlow speaks in Owen Sound about the Great Lakes

The Owen Sound Sun Times reports, “Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, was in Owen Sound for the seventh stop on an eight-city speaking tour on the Great Lakes basin. She was joined by speakers from the Canadian Environmental Law Association and Sierra Club of Canada.”

“Barlow says the Harper Conservatives are the most ‘anti-environmental’ government in Canada’s 145-year history. ‘They are dismantling decades of environmental protection, including environmental assessments for new energy pipelines and new mining projects’, the head of the Council of Canadians said before a scheduled talk Tuesday night at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound. ‘They want to be able to mine where they want, dump their tailings where they want. They don’t want a strong assessment process and they don’t want a strong Fisheries Act. They’re laying off thousands of people between Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada and Parks Canada.'”

“Barlow said one of her goals is for the Great Lakes basin to be designated as a ‘commons’ or public trust, which no one owns and everyone is responsible for protecting. She said she wants governments with jurisdiction over the lakes, including the governments of Canada and the United States as well as eight American states and two Canadian provinces, to replace a patchwork of ‘inadequate legislation’ with shared principles and regulations to protect the basin. She also wants the Great Lakes — the source of drinking water for more than 40 million people — designated as a ‘protected bio region’. Barlow said it is more urgent than ever for citizens to ban together to stop the destruction of the Great Lakes, which she said is threatened by global warming, pollution, toxic waste dumping and invasive species. ‘We are continuing to treat the Great Lakes as if they’re a great big dollar sign just there to make money for us and to dump whatever we want into instead of saying this is a living ecosystem that will die if we don’t protect it,’ she said.”

“There are three things people can do, she said. They can urge their federal MP to demand better protection of the Great Lakes, ask their municipal council to adopt a resolution that recognizes the Great Lakes as a ‘shared commons’ that requires more provincial funding and protection and participate in planned hearings on a proposed new provincial Great Lakes Protection Act. ‘We need to make noise and we need to get angry and we need to start building this notion that these Great Lakes are ours. They’re a common, they’re a public trust. They should be protected in law for all people around the lakes for all time,’ she said.”

The Great Lakes tour so far:
Toronto on May 15
Hamilton on May 16
Thunder Bay on May 17
Kingston on May 22
Sarnia on May 24
Tiny Township on May 28
Owen Sound on May 29, see above and http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3572634

The first stage of this Great Lakes tour concludes tonight (May 30) in London. Tonight’s event can viewed at http://rabble.ca/rabbletv or http://livestream.com/rabbletv at 7 p.m. ET. The tour has reached more than 1400 people so far and countless more through numerous articles in the media, which are listed at http://canadians.org/greatlakes. It is hoped that there will be additional Great Lakes tour dates next spring, including visits to US cities on the Great Lakes.