Lynee Thiele, Sean Casey, Mary Cowper-Smith, Andrew Harris.
The Council of Canadians Prince Edward Island chapter delivered a copy of Maude Barlow’s book Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis to Liberal Member of Parliament Sean Casey this afternoon.
Chapter activist Leo Broderick tells us, “The PEI Chapter delivered Boiling Point to Charlottetown MP Sean Casey this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. He was appreciative. He had no idea that the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities is recommending that the Trudeau government leave the 99% of lakes and rivers unprotected under the Navigation Protection Act. He did remember though, this act being part of Harper’s Omnibus Bill. And I think he remembered a promise. He assured us he would follow up. He was also unaware the Trudeau government has until July 21, 2017 to respond.”
In her book, Barlow highlights our demand for the restoration and enhancement of the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
In 2012, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government decimated the Navigable Waters Protection Act by removing federal oversight on pipelines and power lines from it and by reducing its scope to just 159 lakes and rivers, leaving more than 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers without federal scrutiny.
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”.
On March 23, the Liberal-dominated Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities made their recommendations on the Act – which clearly fail to restore lost protections or incorporate more modern safeguards.
Rather than extending protections to all lakes and rivers, it recommends: “That the government maintain the Schedule 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.” Furthermore, the committee weakly recommends, “That the government require that Transport Canada provide reasons why a waterway is or is not added to the schedule.”
Barlow comments, “This was an opportunity for the committee and the Trudeau government to show leadership on water protection, and it is deeply disappointing that they have failed to do so. Freshwater protections are crucial to upholding the human right to water. Without protections for all lakes and rivers, Trudeau’s election promises ring hollow.”
Trudeau has until July 21 to respond to the committee’s recommendations.
Twenty-two chapters are delivering copies of Boiling Point to 49 Members of Parliament in the coming days. It is our hope that getting the book into the hands of MPs will mean more informed decision-making on water protection issues.
To assist in this effort, please send Trudeau and Transport Minister Marc Garneau a message via this online action alert Tell Trudeau to keep his water protection promises. Let’s protect every lake and every river!