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UPDATE: 20,000 join Council of Canadians virtual town hall meeting

Council of Canadians Board member and Whistler chapter activist Pina Belperio writes in rabble.ca that, “On Feb. 27, the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy group held its first ever tele-town hall. …By all accounts, the event was a huge success with over 20,000 Canadians joining in the call. Callers had a chance to learn about the Council’s political campaigns, ask live questions and vote in two live polls.”

WINS: “In addition to celebrating its 25th anniversary last October, Council of Canadians chairpreson Maude Barlow highlighted two big wins for the Council of Canadians, which included the adoption of the UN’s Resolution on the Right to Water and the halting of Schedule 2 (dumping into Fish Lake), a new federal bill that allows mining companies to dump toxic waste into pristine lakes.”

CAMPAIGNS: “Barlow is embarking on a new campaign to protect the Great Lakes. Her long-term vision is to work with Canadians, Americans and First Nations to have the Great Lakes designated a Commons, a public trust and a protected bioregion. Barlow will release her new report, “Our Great Lakes Commons: Protecting the Great Lakes Forever” on March 22 (World Water Day). …The Council continues to advocate on the climate justice front, fighting the Harper government’s proposed five-fold increase in Alberta’s tar sands. …The Council advocates for a solution that is not market-based such as carbon credits or cap-and-trade, but encourages people to live within their means. …The Council of Canadians…was the first group to sound the alarm on the new Canada-EU trade agreement called CETA: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. …Watch for the Council’s CETA tour, coming to a neighbourhood near you this spring. …The Council remains on guard and continues to fight the security perimeter deal between Canada and the United States. As Barlow told the callers, ‘This new agreement is actually an American security perimeter around Canada, with all the laws being written in Washington.'”

QUESTIONS: “Callers had the opportunity to ask Barlow questions live. Concerns ranged from the protection of groundwater, bottled water licences, expansion of the tar sands to the export of Canada’s water. (Fracking was raised while) other callers asked about the implications of the government’s recent announcement to allow nuclear shipments to be transported through the Great Lakes to Europe. An absurd concept and a recipe for disaster. …If a federal election is called in the coming months, Council members are encouraged to attend the all-candidates meetings and ask those tough questions important to them. A caller from Williams Lake, B.C. asked what can be done to ensure that revisions to BC’s Water Modernization Act won’t open up the province’s water to water markets, following in Alberta’s footsteps. Barlow explained that the B.C. government is looking to modernize the existing Water Act to allow corporations and wealthy owners to trade and/or hoard water licenses for the future.”

Pina’s blog can be read in full at http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/word-rings/2011/02/council-canadians-hosts-tele-town-hall.