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UPDATE: Council concerned about C-26

Late yesterday afternoon the Harper government introduced new water legislation in the House of Commons. C-26 is a proposed Act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act and the International River Improvements Act.

The Council of Canadians will be raising concerns with several elements of Bill C-26 in a media release this Monday, followed by an action alert, and a legislative strategy.

As a proposed piece of legislation, it must go through three readings in the House of Commons, committee hearings, and Senate approval. Already this morning, the Canwest News Service reported that, “Ottawa MP Paul Dewar, the New Democratic Party’s environment critic, signalled amendments will be sought to the proposed bill…”

Council of Canadians national water campaigner Meera Karunananthan says, “We don’t see Bill C-26 as a ban on bulk water exports. It does not appear to cover waters that are not boundary or transboundary waters.”

National chairperson Maude Barlow highlights, “This legislation seems to narrow the definition of bulk removals to exclude water in manufactured products such as beverages. It appears the legislation continues a provision that allows for up to 50,000 litres of water a day to be exported in packaged form, such as bottled water.”

The Council of Canadians believes that Canada needs a comprehensive national water policy that bans all bulk water exports, excludes water from NAFTA and recognizes water as a public trust.

C-26 is now on-line at http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Docid=4528706&file=4.