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Winnipeg chapter helps deliver #EveryLakeEveryRiver paintings to MPs

Winnipeg chapter activist Ken Harasym, Council of Canadians organizer Brigette DePape, Elmwood-Transcona MP Daniel Blaikie

The Council of Canadians Winnipeg chapter joined with our Prairies-NWT organizer Brigette DePape to deliver #EveryLakeEveryRiver paintings to Elmwood-Transcona Member of Parliament (MP) Daniel Blaikie today. DePape and Linda Thiessen also delivered paintings to Winnipeg Centre MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette.

The art came from a “paint night” that DePape organized on September 23.

In 2012, the Harper government gutted the former Navigable Waters Protection Act through omnibus bills. C-38 removed pipelines and power lines from provisions of the Navigable Waters Protect Act while C-45 significantly reduced the Act’s scope over waterways. Maude Barlow has commented, “The Harper government killed the Navigable Waters Protection Act, stripping protections from 99 per cent of lakes and rivers in Canada. Major pipelines and inter-provincial power lines now have the green light to cross over and under more than 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers without federal scrutiny.”

The outreach for the Winnipeg paint night event highlighted, “Tap into your creative side to protect water! Join us for a fun evening to create your own painting of a lake or river you want protected. With local artists Sarah Thiessen and Jeanine Saurette. Each person will have the chance to create a painting of a lake or river we want protected. Take the painting home or write a personal message of why water is important to you and deliver it to a Member of Parliament to encourage stronger regulations on water. The community art workshop is suitable for beginners.”

After that event, DePape told us, “We had a great paint night! We had 25 people come, which was our cap given the space and canvasses. It was fantastic to see our Winnipeg chapter participate and people from all generations. The artists Jeanine and Sarah did a great job of guiding people in painting. Whitney, a student from the University of Winnipeg, did a great job at co-organizing. She also did a great job when we co-presented on the water campaign.”

And she highlighted, “We painted a picture of the beautiful Bloodvein River in Manitoba, which is one of the many rivers that is unprotected. We gave people the choice to either take their paintings home or donate the painting for the delivery and most people chose to donate the painting.”

This afternoon, after the delivery of the paintings to the NDP and Liberal MPs, DePape says, “We had a good meeting with Blaikie. We thanked him for raising concerns about the lack of independent studies around the potential impact of the Energy East pipeline on drinking water. On the topic of the Navigation Protection Act, he said this was an election promise, and said there should have been legislation to re-instate it right after the government was elected. Blaikie also said that if the government wants to do something, they can do it very quickly. He said he would do what he could to raise the issue in Ottawa.”

Our Every Lake, Every River petition says that the protections that were cut from the Act must be fully restored; all lakes, rivers and waterways must be protected; strict safeguards for waterways must be implemented within the framework of the United Nations-recognized human right to water; water sustainability and water justice must be at the heart of all policy and practice so that water no longer takes the back seat to other interests and priorities; and much more.

To sign our Every Lake, Every River petition, please click here.