September 5, 2019

Sister Angie Martz accepting her Founder’s Award from Maude Barlow at the Council of Canadians’ 2009 annual general meeting
Sister Angie Martz accepting her Founder’s Award from Maude Barlow at the Council of Canadians’ 2009 annual general meeting

The Council of Canadians community mourns the passing of our dear friend Sister Angie Martz. A lifelong activist, teacher and spiritual leader for many across generations in her community of Saint John, NB, Sister Angie remained active and engaged in advancing social justice until her final days.

“Angie was and will continue to be my guiding light,” said Leticia Adair, friend, member of the Saint John Chapter and former Council board member. “One of the founding members of our Chapter, Angie was always present at meetings, participating in actions and writing letters. Water rights and working on behalf of refugees was close to her heart. Her faith, firm resolve and commitment to justice, has sustained and guided us for the past 30 years. I will miss her dearly.”

September 5, 2019

Maude Barlow has spent her life learning about water and sharing information and sounding the alarm about what humans are doing it. She says, “I have never discovered any more powerful truth than this: the world will only be transformed from the bottom up, from people fighting in their own communities because they care.”

In her new book Whose Water is it Anyway? Taking water protection into public hands, she explores how the Blue Communities Project, a grassroots-based campaign that gives people tools they can use to push for the protection of water at the municipal level. The text below is an excerpt of the book. Maude will be embarking on a multi-city book tour this fall.

This is a book about hope.

It is a story about everyday people defending the water resources of their communities and protecting the broader human right to water by ensuring it is now and forever a public trust, one that must not be allowed to fall under private, for-profit control.

August 29, 2019

B.C.’s groundwater is under threat and I need your help to protect it.

In just a few weeks, local governments and First Nations throughout B.C. will vote on an important resolution that calls on the province to stop issuing water licences to commercial water bottling operations in the province.

These licences allow water bottling corporations to take fresh groundwater, bottle it in plastic, and sell it for profit.

Your mayor and councillors will vote on this critical issue at the upcoming Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention September 23-27. Resolutions UBCM members pass have a lot of sway in determining how the province conducts its business.

We need every mayor and councillor attending the convention to know that their constituents support this measure. Will you write your local officials today and ask them to vote in favour of this resolution?

August 20, 2019

You may have seen the news that Doug Ford’s Minister of Environment and Conservation, Jeff Yurek, sent Ontario Conservation Authorities (CAs) a letter last week. In that letter, Minister Yurek directed Conservation Authorities to “wind down” programs not connected to their “core mandate,” generally categorized as work related to:

  • Risk of natural hazards
  • Conservation and management of land owned or controlled by conservation authorities
  • Drink-water source protection
  • Protection of the Lake Simcoe watershed
  • Other programs or services as prescribed by regulation

The letter comes on the heels of the recently-amended Conservation Authorities Act* and a 50% cut in natural hazards funding to Conservation Authorities, which includes flood management.

August 20, 2019

Farmers put up a brick wall at an office of a CETA supporter

On July 23, the French National Assembly ratified the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). 

At the same time, in Montréal, a group of EU and Canadian politicians were celebrating this apparent victory. While there was little criticism in Canada, a big political storm was brewing in France.

I was in Paris during ratification, working with the French coalition that opposes the agreement, and it was far from a cakewalk. In mid-summer as the French were enjoying Bastille Day and their long European vacations, not all was tranquil. CETA is politically poisonous in France. All but one of the opposition parties, whether on the right or left side of the spectrum, voted against the agreement.