December 10, 2019

Parliament Hill

The Throne Speech for the 43rd government included few surprises. The minority Liberal government has some of the right ideas – focussing on the climate crisis, health care and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, but their commitments fall short of the urgent change we need for our country. The Liberals will need to work with other parties to pass the Throne Speech – there’s still room for the government to be bold.

Here are some of the Speech from the Throne commitments the Council of Canadians wants to see swift action on:

December 5, 2019

Members of the Counci of Canadians Vancouver/Burnaby Chapter were on courthouse steps with signs of support on the first day of final arguments in the Charter of Rights challenge launched by Dr. Brian Day against public medicare.

Final arguments got underway in mid-November and conclude this week in a decade-old Charter challenge against public health care. Launched by private clinic owner Dr. Brian Day, the case is seen as a direct threat to Canada’s publicly funded medicare system.

The case pits Dr. Day, owner of the private Cambie Surgeries Corp. – which allows people to pay for access to surgeries – against the British Columbia government.

An audit of the surgery clinic’s billing revealed that fees were being charged to both the public medicare system as well as directly to patients. When the province finally clamped down on the clinic for double-dipping, Dr. Day launched this Charter challenge.

December 4, 2019

European Blue Communities meeting
European Blue Communities meeting

I have just returned from Brussels where we wrapped up the first European Blue Communities meeting, co-sponsored by the Blue Planet Project, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, the World Council of Churches, the Swiss Reform Church and Brussels Capital Region, our newest Blue Community.

The meeting brought together representatives from more than 40 organizations across Europe involved in the Blue Communities Project. We were also joined by Marcela Olivera from Bolivia and Samuel Ventura from El Salvador who are leading a new Blue Communities initiative in Latin America through the Plataforma de Acuerdos Publicos-Comunitarios – a network of rural community water cooperatives.

December 2, 2019

Will this week’s Speech from the Throne be a meaningful step forward for climate justice and a just transition? Or will it be another missed opportunity to take action on the scale required to put out the fires of the climate emergency.

November 26, 2019

On Tuesday, November 19, Kingston City Council reaffirmed its commitment as a Blue Community. Alongside Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, and Robyn Hamlyn, a young water activist, Kingston’s Mayor Bryan Paterson committed to protecting the human right to water, phasing out bottled water in municipal facilities, and promoting publicly owned and operated water and wastewater services.

Through the amazing advocacy from young activist Robyn Hamlyn and the community, Kingston passed separate resolutions as a Blue Community back in 2011. At this ceremony, we are excited to see the city council renewing its commitment to protecting our water and keeping water services in public hands.