July 6, 2009

On June 25, Smiths Falls EMC columnist Ryland Coyne wrote that, “The Council of Canadians and the Polaris Institute both took shots prior to last Thursday's opening, critical of the company before any formal details of its plans were even revealed. It's likely this lack of civility and loud-mouth negativism resulted in them being left off the guest list for the ceremony.”

Mr. Coyne was referring to our concerns about Aquablue International opening a bottled water plant in Smiths Falls, a small town just outside of Ottawa. Because we had raised critical questions, we were denied access to a press conference about the plant.

On July 2, the Smiths Falls EMC published our response to Mr. Coyne’s column which states, “With all due respect to Mr. Coyne, the Council of Canadians has simply been raising key questions about the impact that Aquablue International will have on the people and environment of Smiths Falls. We believe that the answers that are emerging are worrisome.”

July 6, 2009

This past Friday, the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix (with a daily circulation of 65,000 readers) published an op-ed by Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and Professor David Schindler on the freshwater crisis in Canada and the government’s inaction on (and worsening of) protections for water.

They also highlight that, “For 30 years Canada has hosted the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS), assessing more than 3,000 freshwater sites around the world and supplying 24 UN agencies with vital information upon which to build and assess water policy. GEMS is the dominant global system to monitor water quality and has been built with Canadian expertise and technology. But in recent years, successive federal governments have starved the program so much that GEMS director Edwin Ongley quit the program in 1998, citing the ‘abysmally naïve understanding by Environment Canada of emerging global water issues.’"

July 4, 2009

Today, more than 700 people walked from Elmvale to Site 41, where another 150 people were gathered, in a strong expression of public opposition to the garbage dump now under construction on the Alliston aquifer.

March to Site 41

At the protest camp we heard speeches from local resident Stephen Ogden, a representative from the Chiefs of Ontario, Conservative MPP Garfield Dunlop, radio host Dale Goldhawk, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, and several others.

There was also music by William Buttery, Fiddes Lefaivre, Marg Raynor, and Youth drummers.

There was also an heartfelt expression of appreciation to Art Parnell, the local farmer who made the land available for the event and for the protest camp, by Maude and Stephen.

July 4, 2009

March to Site 41Yesterday, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, water campaigner Meera Karunananthan, and I met with the mayor of Collingwood, the mayor and deputy mayor of Tiny Township, and then the mayor and deputy mayor of New Tecumseth.

It was a full day of driving to these different communities in Simcoe County to talk with these members of Simcoe County council about how Site 41 can be stopped.

In Collingwood Mayor Chris Carrier told us there was no imminent need for the dump, and noted that while the computer-generated 'modflow' report could not be released because it is the private property of the company that develped it, its results could (and should) be independently reviiewed by a hydrogeogolist.

July 3, 2009

Yesterday evening at about 10:00 pm, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, water campaiigner Meera Karunananthan, director of organizing Carleen Pickard, and I arrived in Midland, Ontario after a five hour car drive (in the rain) from Ottawa. Here we met with Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara, who is based in Toronto.

We are all here for the next several days to put a stop to a garbage dump that is to be constructed on the Alliston aquifer at Site 41 in nearby Tiny Township.

As has been reported almost everyday for the last several days in area newspapers including the Barrie Examiner, "On Friday at 7 p.m., Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians chairman and adviser to the United Nations on water issues, will be showing the documentary film, Flow for Love of Water, at the First Nations campsite opposite the site. On Saturday, Barlow will be leading a march from Elmvale to Site 41 at 10:30 a.m."

For extensive background on the campaign to protect the water in this area from the garbage dump please go to