November 28, 2009
Maude Barlow and Paul Moist speak

Maude Barlow and Paul Moist speak

Last night the Blue Summit began in fine form in Ottawa.

The evening was hosted by Ginette Gratton of TVRogers and Adrian Harewood of CBC News Ottawa, who shared his own stories about his grandmother's conservation of water.

There was a blessing and water song by  Elaine Kicknosway from the Minwaashin Lodge, along with her young son; warm opening remarks by Darlene Sanderson, who is an organizer for the Indigenous World Forum on Water and Peace in Bolivia next year; and poetry that captivated everyone by Ritallin.

November 28, 2009

Leo Broderick (V.P. of the Board of the Council of Canadians) and I arrived in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday for a full week of anti-WTO activities organized by Geneva-based groups and the Our World Is Not For Sale network. We've been a member of OWINFS since the beginning in 1996 and the group, which this year brings over 200 members from 45 countries to Geneva, has played a pivotal role in stalling a final WTO deal since negotiations collapsed in Seattle exactly ten years ago today. While on paper, this is not a negotiating meeting like Hong Kong, Cancun or Doha, and the Doha "anything but" Development Round is still stalled, an OWINFS strategy session today talked about where work needs to be done to challenge some dangerous issues being pushed on developing countries by the usual big players.

November 27, 2009

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and Ontario Federation of Labour president-elect Sid Ryan write in the Toronto Star today that, "Unknown to most Canadians, our federal and provincial governments have been busy preparing for the next level of unregulated trade and investment agreements, all aimed at one thing: opening up 'subnational procurement,' which was left out of previous trade deals such as NAFTA."

"This amounts to at least $100 billion of public money spent annually by the provinces and municipalities on everything from social services, road construction and water systems, to maintaining a safe and clean environment."

"Transnational corporations have long sought to eliminate the ability of governments to favour local companies and workers when public funds are spent to build schools and hospitals, stimulate the local economy, hire health-care workers, or even buy food for local daycare centres."

Their op-ed discusses the three new deals: the Ontario-Quebec Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and the Harper government's response to `Buy America'.

November 27, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports that, "An American author and broadcaster (Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now) claims Canadian border officials questioned her about whether she would discuss the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games at a speaking engagement Wednesday evening in Vancouver."

"Amy Goodman... was entering Canada around 6 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday evening, set to speak at the Vancouver Public Library in an event co-ordinated by a campus radio station at Simon Fraser University."

"In the country to promote her book Breaking the Sound Barrier , a collection of the award-winning journalist's columns, she planned to discuss the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, of which she is a critic; Canadian icon Tommy Douglas, a hero of medicare; global warming; and the worldwide economic meltdown."

"(Goodman recalled), And (the border guard) said, ‘what about the Olympics? ‘And I said, ‘the Olympics? Do you mean when President Obama went to Copenhagen to try and get the Olympics for Chicago?' ...She claimed the officer persisted in questioning her about Vancouver's upcoming Games."

November 26, 2009

The Ottawa Xpress weekly alternative newspaper reports today that, "From Nov. 27 to 29, water champions from across the country will be gathering in Ottawa for the Blue Summit, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first Water Watch conference."

"The event is co-hosted by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Council of Canadians, who helped form the first Water Watch committees along with other community members."

Meera Karunananthan, national water campaigner for the Council of Canadians, says, "Most of our groups were involved in fighting private-public partnerships at the time and many were successful. I think today we're increasingly aware that we are dealing with a water crisis in Canada we've really expanded our movement."

Karunananthan adds, "It's an opportunity for us to get together and talk about alternative models that prioritize people and the environment."

Paul Moist, national president of CUPE, notes, "At any given time there are up to 100 boil-water advisories on First Nations reserves across the country. That's one of the reasons we need to shine a light within the borders of Canada."