September 11, 2009

The surprise signing today by Premiers Jean Charest and Dalton McGuinty of an Ontario-Quebec Trade and Cooperation Agreement is typical of the secretive way that inter-provincial and international trade agreements are being negotiated in Canada, says the Council of Canadians, which is demanding that the Ontario-Quebec deal be publicly debated before it is ratified.

September 11, 2009

The Colombia Solidarity Action Alliance has issued the following urgent action request:

The Harper government with the support of Michael Ignatieff's Liberals is expected to push for a quick passage of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), as the first order of business, when Parliament reconvenes this coming Monday, September 14th.

The CCFTA bill was stalled from achieving a second reading in May of 2009 by the combined actions of opposition MPs from the NDP, Bloc Quebecois and social movement forces both in Canada and Colombia. The CCFTA is a key component of Harper's neoliberal free-trade agenda for Canada and the region and he wants to pass it prior to the expected fall election.

Ratification of the CCFTA bill will require Liberal party support. We urge you to contact/email Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae and key Liberal MPs of the Standing Committee on International Trade-CIIT. If you cannot contact them directly, speak to their assistants and directly express your concerns:

September 11, 2009

Maude Barlow and Meera Karunananthan will appear in the documentary television series 'La Grande Soif' ('The Great Thirst'), which is being broadcast on RDI.

The French language cable television news channel operated by CBC/Radio-Canada is distributed on basic cable and satellite television to 9.8 million homes, including 2 million in Quebec, and is seen each week by a half-million English viewers.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow appears in the episode titled "L'avenir de l'eau" ("The Future of Water"), which will be broadcast on Saturday November 7 at 7:30 pm EST.

National water campaigner Meera Karunananthan appears in "L'eau et l'exportation" ("Waters and Exports") on Saturday September 26 at 7:30 pm EST.

These programs will be repeated at 11:30 pm EST on those days, then the next day (Sunday) at 11:30 am EST, and then on the Monday at 1:30 am EST.

September 11, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports that, "The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise taps into (Lake Louise) for everything from supplying its laundry room and watering its gardens to ensuring the ice buckets are filled."

"(Records show) that water distribution system has lost almost 510,000 cubic metres of water – the equivalent of 33,630 tanker trucks or 204 Olympic-sized swimming pools – pulled from the (UNESCO World Heritage Site) lake since 2003..."

Photo: Brent Patterson canoeing on Lake Louise.

"That's almost as much water as Ottawa allows the hotel to draw each year (525,653 cubic metres) from the postcard-perfect lake that thrives on glacial runoff (from the Victoria Glacier above it, which is declining in part due to climate change) in Canada's oldest national park."

September 10, 2009

Today’s Ottawa Citizen (with 134,645 readers) includes an op-ed by Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and national water campaigner Meera Karunananthan. Their op-ed states, “A decisive victory has been won for water in Simcoe County, in a struggle that had been brewing for more than 20 years. Dump Site 41, the landfill that was to be built atop the Alliston aquifer this fall, points to major shortcomings in water governance at all levels of government in Canada. …This is a moment to reflect on water governance in Canada. As we deal with increasing shortages of clean water, it is vital that water resources be managed according to five key principles.”

Those principles are:

1. ”Water is a human right: Water is fundamental to all life and access to safe drinking water and sanitation must be enshrined at all levels of government. …Unfortunately, the failure to recognize water as a human right in Canada leaves communities with little recourse when their access to clean drinking water is threatened.”

2. “Indigenous rights must be honoured: The Crown has a fiduciary duty to consult indigenous communities.”