April 8, 2009

The Ottawa Citizen reports this morning that, "The Harper government has named a former oil and gas industry executive who led a company active in the Alberta oilsands as a representative on a U.S.-Canada working group on clean energy. Charlie Fischer, who until recently served as president and chief executive officer of Calgary-based Nexen Inc., will head up one of three working groups with American counterparts as part of the Clean Energy Dialogue, Environment Minister Jim Prentice has confirmed."

"Fischer will be the co-leader of the working group on clean energy technology, such as carbon capture and sequestration at coal-fire plants, according to the department."

"Also named as envoy is Jacques Lamarre, the chief executive of SNC-Lavalin, who will co-lead a group focussed on improving the electricity grid. Lamarre is due to retire from his job at the company in May. Linda Hasenfratz, chief executive officer of Ontario auto parts company Linamar, will also lead a working group, looking at biofuels and clean engines."

April 6, 2009

The Adelaide Independent Weekly reports, "South Australia is heading towards disaster by relying on the Port Stanvac desalination plant, according to one of the world’s foremost advisors on global water supplies."

The article quotes Maude Barlow saying, “I would count Australia among the ‘hot stains’ – a nation destroying its water heritage in order to remain an economic powerhouse and lulled by successive political leaders into thinking that this is just a temporary drought and that technology will save the day.”

The report continues, "She said large dams wasted water through evaporation (and that) 'Desalination plants generate a poisonous by-product, a lethal combination of concentrated salt brine, the chemicals needed for the reverse osmosis process, and the aquatic life sucked into the process.'”

The full article can be read at

April 6, 2009

Canada is now one of just three countries world-wide that oppose the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

CBC reports that, "The Australian government has endorsed a United Nations declaration that recognizes the rights of indigenous people to their own culture, institutions and spiritual traditions."

This endorsement "reverses a position taken by Australia's previous conservative government. Australia was one of four countries to reject the declaration adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2007, the others being Canada, New Zealand and the United States."

On September 25, 2007, we issued a media release which states, "The Council of Canadians denounces the Harper government for voting against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007 along with the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. 143 countries voted in favour of the Declaration."

April 6, 2009

Please see below a wonderfully descriptive media release issued by RLCAG, the River, Lakes and Coorong Action Group in Australia.

“Why would they do that?” asked Maude Barlow, Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the United Nations General Assembly as she looked down on the site of the proposed Wellington Weir where the River Murray flows into Lake Alexandrina. “Can’t they see the devastation?” she asked the helicopter flew over the bund at the Narrows and saw the silty water being pumped into Lake Albert from Lake Alexandrina.

Maude Barlow had been in Sydney to deliver the keynote at the Water Summit (see and had put Adelaide on her schedule for this, her fifth trip to Australia. The River, Lakes and Coorong Action Group Inc. (RLCAG), keen to introduce Maude to the Lower Lakes, had scheduled a full afternoon for their Canadian visitor.

The bus with her husband Andrew and Adelaide-based colleagues, John and Ann Caldecott of Friends of Gulf St Vincent and driver/photographer Ross Young of Wheelie Friendly Tours set off from Adelaide just after 3.00pm.

April 4, 2009

The Canadian Press reports that, "New Brunswick could be forced to backtrack on its intention to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides."

The article notes, "The Canadian subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, Dow AgroSciences, which manufactures the herbicide 2,4-D has begun proceedings that ultimately aim to force the Quebec government to put on the market the herbicide."

"Currently, Quebec is the only province to ban this product (but)Ontario and New Brunswick are preparing to ban the use of this pesticide."

The Globe and Mail reports today that, "Although the company signalled in August that it was considering taking on Ottawa by filing a NAFTA notice of intent over the issue, it hasn't formally decided to go ahead with the legal action. But Brenda Harris, the company's manager of regulatory and government affairs, says a decision is pending and will be made this month."