February 12, 2009

The Canadian Press reports today that, "Alberta has released a 20-year plan intended to give its oilsands developments a cleaner environmental image around the world, but the strategy is light on specifics."

The article notes, "A government report Thursday calls for action to reduce emissions, curb fresh water use and cut tailings produced by oilsands projects. But the 50-page document offers no details on how measures to achieve these goals would be enforced."

"There are several points in the report dealing with curbing the huge volumes of fresh water used during the processing of tar-like bitumen, but the report has no clear goals or targets. 'Maximize water conservation, efficiency and productivity in the mineable oilsands sector to the lowest water use achievable,' it says. 'Identify the amount of fresh water and saline groundwater available in the oilsands regions to ensure water supplies are managed sustainably.'"

"The report says Alberta should require 'reclamation of tailings to occur at the same rate or faster than production of new tailings on a regional basis'."

February 12, 2009

Maude Barlow has just finished her plenary session speech on 'the vision and expectations of peoples' at the 'Peace with Water' conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

This international conference was organized by the World Political Forum, in collaboration with European Parliamentary Groups and the European Research Institute on Water Policy.

Maude endorsed their proposed Memorandum for a World Water Protocol, which they want included in the international negotiations of the treaty that is to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change in 2013.

European Water News reports that, "The protocol will focus on conflict prevention, the promotion of the right to water for all, and the safeguard of the global water heritage for future generations."

Maude told the hundreds of parliamentarians, locally elected officials, administrators, academics, and government, union, and civil society representatives there that:

- water is a human right and that she is working with the President of the United Nations to create a protocol on the right to water;

February 11, 2009

CBC reports today that, "A sharp fall in exports in December pushed Canada to its first monthly trade deficit since March 1976, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. The overall trade deficit for December was $458 million. In November, the trade surplus was $1.2 billion...The move into a deficit position was a big shock to economists, who had been forecasting a trade surplus for December of about $500 million."

"A trade deficit occurs when a country imports more goods than it exports."

"Canada's trade surplus with the economically battered United States, the country's top trading partner, fell to its lowest level since December 1998. The surplus with the U.S. retreated to $3.8 billion in December from $4.6 billion in November. Exports to the United States dropped 10 per cent in December to $25.9 billion, while imports from the U.S. fell by 8.4 per cent."

"One economist suggested Canadians may have to get used to trade deficits for a while."

February 10, 2009

If you go to the CPAC website or our energy campaign multimedia web-page at, you can see the video of the energy day of action delivery of ‘Dark Side of the Boom’ DVDs to Parliament Hill, MP Linda Duncan accepting them, and Environment Minister Jim Prentice being questioned about our concerns.

February 10, 2009

CBC reports today that, "A coalition of Canadian and U.S. environmental groups has launched a cross-border campaign ahead of Barack Obama's visit to Canada, urging the U.S. president to stick to his new energy plan amid possible pleas for him to support oil production from the Alberta oilsands."

"Toronto-based Environmental Defence, Washington-based Earthworks and 14 other groups (including the Council of Canadians) have produced a newspaper advertising campaign that will start running Tuesday. They are also launching and urging supporters to sign petitions to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Obama..."

"One ad — aimed at lawmakers and running in Roll Call, a prominent Capitol Hill newspaper in Washington — says: 'On February 19 Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will try to sell President Obama on a North American climate pact that gives special treatment to the tarsands in Alberta, the source of the dirtiest oil on earth. Tarsands don't fit into the new energy economy.'"