April 30, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports that, “Ontario's Mining Act will be updated today for the first time in years. There have been many complaints about what critics say are outdated provisions that allow prospectors to stake and explore on private lands, especially from cottagers.”

“The Canadian Press has learned the changes will modernize the way companies stake their claims to be more respectful of private land owners and aboriginal communities. Government sources say the legislation would force mining companies to consult with First Nations' communities, and includes a dispute-resolution process for aboriginal-related mining issues. Miners would also be required to take training so they know their obligations under the act to land owners, First Nations and the environment before they can get a prospector's licence. The sources say the changes will provide clear rules for the mining industry and reduce the impact of mineral exploration on the environment.”

April 30, 2009

The Canwest News Service reports this evening that, "Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has rejected a call by more than 50 prominent activists to help halt ratification of a proposed Canada-Colombia free-trade agreement pending a human-rights assessment."

"Canadian government legislation to ratify the trade agreement was tabled in the Commons in late March and could be passed within weeks given Liberal support"

"A letter asking Ignatieff to join the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Quebecois against the agreement was sent to him at the Liberal national convention in Vancouver. Among the signatories is former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, Amnesty International head Alex Neve, Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians and actress Sarah Polley."

Liberal trade critic Scott Brison says the Liberals will not intervene because, "it's easier to engage a country on human rights issues when you're engaged on economic issues."

April 30, 2009

CBC reports that, "P.E.I. is making a mistake in allowing private companies to take control of the province's wind energy resources, says the K.C. Irving chair in sustainable development at Universite de Moncton. Yves Gagnon told a gathering of municipal leaders in the eastern P.E.I. community of Montague on Monday that P.E.I. is wise to harness its wind resource, which he described as among the best in the world, but he was critical of the degree to which the development was being done by the private sector."

Gagnon said, "The important money is through the ownership of the wind farm. There's not a lot in the building of wind farms. It's a short-term activity, short-term economic impact within a few months in the jurisdiction. While [with] the ownership, you generate profits over a 25-year period."

He adds, "If there's more local ownership and local involvement of communities or P.E.I. Crown corporations, in the case of the P.E.I. Energy Corporation, you should see a reduction in the opposition (or concern about noise and potential health risks)."

April 30, 2009

The Council of Canadians issued a media release today that states, “Over 50 prominent individuals and organizations have sent Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff a letter urging him to help stop the ratification of the proposed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement until a full and independent human rights impact assessment can be carried out. The letter was sent today, the first day of the Liberal Party convention in Vancouver.”

April 29, 2009

Today we issued a media release that states, "Leading organizations from across Canada are calling on members of the Liberal Party to support a party resolution on the right to water at their convention this week in Vancouver."

It continues: In an open letter to members of the Liberal Party of Canada, Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow, David Brooks of Friends of the Earth Canada, water-expert David Schindler of the University of Alberta and others state, "We congratulate the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) for putting forward a resolution calling for a national water policy that bans bulk water exports, establishes enforceable clean water standards, calls for a conservation strategy, demands the exclusion of water from NAFTA and recognizes water as a human right."