April 23, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports this morning that federal Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt has written Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger about California's proposed new low carbon fuel standard saying, "We are concerned that crude oil derived from Canada's oil sands may be discriminated against as a high (carbon-intensity) crude oil, while other crude oils with similar upstream emissions are not singled out This could be perceived as creating an unfair trade barrier between our two countries."

"California's Air Resources Board is expected today to approve North America's first low-carbon fuel standard...The California board's regulations would require Canadian oil sands producers to dramatically reduce their emissions before their product could be sold in the state, or to purchase expensive credits from alternative energy producers..."

"While California does not currently consume oil from the oil sands, the largest state in the union is a potentially lucrative market for American refiners that do handle Alberta-based bitumen and upgraded synthetic crude."

April 22, 2009

U.S. Senators are not letting President Obama off the hook for his apparent back-peddling in renegotiating NAFTA, and his apparent wish to get the Colombia, Panama and South Korean free trade agreements through Congress after successful delays from his apparent allies. Excuse me for all this apparentness, but Obama is not beholden to his trade representative, and we really want to believe that renegotiation has not slipped entirely off the table.

“Sen. Sherrod Brown, a free-trade skeptic, said Wednesday he will soon introduce legislation that would effectively delay congressional consideration of the proposed free-trade pacts drafted under President George W. Bush,” reported the Wall Street Journal today. “Speaking before the Washington International Trade Association at George Washington University, Mr. Brown said any effort to finalize the pending agreements would be a continuation of failed Bush policies, and he warned of opposition in Congress.”

April 22, 2009

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow addressed the United Nations General Assembly this morning. To see the video of her address, please go to

She is introduced by the President of the United Nations General Assembly Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann at 33:02 in this video, and Maude’s speech starts at 33:49 and concludes at 40:02.

The text of her speech, which she adapted in her presentation, is posted on the Council of Canadians website at

April 22, 2009

As we noted yesterday, Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow will make her first address to the United Nations General Assembly on the morning of April 22 to support the Bolivian call for an annual “International Mother Earth Day” celebration. Her speech will be a call to action to implement the human right to water.

Your technology permitting, you should be able to see Maude’s presentation on United Nations webcast Channel 1 at shortly.

We will also be seeking the video of this historic event and let you know when we’ve posted that to our website

April 22, 2009

It is my great pleasure this morning to let you know that Matthew Ramsden has accepted the position of Communications Officer (campaigns) at the Council of Canadians.

Matt has made a tremendous contribution to the work of the Council over this past year as our Communications Officer (web), and we look forward to his ongoing contributions to our work. He has brought with him new ideas, creativity, a good spirit, and valuable team participation.

He will continue in his current role through to Pam Woolridge’s return from maternity leave on June 4, then formally take on the communications officer position at that time.