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."

April 2, 2009

The Burlington Post reported yesterday that, "Burlington may join a growing list of municipalities that have banned the sale of bottled water at city buildings. In a bid to lead by example in protecting the environment, politicians will tonight (Wednesday) debate a city staff recommendation to eliminate the sale of bottled water in city facilities."

Trade campaigner Stuart Trew reports this morning that he "spoke to Burlington Green at their March 12 event where the mayor and two councillors were present. Council last night unanimously endorsed removing bottles from city buildings..."

The unanimous vote by councillors last night to end bottled water sales on city properties means that a follow-up report will be written on the "key financial, environmental and community implications of such a program..." before a final vote on this issue.

April 2, 2009

Today's media release from a new network says, "The Australian Water Network will link activists, academics and community groups from all over Australia who are working in their local communities and states on the water crisis facing this country."

Maude Barlow has been in Australia this week, and is there today for the launch of this new network.

She is quoted in their media release saying, "This is an historic day for Australia. Consecutive governments, both Federal and State,  have yet to recognise and respond to the Australian water crisis with a cohesive plan. They  rely on the false gods of private markets and energy guzzling technologies as the crisis deepens into a national emergency."

The Council of Canadians sends its best wishes to the Australian Water Network (and its convenors Bernard Eddy and Denis Wilson) and know it will play a vital role in the fight for the public control of water and in addressing the water crisis.