March 17, 2009

Notes from the 5th World Water Forum March 16-22, 2009 Istanbul, Turkey

Maude spoke this morning at a press conference to denounce the silencing of water justice activists.

Yesterday, at an anti-dam protest organized by Turkish groups, many Turkish activists were injured and arrested. A German and an American representative of International Rivers were detained for unfurling a banner that read "no risky dams."

They were protesting the construction of the Ilisu dam project on the Tigris River which would destroy the 10,000 year-old city of Hasankeyf. So far 350,000 people have been displaced by dam projects in Turkey.

This morning the foreign activists were deported to their respective countries.

At the press conference, the room was packed with journalists from around the world.

March 17, 2009

It is with great pleasure that I share the news with you that Stuart Trew has accepted the position of trade campaigner.

Stuart did exceptionally well as our researcher/ writer in the national office focusing on the defeat of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and he has done equally well as our Ontario-Quebec regional organizer based in Toronto.

As we face the challenges of NAFTA renegotiation, the expansion of TILMA, the strengthening of the Agreement on Internal Trade, and the start of the Canada-EU talks, I can think of no one better to handle the analytical and campaign demands of these critical fights.

Stuart will continue to work out of the Toronto office, but we'll be seeing more of him in Ottawa given his new role.

Stuart will officially start as the trade campaigner on April 1, but will take on some of his new campaigner responsibilities immediately.

Carleen will be working as quickly as she can to hire a new Ontario-Quebec organizer (and we continue our work to hire another campaigner, this one to work in defence of public health care).

Please join me in welcoming Stuart to his new position.

March 17, 2009

CBC reports this afternoon that, "Canada should be denied a seat on the UN Security Council until it recognizes water as a human right, a Canadian adviser to the president of the General Assembly said Tuesday."

"'It would be wonderful to see Canada on the [council] helping to address the critical global challenges of our day,' Maude Barlow, who is also chairwoman of the nationalist Council of Canadians, said in a statement. 'But if the Harper government fails to act on the global water crisis, then it simply does not deserve to take that seat.'"

"Barlow is attending the week-long World Water Forum in Istanbul, where thousands of participants, including government ministers from 120 countries, are discussing global water concerns. Securing a seat on the 15-member Security Council for the 2011-12 term is a top foreign policy priority for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Canada is competing for the seat against Portugal and Germany, both of which have already endorsed the right to water. The election will take place in October 2010."

March 17, 2009

The Peterborough Examinder reports this morning that, "City council asked city staff last night to look at what the municipality would have to do to ban the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities. Town Ward Coun. Dean Pappas raised the issue at the end of the committee of the whole meeting...Council agreed to ask staff for a report on the issue..."

The article highlights that, "Market Hall Performing Arts Centre banned the sale of bottled water earlier this year. The Unbottle It campaign with Maude Barlow, the senior adviser on water to the president of the United Nations General Assembly (and CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan), held an event at the facility in January. Pappas gave introductory remarks at the Unbottle It campaign event in Peterborough."

The full article is at

Congratulations to the Peterborough chapter for their work on this issue.

March 17, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports this morning that, "A documentary produced by Vancouver-based Mark Achbar (Manufacturing Consent, The Corporation) won a special environmental award at the European Independent Film Festival (ECU) in Paris on Sunday."

'Blue Gold' features Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow.

The article notes that, "Sam Bozzo's Blue Gold: World Water Wars was screened as part of the Ecology Now section of the festival, where it was introduced by Danielle Mitterand, France's former first lady, and president of France Libertés (a foundation concerned with global water conservation). The documentary received its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival in October, where it won the Best Environmental Film Audience Choice Award."

The full article is at