March 14, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports this morning that, "A leaked government document outlining the proposed changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act indicates Environment Minister Jim Prentice has asked for a bill 'overhauling' the legislation as soon as possible."

CHANGES WOULD MEAN 95% DROP IN FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS "Under the new system, the government should 'expect to capture 200-300 projects per year,' the document states. That would represent a more than 95 per cent drop from the roughly 6,000 federal environmental assessments that currently take place each year."

THIS FOLLOWS CHANGES TO THE NAVIGABLE WATERS PROTECTION ACT "The changes would come on the heels of a similar change included in the budget legislation that passed this week, which reduced the ability to trigger environmental assessments through the Navigable Waters Protection Act."

PRENTICE SAYS RULES DELAY STIMULUS SPENDING Environment Minister Jim Prentice "said the proposed changes are in response to the provinces, who recently told Prime Minister Stephen Harper that overlapping environmental rules will delay public stimulus spending from creating jobs."

March 13, 2009

Last night, the Council of Canadians joined with a coalition of national and local water advocacy groups to illuminate the Peace Tower with a spectacular projection of blue light, and to offer a toast to public water to highlight the need for federal action to support Canada's public water resources and services.

To see some photos from last night, please go to You can also see a picture of the Peace Tower lit in blue on the front page of our website at

March 12, 2009

The Toronto Star reports today that, "The Conservative government plans to drop the barriers to foreign investment under $1 billion, a move critics say could lead to the hollowing out of Canadian business under increased foreign ownership...A special (government-appointed) competition policy review panel presented a report in June calling for Canada to throw open the doors to foreign ownership in telecommunications, air travel and uranium mining and even recommending bank mergers to avoid falling farther behind in the global economy."

Today's article continues, "'It is unfortunate to see the government of Canada acting more in the interest of foreign investment than in the development and support of a Canadian economy,' Brent Patterson, a spokesperson for the Council of Canadians, said yesterday."

March 12, 2009

In a letter to the editor published in the National Post on Monday, Nestle executive John Challinor writes in response to an article about bottled water bans that, "Relying on information from the Council of Canadians, this article states that '27 municipalities across the country are phasing out or restricting the sale and purchase of bottled water in municipal buildings and at city events.' This is incorrect. Eleven municipalities and two school boards have banned the sale of bottled water on their properties over the last three years and 36 local governments have rejected calls for bans over the last eight months. Another 17 jurisdictions are currently reviewing their options."

March 12, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports this morning that, "The world faces a bleak future over its dwindling water supplies, with pollution, climate change and rapidly growing populations raising the possibility of widespread shortages, a new report compiled by 24 agencies of the United Nations says."

"The warning from the UN is based on one of the most comprehensive assessments the global body has undertaken on the state of the world's fresh water and was commissioned for use at a major international water conference being held next week in Istanbul."

The World Water Assessment Programme website adds, "The United Nations World Water Development Report, released every three years in conjunction with the World Water Forum, is the UN’s flagship report on water. It is a comprehensive review that gives an overall picture of the state of the world's freshwater resources and aims to provide decision-makers with the tools to implement sustainable use of our water."