April 25, 2017

A letter I sent to the organizers of the Citizens’ Process at the World Water Forum, April 25, 2017.

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to participate in the preparatory meeting for the World Water Forum’s “Citizens’ Process” that is taking place today, April 25 in Brazilia. I understand that this meeting is part of the World Water Council’s effort to coordinate global civil society organizations in advance of the World Water Forum taking place in 2018 in Brazil.

I am writing to explain why I and the undersigned organizations will not be accepting the invitation to participate at this meeting or in any future process associated with the World Water Forum.

As global water justice organizations, we have long opposed the role of the World Water Forum in promoting the privatization and commodification of water. The World Water Forum is not a legitimate policymaking space. It is a corporate trade show organized by the World Water Council – a multi-stakeholder consortium promoting solutions to the water crisis that serve the interests of multinational corporations.

April 25, 2017

Guelph chapter activist Richard Chaloner speaks against online voting at Guelph Committee of the Whole meeting, April 3, 2017.

The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter is celebrating the defeat of the use of online voting in next year's municipal election in their community.

Guelph Today reports, "Guelph City Council has officially rejected online voting for the next municipal election. At a meeting that started Monday [April 24] night and lasted over six hours, council voted 7-6 against a motion to have online voting available for the advance polls in 2018."

That article highlights, "Monday’s meeting included 15 delegates, 13 of them speaking against online voting at this point."

Chapter activist Norah Chaloner tells us, "Several Council of Canadians members wrote letters and made delegations at this meeting." Overall, more than 290 emails were sent to city councillors on this issue.

At the City Council meeting last night, chapter activist Lin Grist told councillors, “Voting in an election is not like shopping for groceries."

April 25, 2017

In a move that will impact the more than 200,000 forestry workers in Canada, the Trump administration has imposed countervailing duties of about $1 billion on Canadian softwood lumber exports to the United States.

The Globe and Mail reports, "The U.S. Department of Commerce is imposing punitive duties ranging from 3.02 per cent to 24.12 per cent on five Canadian softwood exporters to the United States. Other Canadian lumber producers will pay the weighted average of those five duty rates, which works out to 19.88 per cent."

That article adds, "Although the softwood and dairy battles are specific issues that can be handled separately from the NAFTA talks, [US President Donald] Trump has linked them in his rhetoric and there is a danger that it all ends up on the table when the renegotiations start this summer."

April 24, 2017

Kathie Clark (in yellow Council of Canadians t-shirt) and other chapter activists were at the the 'Keep Your Promise' public forum.

The Council of Canadians Hamilton chapter was at MP Nathan Cullen's 'Keep Your Promise' tour stop in the federal riding of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek on April 23.

That riding is currently held by Liberal MP Bob Bratina.

The Canadian Press has reported, "Cullen says he will challenge 20 Liberal MPs to show up at meetings in their ridings to debate [electoral reform]. He also says those 20 votes would make all the difference if those MPs were to break with the prime minister."

Bratina didn't show for last night's gathering.

Upcoming public forums will also be held in:
Winnipeg - April 25
Saskatoon - April 26
Edmonton - April 27

All of this comes in the critical weeks before a vote this spring in the House of Commons on the recommendations made by the Special Committee on Electoral Reform.

April 24, 2017

The Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapter at a protest to keep library funding, April 7.

Council of Canadians chapters in Saskatchewan are celebrating the government of Premier Brad Wall backing down and cancelling its budget plan to cut almost $5 million in funding for public libraries.

CBC reports, "The provincial government is turning back the page on its budget day cuts to Saskatchewan's libraries by restoring $4.8 million in funding. That's the same as last year's funding levels. ...Premier Brad Wall had asked [Education Minister Don] Morgan to review the cuts last week after public protest as well as new poll results that showed the budget was hurting the Saskatchewan Party's popularity."

On March 25, just days after the budget was tabled, the Regina chapter joined a protest of 150 people to rally against the funding cut to libraries.