August 20, 2019

You may have seen the news that Doug Ford’s Minister of Environment and Conservation, Jeff Yurek, sent Ontario Conservation Authorities (CAs) a letter last week. In that letter, Minister Yurek directed Conservation Authorities to “wind down” programs not connected to their “core mandate,” generally categorized as work related to:

  • Risk of natural hazards
  • Conservation and management of land owned or controlled by conservation authorities
  • Drink-water source protection
  • Protection of the Lake Simcoe watershed
  • Other programs or services as prescribed by regulation

The letter comes on the heels of the recently-amended Conservation Authorities Act* and a 50% cut in natural hazards funding to Conservation Authorities, which includes flood management.

August 20, 2019

Farmers put up a brick wall at an office of a CETA supporter

On July 23, the French National Assembly ratified the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). 

At the same time, in Montréal, a group of EU and Canadian politicians were celebrating this apparent victory. While there was little criticism in Canada, a big political storm was brewing in France.

I was in Paris during ratification, working with the French coalition that opposes the agreement, and it was far from a cakewalk. In mid-summer as the French were enjoying Bastille Day and their long European vacations, not all was tranquil. CETA is politically poisonous in France. All but one of the opposition parties, whether on the right or left side of the spectrum, voted against the agreement.

August 8, 2019

Redacted report

You have probably heard about the disturbing documents the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) recently released that reveal that CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, and the RCMP shared information about peaceful protestors with corporate oil executives.

The heavily redacted text – where the Council of Canadians was named repeatedly – showed these public agencies not only gathered information about people who attended community meetings and joined rallies to speak out against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, they put the information directly in Enbridge’s hands.

As a founder of the Council of Canadians, I have seen how our civil right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy. I have marched shoulder-to-shoulder with land and water protectors, carried signs and banners, and shouted protest chants with Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast in order to protect water and land from the polluting oil industry.

August 7, 2019

This blog is part two of a series looking at corporate interference in democracy and quashing of public protest. Read the first one here.

We’re seeing a number of questionable actions coming from different arms of government under the guise of ‘public security’ and ‘public interest’, like Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s “war room” and the RCMP handing information with Enbridge about land and water protectors blocking pipelines in BC.

Premier Jason Kenney (left, photo: The Star) and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale (right, photo: CBC). These two are at the helm of different public institutions that inappropriately use public resources to support the unjust and unsustainable fossil fuel industry.

August 7, 2019


CSIS is unlawfully monitoring water protectors and climate justice activists, according to BCCLA. This kind of police surveillance is not new, but it is deplorable.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is using public funds to launch a new project within his fossil fuel lobby “War Room” to diminish effective social action for rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels.

These activities are examples of the diverse ways that corporate interests have manipulated democratic institutions.

Movements must be on guard for this kind of manipulation and defend our democratic right to diverse forms of protest.