The Trudeau government released its first budget yesterday on World Water Day. Coming out of a decade of gutted environmental legislation, crippling budget cuts to freshwater protections and muzzling of scientists, environmental organizations, water activists, Indigenous leaders, scientists and others were eager to see what changes the Trudeau government would make that would signal a genuine shift away from the Harper government’s harmful legacy on water.
Emma Lui's blog
BC Premier Christy Clark and the BC government were in Ottawa on February 4, 2016 pushing the federal government to approve the Petronas-led proposal for an LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) terminal on Lelu Island (also known as Lax U'u'la), even though the people of Lax Kw'alaams and their hereditary leaders have said no.
On Saturday, President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in the city of Flint’s ongoing water crisis. The move will direct up to $5 million in federal aid to provide immediate assistance to families and residents whose water has been contaminated by lead at nearly 900 times the limit set out by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Nestlé has made a conditional offer to purchase the Middlebrook Well in Elora, Ontario, formally owned by the Middlebrook Water Company. Nestlé wants to test the water first - for up to 60 days over a two year period - for quantity and quality and has applied for a Permit to Take Water with the Ontario government.
In the final stretch of the campaign trail, Justin Trudeau — Canada’s next prime minister and leader of a majority government — vowed to end boil-water advisories on First Nations reserves within the next five years. A worthy goal, to be sure. But why stop there?
In 2012, the federal government passed Bill C-383 which bans covers interbasin transfers into international rivers. However, it does not cover non-boundary waters or water resources in the North. It is still highly problematic that the Act narrows the definition of water removals and diversions to bulk removals of 50,000 litres or more and exempts water in manufactured goods including beverages.
With the election three weeks away, water has barely made it on the radar of federal political parties. Want to learn what the different parties’ positions are on key water issues? What should you ask parties at all-candidates debates or when they come knocking at your door? This blog gives an overview of some key water issues, parties’ positions and includes questions to ask local candidates at debates, when they come to your door or even in the Twitterverse. Leading up to October 19, it’s up to us to make sure federal parties know the importance of safeguarding water.
Water and the economy
Nestlé Waters is moving forward with its plans to buy a new well in Elora, Ontario, situated in the Great Lakes Basin. The well is currently owned by Middle Brook Water Co. (registered as 1445036 Ontario Inc.). Middle Brook’s current permit allows it to withdraw 1.6 million litres of groundwater per day from the Elora well and expires October 31, 2015.
(Photo of the Elora Quarry and the large beach,CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Grand River Conservation Authority)
“We are determined to protect this land for future generations, and in the process do our bit to shut down the toxic fossil fuel infrastructure that threatens all forms of living life on this planet.” - Unist’ot’en camp
I recently returned from the 6th Annual Unist’ot’en Camp where a diversity of people came together to participate in and conduct workshops, continue the construction of the Healing Centre, and discuss how we could lend solidarity to the Unist’ot’en people fighting numerous oil and gas pipelines on their territory.
In B.C., public and media attention has been focused on water pricing and Nestlé’s water takings. In February, the B.C. government released water rates which ranged from $0.02 to $2.25. The rates, which take effect January 1, 2016 when the new Water Sustainability Act comes into force, are the lowest across any of the provinces in Canada.
There has been an overwhelming amount of public backlash against the low rates, particularly with Nestlé only being required to pay $2.25 per million litres, a total of roughly $600 per year for the 265 million litres they draw from a well in Hope.