At this very moment the Harper Conservatives are shutting down democratic debate on their so-called "Fair Elections Act" and trying to ram the 242-page bill through Parliament only three days after it was tabled. In drafting their electoral reform bill, the Conservatives refused to consult with Elections Canada, with other political parties and, most importantly, with you and me.
Maude Barlow's blog
As a Council of Canadians supporter, this year you were at the centre of the most pressing issues of our time – and delivered huge people-powered victories. Here are just six ways you were sensational in 2013.
Once every few months, the Canadian public is asked by one polling firm or another how it feels about a Canada-European Union free trade agreement. Consistently, between 70 and 80 per cent of respondents say they generally like the idea of a deal.
As the Harper government stumbles, caught up in the Senate debacle and electoral fraud scandal, polls show many Canadians flocking to Justin Trudeau, hoping that he represents a different kind of politician.
Prime Minister Harper has just signed the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and Canadians who care about our freshwater heritage should be deeply concerned for three reasons.
The world is running out of accessible clean water. Modern humans are polluting, mismanaging and displacing our finite freshwater sources at an alarming rate. Since 1990, half the rivers in China have disappeared. The Ogallala Aquifer that supplies the breadbasket for the United States will be gone "in our lifetime," says the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
By 2030, our global demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 per cent, a sure-fire recipe for great suffering. Five hundred scientists recently told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that our collective abuse of water has caused the planet to enter "a new geologic age" and that the majority of planet's population lives within 50 kilometres of an impaired water source.
Thanks to overwhelming support and generosity from people like you, the Hupacasath First Nation had the funds needed to take the Harper government to court this past June in an historic legal challenge.
The Hupacasath are fighting the extreme and secretive corporate rights deal known as the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), which threatens the environment and public health and exposes Canada to 31 years of costly lawsuits.
And right now they urgently need our collective support once more.
Despite a powerful legal case arguing that the government has a duty to consult First Nations, the federal court sided with the Harper government. But today there is renewed hope. The Hupcasath and their legal team are mounting an appeal of the ruling – but time is short and they can’t do it alone.
That’s where you and I come in.
Rather than the outrageous $355,907 the Conservative MPs requested, the judge awarded them about five per cent of what they wanted, noting that "the applicants in this matter were genuine public interest litigants motivated by a higher purpose" who "stood to gain nothing other than the vindication of their electoral rights."
I want to tell you about the incredible fall coming up for me and my work with the Council.
This week, I am in Quito, Ecuador. It is the 10th anniversary of the Global Alliance on the Rights of Nature. I am on the executive committee. The symposium will be followed by a round-table of about 35 invited participants to plan next steps in our movement.
This issue, the rights of nature or Mother Earth, is being raised more and more by Indigenous allies here in Canada and by many of our chapter members and I am keen for us to address it more.
As Canada approaches its 150th birthday, I wanted to share with you my personal thoughts and reflections for the future of our organization and the country.