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.
Maude Barlow's blog
On July 25/26, I had the honour of visiting the Village of Donnottar, a lovely lake community located on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipeg, forty minutes north of Winnipeg. I was speaking at the Community Awareness Day, guest of Mayor Rick Gamble, a remarkable environmental activist, the local village council and several community organizations. I took part the next day in a Walk for Water that ended with a bbq and concert. I was also looked after with much care by Don and Donna Winstone, a wonderful couple who live right on the lake in this enchanting village.
This week, ministers from 12 countries representing 40 per cent of the world's economy will meet to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the largest trade agreements ever. As talks are rushed to conclusion, Canada is still fighting to have its supply management system excluded from the deal.
I received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from York University in Toronto this morning. Here are my speaking notes for the Convocation ceremony:
Chancellor Gregory Sorbara, President Mamdouh Shoukri, the Senate of York University, and all the graduation students,
It is a great honour to share this convocation with you today. I am moved by your grace, energy and hope on this lovely June day.
In the few minutes I have to share with you I would like to urge you all, no matter what your education specialty, what vocation you choose, or where you live, to give some of your precious life energy to the great environmental challenges that face us today.
Even before former guerrilla commander Salvador Sánchez Cerén is inaugurated as President of El Salvador, his administration is saddled with an unnecessary $301-million liability – a lawsuit over El Salvador's refusal to allow an environmentally perilous gold mine to be built.
The most critical threats to the world’s supply of fresh water are also writ large across the Township of Springwater. The community is facing a malignant development proposal – the Midhurst Secondary Plan – which will allow a handful of wealthy developers to profit at the expense of everyone else. This plan will see Midhurst expand from its current population of 3500 to almost 30,000- a growth rate that required a change in the law to accommodate it and which will do irreparable harm to the region’s fresh water resources.
I come to you with an urgent appeal on behalf of the Hupacasath First Nation in British Columbia. At any moment, Prime Minister Harper could ratify the Canada-China FIPA (Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement) – one of the most fundamentally anti-democratic, anti-worker, anti-environment and anti-Indigenous rights deals since NAFTA.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Hupacasath are trying to stop the FIPA from becoming law. There’s a chance they will succeed – but not without all of our help right now.
The United States and European Union have taken the free trade plunge.
President Obama announced in February that he will start talks with the EU on a transatlantic trade, investment, and regulatory pact. Last week, the European Commission sent a draft secret mandate to member states on how far they're willing to go to clinch it. And the usual business lobbies have already begun to celebrate what they hope to be an important (for them) leap forward for corporate globalization.
The Mexican government is allegedly seeking a spot in the transatlantic talks with speculation Canada may join. But for all three NAFTA countries the pact would be a mistake, as Canadians are learning too late.
The groundwork for a U.S.-EU free trade zone can already be found in the four-year-old Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations. Like that other big trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the CETA hopes to eliminate about 98 per cent of tariffs on most products. But the broader goal is to reduce so-called non-tariff barriers in the form of domestic regulations, public services, government procurement, performance requirements on investment, and intellectual property rights.
This commentary, co-authored with David Schindler, professor of ecology at the University of Alberta and founding director of the Experimental Lakes Area, was published in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.
Unless a buyer is found within mere weeks - a prospect that's looking increasingly unlikely - Canada's Experimental Lakes Area will be closed.
The ELA is an internationally renowned freshwater research centre that has been studying what makes water sick and what makes it well for more than four decades.
Located on dozens of freshwater lakes in a remote area of northern Ontario, the ELA has conducted groundbreaking work on acid rain, algal blooms, climate change and mercury contamination.
Scientists and governments around the world have recognized and used its findings in their research and policy making. The ELA has given Canada a stellar reputation in freshwater research, and closing it would be like France closing the Louvre.
Written by Maude Barlow and Meera Karunananthan for The Broker’s ‘Prioritising Water’ consultation. The aim of the consultation is to bring together international experts to pool their knowledge on the role of water in the Post-2015 development agenda. You can also follow the debate on twitter: #tbwaterdebate.
The United Nations has just named 2013 the year of water cooperation. Those of us who have been fighting privatization packaged as “partnerships” and deregulation promoted as “corporate sustainability” are naturally skeptical.
We cannot talk meaningfully about sustainable solutions to the water crisis unless decision-makers are willing to acknowledge the need for an overhaul of the water-guzzling and water-polluting neoliberal economic model. David Harvey described it best when he referred to neoliberalism as a strategy of “accumulation by dispossession.”