“The Navigable Waters Protection Act no longer protects water. The Fisheries Act no longer protects fish. The Environmental Assessment Act no longer requires environmental assessments be done before important decisions are made.”
– Lake Ontario Waterkeeper quoted in Blue Betrayal
Ottawa – The UN recognized last Sunday, March 22 as World Water Day, but a former UN advisor on water says that Canadians did not have much to celebrate this year.
Maude Barlow, former UN advisor on water and bestselling author, gives Stephen Harper’s government a failing grade in her report Blue Betrayal, launched by the Council of Canadians.
“The Harper government has put Canada’s freshwater heritage at great risk. The values of greed driving the Harper government’s policies are not shared by the majority of Canadians who want our waterways protected by strong laws and who view water as an essential public service,” writes Barlow.
From gutting legislation to slashing funding for water protection and research, from promoting water privatization to tying international aid to water-destroying resource extraction by Canadian corporations, Harper’s agenda against water and the environment is clear, says the report.
As well, actions such as the overhaul of the Fisheries Act, the delisting of 99% of lakes and rivers under the Navigation Waters Protection Act, and the changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act that cancelled 3000 environmental assessments are risks to drinking water. Meanwhile the government promotes tar sands, pipeline, fracking and other projects that threaten drinking water.
This week, a UN report revealed that within 15 years, the world will be in a water crisis.
Barlow says that action is urgent, “The federal government is setting the country up for a freshwater crisis if it doesn’t reinstate funding, freshwater protections and research programs. In a world running out of accessible water, we have no choice but to fight for the laws and policies that will protect our water for people and the planet forever.”
The report can be found here