Thursday, June 17, 2010

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of the Transboundary Waters Protection Act

The Library of Parliament recently published a Legislative Summary of Bill C-26: Transboundary Waters Protection Act:
"Bill C-26 strengthens existing protections by bringing the waters that fall under federal jurisdiction under a more comprehensive prohibition against bulk water removals: Transboundary waters (waters that are defined in the bill as waters that flow across the international boundary between Canada and the United States) are now included, in addition to boundary waters, which are those waters that run along the boundary. According to the departmental news release accompanying the bill, 'Rivers and streams that cross international borders will now receive the same protection already in place for waters, such as the Great Lakes, that straddle them' (...)"

"The bill also gives the federal government new powers of inspection and enforcement and introduces stiff new penalties for violations. These provisions are generally consistent with amendments that were made in 2009 to nine environmental statutes, pursuant to the Environmental Enforcement Act (...)"

"As was the case with Bill C-6, An Act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act (1st Session, 37th Parliament), Bill C-26 is controversial, and opposed by those who object to any move to allow Canadian water to be sold or otherwise transferred out of Canada. In an article which appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on 14 May 2010, the day after Bill C-26 was introduced in the House, Joe Cressy of the Polaris Institute, a research and advocacy organization campaigning against bottled water, was quoted as saying, 'Canada will continue to export water in bulk, just in small individual containers instead of giant containers ' . The bill is a first step but it doesn't go far enough.' The article noted that the group argues that a loophole is found in the definition of 'bulk removal' as covering amounts exceeding 50,000 L per day, and the exemption for bottled water and beverages."

"In a news release dated 17 May 2010, the Council of Canadians expressed its concerns about Bill C-26. Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow stated, 'Canada needs a comprehensive national water policy that bans all water exports, excludes water from NAFTA [North America Free Trade Agreement] and recognizes water as a public trust in order to truly address competing commercial and public interests'. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:45 pm

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