Meeting with MP Gord Johns

On July 7, 2017, the Comox Valley Chapter met with MP Gord Johns, Courtenay – Alberni, to present him with a copy of Maude Barlow’s “Boiling Point” and to discuss the Navigation Protection Act. We were fortunate to have him joined by MP Guy Caron, Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques, and leadership candidate for the federal NDP.

Both MPs were concerned about the disappointing recommendations from the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities on the Navigable Waters Act. They promised that their party would critique the government’s response, and that they would be certain that their critic Robert Aubin (Standing Committee Co-Chair) knew about our meeting.

MP Johns already had the book, told us that he was a “fan” of Maude’s and had been to a number of her events in Ottawa. MP Caron is a past staff member of the Council of Canadians, was very familiar with our materials, and said he was pleased to receive a copy of the book.

Caron suggested that Johns could consider preparing a private members bill (PMB) that would bring all the waters in the riding into the Navigable Waters Act. While a PMB may not actually get on the legislative agenda, it would make it possible for Johns to receive petitions about it and to raise awareness of the issue in Ottawa. The NDP apparently has a template for a PMB for the Navigable Waters Act. MP Johns asked that we and other Council supporters in this riding assist him in preparing this legislation.

Johns also asked that we support a Bill he is developing that would begin to regulate plastics dumping and clean up the oceans. He is working on legislation that would require a fee be levied at each harbour on all tankers carrying plastics, and then direct that fee to a program for ocean and shore clean up. He has asked that we be part of a consultation he intends to hold in the fall.


Water All-Candidates Forum

In our Valley, water issues are often in the news. Whether it is extreme rain and tides, boiling our drinking water, or dealing with summer shortages, more and more we find that water is something we need to pay attention to.

This is why several local groups have invited our provincial political candidates to an all-candidates forum focused on water. The public is invited to attend and hear what our potential representatives have to say regarding their plans to address water-related challenges in the Valley and province-wide. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

The Water All-Candidates Forum will take place on May 2nd from 7:00 pm- 9:00 p.m at the Stan Hagen Theatre at North Island College.

Candidates confirmed to attend are Ronna-Rae Leonard from the BC NDP, Ernie Sellentin of the BC Green Party and Leah McCulloch of the BC Conservative Party. With the provincial election happening on May 9th, this will be the last chance to attend an all-candidates forum.

The event will encourage respectful dialogue. The moderator will be Bob Wells, a City of Courtenay Councillor who also serves on the Comox Valley Regional District Water Services Committee and the Drinking Watershed Advisory Group.

If specific questions are not answered during the main event, the candidates will be available subsequently to chat.

For more information contact

This event is on Facebook and we welcome you to share it with your Facebook friends.

On behalf of the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, Comox Valley Chapter of the Council of Canadians, and The Watershed Sentinel Magazine

Take Action on Water!

3 petitions you can sign:
Stop Nestles Water Grab

Strengthen the BC Water Sustainability Act – Protect Community Water

Ban Fracking Now

Send your Letter Now: Though the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) delivers some gains and positive steps forward, it falls short of what it must do to put the needs of communities ahead of private interests, corporations and industries, and to protect the health and vitality of our precious BC waters.

The Chapter has put together a list of points to assist you in writing your letter.

Your Election Guide to Water Issues in B.C.

Ensure that ALL candidates in your riding are aware of the issues that matter to you. Voters in the Courtenay-Comox Riding should contact:                                                                   

Voters in the Mid-Island-Pacific Rim Riding should contact:                            

Write letters to the editor of your local paper:

Be sure to exercise your right to vote!

Water Questions for All Candidates

BC Election May 9, 2017

1. The Water Sustainability Act establishes a legal basis for watershed planning on private and Crown Land, yet these provisions have not been implemented. Is your party prepared to take actions that will ensure that clean water in community watersheds takes priority over other land uses?

Specifically, in 2018 will your party implement:

a) regulations that protect water for nature, i.e. quality and flow(quantity)
b) rigorous and transparent monitoring of water quality and quantity – with a significant funding increase in budget 2018
c) systems to gather and monitor baseline information: map B.C.’s aquifers and watershed ecological and hydrologic formations – with funding in budget 2018
d) a phase out of bottled water takings in B.C and a review of commercial water use pricing
e) immediate, meaningful co-governance with First Nations, local governments, and NGOs
f) effective support for local governance for Comox Valley Watershed planning and conservation.

2. How would you uphold government’s obligation to obtain free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) from Indigenous communities on decisions affecting water under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

3. Will you support a moratorium on fossil fuel and coal tanker traffic along the entire West Coast?

4. Will you oppose any measures in trade agreements that promote the privatization of water services: in CETA, the new NAFTA, agreements with China and India?

5. Will you place a moratorium on fracking to protect communities and watersheds from the devastating damage it causes?

6. Will you suspend and stop construction of the Site C Dam? Instead will you invest in the many new, truly clean energy alternatives, such as wind, solar and geothermal that could be built on an as-needed basis and for far less money than Site C?

7. Will you amend or repeal the Private Managed Forest Lands Act to bring regulation of private forests in line with the Act that regulates forestry on Crown Lands?

** Questions compiled from Water Leaders Alliance, Cowichan North Watershed Conservation Group: and the Council of Canadians.

A Stronger Water Sustainability Act

With the provincial election less than two months away, now is the time to do all we can to protect our BC waters with a stronger Water Sustainability Act (WSA).

Though the WSA delivers some gains and positive steps forward, it falls short of what it has to do to put the needs of communities ahead of private interests, corporations and industries and to protect the health and vitality of our BC waters.

Use the link to find letter writing points and contact information for your letter on how to protect BC’s water with a stronger Water Sustainability Act

Water: A Public Forum with Maude Barlow

boiling point

Water is one of the most important issues facing our times. Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, passionate water rights activist and award winning author, will be in B.C. to discuss her latest book, Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis. Speaking in Courtenay on April 6 at the Filberg Centre, she is joined by Vancouver Island water advocates, David Stapley and Coree Tull who will highlight the issues we face here in the Comox Valley and in our province.

This public forum is extremely relevant as we head into the May 9 provincial election. Topics of discussion will include Site C dam, the BC Water Sustainability Act, watershed health, Kinder Morgan pipeline, bottled water takings, fracking and the repercussions of international trade agreements including NAFTA.

Author of 18 books, proud recipient of 14 honorary doctorates, Barlow served as Senior Advisor on Water to the United Nations General Assembly and was a key leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the United Nations.

“Water is life, and this is what drives me every day,” says Coree Tull, Organizing Director for Freshwater Alliance and second guest presenter at the evening’s Public Forum. “It’s time for world class protection of waters in BC.”

“Right now, with the provincial election less than 2 months away there is a unique and important opportunity for British Columbians to shift the public discourse about freshwater protection and pressure the Government to add stronger regulations to the Water Sustainability Act (WSA),” states Tull.

Joining the panel is well-known local water advocate David Stapley, Program Manager with the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership. He will speak to watershed conditions, local boil water advisories, and approaches to address source drinking water quality and quantity issues for the Comox Lake Watershed.

The evening will open with the Kumugwe Dancers and close with Tina Filippino, song leader of Letz Sing. Copies of Boiling Point will be for sale and The Comox Valley Council of Canadians are hosting a special book signing opportunity with Barlow.

One of the world’s foremost water activists, Barlow has been on the front lines of the world’s water sustainability crisis for the past 20 years. On April 6 from 7-9 pm in the Conference Hall of Courtenay’s Florence Filberg Centre, she brings her wealth of experience and expertise to the Comox Valley, inviting us to take action to build a water-secure future that encompasses water restoration, conservation and protection.

The Council of Canadians, co-sponsoring the event with Freshwater Alliance, CV Conservation Partnership and CV Global Awareness Network welcomes you to join Barlow in what promises to be a compelling Public Forum.


CV Council of Canadians AGM and Chapter Chat

We welcome you to join in the AGM as we share the Chapter’s news and updates in a agmreview of our campaigns and activities over the past year. In addition, you’re invited to give input on areas in which the Chapter should move forward and the challenges that remain in front of us. With the provincial election just around the corner, now is the time to determine which issues we want the parties to address in their platforms. Continue reading

LFG Townhall Update

lfg-768x512The federal Liberal government’s recent approval of the massive Pacific Northwest LNG project poses a grave threat to one of the most important wild salmon habitats in Canada.

Aboriginal groups and SkeenaWild are preparing to launch a series of legal actions against the construction of this liquefaction facility off the Flora Bank where 80-90% of Skeena’s salmon and steelhead have their nurseries.

SkeenaWild and the Skeena Corridor Nations, a powerful group of hereditary leaders from Gitanyow, Lax Kw’alaams, Wet’suwet’en, Gitxsan, Takla, Lake Babine and Haida, are exploring all political and legal options to obtain long-term protection of the Skeena River estuary and the salmon run that forms the economic, social and cultural foundation of life in the area. Continue reading

Liquefied Fracked Gas: Risky Economic and Ecological Business

The recent approval of the massive Pacific Northwest LNG project has intensified debate about BC’s economic and environmental future.

The BC government has made extravagant claims about the benefits to British Columbians regarding LNG development – but were they just election promises?

Realistically, how many jobs will be created?

The lower global prices, an increased supply of natural gas on the market, and a tax and royalty regime that has been roundly criticized for favouring industry, will there be any significant economic benefits for British Columbians?

What will the consequences be for our environment and for Canada’s climate change commitments?

How does the Site C dam fit into the picture?

What are the effects of fracking on our fresh water supplies?

These are some of the questions that will be answered at the Comox Valley Council of Canadians town hall, Liquefied Fracked Gas: Risky Economic and Ecological Business, Thursday, October 27, 7 pm in the Rotary Room of the Florence Filberg Centre. Continue reading

Up for a Little Activism on Water Issues?

Did you miss the Celebrate Water! event on March 19?

Now is your opportunity to provide feedback to our provincial and federal governments on these important water issues. It is vital that you make your views known to politicians at all levels.

Water Sustainability Act

BC’s Water Sustainability Act, introduced in the Legislature in 2014, replaced the 100 year old Water Act and received mixed reviews from the environmental community. Although some of the failings of the old Act have been addressed, there remains much concern that the regulations that came into effect on February 29, 2016 do not go far enough. Some key issues have not been addressed.

Click here for contact information and writing points you can use to send letters to Premier Clark, Minister of the Environment Mary Polak, and MLA Don McRae.WSA letter

National Water Issues

The new Government of Canada is faced with dealing with many issues around water, from extended boil-water advisories in First Nations communities to an environmental assessment process that fails to take into account the rights of communities to protect their drinking water.

During the election, the Liberals made many promises.  It is up to us to make sure they keep those promises.

Click here for contact information and writing points you can use to send letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and MPs Gord Johns and Rachel Blaney.Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau

Celebrate Water!

Across the country, Canadians agree that freshwater is by far our most important natural rev wwd celebrate jpresource. From clean drinking water and the flows that make agriculture, our forests, tourism, industry and hydroelectricity possible, to the power of water to connect the dots between land use and human     health, it is easily our most valuable resource.

On Saturday, March 19, join a free community celebration of water in honour of international World Water Day and our local watersheds.

Hosted by the Comox Valley chapter of the Council of Canadians, the event will feature music and presentations by some important local voices behind water sustainability. Continue reading