Working Hard to Safeguard Paddling Assets for All Canadians

All about Whitewater

All about Whitewater
A Blog about River Preservation and the need to protect our free flowing whitewater resources

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CEAA Review abruptly cancelled by committee

Parliamentary Review of Canadian Environmental Assessment Act Abruptly Terminated‏

read about it **********Have a Nice Day**********

I just spoke to a colleague that said the occupy movement was wrong headed. To protest, you take your sign over to parliament hill and stand there, you don't camp out etc.

I said democracy was messy.

He said if he went to a park and camped out he'd be arrested in short order.

I asked him when it was the last time he knew that any protest had ever been successful?

He suggested some senator went on a hunger strike to save Katimavik.

Where are we going in this country? Brigitte Depape was right! Stop Harper.

Hill Times

House Environment Committee winds down review of Environmental Assessment Act

NDP Environment Critic calls exercise a farce,' accuses government of already drafting legislative overhaul of EA process.

Chris Plecash

The House Environment Committee is winding down its statutory review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, a process that committee vice-chair and NDP environment critic Megan Leslie is calling a farce, accusing the government of already drafting legislation to overhaul the federal environmental assessment process.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which sets out the criteria and processes to assess the environmental impacts of development that receives federal approval, was amended in 2003 to require a committee review of the legislation on a seven-year basis.

Since beginning its review of CEAA on Oct. 20, the Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development has heard from a range of stakeholders on the need to amend the regulatory framework, including Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency president Elaine Feldman, and representatives from a range of industry, environmental, and aboriginal groups, including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Ecojustice, and the Assembly of First Nations.

After nine two-hour meetings on the merits and shortfalls of CEAA, the committee is at the conclusion of the review process. The time constraints on the review process have led Ms. Leslie to question the usefulness of the hearings.

We have these witnesses crammed on the witness list where they speak for ten minutes, we have a couple of rounds of questions, and everybody goes home, observed Ms. Leslie, who vice-chairs the committee with Liberal environment critic Christie Duncan (Etobicoke North, Ont.), and Conservative MP and committee chair Mark Warawa (Langley, B.C.).

I believe the government is already working on the act and what we're doing in the committee is not going to have any impact on what we see, Ms. Leslie added. The government isn't questioning environmental groups, they're only questioning industry. They aren't questioning native groups, they're only questioning industry.

The disparity between the number of questions that government MPs have asked of industry associations and the number of questions that have been asked of public interest groups has been noticeable throughout the review of the CEAA.

When Sierra Club of Canada executive director John Bennett appeared before the committee on Nov. 1, he used part of his opening statement to describe efforts to streamline environmental regulation through funding cuts as part of a wider anti-democratic campaign to marginalize and eventually silence the voices of the environment in Canada, but not before Conservative MP Michelle Rempel (Calgary Centre-North, Alta.) raised a point of order that Mr. Bennett's comments were rhetoric-driven.

We're interested in hearing fact-based testimony today, and we'd encourage the witness to do so as well, Ms. Rempel reminded Mr. Bennett.

In his statement, Mr. Bennett highlighted the lack of public input into CEAA's review, pointing out that his appearance came on the heels of the federal government's decision in late October to end its funding to the Canadian Environmental Network.

There has not been consultation with the stakeholders this time, Mr. Bennett told the committee. The decision to stop consulting environmental organizations and withdraw support for the CEN at precisely the time CEAA is being reviewed clearly is no coincidence. It sends a clear signal.

Conservative MPs did take the opportunity to question the Sierra Club's executive director on how CEAA could be improved, but the majority of questions from the government side of the committee were directed to representatives of the Canadian Water & Wastewater Association and the Canadian Electricity Association, who stressed the need for simplifying the environmental assessment process by eliminating the duplication of assessment steps by the federal government and the provinces.

There was a similar disparity between questions posed by government members to industry and those posed to public interest groups when representatives for the Assembly of First Nations appeared before the committee on Nov. 17.

Let the AFN be very clear, First Nations are not opposed to development, AFN strategist Roger Jones declared in his opening remarks to the committee. In these cases, First Nations have already determined that development is entirely consistent with our obligations to the Earth and to our peoples.

Mr. Jones went on to call for a more inclusive environmental assessment process that worked to reconcile First Nations' rights with industry interests, including the establishment of a Crown-First Nations process to reform CEAA.

The time and resources it takes to do so should be seen as an investment to get it right for all actors, rather than simply an exercise in First Nation engagement, said Mr. Jones.

The two-hour long hearings on Nov. 17 were shared between representatives of the Assembly of First Nations, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Mining Association of Canada, and the James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment.

AFN's strongly worded opening statement was overshadowed by the presence of associations representing two of Canada's largest industries. The overwhelming majority of questions from Conservative MPs were directed towards CAPP and MAC, while Liberal and NDP MPs the bulk of their questions towards AFN and the James Bay Advisory Committee.

However, Conservative MP and committee member James Lunney (Nanaimo-Alberni, B.C.) took exception to the suggestion that committee members from his party were only interested in hearing from industry.

I directed questions myself to AFN and to the James Bay Council, Mr. Lunney pointed out. I think that it's unfair to say that we have not engaged with other people at the table.

Mr. Lunney specifically asked the James Bay Advisory committee for examples of mining projects that had brought development and employment to their region. He also asked the Assembly of First Nations how the controversial Prosperity Mine project on B.C.'s Fish Lake could gain the support of the area's First Nations.

If we start with no' as a beginning, how do we resolve issues like that, and is there a process? Is there going to be any hope of resolving this through process, without going to the Supreme Court, Mr. Lunney asked the AFN representatives.

[S]ometimes you have to look at it more broadly, Mr. Jones responded. That means you have to look at alternative options in terms of what is potentially available by way of economic development in that area. Is that the only one, or are there others that may in fact serve the needs and interests of everyone in that area?

The Taseko Mines Ltd. gold and copper mining project failed to pass a federal environmental assessment under former Environment Minister Jim Prentice last November, despite having passed a provincial environmental assessment by the B.C. government. Earlier this month the company submitted a new plan to CEAA that would spare Fish Lake from mine tailings, but the area's First Nations continue to oppose the project.

Mr. Lunney also defended the current committee review process for CEAA.

It's all about balance, but it's a balance and people are coming around to the perspective that socio-economic values should be considered as well, he told The Hill Times. There has got to be better ways to coordinate a response so that we can accomplish what we're setting out to do in terms of environmental protection and still not impair economic development and job creation.

A number of issues with CEAA have emerged throughout the hearings. The act currently uses a trigger process to determine whether or not a project is subject to a federal environmental assessment. In CEAA's present form, a project triggers an assessment if the federal government is the proponent of that project, or if the project receives some form of federal funding or assistance, utilizes federal land, or requires federal licences or permits. Under this criteria, installing a bench in a National Park requires some form of environmental assessment.

In Oct. 25 testimony Vancouver-based environmental lawyer Paul Cassidy suggested eliminating the trigger process for environmental assessments, replacing it with a defined list that bases assessments on the anticipated environmental impacts of a given project. Others have warned that such a framework would be unable to keep up with forms of development that have yet to come into existence.

Another issue that has dominated the hearings is the jurisdictional overlap between provincial and federal environmental assessments. The addition of a federal environmental assessment can add years to a project's approval process.

In his Nov. 22 testimony, Saskatchewan Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment Mark Wittrup argued for a one project, one assessment approach to environmental assessments.

Saskatchewan supports a vision that would redefine federal and provincial responsibilities in order to endow Canada with a system based upon a principle of one project, one assessment, Mr. Wittrup told the committee. Saskatchewan recommends CEAA acknowledge provincial environmental assessments as equivalent to a federal environmental assessment for all projects on provincial lands.

While government members of the committee have focused their questions on how CEAA could be reformed to eliminate duplication between federal and provincial assessments and reduce assessment timelines, opposition members have focused on how CEAA can be made to improve public input into the process.

If you watch the Conservatives, they are mimicking the exact language of the Environment minister about streamlining assessments for big energy projects, Ms. Leslie told The Hill Times. All the questions are directed to industry, and it's basically So, what do you want us to do?'

In their 2011 election platform, the Conservatives promised to streamline the regulatory approval process for mining and energy projects, which could signal significant changes to how the federal government assesses future development.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.), who has followed the committee hearings closely, said that CEAA has been unfairly demonized by the government.

The environmental assessment process is ideally a planning tool to get better projects at the end of the day, said Ms. May, who has been. The Conservative members are so misunderstanding the process that they're treating it as though it's the enemy, it's red light/green light and they don't want it. So they're undermining the environmental assessment process.

Ms. May submitted a request to appear before the committee to discuss CEAA, but she is unlikely to receive an invitation. Committee chair and Conservative MP Mark Warawa (Langley, B.C.) told The Hill Times that he expected the CEAA hearings to wrap up by Nov. 24.

Last week the Conservative members of the committee also voted to go in camera following Ms. Leslie's motion to have Environment Minister Peter Kent (Thornhill, Ont.) appear to review his department's supplementary estimates prior to their Dec. 10 approval.

Obviously I can't tell you what happened in that meeting but I suspect that if you check the agenda for the coming week you're probably not going to see the Minister on it, Ms. Leslie said following the Nov. 22 meeting.

Mr. Lunney said that the committee had an obligation to review the supplementary estimates, but Mr. Kent's appearance depended on scheduling. Ms. Leslie had moved to have the Environment Minister appear no later than Nov. 29.

I think that some of the members are perhaps adjusting to the new reality of a majority, said Mr. Lunney. What we had in the last five years was not normal Parliamentary function, so there are some adjustments on the opposition side. When we were in opposition, when push came to shove we knew we might lose a vote, but in the meantime we tried to collaborate, communicate and do what we could to influence the agenda.

The Players:

Mark Warawa>
Megan Leslie> - NDP
Kirsty Duncan>
Stella Ambler>
Bruce Hyer>
Laurin Liu>
Lise St-Denis>
James Lunney>
Michelle Rempel>
Robert Sopuck>
Lawrence Toet>
Stephen Woodworth>
Marie-France Renaud>

No comments:

Canadian Rivers

Canadian Rivers
I speak for river users too!

The Queen is not amused!

The Queen is not amused!

The Damned Dam - 2005 -

The Damned Dam - 2005 -
22nd Annual Kipaw Rally has modest turnout. - 23rd does better

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

Whitewater Ontario

Whitewater Ontario
Working Hard to Protect Canada's Paddling Resources

Whitewater Ontario - Mission Statement

It is Whitewater Ontario’s mission to support the whitewater paddling community through the promotion, development and growth of the sport in its various disciplines. We accomplish this through the development of events, resources, clubs, and programs for personal and athletic development, regardless of skill level or focus, to ensure a high standard of safety and competency; We advocate safe and environmentally responsible access and use of Ontario’s rivers. Whitewater Ontario is the sport governing body in the province, and represents provincial interests within the national body Whitewater Canada and the Canadian Canoe Association

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican
If Hydro Quebec is not actively pursuing Tabaret what is that bite out of Opemican for?

Kipawa Dam: After

Kipawa Dam: After
Laniel Dam at 2006 Rally

Where is the Kipawa

Where is the Kipawa
Kipawa flows into lake Temiskamingue, running from Kipawa Lake, under hwy 101 in Quebec

Kipawa Dam

Kipawa Dam
laniel dam at 2004 River Rally

Tabaret is a Bad Idea

About the Kipawa

The best thing paddlers can do to help the cause of the Kipawa:

1. attend the rally and bring others including non paddlers to attend and buy beer and have fun

2. write your MP /MNA and raise the issue and post your objections -1 letter = 200 who didn't write

3. Write Thierry Vandal the CEO of Hydro Quebec strongly opposing the 132 MW standard decrying the use of "diversion" as the most environmentally inappropriate method of power production

4. Write Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec protesting that either the algonquin or the tabaret project will eliminate all other values on the Kipawa River by turning it into a dry gulch.

5. See if you can get other allied groups interested by showing your own interest, ie the Sierra Defense Fund, Earthwild, MEC, and so on.

6. Demand further consultation

7. Currently we are at the point where we need to sway public opinion and raise awareness.

However, if all else fails, don't get mad, simply disrupt, foment, and protest . The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Have you read Edward Abbey?

Important Addresses
CEO,Hydro Québec, 75 boul René Levesque, Montreal, P.Q., H2Z

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Two)

Les Amis de la Riviere Kipawa is poised to use an application to the Federal Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to ensure the Minster does what he is supposed to do, protect the public's right to navigate the water control structure at Laniel, Quebec using the Navigable Waters Protection Act. (see

In the now gutted Navigable Waters Protection Act lay the means by which the Minister of Transport could keep the public right of passage down our great Canadian Heritage, our rivers and streams which are threatened especially by resource corporations and power brokers such as Hydro Quebec.

These powerful entities continue to petition that 'this' river or 'that' stream is not navigable and therefore not protectable.
I don't say that dams and bridges should not be built, only that if they are, historical navigation rights should be considered and preserved by making reasonable accommodations for recreational boaters.

It is the Minister of Transport, in exercising the right to allow or disallow work on or over a navigable waterway is what keeps boats and recreational boaters plying our waterways.

To many recent cases launched in the Federal Court concerning the Navigable Waters Protection Act, most recently the case of the Humber Environment Group of Cornerbrook Newfoundland versus the Cornerbrook Pulp and Paper Company indicates that the important oversight is not being faithfully performed. Have we really come to the point now where we must say "such and such a stream is one foot deep, possessing so many cubic feet per second flow and so on?" The answer to this is... YES!

The honourable Mr. Justice John A. O'Keefe, ruled that it had not been shown that the river was navigable. How convenient was that to the Minister? But either the Minister of Transport acts to protect our rivers and streams as a public right or he does not and that means rivers and streams currently enjoyed by kayakers and canoists.

Enough of the cheating, and double-talk. Canadians! our rivers and streams are our own, lets urge the Minister of Transport and the our government to protect them.

Peter Karwacki

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Three)

10 Reasons WhyTabaret is a Bad Idea1) Tabaret is too big. The station is designed to useevery drop of water available in the Kipawawatershed, but will run at only 44 percent capacity.We believe the Tabaret station is designed to usewater diverted from the Dumoine River into theKipawa watershed in the future. 2) The Tabaret project will eliminate the aquaticecosystem of the Kipawa River.The Tabaret project plan involves the diversion of a16-km section of the Kipawa River from its naturalstreambed into a new man-made outflow from LakeKipawa. 3) Tabaret will leave a large industrial footprint on thelandscape that will impact existing tourismoperations and eliminate future tourism potential. 4) The Tabaret project is an aggressive single-purposedevelopment, designed to maximize powergeneration at the expense of all other uses. 5) River-diversion, such as the Tabaret project, takinglarge amounts of water out of a river’s naturalstreambed and moving it to another place, is verydestructive to the natural environment. 6) The Kipawa River has been designated a protectedgreenspace in the region with severe limitations ondevelopment. This designation recognizes theecological, historical and natural heritage value ofthe river and the importance of protecting it.Tabaret will eliminate that value. 7) If necessary, there are other, smarter and morereasonable options for producing hydro power onthe Kipawa watershed. It is possible to build a lowimpactgenerating station on the Kipawa river, andmanage it as a “run-of-the-river” station, makinguse of natural flows while maintaining other values,with minimal impact on the environment. 8) The Kipawa watershed is a rich natural resource forthe Temiscaming Region, resonably close to largeurban areas, with huge untapped potential fortourism and recreation development in the future.Tabaret will severely reduce this potential. 9) Tabaret provides zero long-term economic benefitfor the region through employment. The plan is forthe station to be completely automated andremotely operated. 10) The Kipawa River is 12,000 years old. The riverwas here thousands of years before any peoplecame to the region. The Tabaret project will change all that.

Problems on a local River?

  • There is more to do as well but you have to do your research and above all, don't give up.
  • IN the meantime prepared a document itemizing the history of navigation of this spot and its recreational value. Use the Kipawa river history of navigation as a guide: see
  • Under the Ministry of Environment guidelines you have a set period of time to petition the change under the environmental bill of rights, you may have limited time to take this action. But it involves going to court for a judicial review of the decision.
  • 4. contact the ministry of natural resources officials and do the same thing.
  • 3. contact the ministry of the environment and determine if they approved the project
  • 2. determine if the dam was a legal dam, approved under the navigable waters protection act.
  • 1. research the decision and timing of it to determine if an environmental assessment was done.

Minden Ontario

Minden Ontario
Gull River Water control at Horseshoe lake

A History of Navigation on the Kipawa River

Prior to the environmental assessment there was no signage at the Laniel Dam

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!
Send $25 and a stamped self addressed envelop for the Tshirt, and for the bumper sticker, a stamped and self addressed envelope with $5.00 for the bumper sticker to Les Amis de la rivière Kipawa, 80 Ontario St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1K 1K9 or click the link To purchase a Les Amis "T" contact Doug with the following information: Number of shirts:Sizes: Ship to Address: Method of Payment: cash, cheque and paypal, Shipto address:

Bumper Stickers Now Available

Bumper Stickers Now Available
Get your bumper sticker and show your support for the Kipawa Legal Fund ! - send $5.00 in a Stamped, self addressed envelope to: Peter Karwacki Box 39111, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1H 7X0