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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Raging Grannies take on updating the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

Inky Dinky Parlez-vous?

Raging Grannies sing the CEAA Blues from MiningWatch on Vimeo.

for more details: see the Canadian Environmental Network site... while it still exists!

for the full newsrelease; see below
Online, complete with Raging Grannies video, at:

Action Alert: Canada’s Environmental Assessment Law Is Under Attack

January, 2012

The Harper Government wants to gut the Canadian Environmental Assessment

Tell the Conservatives that Canada’s environment matters – and
environmental laws matter.

Tell Prime Minister Harper, Environment Minister Kent, and Natural
Resources Minister Oliver we won’t accept shoddy “streamlined” public
reviews and destructive megaprojects – even if they change the law to
allow them to proceed.


The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) is one of the most
important pieces of environmental legislation in Canada. It often
provides for more public participation and a more rigorous review than
provincial assessment legislation, and in many cases covers projects not
subject to provincial assessment at all. The Act has been in place since

CEAA was intended to promote sustainable development by forcing federal
authorities to make sure that an environmental assessment was done on
any projects they were required to authorise. It worked, but it did have
a number of problems that environmental groups, aboriginal
organisations, and government agencies have tried to resolve over the
years. Many of the problems have been resolved. For example,
harmonization agreements between federal and provincial governments
allow them to undertake joint reviews that meet both their requirements,
while reducing duplication and confusion for proponents and the public.

Other problems have never been resolved; for example, the Act is centred
on assessing the environmental impacts of physical projects, so
government policies, plans, and programs are not included – things like
fisheries policies, regional development plans, or plans for disposing
of high-level nuclear fuel waste. The review process also suffered
resistance from some government departments, such as Fisheries and
Oceans, that didn’t want to take responsibility for larger environmental
issues. MiningWatch Canada had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to
ensure that assessments could not be artificially defined to limit their
scope and avoid the Act’s public involvement requirements. And it
suffered periodic setbacks, especially when the Navigable Waters
Protection Act was amended in 2009 to exclude it from CEAA, and CEAA
itself amended in 2010 to exclude projects funded under the government’s
Economic Action Plan from environmental assessment.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Caucus of the Canadian
Environment Network has continued working hard to engage the public and
develop thoughtful, evidence-based proposals for a better federal EA
process, and has produced a significant body of research and documentation.

CEAA Under Review

The Act includes a requirement for Parliament to review it by June 2010.
However, the government did no public preparation for the review and the
House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable
Development only started working on it in October, 2011. The Committee
held a scant five weeks of public hearings – nine sessions of less than
two hours each, with witnesses allowed all of ten minutes to make their
initial presentations, and only two days’ notice of the final deadline
for written submissions. The Committee has not yet published its report.

This is a stark contrast with the previous review of the Act, which
included extensive public consultations, government discussion papers,
and thorough public discussions in the Standing Committee.

Meanwhile, Stephen Harper, Peter Kent, and Joe Oliver have all made
public pronouncements about the environmental assessment process taking
too long, creating uncertainty for investors, and threatening economic
development. It is clear from their statements as well as from industry
talking points – and a leaked government document – that the government
is eager to reduce the scope and effectiveness of the federal
environmental assessment process if it can’t eliminate it altogether.
Small projects would be no longer be screened, and the assessment of
large projects will be “delegated” – no longer handled by the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Agency. Some are already handled (badly) by the
National Energy Board and the Nuclear Safety Commission, and this could
be extended to other federal and even provincial agencies, resulting in
an inconsistent patchwork of reviews, incomprehensible to the public –
and ineffective in protecting the public interest – the environment and
people’s livelihoods.

What You Can Do

Please write to Environment Minister Peter Kent to express your concerns
about the federal government’s intention to weaken federal environmental
assessment laws and undermine sustainable development in Canada. Send
copies to Prime Minister Harper, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver,
and the opposition parties’ environment critics, as well as your own
Member of Parliament. Engage your MP in discussion on this issue as most
of them know little about it and don’t realise its importance.

Most importantly, talk to your neighbours, friends, even strangers.
People have put a lot of hard work into trying to create and
environmental assessment process that protects the environment from
inappropriate development projects and gives the public a say in
development. We will not accept a review process that is “streamlined”
to limit public participation and ensure that potentially destructive
megaprojects proceed without serious consideration of their impacts –
and without those safeguards in place we will not accept the projects

The following is a draft letter that you can send to Environment
Minister Peter Kent.
• If you can, personalize your message by adding information about your
own specific concerns. This could relate to a particular type of
development projects, a particular environmental assessment, or other
sustainable development issues.
• Make sure to send a copy to your own Member of Parliament.
• Below the letter, you will find a list of the relevant addresses,
phone/fax numbers, and e-mails.

Dear Minister Kent,

Don’t trash the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act! This law is
critical to understanding and mitigating the adverse environmental
effects of developments such as pipelines, tar sands projects, and
mines. Eliminating legal requirements and limiting public participation
in project reviews makes environmental disasters such as BP’s Deepwater
Horizon, Exxon Valdez, and Fukushima more likely. I know that you don’t
want catastrophes like these to happen in Canada.

That’s why I am urging you to work with Parliament to strengthen the
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to make it more effective,
efficient, and open to public participation.

Canadians want all development projects to be sustainable, and a
stronger environmental assessment law – not a weaker one – is key to
achieving that goal.

Thank you for considering my views.


[your name here]

cc: The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
The Hon. Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources
Megan Leslie, MP, NDP Environment Critic
Kirsty Duncan, MP, Liberal Environment Critic
Maria Mourani, MP, Bloc Québecois Environment Critic
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party

To find your Member of Parliament, use the Parliamentary directory at

Mail may be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament at the
following address:
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

The Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of the Environment
Tel. (613) 992-0253
Fax: (613) 992-0887

The Right Hon. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Tel. (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900

The Honourable Joe Oliver
Minister of Natural Resources
Tel. (613) 992-6361
Fax: (613) 992-9791

Megan Leslie
Tel. (613) 995-7614
Fax: (613) 992-8569

Kirsty Duncan
Tel. (613) 995-4702
Fax: (613) 995-8359

Maria Mourani
Tel. (613) 992-0983
Fax: (613) 992-1932

Elizabeth May
Tel. (613) 996-1119
Fax: (613) 996-0850

Jamie Kneen, Communications & Outreach Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada

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