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

Friday, November 15, 2013

FORD's political self immolation, Comedy, and Tragedy

FORD's is an incredible political self immolation.

We stand transfixed by the sheer horror of it.

But the senate scandal?
The Liberal gas plant cancellation fee of $1 Billion?
Our environmental misdeeds, and the climate fallout that becomes more obvious by the year?

The corrupt financial system that will affect the lives of all of us?
Markets, scandal, corruption? LIBOR rigging? Market manipulation?
Unchecked monetization of debt?

The outrage against FORD stands out for its ultimate pettiness by comparison to other substantive issues that will make the uttering of the word "pussy" seem irrelevant. But we cannot pull ourselves away from it.

To be sure, the crack and alcohol (an addiction) and the crudeness ( unbecoming a politician), the too close for comfort ties to other criminals, its all bad but still minor in the scheme of things.

 Its all about control and power really.

The public has seized upon Ford's potty mouth as a great crime against humanity, tasteless and incredible.

But what about the real crimes, the ones that affect each and every one of us? They are just too big to grasp or handle.

Here is a reality check...

We were a group of whitewater enthusiasts who wanted to draw attention to the government of Canada methodically picking apart environmental protections and unilaterally taking away a universal right of navigation on Canada's lakes, rivers and streams.  We could only muster two hundred supporters at best on Parliament Hill. We lost our case and I still don't know why. Our reputations were affected. No body cared, or noticed.

Say the word "pussy" and the world stares in horror.

It reminds me of a controversial commercial, a young street kid is saying...

"If I told you I was hungry... you wouldn't notice or care"
"If I used the word "FUCK" you'd be up in arms"
"FUCK, I'm hungry"

What does it take to get noticed? FORD has hit the sweet spot!

Meanwhile environmentalists are branded terrorists and arrested by the Government.  Greenpeace? They are called pirates and imprisoned. This is hell on earth and there is no way out and that is a tragedy.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Kipawa- River Chronicles a work in progress

The Kipawa River Chronicals
Tales from the Backwoods to the Urban Jungle
A play about the river and the people who discover it

Act One

The audience sees a porch and doorstep. The vehicle is cut open so that the occupants are visible, its highly stylized. The points of the scene is to given the audience a sense of the playfulness and closeness of the characters to each other. This is the brotherhood of the river.

Scene One
Three thirty something paddlers sit in a sport utility vehicle.  Its six AM but Jim Beamish, honking the horn, is sitting in the driver seat of a Nissan SUV.  Yucie is hollering out the window. The suburban Toronto driveway and townhouse belong to Ray Wong who has yet to appear . Jim, Ally Pringle and Youcie Pokanen have already loaded their kayaks and gear and are anxious to beat the weekend traffic out of the city.  The colorful kayaks sit prominently on the roof along with the paddles.

Youcie:                        Don’t forget your helmet like last time.  You’ll be needing it!  Jacque says there is some class four stuff up there, I talked to him last night.

Ally:                         (snickering in the back seat)  He could always get a farmer to lend him his ATV helmet.  (They all laugh)

Jim:             Yeah, with a full face mask.  MEC’s got one just like it now.  He was stylin’ and didn’t even know it.

(MEC is a retailer of all manner of sporting equipment, Ray’s wife, Doris appears in the doorway.

Doris:             Anybody need more java for the road?

Yucie quickly bails out and hands her his mug.

Yucie:                         Double double please (hands her the travel mug and in one motion gives her a bear hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Doris:                                    Keep an eye out for Ray for me would you?

Yucie:                         What?  Ally and me take turns bailing each other out.  But don’t worry about Ray, he’s a better boater than any of us.  He shot the waterfall on the Oxtongue two weeks ago… ‘sides we’re meeting the guys from Rouyn-Noranda in Fabre.  They’ve been down the Kipawa before.

Doris:            I worry about you guys, couldn’t you just play golf like everybody else?  Or do the lawn maybe?

                        (Doris shrugs him off and leaves for the kitchen and passes Ray on the way out.

Ray:            Oh sure, grass! Barry made some brownies. Here Yucie
(Ray picks up his gear bag and hands it to Yucie.)  
He shoulders his kayak (which is only five feet in length)and tosses it onto the roof of the SUV and starts tying it on.
Jim:                        (Gets out of the SUV) Use the straps on the hood.  Tie into Ally’s grab loops.  I’ll put one right over the top, that should hold.
Ray:                         Yeah, remember when the whole load came off when those  tanker trucks passed us one after the other. First one lifted the nose, the next ripped off  racks and all, like a big sail.  Good thing they didn’t hit anything ..or anybody.
Jim:            You’ll notice the new rack, not that crappy tire stuff.
Ray:             Its not Thule?
Jim:            Yakima!
Ray:            Oh yeah, good choice.
They all pile into the SUV. Doris comes out with Yucie’s coffee, kisses Ray. 
Ray:             We should be back late Sunday night.  There’s no cell coverage up there but I’ll call you as soon I can.
Jim:            Clear?  

All:            All clear.

Yucie:             How much further? I’m hungry!  I gotta go poo!

Jim:            Geez! Only six more hours of this.

Ray:             Here put this on… (Hands CD to Yucie)

The SUV backs out of the scene, as it backs out of the driveway. Doris stands their waving.  The sound of  “Chain of Fools” plays.  The lights dim.
End of Scene one.           

Scene Two

The drive up to the Kipawa finally ends, we see the SUV arriving and the group meets up with their French paddling friends.

Jim:            We should be at the put-in in about five minutes.
Ally:            What did you tell that cop?
Jim:                        I said we were just trying to rendezvous with our friends.  He couldn’t speak English, I couldn’t speak French, so he let me go. He said “plus lentement?” J’ai dit merci beaucoups.
Ray:            Whoa. My ass is sore.  We could have been at the Gauley by now.

Jim:            Stop whining, Jacque said there’s a 90 foot water fall. It’s worth it just for that.

Jim:            There’s his truck. He’s got a couple people with him.

They get out of the SUV and shake hands with Jacque and his three friends Pierre, Francois and Jose.  
Jacque: (With a slight French accent.)
Salut! Time to go boating!  This is Pierre (Shakes hands, Francois, Jose)
They peer over the edge of the bridge. There is a dam below and the water is pouring through both gates.
Ally:             Holy Crapoly, we’re running that?
Pierre:             You go on the left side, see it’s a big slide, then you hit that big wave at the bottom and its all over.
Ray:             All over did you say?  You’ve run this before.
Pierre:             Well no… but you just put in a strong paddle stroke and brace and you’re done.
Ray:             Right...           

The lights fade and the scene reopens in a flash forward to a government office
The scene shifts with a spotlight on  Ray and Jim  in a office. The audience sees Yvon Choinard sitting at his desk. He is short and overweight and appears agitated. He’s looking at a computer screen and watching a video of rafts running the dam at Laniel. The audience sees this on the back screen, kayaks and rafts running the dam at Laniel.

Jim:            So you can see that Les Amis have been using the sluiceway of the dam for kayaks and rafts and we have been doing this for the past 20 years.
There has not been a single injury.
Yvon:             Its not possible, it can’t be done, we cannot allow this. There is a warning boom!
Jim:            Well its not illegal is it?
Yvon:            well no
Jim:            And there haven’t been any accidents in two decades
Yvon:            yes well…
Jim:            And look at the benefits to Laniel, people come up there from all over the world to run the dam. And then there is the rafting business.
Yvon:             Its impossible, we cannot allow this.
Ray:            We know that the dam has to be updated, all we’re asking is that you design it so that we can still use it.
Yvon:             Absolutement non!  we will not allow it! C’est impossible!  Mon Dieu!
Ray:            We have learned that the dam itself was never approved. The dam is illegal!
                        Its been done for forty years. We’ve run the rally for twenty years.
Mr. Choinard, what you don’t seem to appreciate is that Les Amis will have to come after you on this like a swarm of hornets and you’re the one shaking the nest. You won’t like what happens next.
Yvon:            I’m sorry I cannot help you.
Jim:            Is there anything we could do to change your mind.
Yvon:            Why do you have to go there, you have the whole river?
Jim:            Its our right, the law’s on our side this time. We’ll see you in court. Merci Mr. Choinard.

Scene Three
Ray is sitting in his kayak. The kayak is cut so that his feet are sticking through the bottom so that he wears it like a barrel, with suspenders holding it up. The suspenders are hidden under his life vest. He holds a kayak paddle.
The set consists of plastic sheeting and a ramp leading down to a gate, afterwhich is a mesh floor with plastic streamers being blow by a fan, it makes the floor look like white water.
Ray is talking to himself outloud so the audience can hear what is going through his mind.

Ray:             Geez that’s quite a horizon line, it just drops away.
To be continued…

You know what? its good to be "all about whitewater" again. Politics, and economics suck!

 Saving a life during a vertical pin.

I  can't say enough about the quality of this rescue. Its a bail out that really works.

Cooperation, recognotion of crisis, quick and decisive action that led to safe resolution.

Just Awesome work.

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