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Analysis of Canadian water politics by the Council of Canadians' national water campaigner.
Today the Supreme Court of Canada rejected Alberta landowner Jessica Ernst's legal challenge to sue the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for denying her right to freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court said that Ernst should have launched a judicial review of how the AER handled and defended the immunity clauses that shield government bodies from lawsuits.
In 2007, Ernst launched a multimillion-dollar suit against the regulator, Alberta Environment and Calgary-based energy company Encana for negligence that contaminated her well water. Similar to cases in Josh Fox's documentary Gasland, her well is so contaminated with methane that she can light the water on fire.
This morning I presented to the Standing Committee on Transport, Communities and Infrastructure via video conference at their last meeting to review the Navigation Protection Act (NPA), formerly the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA).
This is the act that was gutted by the former Harper government, leaving only 97 lakes, 62 rivers and 3 oceans protected under the act. The Trudeau government has committed to review environmental and freshwater legislation including the NPA, the Fisheries Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
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Nestlé has made a conditional offer to purchase the Middlebrook Well in Elora, Ontario, formally owned by the Middlebrook Water Company. Nestlé wants to test the water first -- for up to 60 days over a two-year period -- for quantity and quality and has applied for a Permit to Take Water with the Ontario government.
Five years ago, the United Nations formally recognized the human right to water and sanitation by passing resolution 64/292. Social movements who campaigned for it saw the human right to water and sanitation as a tool in the fight against a global water crisis produced by abuse of the water commons, inequality and social exclusion.