Natasha Wilson

Protect the Navigable Waters Protection Act
February 17, 2009, 14:23
Filed under: Environment

action“We have a federal government that is attempting to dismantle navigation rights and other environmental regulations in Canada under the pretext of rescuing the economy.” –

The Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) recognizes the importance of protecting Canadian waterways.  The act ensures environmental safe-guards and due process for development projects on our waterways.  Under the terms of the existing act, developers wanting to proceed with projects that interfere with navigation (shoreline development, bridges, dams, piers, etc.) must obtain approval from the Minister of Transport, which triggers an assessment to measure the environmental impacts of the proposed project.

On February 6th, 2009, the federal government announced amendments to NWPA, as a part of the Budget Implementation Act (Bill C-10).  The new act eliminates the need for an environmental assessment for most development projects on Canadian waterways.

This is an environmental issue.  Because the existing act includes a process to ensure a comprehensive environmental assessment, NWPA is one of the pillars of protection for rivers in Canada.  The protection granted to waterways under federal fisheries legislation is weak, and no provincial legislation exists.

Why are NWPA changes being introduced under a Budget Implementation bill?

In an effort to “stimulate the economy” and create jobs, the new act aims to streamline proposed infrastructure projects.  The new act also has little regard for our public rights and the environmental health of our waterways.  Burying these amendments in bill C-10 without public consultation is a shady move on the part of our federal government.  Take action now and encourage the Government of Canada to remove changes to NWPA from the Budget Implementation Act, and instead, bring the issue before the public for appropriate input, consultation and debate.

Take action:

1. Sign an online petition

2. Write your MP

3. Tell others

Is your business green enough?
October 1, 2008, 10:10
Filed under: Environment

fixitenvironmentWithout a doubt, ‘the environment’ is a topic that has recently come to the forefront, thanks to our upcoming federal election. Most party leaders have proposed a broad range of policies, levies and initiatives, to make Canada a greener, future friendly nation. Voters too have proclaimed that the environment is their priority in 2008. So, my question to you is: “what policies, levies and initiatives are you choosing to govern your lives by?”. This is something, after all, that we can act on now, with or without our politicians paving the way.

Small, medium and large sized businesses need to adopt responsible practices for safe guarding our environment. So, I challenge you today, to think of the ways your business is green, or can be green. Here’s a few small suggestions, and easy ways to get started:

Offset your energy consumption – Use green, carbon free power to help fight climate change and do your part for future generations. With programs like Bullfrog Power, 100% of electricity consumption is displaced with clean, emission free, renewable sources like wind power and low-impact water power.

Give – 1% For The Planet is a growing global movement of companies that donate 1% of their sales to 1,635 environmental organizations worldwide. 1% is a small price to pay – think of what our local coffee shops collect from us annually! Benefits of membership include a well thought marketing program: a great way to advertise your thoughtfulness to clients.

Get active Check out local environmental groups and find out how you can lend a hand. Being environmentally responsible is about more than helping to clean a park. Often local NFP’s need help with professional services like legal affairs, PR, website design, and more. Forgive me for saying, but the benefits extend to your business too. Community relations are an important part of any successful PR strategy. Here in my back yard, Ecology Ottawa and The Sierra Club – Ottawa Chapter are two of many groups who could use your help.

Happy greening.