Monthly Archives: September 2015

H20 in the Election: Your guide to water and the federal election

With the election three weeks away, water has barely made it on the radar of federal political parties. Want to learn what the different parties’ positions are on key water issues? What should you ask parties at all-candidates debates or when they come knocking at your door? This blog gives an overview of some key water issues, parties’ positions and includes questions to ask local candidates at debates, when they come to your door or even in the Twitterverse. Leading up to October 19, it’s up to us to make sure federal parties know the importance of safeguarding water.

From the Council of Canadians national website:


All Candidates forum coming up

An all-candidates forum for the Thunder Bay Rainy River Riding & Thunder Bay Superior-North Riding will take place on Thursday, October 8th from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Finlandia Hall.

Please share widely among your contacts, and come prepared with questions for the candidates!


Weighing in on the politics of oil in Canada

Here is a link to a Council of Canadians article that is a good starting point to look at the politics of oil in Canada, the various pipeline proposals there are and where each political party stands:

Please consider this as part of your decision making for your vote on October 19th!


Be a part of the CoC annual conference!

The Council of Canadians is bringing together chapter activists, supporters and allies for a dynamic weekend of public forums, workshops and panels at its Annual Conference and 30th Annual Business Meeting, titled Imaginations: Reframing our Collective Future from October 23-25, 2015 in Windsor, Ontario.  You can be a part of it!

There is one travel-subsidized spot available for a Thunder Bay Council of Canadians supporter (the participant would be required to pay for accommodation, conference fees, etc).

Anyone who is interested can email for details.

CoC-brochure1 CoC-brochure2

Energy East pipeline could leak up to 2.6 million litres/day undetected: report

On September 2, the Council of Canadians launched a new report on the Energy East Pipeline that predicts a 15% chance per year of a rupture based on TransCanada’s recent rupture record.

View the report here:

Microplastics: How do they affect you?

microplasticsPlastic pebbles, known as microplastics, are becoming increasingly prevalent in our waterways. Join the discussion on how they are hurting fish, wildlife, and may even be damaging human health.

EcoSuperior and Science North are sponsoring a Science Café entitled Microplastics and You, with support from EarthCare Thunder Bay on September 17, 2015.  Join  Dr. Sherri Mason, Chair of the Environmental Sciences Faculty at the State University of New York and Dr. Paul Helm, Senior Scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in a discussion about microplastics and how they affect you.

When: September 17th, 7 p.m.

Where: A Little to the Left (Gargoyles Grille & Ale)

Cost: Free (light refreshments provided). Cash bar.

For more information visit



Water not Harper: Environmentalist ushered out of Harper campaign event

Environmentalist Yan Roberts attended a campaign event for Stephen Harper, but after standing next to the Prime Minister in an attempt to raise awareness about Canadian water issues, he was ushered out of the building.

“The main thing is just talking about how there’s more security for a campaign event like this than there is protection for the lakes and rivers in all the water across the country,” said Roberts.

He shares his insights and concerns in this video, including the message that the Energy East pipeline route runs through North Bay’s sole source of drinking water:

MEDIA RELEASE: Thunder Bay City Council defers vote to oppose Energy East

August 31, 2015    

Thunder Bay City Council Defers Vote to Oppose Energy East 

The bid to have Thunder Bay City Council formally oppose the proposed Energy East Pipeline, a reckless plan by TransCanada Pipelines to ship diluted bitumen from the Tar Sands 4600 km across Canada, was delayed tonight. Councillor Iain Angus moved to defer a decision on the resolution.

“We find it puzzling that Iain Angus moved to defer the motion, claiming that because the TCP application to the National Energy Board was incomplete it would be improper to vote to oppose Energy East,” said CUSP’s Peter Lang. “Almost a year and a half ago, long before the TCP application was ever even made, Angus led NOMA to publicly support the pipeline.”

“What’s most troubling to me,” said Paul Berger from CUSP, “is that the Councillor who moved to defer has been featured on TransCanada’s website promoting the pipeline. We need to ask Mr. Angus if he represents his constituents or TransCanada Pipelines.”

Ruth Cook from the Council of Canadians said:

“there is overwhelming public opposition to this pipeline plan; tonight, we’re disappointed that City Councillors deferred to the wishes of a multi-billion dollar corporation. We are happy, though, that Councillors spoke strongly of their duty to protect the environment. We are also inspired that there was talk of the need to move to clean energy. We expect the motion to pass when it comes back before Council.”

The motion came almost six months after a coalition of five citizen’s groups made a deputation to Council urging them to oppose the pipeline because spills are inevitable and because it would facilitate the expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands, adding greenhouse gas to the atmosphere equivalent to putting 7 million cars on the road.

“It’s a bit astounding,” said Paul Berger from CUSP, “that TransCanada Pipelines – a company that can’t even submit a complete project file to the National Energy Board – spoke to Council right before the vote and were unable to answer elementary questions about the project. Their spin continued though. The spokesperson claimed there were only minor incidents on the Keystone pipeline, a line that leaked 12 times in its first year of operation. The leaks included an 80,000 litre spill near Millner, North Dakota in 2011. It was reported to TCP by a landowner.”

TransCanada Pipelines has an abysmal safety record,” said Elysia PetroneReitberger from FossilFree Lakehead. “About once a year there’s a major leak or explosion in northern Ontario on the aging natural gas pipeline that would be converted. We should have no confidence that dilbit can be safely transported when the product the pipeline was designed for leaks and explodes so regularly.”

“We know what we need to know about this pipeline and this company,” said Scott Harris from Environment North. “Waiting will not change the climate change implications of Energy East and TransCanada Pipeline’s infrastructure will not miraculously stop leaking and exploding. We live here. We will be here when the motion comes back to Council for their vote.”

Over 800 citizens signed a petition asking City Council to oppose the Energy East pipeline conversion and community groups, including the Thunder Bay & District Labour Council, wrote urging Council to oppose the pipeline conversion. A rally outside City Hall just prior to the meeting confirmed citizen opposition to the pipeline with 130 people linking arms in symbolic solidarity with citizens groups across the country. Sixty-five people filled the visitor’s gallery and overflow room to watch the vote.

The coalition groups include: Environment North, Ontario Nature, CUSP – Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet, Thunder Bay Chapter Council of Canadians, and Fossil Free Lakehead.