Huffty Duffty had a great fall.
All Harper’s Horsies and Cheque Writing Men
Couldn’t put Huffty together again.
The Conservative government’s budget bill contains disturbing changes that introduce direct government interference in the public broadcaster’s activities. It is a move that should concern all Canadians.
The new changes would allow the government to directly interfere in the day to day running of the Corporation. At the heart is a plan for direct interference in collective bargaining between the CBC and its employees. The legislation even goes so far as to place a member of the Treasury Board at the bargaining table. CBC’s government appointed Board of Directors would now have to seek government approval to reach any agreement with CBC employees.
The legislation tabled yesterday effectively eliminates the arms-length relationship with government that’s at the heart of public broadcasting.
“This is an outrageous and unnecessary violation of the principle of public broadcasting. It undermines nearly 80 years of public broadcasting in Canada and around the world by meddling with the essential arms-length relationship between the CBC and the government of the day. The change is disturbing as it has all the markings of an attempt to turn the CBC into a state broadcaster,” said Carmel Smyth, National president of the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), the largest union that represents CBC workers.
Marc-Philippe Laurin, CMG Branch president at CBC, calls the change unprecedented. “This is a dangerous road to go down,” he comments. “And make no mistake, this is not about the money. The Conservative government is effectively modifying the Broadcasting Act to inject itself into decisions such as staffing that have a major impact on everything that’s done at the CBC.”
Smyth noted that besides this aggressive intrusion into public broadcasting, there are other recent examples of this conservative government interfering in the labour relations process such as at Canada Post and Air Canada, and all Canadians should be concerned. “We oppose this change vigorously and are looking at all our options,” she said.
Right now, a community right next door to me is at the centre of a David vs. Goliath legal fight to protect their water. And they need your help.
Nestlé Waters is the world’s largest bottled water company, and Wellington County is home to its largest bottling facility in Canada. Under its current permit, Nestlé pays $3.71 for every million litres of water it pumps from the local watershed, which it then packages in single-use plastic bottles and sells back to the public for as much as $2 million!
Despite reaping enormous profits from bottling a shared public resource, Nestlé is now arguing for an even better deal. One of the mandatory conditions built into its water-taking permit requires Nestlé to reduce pumping by 10-20 per cent during times of drought. In a recent appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT), Nestlé has requested these restrictions be removed.
In a stunning move the Ministry of Environment has agreed to a settlement which would weaken the conditions and potentially allow for Nestlé to pump at its maximum rate during droughts. We believe this puts Nestlé’s profit-making interests before the water rights of the people of Wellington County.
Enough is enough. This February, the Council of Canadians and Wellington Water Watchers, a Guelph-based water advocacy group – with legal representation from Ecojustice – won official party status to bring a public interest perspective in Nestlé’s appeal.
Party status means we are granted full participation in the proceedings, including the right to submit evidence to the ERT. Central to our case is the principle that government is obligated to protect the public’s right to water, and must prioritize that above a private company’s thirst for profit.
If successful, this case could set a crucial precedent for recognizing water as a public trust and granting communities priority rights to control their water, and how it is used.
The Council of Canadians just filed our submission to the ERT, which includes the findings of an independent hydrogeologist the Council of Canadians contracted to research the impact of Nestlé’s water takings in times of drought. They believe these findings will prove to be key evidence in support of our challenge.
Donate now… I’m writing you today because they need your help to raise $7,000 in the next few days to cover costs that have been incurred.
Will you help the people of Wellington County take a stand against Nestlé? Your contribution will directly help this vital community fight.
In many ways, this effort to protect an important aquifer in a small Ontario community is a microcosm of the global fight against corporate ownership of water. There is a growing global movement to declare water as part of the commons; a shared public resource that belongs to all.
But standing in the way of this necessary progress are corporate efforts to appropriate and control water, and a lack of proper government regulations to prevent such abuses. These very issues lie in the balance of this case.
Last summer Wellington County farmers, livestock producers and residents were seriously impacted when they experienced the worst drought in over a decade. This serves as a harsh reminder that we cannot take our water supply for granted, and further underscores the need for the Tribunal to validate drought-based restrictions on Nestlé’s water takings.
Ontario is neglecting its duty to protect communities’ water sources by allowing Nestlé to extract massive amounts of groundwater for its water bottling business, even during drought conditions.
Support this crucial legal case and help the people of Wellington County protect their groundwater. Donate now.
The Council of Canadians is a national and international leader in the global water justice movement with a proven track record of holding corporations and governments accountable. All funds contributed above the $7,000 needed now will be used to advance our broader campaign work to protect threatened water in communities across the country.
Donation to help protect their groundwater: https://donate.canadians.org/nestle
Other ways to donate
Call toll-free: 1-800-387-7177
Mail your cheque (payable to The Council of Canadians) to:
The Council of Canadians
700-170 Laurier Ave W
Ottawa, ON K1P 5V5