Bill C-45 Greatly Diminishes Right to Unimpeded Navigable Waters

On Thursday, October 18th, 2012 in Press Releases
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In Bill C-38, Stephen Harper gutted environmental laws brought in by Brian Mulroney. Now he has gone after environmental laws brought in by Sir John A. Macdonald.

Bill C-45, a second Act to Implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, the Conservatives’ latest omnibus bill, has weakened Canadians’ historic right to navigate the lakes, rivers, and streams of Canada without being impeded by pipelines, bridges, power lines, dams, mining and forestry equipment, and more.

The Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) of 1882, considered Canada’s first environmental law, has been changed – to the Navigation Protection Act.  If a body of water is not mentioned in Schedule 2 on page 424, it will no longer be covered under the NWPA permit process from the rampant resource development being advocated by the Harper Conservatives.

“This is nothing less than tragic for the majority of Canadians who love and respect our waterways from coast to coast to coast,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands.  “Even rivers like the Margaree River in Cape Breton, a National Heritage River, will no longer be covered by the NWPA. The only river listed in the entire Yukon is the Yukon River.

“Our inland harbours, including Shoal Harbour in my riding, and gulfs, including the Gulf of St. Lawrence, will be vulnerable.”

The Conservatives first weakened the NWPA in the 2009 budget when they curtailed the heritage rights of anglers, hunters, cottagers, and paddlers to access our streams, lakes, rivers, and other waterways.  Under the previous version of the NWPA, any body of water deemed navigable could be accessed to the high water mark without that being considered trespassing.

Under the Harper version, a natural body of water was considered navigable only when the Minister of Transport deemed it so.  The Minister of Transport was also given arbitrary power to exempt certain “works” from assessment or oversight – like dams, bridges, booms, and causeways – without public consultation, transparent disclosure, or a review of any kind.  The Minister could also set up an arbitrary “class system” for waterways, and exempt them from the Environmental Assessment Act (now greatly weakened too).

With Bill C-38, further changes to the NWPA made pipelines and power lines exempt from the provisions of the Act.  Also, the National Energy Board took control over the NWPA whenever a pipeline crossed a navigable water.

“This is a real threat for thousands of our pristine waterways,” said May.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bckcdb Fred Schueler

    …you won’t recognize Canada when I’m done with it.

  • http://twitter.com/frothquaffer rob clement

    Wow, thanks for pointing this out. What else is in that bill?

  • http://www.facebook.com/cominco2 Greg Loftus

    He began this years ago and slipped the cacelling of the NWPA into the budget in order to get it passed.harper is a snake

    • http://twitter.com/frothquaffer rob clement

      Hi Greg,
      i think the students in Quebec have the right answer. Harpy won’t take note until there a massive repeated demonstrations in the streets with people banging pots and pans. He’ll drive his OmniBUS up everyone’s butt before he’s finished if he’s allowed to.

  • Rachel

    Why can we not do something about this man who is destroying our country

    • OnceProudCanadian

      Because it appears the Canadian people don’t care enough to show up at protests!

  • get-a-grip

    Impeach Harper NOW for treason!

  • Jon Lutjen

    As usual our so called leader is going to put us back into the cave because the future is “REVNUETIONALARY” for the top elite in Canada, and the poor jobless slaves will support the country as they hord there riches by creating tax shelters for the rich and hand the bill of the country to the poor. This typical sinareo has provin failure, just take a look at England during the industrial revolution. Were on the same path as Harper seperates our country into a greedy have and have not system. I fear for the first time in my life the word Canada has a new meaning as we become more seperated from a Government that we pay to repesent us. “PM Heartburn There Is No I In Team” and what you repersent is not democratic or in any interest to real Canadians.

  • OnceProudCanadian

    When are people going to FINALLY get off their butts and protest this disgrace of a government. If 500,000 students can show up in one day to protest raise in tuitions surely the same number can show up to protest Harper’s destruction of Canada! I am disappointed in the people of Canada who continue to live in la la land. I was never interested in Canadian politics much – but it was obvious to me from Day 1 that Harper was a huge danger to Canada. When he got his “strong stable Con majority” I was gobsmacked and disgusted! STAND UP PEOPLE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. (I realize I’m likely preaching to the choir here – but needed to vent).

  • lucky girl

    I’m in for impeaching, ousting, rebelling. How do we do it?

  • Margaret Lounds

    What happens to rivers that are designated as Canadian Heritage Rivers? There are several of such designated rivers in the Yukon. Supposedly they are cared for by the provinces and local advisory committees. As you mentioned on CBC, if a MP votes against this omnibus nonsense they will try to make it look as though you are against the MP Pension reform.

  • Patricia

    It’s time for us to “Take a Stand” in full force on Mr. Harper. I don’t think the Queen is going to be able to do much! Our Royalty ties and traditions should be kept informed of what’s happening but…. it’s you and I who will need to get the job done. It’s all of us standing together that will be effective. Our greatest hope in parliament right now is Elizabeth. What can we do to support her? Let’s do some brainstorming. Let’s get more Green’s in Ottawa. Let’s beat the drums a little harder!

  • myself

    But he Fraudelently got his seat his post as PM so how can his bills hold any weight ? Can’t we Force him out and his retarded Bills like C-78, C-38, C-45 any more ?

  • natalie

    I can think of only one reason protection of our waterways would be removed – Harper already has a plan to use them for his own purposes. These plans will be implemented as soon as the legal impediments are removed.. What he fervently hopes is that the People of Canada remain asleep and won’t notice until it’s too late.

  • edward

    Maybe the time has come for Canadians to prorogue this Parliament until the next
    federal election.

  • Deb

    It is time we turned our backs on him and no longer acknowledge him as the Prime Minister of Canada. He should no longer be referred to by name. It worked in biblical times. Perhaps this man who suggests he is religious would recognize the significance of the action. For shame, Mr X, for disgracing our country and our land.

  • Dan

    I’m beyond disgusted with this government. I’ll be there for the massive protest in Ottawa – just say the word! Ivsuspect if Elizabeth even suggested it, it would happen and FAST!

  • S.Deneault

    WITHOUT PUBLIC CONSULTATION,of course we canadians accepted ……
    transparent disclosure, or a review of any kind. The Minister could also set up an arbitrary “class system” for waterways, and exempt them from the Environmental Assessment Act (now greatly weakened too).
    A majority voted for this. Students in Quebec were sprayed directly in their faces(one even lost an eye) beaten, this is how police treated us.And was accected by J.Charest.
    And do not forget students do not have jobs and family. They have time to get up and stand for their rights. CANADA WAKE UP…….

  • Jesse Blake

    As a life long Flyfisherman and hunter, I find this information incredibly deppressing and cannot understand why anyone in the outdoor community would ever support these radically un-Canadian Harper government bills C-38 and C-45. I am sickened by this and beginning to feel a great loss in the Canadian moral conciounce. Our only hope will be Canadians moved with enough rage and disgust with Harper we will not forget these damaging bills and do everything to change them when these neo-conservatives finally loose power of thier majority minorty death strangle hold of Canada.

  • Seraph

    Harper is being really clever about this and it pisses me off. The navigable waters act is a giant pain in the ass and for personal docks, especially in the more remote areas, people don’t pay attention very much. So he can get a lot of support to alter it to make it easier for corporations to build their crap in our waters, and as long as he is also making it easier for waterfront homeowners there will be people for it, who think that it is all about them and that anyone opposed to it thinks they should have a hard time. HOWEVER, streamlining the process for individuals and homeowners who want to build a small dock out of untreated materials and aren’t using their docks/whatever for a commercial/industrial use would be all that needs to be done… and is a very good idea, because no one wants painful rules that are onerous to try to follow. But that’s not what this is about. That’s just part of what they’re saying its about and it makes me super mad.

  • StopHarperNow

    Do absolutely everything you can to stop the Harper assault on the Canadian environment, correctional system, and sovereignty itself. Harper is a fascist dictator who does not respect Parliament or the democratic rights of Canadians in his crusade to accelerate the Tarsands development and shut down scientific advice that indicates a need to protect the Earth from more pollution. His simplistic I AM RIGHT god is not my god or yours. Get rid of him ASAP!

  • Bob

    I spent 4 academic years teaching English in China between 2004 and 2009. Sometimes I think that I’m back there now as Harper’s arrogant, undemocratic, environmentally devastating policies lay the legislative ground work to legally rape our land.

  • Galden

    4 years is too long and majority governments shouldn’t be allowed. look what Harpers gonna do in 4 years. They basically laugh and lie through their teeth when a reporter asks them tough questions. They know when word spreads they won’t be re-elected, so they can do and say what they want and laugh in our faces! Lets get these beasts out of our offices!

  • thereisnomagic

    Well, Elizabeth, I composed and comment, went to enter my Disqus username and password and it appears that my comment was dropped since I only had a fresh invite to comment in front of me when I returned. Don’t know if that is a Disqus issue or and issue with this website. But, as with other businesses, this will not matter if there are enough other customers.

    • craigcantin

      Hi there. Sorry your comment fell by the wayside. It’s a Disqus is a plug-in, so it wouldn’t be the website itself, per se.

      I’ll have a look to see if anyone in the development community has had any similar problems.

      • thereisnomagic

        Thanks for the reply.

  • Dolores

    I like “Deb”s suggestion that we no longer recognize Harper as Prime Minister and refer to him simply as Mr. X (although I may not even capitilize it). After all, he doesn’t recognize the people he supposedly represents, he recognizes only his will and that of big business so it’s only right and fitting that we do the same.

  • ken

    Doesnt anyone see what’s going on, there’s going to be a pipeline made which will travel across Canada and they want the right not privilege to uproot any body of water in Canad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JakeGoertzen Jakob Zen Knobel-Cornell

    how do I contact people???
    Bolivia’s Mother Earth Law should be established in Canada as well!

  • Christine

    Except that anyone who would want to do such disastrous things to the environment still has to deal with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999….

  • laurie66bay

    lol. What bullshit from Liz. Gonna get the moonbats all riled up with this non-event.

  • SteveHarper

    I for it! Let tear it all down!

  • DisgustedCanadian

    Each day I am less proud to be a Canadian. What is left to be proud about? First they destroyed the fact that we were Peace keepers and now we have lost our waterways. I am in NS which has more lakes than one could count and now we have three left on the list!! Oh, and Ontario gets to keep over fifty!! Why do they get to keep more than any other Province? It is just sickening!!

  • Terry

    Has anyone on here had the pleasure to ask for permission to put up a walking bridge over a stream or a brook. The Conservation Authority has been a thorn in people trying to do this. I know for fact that it took me 2 years to get a walking bridge over a creek on my property that I own. I even own the creek that is on my property as the Land Patent Act states. This is from Her Majesty the Queen who gave it to the settlers who came and made Canada what it is today. My land included the Water above and below and all Minerals above and below.
    This is a good bill for the everyday Canadians who want to avoid all the red tape and the legal process to do anything they want on their properties. The Conservation Authorities have placed illegal restrictions on private lands and have dictated to the people as to what they can and cannot do.

  • Terry

    Has anyone on here had the pleasure to ask for permission to put up a walking bridge over a stream or a brook. The Conservation Authority has been a thorn in people trying to do this. I know for fact that it took me 2 years to get a walking bridge over a creek on my property that I own. I even own the creek that is on my property as the Land Patent Act states. This is from Her Majesty the Queen who gave it to the settlers who came and made Canada what it is today. My land included the Water above and below and all Minerals above and below.
    This is a good bill for the everyday Canadians who want to avoid all the red tape and the legal process to do anything they want on their properties. The Conservation Authorities have placed illegal restrictions on private lands and have dictated to the people as to what they can and cannot do.

  • twin feathers

    he’s asking for war, don’t you think guys?

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