Publication Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Source Link: View the full original article >>
Author: Bill Redekop

In September 1988, Winnipeg Free Press reporter Barbara Robson broke a national news story on the proposed Rafferty and Alameda mega dams in Saskatchewan, which would dam water on the Souris River that flows into North Dakota and Manitoba.

A relatively unknown employee in Environment Canada, who had quit her post three months earlier, told Robson she quit because the Brian Mulroney government had not performed a proper federal environmental review of the Rafferty-Alameda project. Rafferty-Alameda had been her file. She claimed Ottawa granted the project an environmental licence in exchange for some political goodies from Grant Devine’s government in Saskatchewan. The goodies included relinquishing provincial mineral and water rights on the site of the proposed Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, and the translation of Saskatchewan laws into French.

Government officials denied the claim and unloaded on the former Environment Canada employee like hunters in duck hunting season. They tried to destroy her credibility. The employee’s name is well-known today. It is Elizabeth May, current Green party leader.

What really happened? The following is an excerpt from Winnipeg Free Press reporter Bill Redekop’s new book, Dams of Contention: The Rafferty-Alameda Story and the Birth of Canadian Environmental Law.

The 1980s were still the Wild West in terms of environmental legislation. Governments paid little more than lip service to environmental concerns. The political and legal fight against the Rafferty-Alameda dams would create the first environmental law in Canada.

View the full original article >>