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30th March 2016
EDITOR
...Continued from Part 1

[Margo Sheppard] "Why is it rushing this process? It seems they are discarding a 25-year process."

[Lawrence Wuest] “The consultation process attempts to limit, manipulate, disperse, fragment, and control public and science-based input in a non-transparent way.”

“The process refuses to honestly communicate to the public the rationale for a revised strategy, and refuses to articulate clearly and truthfully the problems with the existing legislation and regulations.”

“The process ignores the recommendations of recent reports from several independent reviewers, including the 2014 report by the Provincial Ombudsman, the 2012 report from the Chief Medical Officer of Health on shale gas, and the 2016 report of the Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing.”

[David Coon] “Certainly, for example, just the people that I represent in my riding, I would expect many have not heard of this. And secondly, they would be quite appalled to learn that this process is starting as if from scratch, when we’ve got strong legislation in place already.”

[Lawrence Wuest] “By not classifying, the Northcliff Resources never had to go to the residents of the watershed and were free to propose the mine without that constraint in the EIA. I’m convinced that under this strategy, they will do away with that local control. The Naskwaak no longer exists in their named watersheds, and so the residents of the Nashwaak no longer have that control.”

Water Classification is used around the world to protect water quality

The magnitude of this issue can’t be stressed enough. Why is over 50% of our drinking water (private wells and rivers) not covered by comprehensive water quality protection such as water classification? An extremely large percentage of New Brunswickers (40%, 280,000 people) get their drinking water from groundwater using private wells. An equally large percentage (40%, 300,000 people) get their drinking water from their municipality using surface water (rivers and lakes). The remainder (20%, 173,000) get their drinking water from municipal wells using groundwater.

If the watercourse classifications will not be enforced by the Gallant government, then the existing protections under the Act are unenforceable for Lakes (Class AL) and Drinking Water Supply Protected Areas (Class AP).

This type of water classification program is in place throughout United States and Europe and in some Canadian provinces. To have the New Brunswick government run in the opposite direction should ring the alarm bells. An excellent example of just how unbelievable this situation is can be seen with our shared international waterways on the East Coast. Maine and New Brunswick share two large river systems, the Saint John River (Wolastoq) and the St. Croix River, and yet only the Maine half of the river system is protected with this program.

[Bill Ayer] “This clever and unique system can tell aquatic scientists how healthy or sick the river is over time. It will measure if severe exposure to chemicals has occurred whether from either end-of-pipe or run-off pollution. The ratings of the river’s health may be classified into categories, such as A, B. and C. The little bugs, as the Maine scientists say, don’t lie. Thus a system of classification based on aquatic life can be built to serve river managers with a complete and comprehensive watershed management record.”

"What we do to water we do to ourselves."

Since time immemorial, Wolastoqewiyik (which means people of the beautiful river) have been responsible for protecting Wolastokuk (the Maliseet Homeland). Wolastoqewi¬ Kci-¬putuwosuwinuwok (Wolastoq Grand Council) is the traditional sovereign governance structure of the Wolastoqewiyik.

Their Ancestors pledged to protect the land, rivers, and tributaries, as well as care for all our relations. Their collective rights come from the land and are premised on their social relations with nature.

[Sharlene Paul] “We have never ever thought of water as a commodity. It is not a commodity to us, it’s a human right.”

"We consider water is life." "What we do to water we do to ourselves."

[Sharlene Paul, reading from the Water Declaration declared in Peace and Friendship, on the 30th of May, 2015, at the mouth of the Wolastoq (Saint John River) and the shore of the Bay of Fundy] “The Peace and Friendship Alliance opposes these abuses. We are committed to restoring balance to our relationship with the water, thereby renewing our treaty responsibilities to each other as distinct nations. When we care for the water, we care for each other.”

The Water Strategy process of the Gallant Government must be halted

[Bill Ayer] “We need to protect these waters. This Province is recognized for the goodness of its waters. If we lose that, we are going to lose our economic base, and our existence here, for making profits in the future.”

“The lack of transparency of mythical problems with the existing legislation has set the stage to repeat the mistakes of the past, to increase the mistrust of the public in government accountability, and to generate more of the unrest and turmoil that has already cost the Province socially and financially, and has marred the reputation of the Province nationally.”

"I call on the government to immediately halt the current Water Strategy consultation process, and to institute a more appropriate, non-partisan, and more science-based process that will accurately and impartially report of the public in a transparent and truthful way."

[Sharlene Paul] “We will care for the water by building a sustainable economy that rapidly transitions away from fossil-fuels to renewables, restores our forests, reduces the carbon footprint, decentralizes energy supply, and builds food security through a regional biodiverse farming sector.”

CALL TO ACTION: The New Brunswick Government has set up an e-mail and questionnaire to receive feedback on their Water Strategy process. We call on citizens, groups, and Indigenous people in New Brunswick to call for a halt to the this current Water Strategy process. Please tell the government that this is a strategy not to conserve and protect water, but it is a strategy to allocate water. We only want one thing, a halt to the process. Our water is not yours to destroy or sell! Here is the link to the government's Water Strategy website with all the contact information & questionnaire:

Working Towards a Water Strategy for New Brunswick (Dept. of Environment and Local Government)

Mark D'Arcy's blog

http://canadians.org/blog/are-large-projects-energy-east-putting-drinking-water-protection-chopping-block-new-brunswick