You likely saw the news. On July 20, a pipeline ruptured near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, spilling up to 250,000 litres of toxic crude oil into the North Saskatchewan River.
As well as being home to countless birds, plants, and fish, this majestic river is themain source of drinking water for tens of thousands of families.
In the middle of this hot summer, more than 50,000 people were suddenly thrust into a full-blown water crisis. Prince Albert in Saskatchewan and nearby First Nations had to declare a state of emergency. And it may take months to fully remove all of the thick oil residue from the river. Can you imagine if this were to happen to your family and your community?
The sad reality is that disasters like this are now all too common. Waterways across Canada and Indigenous lands are increasingly being contaminated and put at unacceptable risk by leaking pipelines, toxic mines and dangerous fracking operations.
Now consider that the controversial Energy East pipeline – under federal review at this very moment – would carry 1.1 million barrels of toxic tar sands bitumen every day from Alberta to the Bay of Fundy.
If approved, Energy East would cross nearly 3,000 waterways and the source of drinking water for more than 5 million people.
That is a risk that you and I simply cannot accept.
Yet despite serious safety and environmental concerns, Prime Minister Trudeau and our new Liberal government continue to support Energy East and other controversial projects.
And behind the scenes, industry lobbyists from Big Oil and mining are putting extreme pressure on our government to keep any new environmental laws watered-down.
That’s why it would be a mistake for you and me to sit out the upcoming freshwater public consultations and trust that it will all work out.
Only by coming together with passion and conviction, and in huge numbers, can we take on Big Oil and mining’s corporate lobbyists and give Prime Minister Trudeau a clear mandate from the people: It’s time to protect every lake and every river.
But the clock is ticking. The cross-Canada public consultations are expected to start in just a few weeks. So I urgently need your help. Can you chip in a donation now to:
1. Produce and distribute new public education tools to get people informed from coast-to-coast-to-coast on how Canada’s current climate and water legislation, weakened or gutted altogether by Stephen Harper, is leaving our lakes, rivers and drinking water at serious risk.
2. Flood the public consultations by launching a national ad campaign to make sure everyone knows when and where the events are being held, and how to participate.
3. Keep the pressure on MPs on Parliament Hill and in their ridings to follow through on their election promise and deliver the 21st century water laws Canada needs now.
As I write in Boiling Point, my new book on Canada’s growing water crisis, is time to abandon our erroneous beliefs that Canada has unlimited supplies of water, that Canadians have taken care of our water heritage or that we still have lots of time to do so.
That could not be more wrong.
If you agree that it’s time Canada enacts a strong, 21st century national policy that enforces water protection and promotes water justice, then please join me in this fight. Our path forward is clear, but not short or simple.
This is our chance to finally undo the damage done by Stephen Harper and secure a better future for every lake and every river in this country.
I can’t think of a more valuable gift we can give ourselves and our grandchildren than that.
With hope and resolve,