Working Hard to Safeguard Paddling Assets for All Canadians

All about Whitewater

All about Whitewater
A Blog about River Preservation and the need to protect our free flowing whitewater resources

Friday, October 19, 2012

Department: "TOO LATE: I told you so! "

Media Release
October 18, 2012
For Immediate Release

Bill C-45 Greatly Diminishes Right to Unimpeded Navigable Waters

OTTAWA – 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.
Media Contact:
1507-85 Albert Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 6A4

Friday, October 19, 2012

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (October 19, 2012) – The federal government has repeated its anti-democratic and draconian tactics of Spring 2012 by introducing an omnibus bill that goes far beyond what is justifiable in an actual budget bill –compromising safeguards for the environment and human health without proper study and debate.
Along with over 30 other pieces of legislation, Bill C-45 again takes aim at the Navigable Waters Protection Act (now the Navigation Protection Act) and the Fisheries Act. Once used to steward a sustainable environment, clean water and healthy oceans, these foundational Canadian laws continue to be rewritten to give oil companies an easier ride.
An independent body charged with making science-based decisions to protect Canadians from toxic chemicals and hazardous materials in the workplace has also been eliminated.
“The Bill C-45 ‘budget bill’ is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that will have major implications for the environment and human health,” said Jessica Clogg, Executive Director and Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law. “So much for the federal government’s promise that the bill would and focus on budget implementation and contain no surprises.”
Lowlights of Bill C-45 include:
• confirming that pipelines don’t have to play by the same rules as others when it comes to protecting Canada’s lakes and rivers;
• dramatically limiting the number of waterways protected by the Navigable Waters Protection Act;
• giving industry the option to request that their existing commitments to protect fish habitat be amended or cancelled, or that they be let off the hook for promised compensation for lost or damaged habitat;
• eliminating the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission; and,
• needlessly tinkering with the Fisheries Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 to correct obvious drafting mistakes made during the ramming through Omnibus Bill C- 38 and sham of a debate that accompanied it.
For more information:
Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel: 604.601.2501
Rachel Forbes, Staff Counsel: 604.601.2508; 604.345.9129 cell;
West Coast Environmental Law Association


Paving the way for pipelines - industry wins, environment loses, more bad news for Canadians

Oct 18, 2012 VANCOUVER — A second omnibus bill, C-45, tabled today by the federal government picks up where last spring’s budget bill left off, and further eliminates environmental hurdles for projects like Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.
Buried in the 457-page bill are changes to the laws that once protected Canada’s waterways, including the Navigable Waters Protection Act. As a result, of the 32,000 or so lakes in Canada, only 97 are still protected by this law.
Pipelines however, are also directly exempted from this law. Under the Act, pipeline impacts on Canada’s waterways will no longer be considered in environmental assessments.
“Simply put, lakes, rivers and streams often stand in the path of large industrial development, particularly pipelines. This bill, combined with last spring’s changes, hands oil, gas and other natural resource extraction industries a free pass to degrade Canada’s rich natural legacy,” said Devon Page, executive director of Ecojustice.
“With this bill, the federal government’s position is very clear: building pipeline projects like Northern Gateway and making way for increased tanker traffic is more important than safeguarding Canada’s rivers, lakes, streams and oceans.  If you fish or play in our waters, or care what goes in your water glass, you should be alarmed.”
The bill also contains changes to Canada Shipping Act, Hazardous Materials Information Review Act, and further changes to the Fisheries Act.
Bill C-45 follows in the wake of Bill C-38, the highly controversial omnibus budget bill unveiled by the federal government last spring. The bill, which pushed through sweeping changes to landmark environmental laws like the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and Fisheries Act, become a flashpoint for nation-wide protests and a target of international criticism.
“The federal government is giving these industries more than they have ever asked for, all at the expense of average Canadians who want to ensure that we protect our natural legacy for our kids,” Page said.
To arrange an interview, please contact:Kimberly Shearon, communications coordinator | Ecojustice
604.685.5618 x242
October 18 2012

Omnibus bill again hides big changes to environmental laws, subverting democracy, weakening protection of air, water, soil and ecosystems

TORONTO, ON -- Once again, the federal government is proposing to make significant changes to environmental legislation without proper democratic debate, according to many of Canada’s leading environmental organizations.

Instead, these changes are contained in a sweeping omnibus budget bill.

Canadians concerned about protecting the air, water, soil and natural ecosystems that support all of us -- and our economy -- are doubly troubled, both by the end-run around democratic process and the potential for even more pollution and destruction of critical habitat.

The bill includes proposed changes to laws protecting fish and navigable waters, preventing harm from hazardous waste and governing the shipping industry.

We will be reviewing these changes in more detail in the coming days to determine what impact they could have on environmental protection.

We note many of these pieces of legislation were also changed by the omnibus bill in the spring. Changing the same bill twice in one year underlines the value of debating specific bills, through appropriate committees—the jobs our MPs are elected to do.

There is no need to subvert our legislative process in this manner, which only serves to heighten fears that already-weakened laws will get weaker still.

The groups issuing this statement are: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Greenpeace, Nature Canada, Pembina Institute, Sierra Club Canada, West Coast Environmental Law, WWF Canada

For more information or interview requests, please contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Communications Director, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 232; 647-280-9521 (cell);

Tuesday, October 16, 2012



Presentation by Nicole Foss

Tuesday October 23 at 7:30 PM
The First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa
 30 Cleary Ave.

"at some point, it doesn't matter what your dollar is worth in terms of someone else's currency but what it is worth in terms of milk and bread."

Nicole Foss is Senior Editor of The Automatic Earth ( Since January 2008 she and her writing partner have been chronicling and interpreting the ongoing credit crunch as the most pressing aspect of our current multi-faceted predicament. Their website integrates finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and realpolitik to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis andwhat we can do about it.

 Admission $ 5
Hosted by the Environmental and Global Justice Working Groups

Contact: Bob Stevenson or Alastaire Henderson at

reference links:

The typical message:

She wants to bring people together in a room and then inspire them to work together to do what can be done at a community level. “I also want to warn them, provide a kind of psychological inoculation if you like ...” She feels that if people have had some degree of forewarning they will be able to act more rationally if a financial tsunami hits. There are no foolproof survival methods but she recommends the following individual actions:
  • - minimise debt
  • - eliminate dependence on credit because availability of credit is going to go away
  • - hold a supply of real cash
  • - rent rather than buy (you’re paying someone else a small fee to take the property price risk!)
  • - move into land, tools ... anything tangible, over time
  • - beware of the banking system – it has a long way to fall
  • - sell excess real estate, shares, commodities (you may well be able to buy them back later for less money if you really want to own them)
  • - investing in precious metals is probably only sensible if you can afford to sit on them for 20 years
  • - gain control over essentials (food, water, energy supplies)
  • - get to know your neighbours and build stronger local community bonds – you may well have to rely on these people in the future!
Listen to Nicole being interviewed by James Marshall of Penwith Radio

Defamation Suit Law in Canada

Extracted from a recent comment piece by Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer, Mining Watch

We depend upon well researched legal positions to advance environmental protection. Appeal to the
emotions,  on a  factual basis, while  sometimes less obvious,  is still useful.

We believe in free speech, and in the ability of activists to speak their mind without being sued for it.

Conduct during the trial matters.  Words can be defamatory, in the sense that they could tend to lower somebody's reputation in the eyes of a reasonable person especially when communicated to at least one person other than the subject of the remarks.

Activists who find themselves in court – whether because they’re sued or for other reasons – need to know that there are certain expectations,including communicating respectfully to the judge, the lawyers, witnesses and other participants. Updating supporters with the progress of a  court case via a blog or the media should be accurate and respectful.

Some activists – due to their style or personal beliefs – find no difficulty with the conventions of court. Others find it more difficult to strike a balance between making their views and perspectives heard, and observing a level of decorum that the judge expects. However, at the end of the day, activists would be well advised to be aware of the expectations of the judge, who will be deciding the case.

Activists need to be careful, particularly when making emotionally charged statements, and to make the factual basis for their opinions clear.  It is important not to allow subsequent communications to create confusion as to the basis for earlier statements.

*The defence of fair comment*

At the end of the day, the judge may agree with defamatory statements. But the Supreme Court of Canada has recently expanded the“defence of fair comment” in a case known as /WIC Radio Ltd. v. Simpson /. 

That case was a defamation suit against BC’s own Rafe Mair for comments that he made comparing a speech made by Kari Simpson on homosexuality to speeches
made by Hitler and U.S. segregation era politicians. The Supreme Court of Canada allowed Rafe’s appeal, and in doing so, said that individuals who express honestly held opinions – as long as they are clearly opinions and not claims of fact – cannot be found guilty of defamation.

The Supreme Court says that the defence applies where:

    (a) the comment must be on a matter of public interest;

    (b) the comment must be based on fact;

    (c) the comment, though it can include inferences of fact, must be recognizable as comment;

    (d) the comment must satisfy the following objective test: could any [person] honestly express that opinion on the proved facts?

    (e) even though the comment satisfies the objective test the defence can be defeated if the plaintiff proves that the defendant was    [subjectively] actuated by express malice.

A recent case is the first defamation case involving defamation by an environmental activist since the Supreme Court’s decision in WIC Radio  Its findings will protect environmentalists and others seeking to comment on high profile public issues.

The protection of a person’s ability to exercise his or her right to freedom of expression in order to attempt to influence public opinion on legitimate public issues is the objective of the defence of fair comment. The defence cannot be defeated if the respondent was doing the very thing that the defence was designed to protect.

/Mainstream Canada v. Staniford / should give environmentalists some comfort that they won’t be held liable for any controversial statement made about corporations. The decision also
suggests a number of lessons for environmentalists and others speaking out.

The decision is a win for free speech, but does nothing to address the broader problem of allowing large corporations with extremely deep pockets to drag their political opponents into court. The costs of going to court (and defamation cases are particularly expensive) are prohibitive for activists, but are a tax deductible expense for big companies. The result is an unequal playing field where those who speak out against environmental destruction risk being sued by deep-pocketed opponents.

If you have access to an experienced defamation lawyer and are an accomplished fundraiser and win - the costs award that you may receive from the plaintiff will not cover your legal bills, and will not replace the months of your time and attention that the case has taken.

Politics in Ontario goes south

It will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to cancel already signed power plant projects in Ontario. Ontario is now forced to pay cancellation fees and the costs for moving the power plants to another location and constructing them there. The current premier resigned and then adjourned (prorogued) Parliament just a few days before a hearing was to start an investigation into the power plant cancellation issue.

There have been some good initiatives from Ontario's government: Green Energy, limiting urban sprawl, all day kindergarten, labor peace for most of his mandate, a bailout of the auto companies etc., however they have now been overshadowed by Ontario's fiscal situation, labor issues, E-health over spending and now the power plant costs. Just one year ago the premier won a minority government The power plant issue investigation should move forward to find the truth.

When did it become so popular to prorogue government? Most of us had never even heard of this until about 10 years ago when it was started by Mr. Harper and now is happening all the time, with two levels of government. Proroguing Parliament or the Legislature should have strict guidelines. 75% of MP's (or MLA's) should vote in favor of it, and it should have to be approved by either the Governor General (for federal) or the Lt. Governor (for provincial). It should not be used because "you can't get your way". It should only be permissible to prorogue for a maximum of one week. After one week, then back to work, and session had better go one week longer. After all, politicians are paid - very generously - to be working for us, not taking extra vacation. If they don't go back to work in a week, then call an election.

Ontario is facing a debt crisis. Jobs are disappearing. The province is crumbling and the premier shuts down the legislature when we need it most. How can anyone support these politicians? Hugo Chavez won re-election with 55% of the votes cast and the Western press calls him a dictator. McGuinty and Harper with twenty points less dismiss the elected assembly and our "pundits" declare that he 'had little choice. I think our "free press" needs to be called on this bias. The refusal of party leaders to work together to solve the problems facing those they represent displays for all of us to see their interest is not to govern well but to have absolute power and control over us for as long as they possibly can.

The pay freeze is a good example. Its important for Ontario to be fiscally conservative in an era of $16 billion deficits. All three leaders in a minority government situation are equally responsible to see that happen. This is a fundamental flaw in the parliamentary processes of Canada; that a party leader can be a Premier or Prime Minister indefinitely. A Prime Minister or Premier who rules more than two terms does not necessarily mean that they were an effective leader - it indicates that they "appeared to be better" than their opposition.

Next election choose Wisely chose independent candidates who may respond to your influence.

Canadian Rivers

Canadian Rivers
I speak for river users too!

The Queen is not amused!

The Queen is not amused!

The Damned Dam - 2005 -

The Damned Dam - 2005 -
22nd Annual Kipaw Rally has modest turnout. - 23rd does better

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

Whitewater Ontario

Whitewater Ontario
Working Hard to Protect Canada's Paddling Resources

Whitewater Ontario - Mission Statement

It is Whitewater Ontario’s mission to support the whitewater paddling community through the promotion, development and growth of the sport in its various disciplines. We accomplish this through the development of events, resources, clubs, and programs for personal and athletic development, regardless of skill level or focus, to ensure a high standard of safety and competency; We advocate safe and environmentally responsible access and use of Ontario’s rivers. Whitewater Ontario is the sport governing body in the province, and represents provincial interests within the national body Whitewater Canada and the Canadian Canoe Association

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican
If Hydro Quebec is not actively pursuing Tabaret what is that bite out of Opemican for?

Kipawa Dam: After

Kipawa Dam: After
Laniel Dam at 2006 Rally

Where is the Kipawa

Where is the Kipawa
Kipawa flows into lake Temiskamingue, running from Kipawa Lake, under hwy 101 in Quebec

Kipawa Dam

Kipawa Dam
laniel dam at 2004 River Rally

Tabaret is a Bad Idea

About the Kipawa

The best thing paddlers can do to help the cause of the Kipawa:

1. attend the rally and bring others including non paddlers to attend and buy beer and have fun

2. write your MP /MNA and raise the issue and post your objections -1 letter = 200 who didn't write

3. Write Thierry Vandal the CEO of Hydro Quebec strongly opposing the 132 MW standard decrying the use of "diversion" as the most environmentally inappropriate method of power production

4. Write Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec protesting that either the algonquin or the tabaret project will eliminate all other values on the Kipawa River by turning it into a dry gulch.

5. See if you can get other allied groups interested by showing your own interest, ie the Sierra Defense Fund, Earthwild, MEC, and so on.

6. Demand further consultation

7. Currently we are at the point where we need to sway public opinion and raise awareness.

However, if all else fails, don't get mad, simply disrupt, foment, and protest . The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Have you read Edward Abbey?

Important Addresses
CEO,Hydro Québec, 75 boul René Levesque, Montreal, P.Q., H2Z

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Two)

Les Amis de la Riviere Kipawa is poised to use an application to the Federal Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to ensure the Minster does what he is supposed to do, protect the public's right to navigate the water control structure at Laniel, Quebec using the Navigable Waters Protection Act. (see

In the now gutted Navigable Waters Protection Act lay the means by which the Minister of Transport could keep the public right of passage down our great Canadian Heritage, our rivers and streams which are threatened especially by resource corporations and power brokers such as Hydro Quebec.

These powerful entities continue to petition that 'this' river or 'that' stream is not navigable and therefore not protectable.
I don't say that dams and bridges should not be built, only that if they are, historical navigation rights should be considered and preserved by making reasonable accommodations for recreational boaters.

It is the Minister of Transport, in exercising the right to allow or disallow work on or over a navigable waterway is what keeps boats and recreational boaters plying our waterways.

To many recent cases launched in the Federal Court concerning the Navigable Waters Protection Act, most recently the case of the Humber Environment Group of Cornerbrook Newfoundland versus the Cornerbrook Pulp and Paper Company indicates that the important oversight is not being faithfully performed. Have we really come to the point now where we must say "such and such a stream is one foot deep, possessing so many cubic feet per second flow and so on?" The answer to this is... YES!

The honourable Mr. Justice John A. O'Keefe, ruled that it had not been shown that the river was navigable. How convenient was that to the Minister? But either the Minister of Transport acts to protect our rivers and streams as a public right or he does not and that means rivers and streams currently enjoyed by kayakers and canoists.

Enough of the cheating, and double-talk. Canadians! our rivers and streams are our own, lets urge the Minister of Transport and the our government to protect them.

Peter Karwacki

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Three)

10 Reasons WhyTabaret is a Bad Idea1) Tabaret is too big. The station is designed to useevery drop of water available in the Kipawawatershed, but will run at only 44 percent capacity.We believe the Tabaret station is designed to usewater diverted from the Dumoine River into theKipawa watershed in the future. 2) The Tabaret project will eliminate the aquaticecosystem of the Kipawa River.The Tabaret project plan involves the diversion of a16-km section of the Kipawa River from its naturalstreambed into a new man-made outflow from LakeKipawa. 3) Tabaret will leave a large industrial footprint on thelandscape that will impact existing tourismoperations and eliminate future tourism potential. 4) The Tabaret project is an aggressive single-purposedevelopment, designed to maximize powergeneration at the expense of all other uses. 5) River-diversion, such as the Tabaret project, takinglarge amounts of water out of a river’s naturalstreambed and moving it to another place, is verydestructive to the natural environment. 6) The Kipawa River has been designated a protectedgreenspace in the region with severe limitations ondevelopment. This designation recognizes theecological, historical and natural heritage value ofthe river and the importance of protecting it.Tabaret will eliminate that value. 7) If necessary, there are other, smarter and morereasonable options for producing hydro power onthe Kipawa watershed. It is possible to build a lowimpactgenerating station on the Kipawa river, andmanage it as a “run-of-the-river” station, makinguse of natural flows while maintaining other values,with minimal impact on the environment. 8) The Kipawa watershed is a rich natural resource forthe Temiscaming Region, resonably close to largeurban areas, with huge untapped potential fortourism and recreation development in the future.Tabaret will severely reduce this potential. 9) Tabaret provides zero long-term economic benefitfor the region through employment. The plan is forthe station to be completely automated andremotely operated. 10) The Kipawa River is 12,000 years old. The riverwas here thousands of years before any peoplecame to the region. The Tabaret project will change all that.

Problems on a local River?

  • There is more to do as well but you have to do your research and above all, don't give up.
  • IN the meantime prepared a document itemizing the history of navigation of this spot and its recreational value. Use the Kipawa river history of navigation as a guide: see
  • Under the Ministry of Environment guidelines you have a set period of time to petition the change under the environmental bill of rights, you may have limited time to take this action. But it involves going to court for a judicial review of the decision.
  • 4. contact the ministry of natural resources officials and do the same thing.
  • 3. contact the ministry of the environment and determine if they approved the project
  • 2. determine if the dam was a legal dam, approved under the navigable waters protection act.
  • 1. research the decision and timing of it to determine if an environmental assessment was done.

Minden Ontario

Minden Ontario
Gull River Water control at Horseshoe lake

A History of Navigation on the Kipawa River

Prior to the environmental assessment there was no signage at the Laniel Dam

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!
Send $25 and a stamped self addressed envelop for the Tshirt, and for the bumper sticker, a stamped and self addressed envelope with $5.00 for the bumper sticker to Les Amis de la rivière Kipawa, 80 Ontario St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1K 1K9 or click the link To purchase a Les Amis "T" contact Doug with the following information: Number of shirts:Sizes: Ship to Address: Method of Payment: cash, cheque and paypal, Shipto address:

Bumper Stickers Now Available

Bumper Stickers Now Available
Get your bumper sticker and show your support for the Kipawa Legal Fund ! - send $5.00 in a Stamped, self addressed envelope to: Peter Karwacki Box 39111, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1H 7X0