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Youth target Conservatives' 'alarming' environmental changes

Monday, April 22, 2013   by: Staff has received the following Earth Day letter from loyal reader Karrie Oliver.

One of the issues discussed - the Experimental Lakes Area freshwater research resource - has been reported on previously by news.

To read our earlier coverage, click here and here.


The Sault brings home the meaning of Earth Day

I have been fortunate enough to be working with a group of youth that are called Youth 4 Lakes.

For almost a month, they have been on a daily trek originating from the steps of the Manitoba Legislature [and going to] Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

An integral part of their journey is educating the communities they encounter en route, regarding the need for protection of our lakes and rivers. 

There are alarming environmental changes that are occurring due to the resent passing of the Jobs and Growth Act.

Environmentalists say proposed changes to a federal law governing navigable waters would end its ability to protect most of Canada's water bodies; amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act limits its application to 97 lakes, 62 rivers and the three oceans that border Canada.

Previously, the number was over 2 million bodies of water.

That means construction of dams, bridges and other projects would be permitted on most waterways without prior approval under the act.

Not only is the current federal government changing policy, they are cutting partial or complete funding to research. 

One example of a devastating loss to Canada's science capacity is the defunding of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research center and the dismantling of its scientific team.

The cancellation of federal funding for the ELA "reaches beyond basic cost-cutting measures and is a targeted strike against environmental researchers producing results the government considers incompatible with government policy," according to Dr. Jules Blais, president of the Society of Canadian Limnologists.

This educational information plus the personal effects of losing the protection rights of our freshwater lakes is the message the Youth 4 Lakes walkers are carrying.

Knowing that they would be coming to Sault Ste. Marie, I decided that I would help organize their arrival and stay. 

A small group of us began reaching out to community organizations, businesses and individuals.

They now have most of their needs meet for their time they will be with us.

Once again I have proof of what makes Sault Ste. Marie and Bawating area one of the most diverse and giving communities there is.

With the nature of their journey and having endured the final breaths of old man winter, their arrival day is estimated for mid-week.

I would like to start by thanking the Water Tower in for donating their accommodation and being patient with the uncertainty of their arrival day.

[And,] Noel's Place, the Big Arrow, Lou's Auto Body and Canadian Tire - hata off to you.

In no particular order, Garden River First Nation, Batchewana First Nation, Missanabie Cree First Nation, the Indian Friendship Centre and the Metis Nation, you have all demonstrated generosity and unity.

I would also like to acknowledge all others that have helped these many days and those that are going to be giving their support.

The youth still have many days of travel ahead.

Anyone that would like to walk with them, talk with them or support these young champions of our water can find out more about their plans in the Youth 4 Lakes and Bawating global community face book pages or by e-mail.


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Gater 4/22/2013 12:46:38 PM Report

Harper's Conservatives are sending us to HELL in a Handbag.. They have gutted environmental policies that have taken years of hard work to put in place to protect Our most valuable Resource " OUR WATER" .
The First Nation's and environmental groups have tried to tell all of us this .But we dont listen.

Our children and generations after them will pay a heavy price for our Complacency for which we Canadians are famous for.
syndi 4/23/2013 12:02:39 AM Report

I too am guilty of this complacency as for many years I have only just complained and heard our family and friends say, "Well at least we are not as bad off as......" Our complacency is what has brought us to this point because we never really thought that we would see it affect us. But the sad truth is that things are moving so fast and spiraling out of control that we are going to see these terrible premonitions from our Grandfathers in our time. People will only concern is when? Will there still be enough time to right these wrongs and turn it around? I say a prayer to Creator that we have the time.
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