Last night, the Council of Canadians kicked off the second week of its 8-city tour. Almost 100 people gathered at Queen's University in Kingston for the fourth stop of the tour. Betty Carr-Braint from the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte began the event with a welcoming which set the tone for an inspiring and moving evening.
Mark Mattson, President of Lake Ontario Waterkeepers, was the first speaker and gave an engaging speech about the claw back of environmental reviews and regulations over the last several decades. The most recent example is the gutting of the Fisheries Act in Bill C-38. He stressed the need for audience members to take protection of the Great Lakes into their hands and make governments and corporations truly accountable to them.
Robyn Hamlyn, a 13-year old water warrior, charmed the audience with her personal story on how she became involved in water activism. After seeing Blue Gold in class, she was inspired to take action. She has contacted close to 50 municipalities across Ontario and helping communities become Blue Communities, which are communities that recognize the human right to water, ban bottled water and promote public water services.
As an activist and lecturer at Queen's University, Bob Lovelace wisely explained the importance of practicing certain principles to protect the land including walking lightly on the land, taking only what is needed, listening to the Elders, knowing the land and honouring the relationship between the land and the people.
Maude Barlow, the National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians, gave an inspiring presentation about the need for a new vision, narrative or framework for the Great Lakes and what that vision might look like. Based on the principles of the First Peoples of the region, the Great Lakes Commons framework asserts that "the Great Lakes must be shared equitably by all who live around them and protected for seven generations into the future. To learn more about the Great Lakes Commons, visit our website.
Our next stop is Sarnia tomorrow night so stay tuned for more!
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