The enduring mystery of the Navigable Waters Protection Act

Did the pipeline industry inspire the changes?


The Canadian Press finds that the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association was interested in changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

The Harper government’s attempts to explain the changes to the act have been problematic from the start. First was the attempt, in the context of last year’s second omnibus budget bill, to claim that the changes had been mentioned in the budget. Then there was the case of the disappearing FAQ. And then there was the claim that the act had nothing to do with the environment.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities applauded the changes last October, but it was the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities that apparently claimed credit in November.

But members of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) are claiming a victory with the change to navigable water legislation. “We’re ecstatic about that,” president David Marit told delegates to SARM’s mid-term convention back in November.  It’s a long fight that we’ve had to deal with and we finally got what we wanted.” 

… Marit said the change is the result of a 10-year battle waged by Saskatchewan RMs. “We were the leading advocate across Canada on this issue and we got it,” he said. He said it means streams that only run during the spring season no longer come under the Act. And there’s “one less bureaucracy that we have to go through for approvals on either bridge or culvert replacements.”

Here is Mr. Marit’s testimony to the transport committee last fall.

(Mr. Marit is now perhaps better known as the dissenting commissioner in the dispute over the new Saskatchewan riding boundaries.)


The enduring mystery of the Navigable Waters Protection Act

  1. in BC there is a huge issue with lots of people wanting to build small scale run of the river power projects and for such a fantastic idea that would benefit everybody it was near impossible to wait the 5 – 10 years it would take to run around and around the bureaucracies involved with still no guarntee on being able to. Because of this change we can now start to get serious and have power to places that is greener and far more efficient deliver locally!!!! we have been lobbying for years to get this up and going – finally !!!

    • It’s not that simple – it never is. How many off those projects guaranteed they would protect fish stocks adequately? Some of those independent power producers misrepresented the scale and scope of these projects to both govt & enviros. II know people who thought it was a great idea until they saw the plans. In some cases they intended to reverse water ways, build Klm’s of tunnels and bring power lines and roads through parks. Some of the nuttier projects like in knight inlet have been rightly turned down. The set up was stupid. Guaranteeing large subsidies to independent power producers for many years and forcing hydro BC to buy it. It was asking for trouble. Some of those developers didn’t give a rats ass about green power.
      This is a beauty. It mentions the fact that Penner had the sense at least to turn down the Knight project. I’m a liberal. But I can’t wait for the door to hit this bunch of neo liberal clowns in the ass. Sadly that doesn’t guarantee we won’t simply get a bunch of socialistic goofs as replacements. We can but hope.

  2. “(Mr. Marit is now perhaps better known as the dissenting commissioner in the dispute over the new Saskatchewan riding boundaries.)”

    Always nice to have the party faithful working behind the scenes.

  3. This looks like a kind of bait and switch. Under the reasonable guise of cutting back on nit picking red tape, the Harp’govt has simply pulled the rug out completely from a layer of enviro protection. It is no accident that pipelines and some classes of power lines were also removed from the NWA. The irony is they had already changed the regs a few years ago to fix this very problem – micro managing very small changes to projects that farmers or cottagers might want to do. Marit is either a liar or a willing tool.
    This govt is the govt of business, and rural libertarians… Increasingly they are not the govt of all Canadians.

    • Yes, bridge and culvert replacements are evil and insidious. Stop Harper!

      • Given Marit’s role on the Saskatchewan election boundary commission and his obvious relationship with the current governing party, is it unreasonable to assume that he is simply quoting Party talking points when he speaks of the NWPA?

      • Jesus Dude, maybe you could try to change it up a little. You’ve been using the same, lame, thread-bare rhetorical device in every single comment for months on end. If it ever was effective (which I doubt) you have pounded every last ounce of value out of it, months ago.

        I’ve heard of beating a dead horse, but you have pulverized that long dead thing into nothing but a dark spot in the road. Move on, for the love of gawd, move on.

        • Damn right gar.
          Shame on Bean for not pulling along with little k`s paranoid and partisan rants.
          How dare he make fun of you Harper-Haters with a little bit of sarcasm.
          That little whine of yours should scare of the Bean—or maybe not—you fool.

          • Psst, he meant change the record…you too.

      • Your choice to be a misrepresenting moron OB.

      • Someone should show you where the [juvenile sarcasm] button is on your computer and turn it off. It seems to be set as the default mode.

    • Absolutely. Watch, the Red River will flood in Manitoba this year, and it’s all because of the environmental protection that’s been removed from waterways. I’ve heard from credible environmentalists that the Athabasca River has already turned green from evil businesses and ignorant rural libertarians dumping their ill-gotten gains and self-righteous independence downstream. STOP HARPER NOW!

      • Hey you know what Ricky. Next time i cross the Atha B downstream from the oil sands i’ll pull a litre out, send it to you, and invite you to drink it. No boiling mind.
        Even when we had stuff like the NWA it did at best only a so so job of protecting our major waterways. Now thanks to folks like you i’d boil everything to be doubly sure. Better yet don’t drink it at all.

  4. The enduring mystery: where does Justin stand?

    According to the polls, Justin will be PM in 2015, so it is of utmost importance to know his stand on this. Will Justin reverse the changes made to the NWPA? Yes? No? Maybe?

    (Mr.Justin is now perhaps better known as the one not to be insulted!)

    • The enduring mystery. Will Francien ever simply stay on topic and avoid deflection?

      • I couldn’t be more on topic.

        What? You don’t think it’s important to know where Justin stands on this? 2015 is right around the corner. Harper is a lame duck now and so we need to move on to what matters. Really.

        What is your reason for not wanting to face reality??

        • Thats ludicrous. it may have escaped your notice that Harper is still PM until ’15. Lame duck doesn’t apply here. At least not until it is obvious there will be a change – Clark is pretty well a lame everything in BC.
          It’s seems you think JT is not only obliged to say what he might do – but is he perhaps also somehow at fault for not preventing this change? At what point IS the govt responsible for its own deeds?

          • Actually, I have read more than one poll saying now that with Justin as Liberal leader, he will form government in 2015. Seems to me that the comment boards and news reports are very favourable of Justin also.

            Yes, I am under the assumption that there isn’t much more PM Harper can do, other than sit out his time until 2015. Lame duck indeed because all will be reversed when Justin takes the lead. That’s what Justin is saying, right?

            Justin is against changes to the NWPA right? Wrong? Don’t know? Me neither. Actually, no one knows where Justin stands on this because I’ve heard he wasn’t even there to vote on the bill……………………care to comment on that………………or should we simply forgive Justin for not voting in the House because he was doing the rounds of his speaking tour…

            (always wondering what Justin is talking about during those speaking tours since he isn’t saying much on where he stands)

            Sorry, let’s forget about Justin. Let’s do things your way. Let’s Harper bash for a few more years and then see what Justin will do when in power. Can’t wait – that’s all.

          • So you are serious then. By missing a vote he couldn’t possibly influence he’s somehow at fault.
            Far savvier pundits than you (Hebert ) have stated he’s better off outside the house given how irrelevant Harper has chosen to make it…oopsie i bashed again.

          • I have never said that I find Justin at fault for the CPC introduced policies. (Please tell me which sentence of mine says that I find Justin at fault!!)

            All I want to know is where Justin stands. That I cannot find, hard as I may try.

            Chantel Hebert, the one who doesn’t have much of anything interesting to say, other than that Bob Rae should head up the committee to resolve Native issues? As if the country needs another Liberal telling us how to resolve the Native issues. They’ve been in power so long and never even came close to resolving much of anything, least of all the Native Issue.

            But then, it would be logical for Hebert to think that way. After all, Rae was a NDPer once, a Liberal’s second and may perhaps accept to become an appointed CPCer at long last. Hebert has no problem with opportunists like Rae.

          • At what point IS the govt responsible for its own deeds?

            For a majority government? Only on election day.

          • Does that include the robo call thing? :)

          • kcm2: “At what point IS the govt responsible for its own deeds?”

            LOK: “For a majority government? Only on election day.”

            And with enough election ratf*cking, possibly not even then.

        • lame duck
          an elected official or group of officials, as a legislator, continuing in office during the period between an election defeat and a successor’s assumption of office.
          a president who is completing a term of office and chooses not to run or is ineligible to run for reelection.
          a person finishing a term of employment after a replacement has been chosen.
          anything soon to be supplanted by another that is more efficient, economical, etc.
          a person or thing that is disabled, helpless, ineffective, or inefficient.
          With two more years to his mandate, I think calling Harper a lame duck is a tad premature.

          • Possibly she meant a lame *uck…you can never tell with Francien.

          • And it would have had the benefit of being true!

    • You expect him (or any leadership candidate) to have a position on every conceivable issue, on demand?

      That’s unrealistic and absurd.

      • No,not every conceivable issue but some.

        I find it unrealistic and absurd to assume, as Justin does, that policies will be hatched out once he has won the leadership.

        But if you find it acceptable that our future PM is hiding behind a tonne of vagueness, then go ahead. But remember, don’t expect all Canadians to be that immature.

        • Oh, I see. ..just the issues you think are important. What about the myriad issues others deem important?

          Does he need a position on Canada’s role in the UN? NATO? How about intervention in Syria? Humanitarian aid to Africa? The role of the Canadian military (peacekeeping vs. selective aggression)? The federal role in health care? The economic purpose of EI? Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic…

          We could keep him busy around the clock from now until the final selection of the new leader, just spinning out policy positions to suit the likes of you.

          • No, you don’t see! It can be any issue, perhaps the ones you think are of importance.

            Which issues do you think are of importance and which of those will Justin answer before he is elected leader………….?

          • I don’t think any leadership candidate for any political party could reasonably be expected to articulate a position on every conceivable issue. (Did Harper, when he ran for leadership? If so, do you really remember what his positions were? I don’t recall his telling us he festoon all federal public spaces with pictures of the Queen. Or he’d kill the long-form census. Or spend billions on warplanes. Or blindly support Israel, regardless of its behaviour. Or shove omnibus budgets down the throat of Parliament. Or gut federal environmental legislation).

            As I believe Trudeau himself pointed out, it would be presumptuous for him to start articulating Liberal policy without first consulting party members themselves.

            I’m not a Liberal and I don’t really have a dog in that hunt but I do believe that, unlike the Conservatives, the Liberals aren’t a one-person autocracy.

          • Who is saying that any leadership candidate could reasonably be expected to articulate a position on every conceivable issue? It wasn’t me. Go take it up with the person who believes that.

            The Liberals aren’t a one-person autocracy? Justin spoke up against Ignatieff when that brilliant leader told his MP’s to vote against the abolishment of the gun-registry? Sorry, I must have missed Justin say any such thing to or about Ignatieff. Justin believes in a casting of free votes? Why then was he not present in the House when the vote needs to be casted?

          • Sorry, your response makes no sense to me. I have no clue where you’re going with this. I’ll leave you to your “logic”.

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