You will get to cast your vote in the 2015 federal election Oct. 19. Before you head to the ballot box check out this list of debates in Ottawa. Missing from that list is a debate in Gatineau Sept. 21. We know the four pipeline proposals across Canada are on a lot of people’s minds so if you want more in depth coverage of that issue read this.
Here are seven questions about the future of water health that you can ask candidates in your riding. We encourage you to challenge your candidates to take action to safeguard our right to swim, drink and fish in the Ottawa watershed.
1. Both rural urban spaces in the Ottawa watershed require funding to upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure. All of the parties are talking about infrastructure spending but we want to know how the parties will prioritize spending on water and wastewater infrastructure that is critically important, yet not as popular as arenas, roads and old age homes. Given that there will never be enough money to address all the infrastructure needs throughout Canada, how would you help municipalities in our watershed get infrastructure funding for drinking water and wastewater treatment and how would you prioritize how the funding is allocated?
2. Given that neonicotinoids have been found in 100% of the tests done in Quebec Rivers between 2011 and 2014, would you support and act on a full ban of all agricultural uses of that family of insecticides?
3. One of the important responsibilities our Federal government has is to safeguard our fisheries. I think we can all agree that protecting aquatic habitat is critical for protecting our fish populations. Are you aware of the changes our Federal Government as made to the Fisheries Act over the past decade? This legislation used to be our best tool for protecting our valuable aquatic ecosystems. Would you be prepared to champion changes to the Fisheries Act and work with experts to create a strong piece of legislation that protects all species and their habitats?
4. Would you support increased government transparency by removing the restrictions in the current communications policy of the Government of Canada that force scientists to go through a pre-approval process with their minister’s office before talking to media and the public about their research and knowledge?
5. Would you set aside money for the study of the effects of climate change on each of Canada’s watersheds?
6. Given that the Ottawa River is shared by two provinces, what do you think the role of the Federal government should be when it comes to safeguarding the river that flows through our nation’s capital?
7. In Ontario the OEB has studied the proposed Energy East pipeline that runs through the Ottawa River Watershed. Their research concluded that the risks outweigh the benefits and in particular the risk to our freshwater ecosystems. What would/could you do to ensure the upcoming NEB process is unbiased, includes recommendations from independent experts and is transparent with respect to how the final decision is made?