Federal Election: Our Watershed Priorities

The federal election campaign is now in full swing! We would like to share with you our concerns and aspirations for the well-being of the Ottawa River watershed we all share.

Candidates are out canvassing throughout our neighbourhoods and it’s only a matter of time before they knock on your door. Regardless of your party affiliation, we encourage you to engage candidates on watershed-related issues. We all have a role to play.

1 – Climate Change

Transitioning to a green economy is better for our watershed. It is widely acknowledged that climate change is having a profound impact on our fresh water – drinking water supplies, sanitation, food and energy production. How can we mitigate the effects of a changing climate and the ultimate consequences related to water such as increases in temperature, shifts in precipitation patterns and snow cover, and a likely increase in the frequency of flooding and droughts?

Ask your candidates: What tangible measures do you support to reduce the impact of climate change on our watershed?

2 – Nuclear Waste Disposal

In our watershed this means: Concerns about the Proposed Near-Surface Disposal Facility at Chalk River

Ottawa Riverkeeper has several ongoing concerns about this project. Among them is the proposed water treatment facility on the site, which is meant to capture and treat contaminated water. Canada urgently needs a policy for the long-term management of non-fuel radioactive waste.

This waste adds up to billions of dollars in liabilities for the Canadian public. Citizens need assurances that Canada’s nuclear waste is managed according to world-class standards – standards for which our duly elected representatives can be held accountable, not those written by private interests.

Ask your local candidates: What will your party do to ensure the safe disposal of current and future nuclear waste?

3 – Flooding

The record flooding experienced by many communities throughout the watershed this spring was a stark reminder that we have not learned all the lessons from the spring of 2017. We saw the federal, provincial, and municipal governments all trying to address citizens’ concerns and complaints with a range of different programs. But many issues remain unresolved.

Ask your local candidates: What will your party do to make sure communities are ready to deal with the impact of flooding in the future? What measures will you put in place to ensure that property and ecosystems are protected?

4 – Green Infrastructure

The federal government has traditionally supported projects to improve the state of local infrastructure. But we know that green infrastructure initiatives are also needed to address issues such as Combined Sewage Overflow (CSO) and stormwater management.

Ask your local candidates: What will your party do to make sure that green infrastructure funding can support key local projects such as rain gardens and stormwater ponds?

5 – Better & Timely Cooperation through a Watershed Network

Many jurisdictions and authorities operate in the Ottawa River Watershed. But they are not always talking to each other. The fish kill incidents on the Lièvre river this summer once again brought to the forefront the need for better information sharing and interjurisdictional cooperation to find solutions and avoid these kinds of incidents in the future. We have long been calling for players to come together to tackle issues affecting the watershed.

Ask your local candidates: Do you support the creation of an Ottawa River Watershed Council to address cross-boundary issues in our watershed?

Environment Debates in the Ottawa River Watershed:

A number of debates on the environment are taking place on October 3rd. We encourage all our followers to go to the ones in their area and let candidates know how important our watershed is to you! Make sure to take a photo and share what you hear on social media. Don’t forget to tag us!



6 responses to “Federal Election: Our Watershed Priorities”

  1. Nancy B. Cowles says:

    When will regular Ottawa River testing be done for Tritium and all Nuclear wastes? A base line test is needed now and regularly, into the future.

    • Matthew Brocklehurst says:

      Hi Nancy, this is a great question to ask your candidates, especially if you want to get a more detailed idea of their stance on the Chalk River facility.

  2. Fully in support of your focus and questions.
    Editorial revision: What will your party do to ensure the safe disposal on current and future nuclear waste? “of” not “on”
    Additional questions of concern from Freshwater Partners Renfrew County:
    What do you intend to do to better protect the natural infrastructure of our wetlands and shorelines?
    What is your plan for investment in infrastructure to improve access to water in our riding?

    • Matthew Brocklehurst says:

      Thanks for the correction Kathryn! And it is great to hear more issues of concern from other areas of the watershed. We will be releasing a longer and more detailed list of questions to ask your candidates next week, so look out for that!

  3. Can you please make this available in a way that can be shared out on fb, not just twitter.