Security of Canada’s Water

The Honourable David Anderson,
Minister of Environment
Room 133 East Block
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa
K1A 0H3

March 5, 2002
Dear Minister Anderson,

On behalf of the National Council of Women of Canada, may I take this opportunity to thank you for your very detailed and careful response to our letter of 2002 regarding the security of Canada’s water.

Another area of considerable concern for Council members across the country, is that of global warming, and the absolute necessity for Canada to honor its commitment to the Kyoto Accord.

Again, NCWC has developed strong policies in this area, over many years, addressing global warming within the context of the overwhelming need to reduce our reliance on costly traditional, pollutant and dangerous energy sources such as oil and coal and nuclear, and to move towards a sustainable future ensured by energy conservation and the wide spread use of alternative energy sources.

NCWC has addressed the Government many times over the years to forward this sense of urgency, and bolster our argument for radical change from our enormously wasteful and costly energy patterns to date.

For instance, in a December 22, 1989 brief, to the Standing Committee on Environment /Global Warming, Council noted the extremely high environmental costs of global warming and the use of oil, gas and nuclear fuels, and drew attention to the many benefits of energy conservation and use of renewables. The latter included, lower dependence on foreign fuel supplies, increased jobs through the development and application of leading edge technologies, decreased automobile pollution, reduced fossil fuel emissions, especially coal, which in turn will reduce acid rain and improve air quality, and reduced home and industry heating and operating costs.

In 1998, NCWC took part in the National Energy Board consultations on Canadian Energy Supply and Demand to 2025, and asked that experts in renewable energy and energy conservation be consulted. In a brief that year to the Government of Canada, Council asked it to ” formulate projections incorporating possible changes /reductions in consumption of, and demand for, energy sources producing greenhouse gases, which will be necessary for Canada to achieve the projected reductions of these harmful emissions by the year 2012.”

In a practical way, National Council of Women surveyed its members across Canada in 1992-1995 as part of a Federal Green Plan Partner’s Energy Conservation Project. The results were very telling, showing how and why Canadians used energy, wasted energy and whole heartedly ( 86%) tried ” to make a difference” in their attempts to conserve energy . In general ” Canadians were best at doing things that have been promoted by government, over many years, and in general, worst in areas where they had no control.”

As we advised the Government then, we reiterate now- ” People want to save energy! They are making an effort! They need information, affordable options, examples of success and encouragement.”

Knowing that, “The internalization of a conservation ethic resulting from government campaigns during the 2nd world war and the 70’s oil crisis” resulted in many older respondents making more of an effort than those who were younger, and that most of those surveyed relied on news articles for information, NCWC urged the government to conduct a national campaign to involve all Canadians in energy conservation.

To-day, there are some provinces and many in the business community, who are most concerned about the financial costs of Canada ratifying the Kyoto Accord. May I say with equal conviction that the National Council of Women members believe Canada must take a leadership role and ratify the accord. Not to do so invites overwhelming health, environmental, economic and social damage to all the world’s citizens of the future.

Sincerely,

Catharine Laidlaw-Sly
President
National Council of Women of Canada

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