Nashwaak Watershed Association Press Release For Immediate Release August 19, 2014

Ombudsman vindicates Nashwaak Watershed Association’s claims of government inaction on Water Classification program

Ombudsman concludes the Water Classification Regulation 2002-13, of the Clean Water Act “exists primarily as a mirage”

Fredericton - Today, the Nashwaak Watershed Association (NWAI) responded to the “Report of the Ombudsman into the Department of Environment’s Management of the Provincial Water Classification Program”, released on Friday, August 15th by Ombudsman Charles Murray.

“We are both saddened and encouraged by the Ombudsman’s findings,” says Paul McLaughlin, President of the Nashwaak Watershed Association.

“Saddened because for more than ten years now, we have been working, largely as volunteers and in good faith with the Department of Environment, to see enacted the protections afforded under the Clean Water Act, and we have been stalled in our efforts by the inaction, indecision and neglect by our provincial government.”

McLaughlin, speaking on behalf of the community-based watershed association, said “we are however, also heartened by the fact that the Ombudsman’s report is an unequivocal validation of our concerns and attempts to move the program forward over the intervening years”.

The Report makes strong statements about the inaction of successive governments in proceeding with water classification and about their assertions that the legislation is unenforceable: “The suggestion that there continues to be unaddressed issues about the legality of Regulation 2002-13 12 years after its coming into force strains credulity.”

The NWAI has long asserted that the delays in implementing the program have left New Brunswick’s water effectively without protection. This point too is clearly reflected in the report, “… Regulation 2002-13’s complete ineffectiveness is in some respects worse than having no regulation at all. Like a smoke detector without batteries, it provides no protection …”

The Association has also charged that the Department of the Environment’s claim they are working to amend the legislation is simply foot dragging, and this point has not escaped comment by the Ombudsman: “… the Department indicated that it planned to have a new Regulation in place by 2016. With respect, we considered that timeline to be so distant as to amount to little more than aspirational thinking.”

Stephanie Merrill, Freshwater Program Director for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, who supported NWAI’s complaint to the Ombudsman, echoes McLaughlin.

“We have been trying to highlight the rollbacks and facade of water protections in New Brunswick in recent years and this report helps big-time,” said Merrill “it feels like a victory after years of frustration.”

“We are proud to work with and support NWAI in this effort. NWAI has stepped up to defend their river and their years of work”, says Merrill. “We hope that the Report has rippling affects across all watersheds and rivers in New Brunswick with outstanding applications to be classified such as the Meduxnekeag, the Kennebacasis, the Richibucto, the Miramichi, and 14 others,” she continued.

McLaughlin and Merrill are both looking forward to meeting with the Department to hear their detailed plan to address the ineffectiveness of this program, as recommended by the Ombudsman.

The NWAI will continue to work with government and other stakeholders towards the implementation of an effective water classification system. NWAI sees the upcoming provincial election as an opportunity to press political candidates for their positions on this issue and hopes to encourage all who plan to vote to do the same.

Background: Water classification timeline

2002 – Water Classification Regulations are introduced and water classification efforts, supported by the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund, begin.

2002-2012 – Non‐governmental groups continue to work in good faith with the Department of the Environment, waiting for perceived issues with the legislation to be addressed in order to proceed with classification.

June 2012 ‐ A coalition of five community organizations file an official request to the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government to classify the Nashwaak River and its tributaries under Section 8.2 of Classification Regulation 2002‐13 of the Clean Water Act 2002‐56, as largely pristine “A” class waters.

July 2012 ‐ The NWAI receives a non‐response from the provincial government, indicating neither acceptance nor denial of the application.

February 2013 ‐ NWAI submits a complaint to the New Brunswick Ombudsman, requesting an investigation into the government’s inaction on regulation 2002‐13 the Water Classification Regulation of the Clean Water Act.

August 15, 2014 ‐ New Brunswick Ombudsman, Charles Murray, tables his report on the pursuant investigation to the New Brunswick Legislature.

‐ 30‐

Links:
Ombudsman’s Report: http://www.gnb.ca/0073/PDF/EnglishWaterClassificationReport.pdf
http://www.nashwaakwatershed.ca
http://www.conservationcouncil.ca

Resources:
http://www.nashwaakwatershed.ca/resources/water‐classification‐fact‐sheet/
Conservation Council summary of Ombudsman’s report ‐ http://www.conservationcouncil.ca http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/services/services_renderer.201090.html

Contacts:
Paul McLaughlin,
President Nashwaak Watershed Association
Tel: (506) 450-4943 Cell: (506) 440-3625
E-mail: blindfaithstudio@gmail.com

Stephanie Merrill,
Freshwater Program Director Conservation Council of New Brunswick
Tel: (506) 458.8747 Cell: (506) 261.8317
E-mail: water@conservationcouncil.ca

News from Groups Archives

Upcoming Events


Protect our Rivers 2017
Mon, Aug 21st, 2017


9th Annual Free School
Fri, Aug 18th, 2017


Master Food Preserver Program (week 9)
Tue, Aug 22nd, 2017
Moncton

Action Alerts

Call for nominations for the NBEN Awards - 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017
by Annika Chiasson
Every day people and environmental groups take action to protect and restore New Brunswick’s environment.  

Over this past year, who stands out in your mind? 

We invite you to nominate a group or individual deserving of one of the NBEN awards which will be presented in style at Eco-Confluence 2017.  Send an e-mail to nben@nben.ca describing your nominee’s work.  Nominees must be members or associates of the NBEN*.

Nomination deadline is September 13, 2017.

*Current NBEN Steering Committee members are not eligible for awards.

Resquest for letters of support: Proposed name restoration for the Wolastoq

Sunday, 30 April 2017
by Alma
 The Wolastoq Grand Council supports our YOUTH GROUPS on their proposal for changing the name of the Saint John River, back to it’s original and proper name; Wolastoq (the beautiful & bountiful river ). We see this as a good place to begin the process of implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; which was strongly recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  

Proposed Name Restoration: 
  • The name Saint John River back to it’s original indigenous name -  Wolastoq
Purpose: 
  • Wolastoq; (the beautiful river) is the original Indigenous name of the River.
  • Wolastoq is the name sake for the real identity and unique nationality of our People; the Wolastoqiyik.  Respecting the rights of Wolastoqiyik.
  • Scientific studies have now confirmed, what our people have always known; “that water has memory”.    This river will remember its original name.   
  • This deed would begin a process for reconciliation with a show of goodwill on the part of the Government of New Brunswick, and would;
  • Create opportunities for discussions and engagement around indigenous issues.
  • Wolastoqiyik have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 

The Wolastoq Grand Council is requesting support letters from our Allies; as individuals, organizations, and/or Groups.  For more information, contact Alma Brooks, 506-478-1256, almabrooks.26@outlook.com

Please send support letters to the following addresses:

The Wolastoq Grand Council,
Grand Chief; Ron Tremblay
50 Maliseet Drive
Fredericton, NB, E3A 2V9


David Coon
Office of the Green Party Leader
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB, E3B 5H1

Additional Information

  1. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; has assured the Wolastoq Grand Council in writing that; - “Canada is committed to a renewed nation to nation relationship with indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.”   Carolyn Bennett also stated that ; - “Achieving full reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada is at the heart of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s mandate, and that the government of “Canada will engage with Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories, and Canadians on how to implement the Declaration in accordance with Canada’s Constitution”.

  1. Andrea Bear-Nicholas
As described in a 2011 article by Andrea Bear-Nicholas, Maliseet historian:  
  1. The first step in the dispossession for the indigenous peoples in the Maritimes began in earnest immediately after the British capture of the French fort at Louisbourg in 1758.   Where place names and names of First Nations in the entire region had been inscribed on earlier maps; both would soon be erased by colonial cartographers in a process described by J. B. Harley as cartographic colonialism.  The justifications for these erasures was found in the doctrine of discovery.   
  2. The second step in the dispossession of indigenous peoples in Nova Scotia began immediately after signing of the Treaty of 1760 by Passamaquoddy and Maliseet Leaders, and later the signing of the Mascarene Treaty.   Although there was no surrender of any lands in either of these Treaties; 1.5 million acres of Maliseet land which outlawed the surveying and expropriation of lands not yet ceded by the indigenous inhabitants or purchased by the Crown.    


  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:   Articles 1, 2, 6, & 13   support and provide a guide for the implementation leading to reconciliation.

As a distinct ‘people,’ we have a right to our accurate identity and nationality.
  • Indigenous Peoples have the right to the full enjoyment as a collective or as individuals of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights law. 
  • Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin and identity. 
  • Every indigenous individual has the right to their own nationality. 
  • Indigenous people have a right to retain their own names for communities, places and persons.  “States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected”.
L'Ombudsman justifie la plainte de la Nashwaak Watershed Association à propos de l'inaction du gouvernement sur le Programme de classification des eaux