Rivers: Gets a taste of what the federal election in October might be like - grants and photo ops.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

August 8th, 2019



 This is an election year and politicians show up at every chance they get.


From the left: Oakville North Burlington MP, Pam Damoff, Burlington MP Karina Gould who is also the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Minister of the Environment Catherine McKenna, They were at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters – there is a freighter sailing past them in the background.

So Liberal MP’s from Burlington, Oakville and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek were along for the ride when Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna did a presser at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters (CCIW). It was Karina Gould’s home turf so she moderated.

And fiscal conservatives might have been relieved that it was only a little over a million dollars being awarded for essentially low-level environmental clean up projects stretching over the next three years. It’s chump change, though the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, which had scored two projects under the federal Great Lakes protection initiative, was out in force to thank the minister for her/our largesse.

CCIW 4 Minister

Catherine McKenna – Minister of the Environment.

The announcement took place upon the broken pavement out the back of CCIW, which houses the world renowned National Water Research Institute (NWRI). I had spent a lot of time working in that building and it seemed little has changed over the two decades since I’d left. It was great to see so many of my former colleagues still slaving over a hot test tube.

One of the primary purposes of NWRI at its inception back in the ‘70s was to rid the Great Lakes of those nasty algal blooms which choke all the life out of the waters. And there had been progress, and for a while it looked like we had won that battle. But climate change has opened up a whole new challenge. Rain storms bringing nutrient-rich soil from well-fertilized farms and sloppy urban development have combined with warmer water to facilitate renewed algal growth.

Seriously, a million dollars is a pretty modest amount of money, given the three billion dollars the federal and other governments are giving the fossil fuel industry to continue generating greenhouse gas emissions.  But every action helps and these projects, restoring habitat and cleaning up the shoreline certainly will help.

And, of course, the feds have more arrows in their quiver. So Minister McKenna wasted no time chastising the Conservative provincial premiers who are wasting tax payer money on court challenges over the carbon tax.

But as I said it was a pre-campaign election event.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Canada Centre for Inland Waters



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2 comments to Rivers: Gets a taste of what the federal election in October might be like – grants and photo ops.

  • Bill Boyd

    Forced out of the Lakes region by periodic transfers to new posts across the U.S. starting in 1978, I’d been mostly ignorant of the disastrous algae blooms.Yeah, during the past 3, 4, 5 yrs or so, I read of the blooms off Toledo but reportedly that was quite localized. (Nonetheless, Mom still in north-central OH, only 9 miles from Erie, complained of the foul-tasting tap water.) But that the problem’s been there for decades had never occurred to me. Of course, the same for the same reasons applies to the Chesapeake with similarly dire effects.

    So, bully for you, Ray: Even a piddling budget has got to help. And even if this was pre-election PR, it doesn’t make the fundamental issue any less true.

    Thanks, Ray

  • Fred Pritchard

    Imagine how much more could be done if Dumb Doug would stop wasting money on lawyers, and actually get something accomplished. We have made great progress on the water quality of Lake Ontario, but if we don’t keep at it, we will lose the progress we have made. I don’t understand my CON’s are so difficult when it comes to clean air and water.