Sunday, February 08, 2009

Kayaking Rivers Affected by Regulation Changes

Dunno where YOU paddle, but many of the places I go in my kayak are shallow enough that big yachts can't fit, but a boat with a three foot draft can go there. That's a basic definition for "navigable waters" in Canada. There are regulations governing what kind of works can be built affecting these waters: bridges, watergates, etc.

The regulations are being re-written by the Canadian conservative government. The news is not good. Small rivers where boats with three foot draft can go are to be considered "minor" and exempt from protection from random construction of "minor works" like bridges.

I learned of this from Jim Miller, of Werner Paddles at -- he wrote:

I was alerted about this through our good friend, David Johnson, who blogs at Navigation rights are under attack in Canada. Read on and then take action...

Here is a broadcast email:


This is a broadcast email from the Canadian Rivers Network.

We remain concerned about the Harper government's intentions to gut the Navigable Waters Protection Act and exempt thousands of waters from the provisions of the act by calling them "minor waters" and by exempting "minor works" from the provisions of the act.

Our position is:

- there is no such thing as a minor water in Canada
- there is no such thing as a minor work on a waterway in Canada
- you cannot save the economy by gutting Canada's environmental laws

Please review this material and help any way you can:

1) Distribute this information through your networks.

2) Encourage your contacts to visit our website, sign the petition we have posted there, and review the information we have available on this issue.

3) Act and encourage others to act by initiating efforts to inform politicians at every level that navigation rights and environmental laws in Canada should not be tinkered with under the guise of helping the economy.

4) If you are a member of an organization that wants to be publicly listed as a supporter of the Canadian Rivers Network, let us know by sending us an email with the name of your organization, and contact information for a designated representative.

5) Speak the media about the NWPA issue at whatever level you can, local, regional, proviincial or national.

6) Let us know if you have the name of anyone who is qualified and willing to speak to the national media on behalf of the Canadian Rivers Network.

Please let us know if you require any additional information or assistance.

Canadian Rivers Network

Check out I Speak for Canadian Rivers to learn more and take action.


  1. I sent off emails to all the persons listed last night. So far one email bounced back (a member of parliament, go figure!), the Green Party replied immediately with a real response, and a Quebec MP sent a form reception email. That's it so far. Like these folks are really onto this issue!

    Let's hope Harper gets cholera (or some other water borne illness) and this legislation gets quashed.

    Thanks for the posting! If you've ever spent a night in a tent with a mosquito, then you know the power of one, no matter how small one is.

  2. Thanks, Michael.
    I hate the idea of protective legislation being eroded. We've got pretty basic minimal environmental laws in Canada, and we should be making them stronger, not weaker.