Death of a fishery

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After decades of mercilessly laying waste to the East Coast cod fisheries, the federal government is poised to shut them down. The government has no choice: There is nothing left to plunder. It didn’t have to end like this.

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Responding to the Crisis: Strengthening Regulation Through Privatization

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A presentation to the Safe and Clean Drinking Water Strategies Conference, held in Toronto, Ontario, on July 10, 2001.
 

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Logging for a loss

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Logging a majestic stand of hemlock and balsam in British Columbia’s coastal rainforest costs logging companies $100 a cubic metre. Selling the hemlock gets them an average of $60 a cubic metre, the balsam gets them less. "We lose $40 on every cubic metre of hemlock that we bring to the sawmill," explains Steve Crombie of Interfor, one of B.C.’s large product exporters.

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Can high profit flow with safe water?

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Mike Price is happy to take on all comers if the province opens the door to privatization of Toronto’s water and sewer service.

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Straight Flush

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"What farmers facing environmental restrictions have suspected about provincial urban sewages systems is true: they are massive environmental polluters of sewage and other compounds. Because it would cost so much to upgrade facilities in cities and towns, the situation often gets a blind eye."

It took just a few minutes. A manure irrigation gun, left unattended, pumping at full throttle. A faulty connection. Before anyone knew what had happened, several thousand litres of liquid hog manure were flowing down the slope towards the small trout creek.

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Residents win prominent role at inquiry

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The judge looking into the contamination of this town’s water supply made it clear in a ruling yesterday he wants to be sure the people most affected are heard.

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Canadians not paying too little for water, says utilities group

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Claims by an international think-tank that Canadians pay too little for the water they consume are untrue, according to, the country’s municipal water utilities.

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River pollution: A lawsuit runs through it

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On the surface, a recent B.C. court case seemed to deny a legal right to clean water. But in fact, since the 19th century, common law has given the users of water downstream from a polluter a clear right to seek redress through the courts.

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Common law has been defanged

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While reporting on the trial of Wiebo Ludwig and Richard Boonstra for the National Post, Christie Blatchford managed unintentionally to articulate the real issue in the subterfuge that runs as deep as the many hydrocarbon-emitting wells in the northwestern part of Alberta.

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Conservation that works

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Conservation programs based on rewards rather than punishments have been widely tested and shown to work. In 1991, England established a Countryside Stewardship Scheme to conserve the landscape and to protect and extend wildlife habitats.

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Case of the stolen gene

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In this Alberta Report article by Carla Yu, Elizabeth Brubaker speculates that Roundup Ready Canola seed could be deemed a trespass if it drifts onto someone’s property. Continue reading

Privatizing water leaves us high and dry

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In her Aug. 5 article “Private operator best for Halifax system,” Elizabeth Brubaker gives CUPE a failing grade, claiming we did not do our homework; yet she has presented no facts to back up her position, a position which appears to be based solely upon ideology.

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Halifax’s political sewage problem

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Bill Maden figures he takes his dip in Halifax harbour at the only safe time of the year – the dead of winter. For a quarter-century, Mr. Maden, a personal investment advisor, has organized the Polar Bear Club’s New Year’s Day swim.

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Toronto water fight

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Toronto faces a motion to reject the idea of privatizing its water and sewage systems. Worldwide experience shows that could be a mistake.

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Cod don’t vote

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On July 2, 1992, Canada’s fisheries minister banned cod fishing off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and off the southern half of Labrador. The northern cod stock, once one of the richest in the world, had collapsed. The moratorium on northern cod marked an unprecedented disaster for virtually all of Canada’s Atlantic groundfisheries – the fisheries for species that feed near the ocean floor.

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Owners are protectors (review of Property Rights in the Defence of Nature)

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Ask an environmentalist how to ensure an ongoing healthy ecology, and he will almost certainly suggest more government regulation. Who would have thought that a more effective method has always been available within the Eng­lish-speaking world? Yet this method has kept the British Isles green, even though their popu­lation density is 75 times greater than Canada’s.

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Bring back our beaches

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The Beach: The History of Paradise on Earth. That’s the title of a new book that describes the western world’s love affair with beaches. For over a century, we have flocked to sandy shores to escape summer’s heat, to seek spiritual and artistic inspiration, and above all, to have fun. Sadly, many of our beaches are anything but paradises these days. Contaminated by human sewage, they have become sources of sickness rather than delight.

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The Common Law and the Environment: The Canadian Experience

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A chapter from Who Owns the Environment?, a collection of essays edited by Peter Hill and Roger Meiners exploring the theory that environmental concerns are essentially property rights issues. In this chapter, Elizabeth Brubaker reviews the ancient roots of contemporary property rights and traces their evolution in Canada. She describes the ways in which concerned citizens have used their property rights to clean up and to prevent pollution. She then chronicles successive governments’ efforts to replace the common law with statutes and regulations governing the environment. Lastly, she recommends restoring strong property rights in order to return control over environmental degradation to those most directly affected by it.

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Privatizing Water Supply and Sewage Treatment: How Far Should We Go?

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This paper, published in Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, was prepared for Property Rights, Economics & Environment: Water Resources, an international conference organised by the Centre d’Analyse Economique and the International Center for Research on Environmental Issues in 1998. In the paper, Elizabeth Brubaker compares four approaches to the privatization and regulation of water and sewage utilities and explores the environmental implications of each approach.

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The Common Law Approach to Pollution Prevention

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A transcript of a roundtable discussion, hosted by the Center for Private Conservation, between Hope Babcock, Elizabeth Brubaker, David Schoenbrod, and Bruce Yandle. Explores the promise and pitfalls of applying common law remedies to contemporary environmental concerns.

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