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Meet Senator

Fernand Robichaud

The Hon. Fernand Robichaud, P.C. Appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator Fernand Robichaud represents the province of New Brunswick and the Senatorial Division of Saint-Louis-de-Kent. He has served in the Senate of Canada since September 23, 1997.

Statements & Hansard

Mackenzie River Basin

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Statement made on 22 June 2009 by Senator Nick Sibbeston

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston:

Honourable senators, last month at their annual general meeting in Inuvik, the Northwest Territories Association of Municipalities passed a resolution dealing with the protection of N.W.T. water resources from the development of oil sands in Alberta. The Dene Nation, at its leadership meeting in February, passed a similar resolution.

The resolution expresses a widely held belief that the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada have not managed the Alberta oil sands in a sustainable way that protects the environment of downstream communities. There are concerns about both the quantity and quality of the water flowing into the Mackenzie River Basin from the Athabasca River.

Although the Mackenzie River Basin Board was established in 1997 as a result of a transboundary agreement between Canada, the three provinces and two territories within the watershed, this body seldom meets and is widely regarded as toothless. Nevertheless, the existence of this board recognizes one undeniable fact: Watersheds do not respect territorial, provincial or even national boundaries.

Although the Mackenzie River lies entirely in Canada, like most rivers, its water flows through several jurisdictions. Many of our other great rivers also cross into the United States.

Water is already a contentious issue in many parts of the world and promises to become even more so in the face of global economic development and climate change. Demand for water will rise even as changing weather patterns make some areas dryer and others wetter.

Although few people envision real conflicts with our southern neighbour, there can be no doubt that water will be a source of friction in our relationship. Lessons we learn from protecting the Mackenzie may prove valuable in future discussions with the United States.

Canada is singularly blessed with supplies of fresh water, but we are entering a period of great uncertainty. Uncertainty demands that we exercise caution in protecting this vital resource. We need to find mechanisms that will help us to protect the ecological integrity of river basins, both national and international, while still allowing development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

Honourable senators, they say that no cloud is without a silver lining. The current recession has caused hardship for many people. However, it may also give us an opportunity to rethink the pace of development in the oil sands and to create better ways to protect our most precious natural resource — water.

Recent Statements from Liberal Senators

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10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Lillian Eva Dyck | Honourable senators, I would like to say a few words about this motion. I am definitely in support of it. The idea of a First Nations education act is critically important to the welfare of First Nations across Canada, and especially to our young people.

Income Inequality

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette | What does the government intend to do to learn from the financial crisis, reduce wealth inequality, and follow the lead of other jurisdictions that have started to rein in compensation that has nothing to do with the productivity of the people who earn the average salary of a Canadian in half a day?

Broadcast of Senate Proceedings

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Grant Mitchelll | What is the leader's personal opinion about televising the Senate?

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Art Eggleton | That was supported unanimously in the Senate, so I take it, senator, that you would be willing to now advance this idea to the government.

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator James Cowan | My question is: Will this government put National Pharmacare on the agenda?
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