You remember those International Trade Committee hearings last month on Canada's water and energy security under NAFTA and the SPP? The one in which chairperson Leon Benoit stomped out with the three other Con members because he didn't like Prof. Gordon Laxer's testimony on just how vulnerable Canada is?
Yes? Then you'll remember how the rest of the committee continued to do their job.
Today the following motion was brought from that Int Trade Committee to the House of Commons for debate :
"Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), and the motion adopted by the Committee on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 your Committee recommends:
Whereas Canada’s water resources must be protected;
Whereas NAFTA covers all services and all goods, except those that are expressly excluded and water is not excluded;
Whereas this situation puts the provincial and federal laws concerning the protection of water including the prohibition of bulk water exports at risk;
Whereas a simple agreement by exchange of letters among the governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico specifying that water is not covered by NAFTA must be respected by international tribunals as if it were an integral part of NAFTA;
That the Standing Committee recommend that the government quickly begin talks with its American and Mexican counterparts to exclude water from the scope of NAFTA."
Yes! Thank you Bloc and NDP committee members, and particularly NDP Trade critic Peter Julian who has worked so hard to expose the whole SPP betrayal in parliament.
The Con members on the committee dissented of course.
And I'm sure, given their previous behavior on the committee and the outing of the Con's dirty tricks manual on how to shut down committees on subjects they don't like, you're not exactly reeling with surprise about it.
Down at the bottom :
"Dissenting opinion from the Conservative Party
The Government members of the Standing Committee on International Trade, for reasons previously stated by our members which appear in the evidence, [snip], choose to dissent respectfully from the Ninth Report."
Dissent away, ReformACons! Da motherfuckin motion is in da House!
SATURDAY UPDATE: From the Ottawa Citizen :
"A motion to open NAFTA talks to make sure bulk-water exports are excluded from the deal sparked an acrimonious three-hour debate in the House yesterday, with all three Opposition parties lined up against the Tories.The quisling Cons are terrified to ask the fucking question : Under NAFTA, does Canada control her own water, or, as Peter Julian puts it, is it a choice between 1)exporting water or 2)paying compensation to each and every foreign company who applies for a permit to do so.
The Tories say a 1993 letter signed by the three governments specifically says "water in its natural state" is exempt from the provisions of NAFTA.
But water will not be considered to be "in its natural state" once it has been loaded into a pipeline, or onto a tanker, critics fear.
NDP MP Peter Julian says that in 1998, California-based Sun Belt Water Inc. launched a $10.5-billion lawsuit under NAFTA against British Columbia when a provincial ban scuttled its plans to ship water by tanker to the U.S. (The case is still pending.)"As a foreign investor, all you need to do is apply for a permit.Water is protected not only by the 1993 NAFTA letter, but also by a federal-provincial pact and an amendment to the Canada-U.S. Boundary Waters Treaty, which protects the Great Lakes and other shared waters, he [Ted Menzies, Con from the Int Trade committee] argues.
You'll either get to export water, or you can sue for compensation, which taxpayers will have to pay. Either way, the investor wins, and Canada loses."
But the Council of Canadians, an Ottawa-based advocacy group, says the U.S. never signed that amendment and notes that it doesn't cover water sources that are not shared with the U.S."
May 31 Hansard account of debate between all parties in the House..