Friday, May 21, 2010

Water wars - Objects may be closer than they appear

Gosh, was it only 18 months ago US Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci was recommending "constructing huge aqueducts to carry Canadian water to the US" ?

Ho hum, responded the Cons, as they continued to obstruct any and all opposition motions to protect Canadian water from bulk export, including the recommendation to do so from the parliamentary trade committee.
John Baird said the threat was too insignificant to bother with, while Jim Abbott said the issue was too explosive to risk opening up at all. Don't go nears the NAFTA, warned the Cons.

Then in the Throne Speech, Steve suddenly promised to put some protections for water in place, and on May 13th, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon tabled Bill C-26, An Act to amend the 1909 International Boundary Waters Treaty Act and the International River Improvements Act.

As noted in news reports via Pogge : Actual product may not be as shown.
This ammendment
1) does not cover bulk water exports from waterways that aren't boundary waters, in effect only extending the protection on the Great Lakes to include boundary rivers as well, and also
2) still permits bulk removal of 50,000 litres in the form of bottled water and beverages.

That's 50,000 litres per day. And presumably - per company.

Also worrying is this new clause about Schedule 3, which covers over 160 waterways 82 waterways including Lake Champlain and the Colombia and Red Rivers :
The Act is amended by adding the following after section 21:
Clause 9: New. Order — Schedule 3
21.01 (1) The Governor in Council may, by order, on the Minister’s recommendation, amend Schedule 3 by adding, deleting or amending the name of any transboundary waters.
(2) Before recommending that Schedule 3 be amended, the Minister is to consult with the appropriate Minister of the province where the transboundary waters are located.

So the Minister, after consultation with which ever province wants to start up bulk water sales, may delete a waterway from the list of prohibited transboundary waters. Got it.

Also exempt from protection is short-term not-for-profit exporting of bulk water for fire-fighting - ok - and "humanitarian purposes".

It still has to get through committee, another two readings in the House, and the Senate before it becomes law.
In the past, Canadians have shown considerable outrage at any variation on the idea of aqueducts carrying bulk water exports to the US. Indeed this amendment actually bothers to list "aqueduct" as a prohibited means of exporting water - along with "pipeline, canal, tunnel, or channel" - but does not mention containers.

Expect this amendment to have a rough go in committee. Stay awake, Canada.
Edited 160+ to 82. Yup, I had initially added the English and French names together.


Kim said...


opit said...

We now have part of the reason for inventory of Canadians water sources. Would hate to miss any chance to 'privatize' a necessity so any slaves might get ideas they should be independent.Too crazy ?
Not my ideas, really. I recall Janet Morris transposing tactics and politics from anthropological studies of ancient empires to space opera. It made wonderful adventure - and taught one a healthy respect for monopoly as a tool of Empire : especially Water and Salt.
Even in these days of Energy Wars the old standbys are worth respect. A now deceased international photojournalist aided my education by insisting I read a biography of Nelson Rockefeller.
Superlatives for eye-opening information fail : he was head of the CIA and implemented grandiose ideas of corporate farming which were ruinous...among other things.
So I have watched Water News with an eye to things like rebellions in countries where companies have had control of water : Bolivia comes to mind.
This is the file of articles and sources most 'on point' to your post : but geopolitics is a bit of a hobby since I started surfing. There is more.
My web connection is almost defunct this morning. Just check for Water - Wealth & Power on my sidebar Topical Index or at

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