Friday, April 27, 2007

All your water are belong to us

"It's no secret that the U.S. is going to need water. ...
It's no secret that Canada is going to have an overabundance of water.
At the end of the day, there may have to be arrangements."
So says Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, director of the North American Future 2025 Project, which is wrapping up its closed-door two-day conference in Calgary today.
NAF2025 Project is the trilateral spawn of the US thinktank Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Conference Board of Canada, and CIDE, a Mexican policy institute.
Its mandate is implementing the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the deep integration deal signed by Bush, Fox, and Martin in 2005 and further expanded by Bush, Fox, and Harper in 2006.
From an outline of the conference :
"the overriding future goal of North America is to achieve joint optimum utilization of the available water."
Not bad.
'All your water are belong to us' would have been catchier.
Still, the message is unmistakable, isn't it?
From the World Business Council For Sustainable Development :
"North American Future 2025 Project - an effort to draft a blueprint for economic integration of the continent."
"On a world scale, Canadians enjoy an overabundance of freshwater that is out of proportion to the national population, when compared with other countries.
With the impacts of climate change a present reality as well as a future certainty, Canada will be increasingly pressured to bolster North America's freshwater supplies. The policy, business, and social responses to this issue will be vital to ensuring the prosperity and environmental integrity of the entire continent.
There are many legal and international trade issues involved, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) could possibly be used as the basis for a challenge to Canada's right to control water exports. That challenge rests largely on the definition of water as either a ‘vital resource' or a 'commodity."
Amazingly, Canada has no enforceable water policy.
"Maude Barlow, National chair of the Council of Canadians, points out in a statement that provincial accords to prevent exports are voluntary, and that the only existing prohibition on bulk water exports contained in the 1909 International Boundary Waters Treaty Act (IBWTA) only applies to waters that are shared with the U.S., and not on water from Canada's North."
What Canada does have however is the Conference Board of Canada working away at deep integration.
Maude Barlow : “The big business community and corporate lobby groups have been granted executive level access to the integration process. No equivalent role has been granted to labour groups, civil society or even Parliament in Canada.”
NDP MP Peter Julian intends to change all that when he brings the SPP issue to committee for its very first parliamentary debate :
Julian : "Canada stands to lose millions of litres of fresh water as a result of bulk water exports if the Conservatives enact proposals being discussed later this week in a closed-door meeting in Calgary.
Today NDP MPs stood on the steps of Parliament Hill and called for a full parliamentary debate on the issue of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) - before the government implements this deep integration with the U.S. any further." continued ...
Unlike the notorious secret Banff meeting, and the one that followed it, this time at least there is some media coverage.
Thank you, Peter Julian, for bringing this to open public debate.
It's a start.

No comments: