Monday, July 03, 2006

Water Exports On The Table?

Buried at the bottom of an article on softwood lumber, was an admission that the issue of water exports is part of the agenda for the Bush/Harper meeting. Given the lack of clarity, regarding the Conservatives position on water exports, it is quite concerning that Harper will be discussing the matter with the thirsty Bush. The American position is well known, remember Ambassador Cellucci's comments six months ago:
"Canada has probably one of the largest resources of fresh water in the world," the former U.S. ambassador said during a debate on Canada-U.S. relations. "Water is going to be - already is - a very valuable commodity and I've always found it odd where Canada is so willing to sell oil and natural gas and uranium and coal, which are by their very nature finite. But talking about water is off the table, and water is renewable. "It doesn't make any sense to me."

It was as close as any high-profile American has come recently to saying what many Canadians have long suspected - Washington wants our water.

Harper's ambigious stance on water exports, coupled with the obvious American desire to tap this resource, is a worrisome combination. Polling shows Canadians overwhelmingly oppose exporting our water to the Americans. The fact that this issue is being discussed, with no apparent media scrutiny and little publication, suggests something is at play. This meeting is slated to be a short one, so any issues raised must have some measure of urgency and/or priority. Why such a low-profile for this issue? Bush's position is clear, is Harper going there to tell the Americans "hands off"? Or, is Harper privately discussing ways to allow American access without present public knowledge? This question needs to be clarified before the next election, because it seems like there is a clandestine element that may not become apparent until after the desired majority.


Lept said...

Bloody important information - thanks.

Anonymous said...

Said this elsewhere, will say it here too....This is a non-issue. Seperate treaties cover water rights within Canada, and they have long since been handed away to the US. NAFTA has nothing to do with water rights and were purposly excluded from NAFTA legislation. Stephen cannot sign away the water rights as that has already been done.

The main treaty that covers water rights in Canada to this day:

Boundary Waters Treaty - Signed 1901, revamped 1950's, Still in effect today

Example of one of the "minor" treaties signed
Columbia Basin Treaty - Signed 1961, No specified termination date, but either Canada or the United States can terminate the Treaty any time after 16 September 2024, provided a minimum ten years written notice is provided.

burlivespipe said...

anonymous is right and wrong -- newer treaties can over-ride old treaties and Canada still retains some control over its water. Free flowing water that travels north-south is already portable thru old agreements; east-west water and that water which remains on canadian soil ie glacier and currently cooking under harpor and bushies environmental plans, are also open to new treaties.
Our host is very correct in wondering why this issue remains under the radar of the media. But look at how quickly they wiped away the 'check swapping' 'donation, not-a-donation' brouhaha. It's like they all adopted Laureen's pussies and were secretly converted by the little robotic purrers...