NEWS: NDP: stop bulk water exports
April 26th, 2007 - 4:44pm
SPP integration deal risks Canadian sovereignty and vital fresh water resources
OTTAWA – 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.
“We are calling on the Canadian government to pull out of these talks. It is beyond all reason that our government would be looking for ways to ship our fresh water resources in bulk to the United States,” said NDP International Trade Critic Peter Julian.
Last week, the Council of Canadians revealed a leaked memo that showed high level secret-talks would begin this week in Calgary between government and business leaders to discuss “water consumption, water transfers and artificial diversions of bulk water” with the aim of achieving “joint optimum utilization of the available water.”
Julian was joined by NDP Natural Resources Critic Catherine Bell and Peggy Nash (Parkdale High Park) who both echoed his concern.
“Water is our most precious resource,” said Bell. “We shouldn’t be looking to sell it off to the lowest bidder. We need a full and open debate in the House of Commons about deeper integration with the U.S. and specifically on the future of our fresh water reserves.”
The North American Future 2025 Project, an initiative being led by the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Conference Board of Canada and the Mexican Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, calls for a series of “closed-door meetings” on North American integration with government officials dealing with a number of highly contentious issues including bulk water exports, a joint security perimeter, and a continental resource pact.
“Access to water is a fundamental right and therefore should not be treated as a commodity in trade agreements,” declared Nash, who recently tabled a motion in Parliament to ban bulk water exports. “The issue of air quality has rightfully jumped to the top of the political agenda recently, but we must not forget about the importance of clean, safe water.”