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Canadians challenge bulk water exports to US

Council of Canadiana - April 16, 2007

Council of Canadians challenges Environment Minister on bulk water exports

Environment Minister John Baird’s response to a leaked document that reveals bulk water exports will be discussed at a trinational meeting in Calgary is full of holes according to the Council of Canadians.

The citizens’ advocacy group obtained the document produced by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a prominent Washington-based think tank last week. It revealed that government officials and business leaders from Canada, Mexico and the United States plan to discuss bulk water exports in a closed-door meeting in Calgary on April 27, as part of a larger discussion on North American integration.

“Minister Baird’s claims that current legislation prohibits bulk water exports are inaccurate,” says Maude Barlow, National chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “The provincial accords he mentions are voluntary and can be broken at any time. The so-called 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 does not apply to what the U.S. is really after – water from Canada’s North.”

Last October the Global Water and Energy Strategy Team, another Washington-based group, put forward a proposal to export water from northern Manitoba to Texas through a pipeline. According to Barlow, nothing in Canada’s existing legislation would prevent this type of scheme from being implemented.

The Council of Canadians is also concerned that restrictions on shared waters outlined by the IBWTA are weak and have been ignored in the past, allowing for water diversions from the Great Lakes.

“Baird makes no mention of the April 27 meeting to which government officials from all three NAFTA countries have been invited,” says Barlow. “Is he prepared to state unequivocally that our government will not take part in these talks?”

The Council of Canadians will hold an "open-door" meeting in Calgary on April 25. The public meeting will give groups and concerned citizens a chance to discuss North American integration and the looming threats it poses to Canada’s water.

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For more information, please contact:
Meera Karunananthan Media Officer: Tel.: (613) 233-4487, ext. 234; Cell: (613) 795-8685;


Leaked document: North American Future 2025 Project (PDF format)
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Backgrounder: The North American Future 2025 Project (PDF format)
The Council of Canadians’ analysis
The Council of Canadians’ water campaign
Read more about Deep Integration

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