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Friday, June 25, 2010

Fraser Institute suggests Canada export its surplus water



According to a new  document entitled: "Sustainable water exports possible with reformed Canadian water policies", which was released on June 16,2010 by the Fraser Institute,

"Canada should look closely at the benefits and opportunities presented by bulk water exports and move beyond the fear mongering and protectionism that has long tainted the issue, concludes a new report from the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.
“Canada is blessed with abundant supplies of unspoiled surface water and groundwater, and bulk exports can be undertaken in an environmentally sustainable way,” said Diane Katz, Fraser Institute director of risk, environment, and energy policy and author of Making Waves: Examining the Case for Sustainable Water Exports from Canada.a document you can read by clicking on the following link: (you need a program
which reads PDF files on your computer in order to read the document):
  http://www.fraserinstitute.org/commerce.web/product_files/Case-for-
sustainable-water-export.pdf

Diane Katz believes Canada officials can "act responsibly" in order to ensure that the United States
does not "suck Canada dry" of our water.

Katz develops what I consider to be these key points in her document:

A."The profit potential from bulk water sales is slim, at present, given the high
costs of transport."  (I see this point as an item of contention for Canada to begin exporting its excess
water to countries in need. Why should Canada allow its excess water to be transported to
other countries if we cannot make a decent profit from the export? Other countries export
goods, services and even raw materials to Canada, and expect to make a decent profit from
doing so).In addition, how can Canada be expected to export any surplus water we
have if other countries cannot afford to transport it back to their country?)

B.Katz provides 5 recommendations to the Canadian Governments regarding the export of our water:

1.Improve public under standing of water issues. 2.Conduct groundwater mapping and freshwater inventories. 3.Determine sustainable water levels. 4.Reform public subsidies of water use.
5.Repeal prohibitions against water exports.

These recommendations suggest that Canada Governments, Canadian Companies and Canadian
citizens have alot of work to do within our country before any exporting of water can occur.


I find these aspects of this paper very interesting and informative concerning my fellow Canadians
and our water supply:


(a)Canadians regard water as the natural resource of great est importance to the coun try’s
fu ture (Nanos, 2009).2009). In a poll 4 conducted for Policy Options journal, nearly 62%
 of respondents cited water as the country’s most im portant re source compared to 22% for
oil and gas, 11% for forestry and 4% for fisheries. Treasured as water is, however, mis -
conceptions about its supply, quality, and governance abound. To a large extent, the
public generally regards Canada’s water resources as despoiled and diminished
(Nanos, 2009).

(b)"Water export can be environmentally sustainable".

(c)"Opponents of water export contend that Canada is not actually a water-rich country
despite ranking third world wide in the most “renewable” fresh water, behind Brazil
and Russia (source: Environment Canada, 2009, Nov. 19). The problem, they claim,
 is that 60% of Canada’s fresh water drains to the north, but three-quarters
 of the population is concentrated within 160 km of Canada’s southern border
 with the United States (Source: Environment Canada, 2009, Nov. 19).
 There fore, water shortages loom in Canadian population centers."

To me this obviously indicates that if water shortages loom in country
we can hardly be in a position to export any of our water elsewhere!

(d)"Bulk export of water would only be problematic if there was insufficient water in
total to meet domestic needs" . Again as   Diane Katz, stated in "(c)" above, water shortages
loom in Canada so we certainly cannot be expected to ship bulk export our water in the near
future.


(e)"Many of the temporary short ages that do occur in Can ada are largely a result of
water system mismanagement (Ander son and Hill, 1997)."  To me this suggests
we cannot be expected to export our water until this mismanagement of our water is corrected.

(f) "If ex ports were initiated, Canada supposedly would be powerless to restrict water sales
to the US under existing trade agreements. But that is largely a misrepresentation of
the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA does not prohibit signatories
from regulat ing resource use as long as the restrictions are applied equally to
domestic and foreign firms. The treaty also permits trade limitations for environmental
protection".

Why should firms in Canada have to experience restrictions on the use of water
 found within Canada? It is Canada's water? Why should we allow a country like the
United States to access Canada's water, when the people of United States and its government
has done things such as slapping tariffs on Canadian lumber and food, despite the existence of
a free-trade agreement between the two countries? Look at the final agreement which
was arrived at regarding the softwood lumber dispute between the U.S. and Canada:


"On July 1, 2006, trade ministers from Canada and the U.S. signed the final legal text of the softwood lumber deal. David Emerson, Canada's international trade minister and U.S. trade representative Susan Schwab signed the agreement in Geneva, where ministers were attending international trade talks.
The deal is based on the April 26 framework agreement. Emerson says he will introduce legislation in September 2006 to confirm the agreement and hopes to have it in place by October 1, 2006."
Parts of the deal include:
  • "Import duties of $4 billion the U.S. charged Canadian companies since 2002 will be returned. But the U.S. keeps $1 billion.
  • A seven-year term, with a possible two-year extension.
  • A ban on the U.S. launching new trade actions.
  • Restrictions on Canadian exports will kick in if prices fall too far.
  • Neutral trade arbitrators will provide final and binding settlements of disputes."
  • source:http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/softwood_lumber/
Why did the U.S insist on keeping one billion dollars which were rightfully Canada's?Why did the U.S.
negotiators insist that "restrictions on Canadian exports kick in if prices fall too far?"


I hope if you are a Canadian you take the time to inform yourself about the key issues relating to
Canada's water supply by reading  Diane Katz's paper and by reading other documents as well!

Source of image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashfay/2236863753/

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.