Canada's water is on the trade table: new research

    Trade agreements do not address demands from US, Munk Centre panel told

    TORONTO, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - Contrary to popular belief, Canada's water is
not protected under trade agreements, and demands to acquire Canadian supplies
are bound to increase, an expert panel heard today.
    Agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were
supposed to take water "off the table" but the provisions to do so were never
signed, the one-day panel at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for
International Studies heard.
    The panel, hosted by the Centre's Program on Water Issues, heard details
from a new research paper released today called On the Table, outlining the
persistent pressure to make Canada's water a tradable commodity. Water
transfers from Canada are emerging as an issue under the auspices of the
Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a forum set up in 2005 by the
United States, Canada and Mexico to enhance trade and security.
    "The subject of continental water sharing has surfaced as part of the
integration agenda," the new research paper notes. Last month, Prime Minister
Stephen Harper, US President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe
Caldersn met in Montebello, Quebec to discuss the SPP.
    "The new research and today's panel demonstrate that Canadians ought to
be more aware that demands on our water are increasing," said Adèle Hurley,
Director of the Munk Centre's Program on Water Issues.
    The paper concluded by calling for steps to ensure that Canada's water is
better protected:
    -  Opening the shadowy SPP process, and its implications for water
       resources to full public scrutiny and debate
    -  More information from the federal government about how continental
       integration moves already underway, such as the Alberta oil sands
       development, will affect our water.
    -  A clear message from Ottawa to the US and Mexico that bulk water
       removals from Canada's major drainage basins will not be permitted and
       that the topic of water exports will be pulled off the table
    -  Federal legislation preventing the bulk removal of water from Canada's
       drainage basins.

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For further information: Andrea Perez, (416) 802-0302

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