Counter-meeting in Calgary prepares citizens to oppose bulk water exports

    CALGARY, April 25 /CNW Telbec/ - The Council of Canadians is holding an
"open-door" meeting in Calgary to discuss the looming threats to bulk water
posed by North American integration. The meeting will enable key civil society
actors and the general public to discuss and share concerns with the process
and content of closed-door meetings that the US Centre for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS), the Conference Board of Canada and the Centro de
Investigacion y Docencia Economicas (CIDE) in Mexico will be hosting in
Calgary on April 26 & 27.
    "The meetings organized by CSIS are the latest round of private meetings
taking place within the context of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of
North America (SPP), which has not been debated by the legislatures of the
three participating governments," says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of
the Council of Canadians. "The big business community and corporate lobby
groups have been granted executive level access to the integration process. No
equivalent role has been granted to labour groups, civil society or even
Parliament in Canada."
    The Council of Canadians obtained a leaked document revealing that bulk
water exports would be on the agenda at the private meetings where government
representatives and private sector actors from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico
will be congregating.
    "I am concerned that the Canadian government would agree to participate
in a process where the dice is so heavily loaded in favour of U.S interests,
says Ralph Pentland, former Director of the Water Planning and Management
Branch of Environment Canada. "We have a Treaty (the Boundary Waters Treaty)
and an institution (the International Joint Commission) that enables us to
deal with our neighbours to the south as equals. We should use it."
    Quebec-based Eau Secours is concerned North American integration will
result in the commodification of water. "We oppose the continentalization of
water for market purposes," says Danielle Julien, Chairperson of Eau Secours'
international committee.
    The groups hope their counter-meeting will raise awareness about the
impacts of North American integration on natural resources and prepare
Canadians to oppose upcoming integration talks.

    Location: Azul Room - Hotel Arts - 119 -12th Avenue SW Calgary, T2R 0G8
              (403) 266-4611 Toll-free 1-800-661-9378

    Time:     Media interviews - 1:30 to 2:00 pm
              Public meeting   - 2:00 to 4:00 pm

For further information:

For further information: Meera Karunananthan, Media Officer, Council of
Canadians, (613) 233-4487 ext. 234, cell: (613) 795-8685,;

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