Feb 172008

Cockamamy Schemes of the First Order


A. Proponents of the scheme:

source: http://www.schillerinstitute.org/economy/phys_econ/phys_econ_nawapa_1983.html


The Outline of NAWAPA

by Lyndon H. LaRouche,

January 1988

This appeared as an appendix to the book published as Schiller Institute Conference Proceedings “Development is the New Name for Peace.” in January, 1988. Most of the material is taken from a 1983 pamphlet by Mr. LaRouche, called, Won’t You Please Give Your Grandchildren a Drink of Water?

The Outline of NAWAPA

Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

The North American Water and Power Alliance—NAWAPA—is the most comprehensive of a series of plans developed during the 1950s and 1960s to capture and redistribute fresh water in Alaska and Canada. NAWAPA would deliver large quantities of water to water-poor areas of Canada, the lower forty-eight states of the United States of America, and Mexico.

In the mid-1960s, this giant engineering project in water management was seen by leading figures in the U.S. Congress and elsewhere as the next great undertaking to which the United States should commit itself as a nation, comparable in scope and benefits to the NASA space program and the rapid and widespread development of nuclear power. (In fact, the NAWAPA plan was favorably reviewed in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.)

In 1964, the Ralph M. Parsons Company, the West Coast- based international engineering firm which had helped to design and build the water management system which turned California into the richest agricultural producing area in the nation, presented a developed plan for NAWAPA to a special subcommittee of the United States Senate chaired by Senator Frank Moss of Utah. As entered in the Congressional Record, the original NAWAPA plan called for no less than 369 separate projects.

NAWAPA begins with construction of a series of dams in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, trapping the water of the various rivers running through this largely undeveloped wilderness area. The drainage area to be tapped is approximately 1.3 million square miles, with a mean annual precipitation of 40 inches.

A large portion of the water thus collected would then be channeled into a man-modified reservoir 500 miles long, 10 miles wide, and 300 feet deep, constructed out of the southern end of the natural gorge known as the Rocky Mountain Trench in the Canadian province of British Columbia. This would be accomplished through a series of connecting tunnels, canals, lakes, dams, and, because the trench itself exists at an elevation of 3,000 feet, even lifts. The network of projects provides plentiful opportunities for hydroelectric power development.

To the east, a thirty-foot deep canal would be cut from the Trench to Lake Superior, to maintain a constant water level and clean out pollution in the entire Great Lakes system from Duluth to Buffalo. Not only would this provide more water for hydroelectric power and agricultural irrigation of the Great Plains region of Canada and the U.S.A., the canal could ultimately be made navigable for lake- and ocean-going vessels from the Great Lakes into the heart of Alberta, and eventually, extended westward into Howe Sound, British Columbia. The dream of a Northwest Passage would at last become a fact, from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Vancouver.

South from the Trench reservoir, water would be lifted through a giant dump lift to the Sawtooth Reservoir in southwestern Montana, from which point it would flow by gravity through the western part of the system, passing through a tunnel in the Sawtooth Mountain eighty feet in diameter and fifty miles in length, to the western and southern U.S. states.

South of the Rocky Mountain Trench, in central Idaho and southeastern Washington, a series of hydroelectric plants would develop the Clearwater and Clearwater North Fork Rivers and the lower reaches of the Salmon and Snake Rivers. Flow of the Columbia River would be supplemented as needed from other rivers as well as regulated at its direct connection to the Rocky Mountain Trench Reservoir to prevent flooding. NAWAPA aqueducts and reservoirs would dot the slopes of the Rocky Mountains, providing water to the Staked Plains and lower Rio Grande River basin and serving New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Mexico via existing rivers.

Flows from the Rocky Mountain Trench and Clearwater subsystem would also supply Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, California, and Arizona in the United States; and Baja California, Chihuahua, and Sonora in Mexico. A diversion aqueduct at Trout Creek, Utah would send high-quality, low- mineral water to southern California and Baja California. Here it would arrest soil damage caused by high-mineral Colorado River irrigation water.

The 1964 Parsons Company study estimated that NAWAPA could assure adequate water supply to the continent for the next 100 years. The conserved water would be sufficient to irrigate 86,300 square miles, equal to a 35-mile-wide strip extending 500 miles into the Canadian agricultural belt, traversing the length of the United States, and extending 200 miles into Mexico for a total length of 2,500 miles. In delivering 20 million acre-feet of water to Mexico, the plan allows that country alone to develop eight times as much new irrigated land as the Aswan High Dam provides Egypt. In this original proposal, Canada would receive 22 million acre-feet of usable fresh water, and the United States 78 million acre-feet.

For political reasons, the NAWAPA proposal was not acted on by Congress when originally presented. But no one has reasonably challenged estimates of the plan‘s feasibility.

The Benefits of NAWAPA

For the United States, the benefits of the upgraded NAWAPA proposal are virtually unlimited. The full-scale project now promises 150 million acre-feet of water per year—a 50 percent increase in the present consumption of 300 million acre-feet yearly. Some 55,000 megawatts per year of surplus electric power would be provided, nearly doubling present U. S. hydroelectric capacity of 70,000 megawatts. Nearly 50 million more acres of irrigable land will become available, almost doubling irrigated acreage west of the Mississippi.

It doesn‘t end there. Stabilization and control of the Great Lakes is one dramatic example of the decrease in pollution levels attainable by such methods of water management. NAWAPA would also help to stabilize water levels throughout the West, providing, among its notable benefits, the opportunity to reverse the depletion of the Ogalala Aquifer, the principal water supply for 11 million acres of prime farmland in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and other High Plains states. NAWAPA would provide the mechanism for reversing the current salinity problem of irrigated lands by flooding selected areas to wash out the accumulated salts, and by maintaining a regime of “wasteful“ irrigation to prevent such build-ups in the future. Thus ground water supplies would be recharged. In addition, increased facilities for water transport would also prove cost-saving.

NAWAPA would also create substantial numbers of productive jobs, for example, in the construction and steel industries. Unlike the make-work employment projects proposed by some as a depression measure, the NAWAPA project would employ American manpower to actually increase the national wealth.

In addition, NAWAPA would increase the power of the U.S. A. to develop other nations in the Third World, providing new markets for American agriculture and industry.

It is more difficult to give a “dollars and cents“ estimate of NAWAPA‘s annual benefit to American industry, agriculture, workers and consumers; but one respected congressional supporter of the original NAWAPA plan reported it would increase the annual national income from agriculture, livestock, mining, and manufacturing by approximately $30 billion.

The benefits for Mexico and Canada would be of a similar spectacular order. Canada would enjoy 58 million acre-feet of water and 38,000 additional megawatts of hydroelectric power, and the same kind of irrigation, transport, and clean water benefits accruing to the United States. In particular, the Northwest Passage route would be a vital aid in realizing the vast, untapped development potential of that largely wilderness nation.

As for Mexico, a nation whose rapid agricultural and industrial development is essential to advance the living standards of its 60 million citizens and for whom increased food production ranks as a critical national priority, NAWAPA would produce an additional 40 million acre-feet of water a year, at least tripling its irrigable land, and 4,000 additional megawatts of electric power. The Parsons Company‘s original estimate of the economic benefit to Mexico was an annual $30 billion increase in national income from agricultural, livestock, mining and manufacturing—the same figure as projected for the United States.

The Costs of NAWAPA

At first glance, the costs of NAWAPA appear immense. The Parsons Company‘s original 1964 estimate was $80 billion. The upgraded plan was estimated to cost $130 billion in 1979, excluding the costs of environmental studies and other bu reaucratic requirements apart from the detailed engineering plans necessary for the project itself. A partial breakdown in 1979 dollars includes $13 billion for construction equipment, $65 billion in construction labor, and 100,000 tons of copper and aluminum, 30 million tons of steel, and 200 million sacks of cement.

Excluded from the $130 billion figure is the cost of needed local distribution systems such as the connection of the Panamint Reservoir to the Los Angeles water supply. Such connections would be required throughout the continent.

To realize the potential of the 50 million acres of new irrigable farmland would require additional capital investment of perhaps $10 billion. (The costs of center-pivot irrigation, for example, are $200 per acre.)

Finally, local transportation systems will need to be upgraded to move the increased produce; better rail transport is especially vital.

Suppose one assumed a $200 billion figure for implementation of the upgraded plan, with a sizable chunk of the local water management, agricultural, and transport expenses included. Averaged out over the ten- to twenty-year lifespan presently projected for completion of the project, that represents a capital expenditure well within the magnitude of the conceivable. If one merely adopts the Parsons Company estimate of $30 billion annual benefit to the national income, it is apparent that NAWAPA would pay for itself many times over by the time our grandchildren have grown up.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, we were to reject the NAWAPA approach as “too ambitious and expensive,“ decided to “go it alone“ without Canada and Mexico, and attempted to develop water resources piecemeal and at a slower pace. We would quickly find that less ambitious is not necessarily cheaper!

Consider the average cost of Bureau of Reclamation water projects from 1975 to 1979. The Bureau spent $700 million on developing an additional 2 million acre-feet of water annually over this period, for an average cost of $350 per acre- foot. Projecting that to the development of 130 million acre- feet required for the western states, produces a total cost of over $45 billion, without any provision for long-distance transfer to the drought areas.

Consider also the average costs of developing additional electric power—at current rates, an additional 40 gigawatts otherwise provided by the western United States NAWAPA would cost $40 billion to replace.

Thus, at the best possible cost estimates, attempting to replace by local projects the U.S. section of NAWAPA alone, excluding the benefits to (and the contributions from) Mexico and Canada, would cost $85 billion, two-thirds as much as the entire project!

In reality, such piecemeal development would be impossible. That only 2 million acre-feet of water per year were developed in the four years preceding 1979, when previous projects were being completed, points to the fallacy of that belief at that rate our “local,“ piecemeal approach would take sixty-five years. Only a national commitment to water devel opment can produce benefits on the scale of NAWAPA. Besides, the greatest sources of available water are not in the continental U.S.A., but in Alaska and Canada!

Suppose we decide not to proceed with NAWAPA. That, too, has its costs, and the ultimate cost would be disastrous:

The collapse of the agricultural system which has made the U.S.A. the recognized world leader in food production. Take, for example, the problem of the Ogalala Aquifer in the High Plains states, that we mentioned earlier. It is currently estimated that at present rates, this vital source of supply for 11 million acres of farmland will run dry by the year 2020. In creasing sums are being spent on water conservation systems and labor-intensive farming methods to save a few gallons per acre. Not only does this waste capital and human effort, it is leading to an ever-increasing build-up of salts in the soil, salts which will eventually poison the crops and the groundwater if they are not flushed out by “wasting water.“

As farmers are forced into dryland farming, the practice being followed in the less arid areas, the effects will be equally disastrous. Dryland farming is necessarily much less productive than irrigated agriculture overall, but it is also much less predictable. Therefore, farmers will not be able to invest in crop improvements because they will have much less assurance of a certain level of productivity.

The Great Plains are a major source of food for the world at present, and subjecting this supply to the vagaries of the weather is playing “Russian roulette“ with large sections of the world‘s population. Preliminary studies have shown that the development of irrigation in the once-dry Dust Bowl areas added significantly to the average natural rainfall over these areas. If irrigation is now discontinued, it is highly possible that the rainfall will again decline, leaving only dessicated monuments to the greatness of American agriculture.

The only realistic question, then, is, “How shall we proceed with NAWAPA?“

“The management, engineering, and construction of NAWAPA will require the skills of a plethora of organizations,“ noted N.W. Snyder of the Parsons Company in 1980. He suggested that “some continent-wide agency, representing all three North American countries be formed to finance, build, and operate NAWAPA.“ Whether this or another approach is taken, one thing remains certain—if the citizens of the United States do not take the lead in discussing and promoting development of NAWAPA, among ourselves and with our neighbors in Mexico and Canada, it will not be built.

The Schiller Institute
PO BOX 20244 Washington, DC 20041-0244
703-771-8390 or 888-347-3258
Projects for North America Water and Power Management
added as Appendix to 1988 Schiller Institute Conference Proceedings in Andover, New Hampshire

This map of the 1960s “North American Water and Power Alliance” (NAWAPA) shows the continental scale of the needed water supply improvements in North America, and also makes the point on how behind and backward the economies of the United States, Canada, and Mexico have needlessly become under 30 years of anti-development “free market” policies. For three decades, while the amount of money poured into mergers, speculation, and the “markets” rose, investment in infrastructure, industry, and agriculture slowed down to nothing.

“Soft infrastructure” has likewise been shorted, and ratios are dropping of per-household numbers of hospital beds, diagnostic equipment, etc.

The NAWAPA Project shown here, was drawn up by the Pasadena, Calif.-based firm of Ralph M. Parsons Co., and favorably reviewed by Congress in the 1960s for completion by the 1990s, but it was never begun. The idea is to divert southward some 15% of the MacKenzie River (northern Canada) runoff now going towards the Arctic, channelling it through the 500-mile Rocky Mountain trench, then along various routes, eventually reaching even Mexico. The broken lines show new, navigable canals.

The principle–on a grander scale–is the same as that of the Tennessee Valley Authority of the 1930s, and the 1950s St. Lawrence Seaway, both shown on the map. NAWAPA could supply an additional 135 billion gallons of fresh water to the United States, Canada, and Mexico, plus power, and vast new areas of cultivation. It would involve thousands of skilled jobs to construct and operate.

When you visualize overlays on this NAWAPA map, of expanded rail links, magnetically levitated routes, upgraded levees, and new power, water, and mass transit for cities, plus refurbished farm regions, you begin to see the vast overdue projects and potential at home in North America.

 B. Opponents:

Source: http://www.canspiracy.8m.com/article5.htm



Exposing the Continentalist Agenda

Interbasin Water Transfers after NAFTA: IS WATER A COMMODITY OR ECOLOGICAL RESOURCE?I. IntroductionAs demand for fresh water escalates in the southwestern United States and Mexico, Canada’s water resources may be drained, if proponents of interbasin water transfers have their way. Continent-wide water transfer proposals, initiated by engineers in the 1960’s, are being revisited as possible solutions to water scarcity in the desert southwest. Continuing development in the region, coupled with the drought of the 1980’s, tax the existing supply beyond sustainable levels. As a result, Canada’s abundant fresh water resources may regrettably provide a quick fix, while the harder tasks of improved water-management and better land-use planning are ignored.Fueling the renewed interest in international water transfer projects is the pending North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]. NAFTA and the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement of 1988 [FTA] essentially prevent Canada or any of her provinces from placing restrictions on the export of water. The trade agreements thus provide new hope for developers, agribusiness and policy makers anxious to build a continental water system.

This brief memorandum underlines the need for the wise management and conservation of North America’s fresh water resources. Moreover, it seeks to unite concerned groups in a continent-wide network aimed at monitoring and preventing efforts to divert Canada’s water resources to the southwestern United States and Mexico. Recent trends indicate that commercial interests, which view water not as a dwindling ecological resource but merely as a commodity, are successfully lobbying policy makers to resurrect the interbasin water schemes at the expense of the continent’s hydrological integrity. Should Canada, the U.S. and Mexico enact NAFTA, environmentalists fear that water’s essential ecological role will be sacrificed for the sake of unsustainable growth in arid regions of the continent.

The next section of this memorandum briefly describes the primary continent-wide water transfer projects still under consideration, such as the North American Water and Power Alliance [NAWAPA]. The third section discusses relevant trade law provisions, including FPA, NAFTA and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade [GATT]. The fourth section discusses other trends making the construction of large-scale transfer projects more likely. The final section offers recommendations for future activities to move us from the current myopic policy patchwork to an ecologically-sounder, conservation-oriented water policy.

II. Major Interbasin Water Transfer Proposals

During the 1960s, engineers drafted several proposals for massive water projects to transfer large quantities of fresh water from Canada to the southwestern U.S. Canada has twice as much surface and underground fresh water as the U.S., whilee comprised of one-tenth of the U.S.,’s population and industry. Because water is needed in the southwestern U.S. in quantities greater than traditional modes of transportation, such as trucks or tankers, could feasibly handle, hydrological engineers have dreamed of shipping water via massive dams, canals and pipelines.

Despite gaining widespread initial support, the proposals succumbed to economic and political realities and were dropped. *They have never been completely shelved, however.* Many observers believe that some recent water development projects – for example, the Oldman River dam in Alberta – are part of an attempt to construct these larger schemes piece-by- piece.

The three most ambitious as well as environmentally damaging projects that have been proposed – the North American Water and Power Alliance [NAWAPA], the Great Replenishment and Northern Development Canal [GRAND Canal], and the Alaska-California Subsea pipeline project – are discussed briefly below. [footnote in original: There are several other schemes, including the North Thompson or “Clancey Diversion” project to divert water from British Columbia to California, the “Eco-Vision” project in Nevada, the diversion of the Columbia River to California, and a major interbasin transfer project in Kansas. These are not adddressed in detail because they can be considered as simply down-sized versions, or components, of the larger schemes discussed in this paper]

1. The North American Water and Power Alliance [NAWAPA]

NAWAPA was first proposed in 1964 by the Ralph Parsons Engineering Company from Pasadena, California. The project contemplates damming virtually every major river in Alaska and British Columbia, including the Yukon, Susitna, Tanana, Skeena, Peace, Churchill, MacKenzie and Fraser rivers. The “excess” water would be diverted into the five-hundred mile, natural depression known as the Rocky Mountain Trench that runs the length of British Columbia. The depression would store up to 400 million acre feet of water. [footnote in original: An acre-foot of water is the quantity of water necessary to cover one acre with one foot of water. One acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons, enough to sustain two average U.S. households for one year]

Water would move down several different paths from the reservoir. From the northern end, a canal would run southeast, linking with the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Water level in the Great Lakes would rise; hydroelectric output at Niagara Falls could increase and ocean-going vessels would move up the Mississippi to St. Louis. Some water would be shunted off toward the Columbia Basin to produce additional electricity near the southern end of the reservoir.

Most of the water, however, would make the long journey southward and travel along both sides of the Rockies towards the Great Plains and to the southwestern deserts. Idaho would receive 2.3 million acre-feet; Texas, 11.7 million; California, 13.9 million; and Mexico 20 million.

The plan, monumental and breathtaking in its scope, would be the largest engineering project in the world. Although initially NAWAPA picked up some influential supporters, it eventually stalled because of social, environmental, economic and political opposition. The estimated cost of the project was between $100 billion and $200 dollars, and could not be considered cost- effective under any reasonable estimate. [footnote in original: Closer scrutiny of the economic arguments is now warranted, especially in light of more realistic water-pricing policies, increased water scarcity and the elimination of political obstacles to the water transfers. As the marginal costs of supplying the Southwest with water from other sources increase, the relative economic merit of the transfer schemes improves] The plan also emerged just before the first major upwelling of environmental concern in the 1970’s. Its environmental consequences would be virtually unimaginable, flooding thousands of miles of wilderness, and displacing hundreds of indigenous peoples.

One of the important reasons for NAWAP’s inability to gain support initially was that the requisite level of international cooperation seemed impossible. NAFTA, however, has changed all that. As discussed in greater detail below in Part III below, if NAFTA is implemented, it will remove virtually all of the international political obstacles to large-scale water-transfers – and make it very difficult to prevent commencement of projects like NAWAPA through national or provincial regulations.

2. The Great Replenishment and Northern Development Canal [GRAND Canal]

The GRAND Canal is eastern Canada’s version of NAPAWA. Indeed, the two projects could be interconnected in time. The GRAND Canal scheme was first conceived in the 1950s by Thomas Kierans, founder and president of the GRAND Canal Co. Ltd. *The project is still very much alive*, and has been backed at times by many of Canada’s leading engineering firms, including Bechtel of Canada and Lavalin; the massive utility, Hydro- Quebec; Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa; and Prime Minister Mulroney.

The GRAND Canal scheme contemplates construction of a huge dike across the northern end of James Bay, an arm of Hudson Bay. The many rivers feeding into the bay would fill a reservoir the size of Lake Ontario. The water would then be channeled into the Great Lakes, where it could be pumped into Saskatchewan’s Lake Diefenbaker and other points in western North America. The total estimated cost in 1985 was $100 billion.

The GRAND Canal can be seen as an extension of Quebec’s efforts to become a major supplier and exporter of hydro-electricity. The controversial LaGrande River hydroelectric projects, and the other James Bay projects under construction by Hydro-Quebec, are significant steps toward realization of a GRAND Canal project. Although built primarily for hydro-electric power generation, the $20 billion LaGrande complex is integral to any scheme for sending James Bay water south. The next stages of Hydro-Quebec’s plans, which it is currently implementing, involve damming or diverting all the remaining major rivers flowing into James Bay by the year 2001, at a cost of $44 billion. After completion of that phase, all that will be necessary to complete the plan will be the canals to the Great Lakes, a relatively inexpensive addition [footnote in original: For more on the James Bay projects, see Sean McCutcheon, ELECTRIC RIVERS: THE STORY OF THE JAMES BAY PROJECT {1991}] Moreover, the high energy needs for pumping water west and south will provide a welcome demand and justification for the hydroelectric facilities.

3. The Alaska-California Subsea Pipeline Project

Alaska’s governor Walter Hickel has recently been promoting an undersea pipeline 1400-2100 miles long to transport over four million acre-feet of Alaskan water to Lake Shasta in northern California.[footnote in original: The Alaska-California subsea pipeline is not directly affected by NAFTA. As discussed below, NAFTA has essentially streamlined the diplomatic channels for transferring water, making a Canada-to- California pipeline more likely. This could dramatically reduce the estimated cost of a pipeline project, making it far more economically feasible] The federal Office of Technology Assessment [OTA] was sufficiently interested to organize a workshop and conduct an investigation into the economic feasibility of the project [U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, ALASKAN WATER FOR CALIFORNIA? THE SUBSEA PIPELINE OPTION – Background Paper, 1992] The OTA study concluded that at $110 billion, the pipeline could not compete economically with other options available to California. The delivered water would cost between $3000 to $4000 per acre foot [$2.40-$3.25 per cubic metre]

The pipeline option attracts some supporters in part because it may present less environmental damage than other water transfer schemes. As contemplated, the pipeline would take water from the mouth of the Copper or Stikine rivers. Thus, it would probably require smaller storage reservoirs to regulate the flow of the rivers. Moreover, the riperian zones and the river flows would be affected less than if water were diverted from the headwaters. Nonetheless, the pipeline could change coastal salinity and temperature, thus endangering critical salmon and marine mammal habitats.

Although the report concluded that the pipeline was not economically competitive with other options currently available to California and that “California does not currently need the large volumes of imported water that could justify a major inter-basin transfer,” the report leaves the reader with the uneasy feeling that it is only a matter of time before large-scale transfers become necessary. After emphasizing the role global warming could play, the report analyses the fifty-year outlook in the following way:

“Although the current trend is away from interregional water transfers, at some point, then, such schemes could again receive serious attention. A subsea pipeline to transport water from Alaska, diverting some water from the Columbia River or various proposals for diverting water from western Canada’s rivers, as well as other expensive options such as tankering water, might then be considered. Moreover, although the Eel and Klamath Rivers in northern California are now part of the National Wild ans Scenic River System, they too could be tapped if current law is changed in response to concerns over global climate change.” [p.11]

This conclusion for the longer term [fifty years] should alarm environmentalists. None of the long- term options the report emphasizes offers an environmentally benign future. That a federal report could so easily contemplate withdrawing two rivers from the protection of the wild and scenic designations is remarkable, and illustrates once again the single-minded view of water developers.

III. NAFTA and Large Scale Water Exports From Canada

*Some of the political and economic obstacles that have effectively blocked NAWAPA and the other massive inter-basin transfer schemes no longer exist in the current climate that has spawned NAFTA*. The goal of NAFTA and the 1988 FTA is to create a North American free trade bloc, so that goods and services can flow freely through the continent. *Among the goods and services covered by the agreements are natural resources such as water. As a result, local, provincial or even national attempts to prevent or restrict Canadian water exports to the U.S. or Mexico would be subject to the review of an international panal. As currently contemplated, that panel would not be bound by any environmental standards and its proceedings and final rulings may both be kept secret*. Efforts to protect instream values will likely be subordinated to international economic views *of water as a commodity*. Moreover, international agencies have historically been more difficult for environmentalists to influence than national or local authorities. In any event, understanding how the free trade agreements affect water exports will now be a necessary first step in mounting any effective campaign.

1. The U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement [FTA]
*The water export issue arose initially in the late 1980’s during the debate over the FTA, which appears to preempt Canada from taking any unilateral actions to restrict large-scale water exports*. FTA, like NAFTA discussed below, prohibits any party from placing export restrictions [including, for example, export taxes or quotas] on any goods subject to its provisions. Water implicitly qualifies as a “good” under the FTA, because it was not specifically excluded as were other natural resources. The conclusion that water is includedunder FTA’s general provisions is also supported by the inclusion of natural waters in the tariff provisions [tariff item 22.01.9].

*Although the Canadian government disputes that it has lost control of its water exports due to the FTA, Canada passed an amendment to its FTA implementing legislation that specifically states nothing in the legislation or the FTA applies to water. The implementing legislation, however, would not be considered by an FTA dispute panel if the U.S. were to complain that Canada was violating the FTA by withholding water exports. The FTA dispute panel would have good cause to rule in the favour of the U.S. if Canada places an export restriction on water. Canada need not automatically submit to such a ruling, but it might be subjected to trade retaliation by the U.S. if it chose not to comply. Such retaliation, or the threat of such retaliation, may be enough to force the Canadian government to allow large scale water exports*.

2. The North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]

NAFTA is in many ways just an extension of the FTA. It, too, opens the possibility that Canada would be legally bound to make water available to the U.S. under the same conditions as water is available inside Canada. Despite the controversy that arose over the FTA, Canadian negotiators did not seek a specific exemption in NAFTA for water. According to a government spokesman, they reasoned that Canada’s Federal Water Policy of 1987, likely NAFTA implementing legislation, and other solely Canadian statements rejecting these exports insulate Canada’s water resources from the NAFTA regime. Moreover, all of the parties to NAFTA supposedly understood that large-scale water exports were not included in the negotiations, according to the spokesman. Additionally, asking for a specific water exemption might have provoked counter-offers from the U.S. and Mexican negotiators for their own additional exemptions. *As a result, the actual text of NAFTA supports the claim that large-scale transfers of Canadian water to the U.S. and Mexico cannot be prevented on the national or local level*. First, consistent with the FTA’s tariff treatment of water, *NAFTA considers water as it wood any other good by including it in its tariff schedules*. The other relevant NAFTA provisions and explanations are discussed below.

A] The Principle of National Treatment

One of the basic principles of free trade is that similar goods and services should be treated similarly whether they are being traded domestically or internationally. This principle of national treatment is embodied in Articles 102 and 301 of NAFTA. Each states that each party, province or state must accord no less favourable treatment to goods and services of other parties than the most favourable treatment accorded to any similar, directly competitive or substitutable goods and services. Article 102 makes national treatment one of the underlying objectives of NAFTA. Article 301 specifically accords this national treatment “to the goods of another Party in accordance with national treatment provisions of Article III of the [GATT].” As GATT tariff schedules typically include all types of water, *including large-scale exports*, and because both NAFTA and the FTA *specifically include water in their tariff provisions*, NAFTA’s national treatment principle appears to apply to large-scale water exports. [footnote in original: That NAFTA’s national treatment principle applies to water exports is buttressed by Canada’s chosen exceptions to national treatment in NAFTA, Annex 301.3, which apply to exports]

B] The Prohibitions of Import and Export Restrictions

Another major goal of the trade agreements is to eliminate import and export restrictions between the parties. Under Article 309, except as provided in NAFTA, *”no Party shall adopt or maintain any prohibition or restriction…on the exportation or sale for export of any good destined for the territory of another party”*. *This provision prevents Canada from restricting exports of its water, whether large-scale or otherwise, regardless of the intent of the parties that negotiated the agreement or the unilateral proclamations of an individual government.*

The Grand Canal Corporation, the Cree, and James Bay

The VANCOUVER PROVINCE ran an article on Shelley Ann Clark’s warnings with regard to the Free Trade Agreement, the Quebec Referendum, Canadian water exports and the Grand Canal Corporation which appeared in or around the second week of March, 1994 – the *only* article I’m aware of as having ever appeared in the Canadian press on this astonishing story!
Charlie Greenwell, of CJOH-TV in Ottawa interviewed Shelly Ann over a year ago, in the presence of John Bowlby [of Citizens Against Bad Law], and was shown proof of certain of her assertions concerning the “doctored” Free Trade Agreement briefing books which were shown to the Provincial Premiers to ensure that they supported the final Agreement. Water, Energy, Subsidies, Agriculture, Minerals, Harmonization of Social Policies…the “doctored” books said one thing, the actual Agreement said another. The secession of Quebec, water exports via Grand Canal, and Continental Union by 2005 were all chronologically detailed in an accompanying but unreleased Letter of Implementation.

As an aside, check out CONSTITUTIONAL CRACK-UP: CANADA AND THE COMING SHOWDOWN WITH QUEBEC, by William Gairdner [your library may have a copy of the review of it featured in the TORONTO SUN, 2 May 1994, headlined CIVIL WAR IN QUEBEC?]. He’s righter than he thinks! And you’ll also find it profitable to quickly scan BREAKUP, by Lansing Lamont, Canadian correspondent for TIME magazine. Note his personal and affiliative data. Note also his apparently accurate assertions that Quebec will leave, that the Cree will attempt to destroy the James Bay hydro-generating facilities, and that the 10th Mountain Division from New York’s massive Fort Drum would intervene as “peacekeepers” [the 10th Mountain is a 10,000-man shock assault Division: Fort Drum lies just across Lake Ontario from Kingston]. He writes as one who’s seen the script, although he’s less detailed than he could have been: the 10th Mountain Division is currently being tutored in French!
The following quotes and exerpts ought to provide you with a good springboard for further research into the topic of GRAND CANAL. Good hunting!

(the following Southam News piece is taken from the March 1991 issue of “World Press Review” and is by Mr. Ken MacQueen)
Is Canada quietly preparing the plumbing for a $100 billion plan to sell northern fresh water to the Canadian Prairie Provinces, the US, and Mexico? Proponents of the proposed second phase of the James Bay hydroelectric project in Quebec, and of the Rafferty-Alameda dams under construction in the province of Saskatchewan, say that they are separate provincial mega-projects. Others note that they could also be vital components of the biggest pipe dream of them all: the Great Recycling and North Development (GRAND) Canal water-transfer project.The proposed GRAND Canal project, backed by some of Canada’s top engineering firms, would fill James Bay with fresh water, pump this water into the Great Lakes, and transfer some of it across the Prairies to the Lake Diefenbaker reservoir in Saskatchewan. From there, the water would head south through the Rafferty-Alameda dams into a network of US rivers.”

“To believe that it’s coincidence just stretches credibility,” says Wendy Holm, a Vancouver resource economist and editor of the book “Water and Free Trade.” [required reading] “There has to be a connection between the GRAND Canal, the James Bay hydroelectric project, and the Rafferty-Alameda dams.”

The GRAND Canal proposal has been evolving since the late 1950s, when it was conceived by mining engineer Tom Kierans, founder and president of Canada’s Grand Canal Co. Ltd. Both provincial projects, Kierans says, “could be integral components of the jigsaw puzzle… They are being put in the right place, except those that are putting them there don’t really know that they’re part of a much bigger picture.” Unfortunately, he says, there is no political agenda to complete his project. “I don’t think that there is anybody who is that Machiavellian… I don’t think that there is anybody that smart.”

Kierans says that his project would “recycle” the fresh water now lost when rivers flow into the salt water of James and Hudson bays. “James Bay’s recycled run-off can relieve the water-supply crisis and enrich environments for 160 million people in both nations. It can add 10 % to Canada’s fresh water,” Kierans claimed in a 1989 presentation to American water regulators in Boston. Global warming, droughts and depleted water reserves in the prairies, California and the US Midwest make the GRAND project inevitable, he says. Now, Kierans says, individual pieces of the project are coming together. Lake Diefenbaker became operational in 1968, and the controversial Rafferty-Alameda dams in southern Saskatchewan – which are being constructed with substantial American financing – would help to regulate the release of water into the Souris and Missouri river systems, Kierans says.

The completed first phase of the James Bay project in northern Quebec and the proposed second phase “are essential to our project,” he says, because they would generate the massive amounts of power needed to pump the river down south. As important, the dams and river diversions, which would flood an area the size of Lake Erie, are necessary to regulate fresh-water flows into James Bay. The second stage of the James Bay project has yet to receive final approval.
Kierans’ plan has financing or endorsements from such giant engineering firms as Bechtel of Canada Ltd. [subsidiary of a massive US firm], the SNC Group, and Lavalin Inc. In 1985, it also won backing from Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Simon Reisman, a consultant and lobbyist who served as Canada’s negotiator for the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, has also backed it but has said repeatedly that water was never on the table during the later free-trade negotiations.

Donald Gamble, executive director of the independent Rawson Academy of Aquatic Science in Ottawa, has met frequently with Kierans to discuss and debate his proposal. Gamble says that the project has a surface, almost visceral, appeal to engineers, but on “pure, hard economic analysis… the project is nuts. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Gamble says that although the Saskatchewan and Quebec projects do link together, the project “is not on” politically because of its massive scope and huge environmental impact. But he warns that the political posture against water export could change. “If global warming turns out to be what we think it is by the beginning of the next century,” he says, “no price will be too high for water.”

Some Quick Quotes on American Interest in Canada’s Water

Jim Wright, Democratic congressman from Texas, in his 1966 book “The Coming Water Famine”: “There is to the north of us a stupendous supply of water…enough to satisfy our predictable wants for years to come. We need the water. We need to develop a means of getting that water.”

Rep. Fred Grandy (R., IA) during a CNN interview on June 28, 1988: “I think one of the reasons the United States wants to negotiate a free trade agreement with Canada is became Canada has the water resources that this country is eventually going to need.”

US Ambassador Clayton Yeutter (yait-ter) during a May 1, 1988 interview on CTV’s “Question Period”: “In either case it will have to be negotiated between the two countries and so I don’t think anybody in Canada should be concerned that ‘our water is now going to be committed to the Americans.’ Obviously that will not happen except by deliberate decisions of the government of Canada.” [but has it already happened? read on!]

“Environment Canada was lobbying hard, within caucus, to get an exemption for bulk water under the free trade agreement. Other sections in this book [“Water and Free Trade”] note the remarks by Frank Quinn, senior civil servant with Environment Canada that “in the eleventh hour, we didn’t get all the changes we wanted.” This is commonly interpreted to mean that water was initially exempt, but in the final stages this exemption was withdrawn.

This is consistent with information obtained through my involvement in the BCSSBG [British Columbia “Small” Small Business Group, which tried to protect Canada’s water rights during the negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement] lobby. In December, one day after the final text was released, I phoned Chris Thomas, who had been Carney’s [Patricia Carney, Tory MP involved in FTA negotiation] international trade advisor during the negotiations. When I queried him concerning the legal status of bulk water under the free trade agreement, Mr. Thomas responded, in a somewhat exasperated tone, “It’s exempt. It’s right there in black and white. Water is exempt from the FTA.”

When asked to find the exemption, Mr. Thomas could not, of course,do so. After searching the text, Mr. Thomas replied “I don’t know what happened. We discussed it; it should be there. I thought it was there.”

The fact that there would seem to have been an explicit exemption for water in the deal until the eleventh hour is further confirmed by remarks initially made by Pat Carney when first queried by myself on this matter during the course of a Neighborhood Night held at the False Creek Community Center in Vancouver on 17 February 1988. “Water is exempt from the deal- it’s right in the agreement,” said Carney. When asked to produce a reference to the exemption in the text Carney consulted with an aid [sic] and then replied “It was there.”

–excerpt from Wendy R. Holm’s “Incompetence or Agenda?” piece in “Water and Free Trade” published in 1988 by James Lorimer & Company and edited by Wendy Holm

Journalists and radio talk-show hosts who wish to interview Shelley Ann Clark or Glen Kealey on the astonishing agenda concealed behind the Quebec Separation Referendum on October 30th – a story of greed, deceit, corruption, astronomical profits, purchased politicians and the destruction of a country, all wrapped up in the GRAND CANAL PROJECT and Rockefeller’s plans for Continental Union by 2005, should call them at
THE INSTITUTE FOR POLITICAL INTEGRITY, Ottawa, [819] 778 1705, or fax them at [613] 747 1644.

Politician’s links to the GRAND Canal Project�
From: Financial Opportunities <financial.opportunities@canrem.com>
It may re-pay the reader to spend a few minutes tracing the connections of Paul Desmarais and Power Corp. to the leading politicians, etc. of Canada:

JOHN RAE: leading strategist for Prime Minister Chretien’s election campaign. Was Executive Vice- President of Power Corp. and Paul Desmarais’ right- hand man. His brother is….

BOB RAE: Rhodes Scholar and ex-NDP [Socialist] Premier of Ontario, who appointed….

MAURICE STRONG to the chairmanship of Ontario Hydro, which he proceded to dramatically cut in both skilled human resources and generating capacity {to provide a future *need* for power from James Bay/Grand Canal?}

PAUL MARTIN: current federal Finance Minister. Rose through the ranks at Power Corp., mentored by Paul Desmarais. Bought Canada Steamship Lines from him. Ran against Chretien for Liberal Party leadership.

JEAN CHRETIEN: Prime Minister. Daughter, France, is married to Andre Desmarais, son of Paul Desmarais, chairman of Power Corporation. Chretien’s “advisor, counsellor and strategist” for the past 30 years has been MITCHELL SHARP, who brought Chretien into politics when *he* was Finance Minister. Sharp has been, since 1981, Vice-Chairman for North America of David Rockefeller’s TRILATERAL COMMISSION.

DANIEL JOHNSON: present Liberal [and Opposition] leader in Quebec. Rose through the ranks of Power Corp.

BRIAN MULRONEY: ex-Conservative Prime Minister. Now a lawyer and lobbyist for Power Corporation which, together with Ontario Hydro and Hydro Quebec, has just formed the Hong Kong-based ASIA POWER CORP., to help China to develop its energy potential. Power Corp.’s legal interests in Asia will be handled by a Hong Kong branch of Mulroney’s Montreal law firm, Olgilvy, Renault.

So…we have the CONSERVATIVE party [via Mulroney], the LIBERAL party [via Chretien], and the NDP [via Rae] all tightly connected to….Paul Desmarais and Power Corp.

And we have the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, and the Prime Minister’s key aide all tightly connected to….Paul Desmarais and Power Corp.

Mel Hurtig wrote, in THE BETRAYAL OF CANADA: “since Brian Mulroney became Prime Minister, Big Business has had effective control of the political and economic agenda, and hence the social and cultural agenda as well. Paul Desmarais provided much of the money for Pierre Trudeau’s campaign, Brian Mulroney’s campaign, and Jean Chretien’s campaign.” {p.188}
Maurice Strong has now joined Brian Mulroney and Paul Desmarais in investing the Asia Power Group’s $100 million venture capital in “small coal-fired power plants being built in the south of China”. They are also looking at “larger projects in northern China, as well as in Malaysia, the Philippines and India.” The Asian economies are expected to spend $1 trillion [US] on essential infrastructure, of which an estimated $400 billion [US] will be on power generation. Chinese and Asian labour costs are low – as low, in China, as $45 per month – and potential profits are high.

The Nov/Dec. 1993 issue of David Rockefeller’s Council on Foreign Relations’ publication FOREIGN RELATIONS contains an article, THE RISE OF CHINA, in which we are warned that China will begin to use *more energy than the United States* within a few decades, massively straining the world’s energy supplies.*Most of China’s energy comes from the burning of soft, high-sulphur, highly- polluting coal*. In 1991 alone, *11 trillion cubic meters of waste gases and sixteen million tons of soot were emitted into the atmosphere over China* – and it has only just *begun* its long process of increased energy generation!
The suphur in this coal causes acid rain. The burning of the coal releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the most efficient “greenhouse gas” in the global warming process.

The *warmer* the climate becomes, the *greater* the need for fresh water in Mexico and the southern United States – and the more *urgent* the need for a GRAND Canal project to get it there. An astute businessman could, if he were so inclined, potentially make *astronomical* profits off *both* ends of this process!
Oh, and Paul Desmarais?

In September, 1993, he joined David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission.
He won’t feel out-of-place there, though. Other prominent Canadian members include Gerald Bouey [former Governor of the Bank of Canada]; Conrad Black, newspaper magnate and chairman of Argus; John Allen, CEO of Stelco; Raymond Cyr, President of Bell Canada Enterprises; Peter Dobell, of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, in Ottawa; Marie-Jose Druin, Hudson Institute of Canada; Claude Edwards, Public Staff Relations Board in Ottawa; Allan Gottlieb, former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S.; David Henniger, Regional Director of Burns, Fry; Senator Duff Roblin; Ron Sutherland, CEO of ATCO Ltd., William Turner, of Montreal’s PCC Industrial Corporation; and J.H. Warren, former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S.
[And, of course, Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau was also in the habit of frequently briefing meetings of David Rockefeller’s Council on Foreign Relations in Washington; and Lucien Bouchard, separatist PQ leader, was brought into politics by Brian Mulroney, whose last act in Ottawa was to host a black-tie dinner for 200 members of Rockefeller’s Council of the Americas, who flew up on Rockefeller’s private jet to celebrate the successful negotiation of NAFTA – another Rockefeller innovation]


Water is not just another resource. It is the basis for all life. There is no substitute. It has a special place in the human psyche. Society, particularly Canadian society, quite rightly places water in a category quite different from anything else. Water is an all-encompassing symbol of value and life that transcends comprehension as market worth and even intrinsic worth. When threatened, that value naturally prompts great emotion.

To deride this trait in Canadians only cheapens the values that are a vital part of our identity. If this stretches conventional reason for some, then perhaps the strong public reaction to ideas like the GRAND Canal is more understandable in the contexxt of opinion polls that consistently place environmental issues, and water issues in particular, at the top of the list. This public concern is shared internationally, as the recent report of the World Commission on Environment and Development points out so well.

The dedication of waters from Canada to the United States on the scale envisaged by the GRAND Canal does raise serious continental questions. For example, such a scheme, if it were feasible, would create a permanent and direct American interest in one of our most basic resources. The waters of the Great Lakes are already shared, but that arrangement would be extended north and south. If the scheme actually does what its proponents claim, it would create a lifeline from the U.S. Midwest and Sothwest up through the Great Lakes into Canada’s North. Americans wuld be dependent on that supply of water, water they will increasingly see as their own, their right, and vital to their continued well-being. But there are real possibilities for tension and serious misunderstandings that cannot be overlooked. The implications of establishing the GRAND Canal scheme with its origins in Canada and criss-crossing the nation’s heart -land are at the core of the decision-making process. These decisions cannot be made lightly. They are not in the purview of engineers. Problems, where they do exist, can always be addressed in more than one way. The choices must not be artificially defined nor should they be restricted by short-term, vested interests. And fear whipped up to suit a cause should be understood to be the emotional blackmail that it is.

Water shortages exist now, and they may get worse in some regions, but it is important to remember that these shortages are defined by human use and abuse of water resources. Resource specialists and users worldwide see augmented supply as only one aspect of the solution to shortages. Using very expensive and massive water transfers is increasingly suspect. More often the real issue is seen to be in the laws, regulations, economies, and management techniques that drive our manipulation of water. Within that, demand management through efficiency of use, conservation, and realistic pricing offer immediate means to address shortages. If history can teach us anything, it will show that few water shortages are solved in the long run by throwing more water at the problem. More elegant solutions are worth pursuing as the avenue of first recourse.

Perhaps, in the end, the GRAND Canal scheme, or some variation of it, may be necessary, even desirable. If so, we must accept that it is fraught with issues that can be ignored only at our peril. Today, the scheme is more symbolic of the potentially fatal water mismanagement we are quietly perpetuating than it is of any solution that will provide a sustainable future. In all the talk and promotion, hopefully, we will be wise enough to see that sustainable future as the real issue to be addressed. If nothing else, Kierans could be just one more “agent provocateur” that compels us to do so.

Source: David Hunter, Interbasin Water Transfers After NAFTA: Is Water a Commodity or Ecological Resource? (Washington, D.C.: Center for International Environmental Law, 1992), p. 13.



Source: http://aquadoc.typepad.com/waterwired/2008/01/kennedy-to-cana.html

January 25, 2008

Canadian Water Exports:  Will NAWAPA Return?

Robert Kennedy, Jr., recently urged Canadians not to sell or share water with the USA. Nick Lees wrote this (Link no longer valid)  article  for the 18 January 2008 edition of the Edmonton Journal.

Kennedy and Hollywood gliterati were in Banff to raise funds for theWaterkeeper Alliance. Along with Kennedy were such luminaries as Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Jason Priestly, Christie Brinkley, Daryl Hannah, and Kelsey Grammer.

Here are some excerpts from Lees’ article:

“The U.S. southwest is already experiencing a water crisis, with lots of people moving there and development increasing exponentially,” said Kennedy. “They have already run out of water.

“If you talk to government officials, everybody says they are looking for Canada to bail them out.”

Water from the Colorado River is being routed for development to such places as Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

“This is in the short-term interest of a few developers,” said Kennedy, who has a master’s degree in environmental law.

“It’s not a sustainable practice. The Colorado now dies in the Sonoran Desert. It was once a river that fed a great estuary full of fish and migratory birds.”

The Waterkeeper model began in New York in the 1960s when commercial and recreational fishermen, concerned about depleted fish stocks and industrial pollution, decided to organize and restore the health of the Hudson River. A major water contamination issue in the Hudson is the PCB contamination by the General Electric Co.

Later, Kennedy was among those who rejuvenated laws that protected environmental rights and helped clean up the Hudson. He and others formed the Waterkeeper Alliance in 1999, the year the first chapter appeared in Canada. There are now 171 Waterkeeper chapters on six continents.

Kennedy is the son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy.

I understand that at meetings such as this hyperbole is often the order of the day; after all, Kennedy was trying to raise money. I question whether the development in the Southwest is “exponential” and I am unsure “everyone” wants Canada to bail the USA out. But he is right – some people are casting their eyes north of the border.

But Kennedy’s vent does raise the interesting issue of Canada, which has huge amounts of fresh water. I wasn’t going to elaborate on this but I might as well.

I remember Marc Reisner recounting (in the ‘Epilogue’ of Cadillac Desert) a 21 April 1981 visit to San Francisco by British Columbia premier Bill Bennett to address the Commonwealth Club. He castigated those who wanted to stop building dams. But when asked by a questioner if BC would consider selling some of its water to the USA, he firmly replied “No”. Then he added: “But come and see me in twenty years.” Looks like we are overdue.

That brings us to the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA), a plan conceived in the early 1950s by Donald Baker, an engineer with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The plan would divert water from Canada to the USA (see map below). He took his plan to Ralph M. Parsons, head of the Pasadena engineering firm bearing his name, who instantly fell in love with it.

Parsons started the nonprofit NAWAPA Foundation to “spread the Gospel” about NAWAPA.

NAWAPA attracted the interest of some folks in Congress, especially Sen. Frank Moss (D-UT) and Sen. Hiram Fong (R-HI). Even Gov. Tom McCall, Republican governor of Oregon, and Stewart Udall (initially, when he was Secretary of the Interior) were supporters, but the plan eventually fell into disfavor by the late 1970s. However, I have heard talk about “bringing NAWAPA back”, just as I have heard people suggest reviving a plan to study the diversion of Columbia River water to the Southwest USA.

Here is an article about NAWAPA by Lyndon H. LaRouche, so you might consider the source as you read it. There is even aCanadian site proclaiming “Why NAWAPA is Necessary”. Reisner also has a good discussion of NAWAPA in the ‘Epilogue’ of Cadillac Desert (the source of much of my NAWAPA information).

As a graduate student at the University of Arrizona in the early 1970s I remember some of my professors discussing NAWAPA and the Columbia River scheme, and plans to tap Alaskan water (a component of NAWAPA). In those days it was common for people to say that fresh water flowing into the sea was “wasted”; some people still say that.

Not all Canadians think selling water to the USA is a bad idea. When I was at the University of New Mexico I received a call in the late 1990s from a staffer of Canadian MP Alan Mills, a Conservative who represented Toronto suburbs. She wanted to know if the Southwest USA could use Great Lakes water. “Do fish swim?” I said. She said MP Mills was supportive of such exports and was trying to get the Great Lakes region to agree to them. Dream on, Mr. Mills. It sure is an interesting time to be in the water business in the western USA – and western Canada.

“Water flows uphill to power and money.” — Unknown


Opponents   third

Source: http://sisis.nativeweb.org/sov/oh11dam.html


…They’ll try to dam them!

– Lonefighters National Communication Network

– reprinted from Oh-Toh-Kin, Vol. 1 No. 1, Winter/Spring 1992

The Real Watergate

During the late fifties and early sixties, a group of business and government officials had a pipe-dream that Canada being the last haven of clean fresh water, it would be quite feasible to divert the clean, fresh water south to the United States. The initial outcry from the general public was enough to put the project on hold. It is only recently that the US, from exploiting and misusing their water supply and water tables, is now experiencing a crisis within their own country.

In 1964, the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA), was drawn up by the Ralph M. Parsons Company — an engineering firm in Los Angeles — to divert massive amounts of Canadian water to the US. In 1965, a letter from the Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources, to Louis Hamill — assistant professor of Geography at the University of Alberta — proves that the federal government was well aware of the NAWAPA plan and its costs and effects on the environment, but it provided a tone that this plan was far from being considered. One only has to look at the various dams and hydro projects and compare them to the “proposed” NAWAPA plan.

To facilitate the diversion of these massive amounts of water would require an international treaty or agreement. This was done by Canada entering into the Free Trade agreement in 1987. In a brief presented to Environment Canada’s Rafferty-Alameda Initial Environmental Evaluation in Regina, Saskatchewan on June 22/89, by the Citizens Concerned About Free Trade, it was pointed out that Simon Reisman, Canada’s Free Trade negotiator, had said quite candidly that for the US to enter into the Agreement would require elements which would make the deal hard to refuse. And that element would be water. When Prime Minister Mulroney was asked by Fortune magazine about the idea of water exports to the US, he said “Why not?”.

The NAWAPA plan has been put back on the table, or perhaps it should be said “under the table”. Various hydroelectric and dam projects have raised serious questions about the necessity of these projects. James Bay 2, Rafferty-Alameda, the Oldman River dam, eerily resemble the original outline of NAWAPA plan of the sixties. Each of the provincial governments say that these mega-projects are separate provincial ventures and nothing more.

It’s been stated that the three projects could be vital components to the GRAND (Great Recycling and Northern Development) Canal Transfer. The sale of fresh Canadian water to the US is backed by some of the country’s top engineering firms. In an article in the Edmonton Journal, Dec. 22/90, Tom Kierans, president and founder of the Grand Canal Co. Ltd., was interviewed where he stated explicitly that the three dam projects “could be integral parts of the jigsaw puzzle”. He was the one who conceived the idea of interbasin water transfers back in the 1950s. Kierans points out that the existing projects, such as the Lake Diefenbaker dam built in 1968, and James Bay 1, could all work nicely into a plan of diverting the water south, it’s only a matter of turning on the taps. Both of these projects were his creations. To effectively complete the interbasin transfer of water, James Bay 2 and Rafferty-Alameda are essential. He further stated that the diversion of our water southward is inevitable due to global warming, droughts and depleted water reserves in the prairies, California, and the US mid-west.

In the mid-1960s, a scheme was developed of interbasin water transfers from northern Alberta to southern Alberta, or simply water from the north being diverted to south. The plan became known as Prairie River Improvement Management Evaluation, or PRIME. In 1971, the Progressive Conservatives, then in opposition, used the key phrase; “PRIME IS A CRIME”. They alluded that the real reason for PRIME was to export water to the US. Though this plan was developed in the early `70s, much of its interbasin transfers, diversions and dam sites are now in place. PRIME became part of the Saskatchewan Nelson Basin Study which was concluded in 1972. It became known in 1981 that the water resource engineers for the Alberta government were happily developing interbasin water transfers. PRIME had become the policy for water management in the province and that the Progressive Conservative government of Alberta had dropped two elements from PRIME, first being the name, and secondly the emphasis on interbasin water transfer. The intent was the same: to divert water from north to south.

Whether the plan is called NAWAPA or the Grand Canal Scheme or PRIME, it’s the same plan to take our water and send it south to the US. The players may change but the game remains the same. While this plan was being developed it was quite obvious and recognized from the beginning that there would be opposition from various segments of Canada, but it was felt that would be easily overcome with the enticement of profit and material gain. What was not considered was the original people of the land. During the `50s and `60s our people were still confined to reserves, not allowed off without a pass. For many the issue was survival. In the 1990s, the pressing issue for the original people is the protection of the earth. All First Nations share a common but fundamental belief that the earth is sacred and has been desecrated. She must be protected. It is our responsibility, our duty, that we cannot shrug off. The Real Watergate is an example of blatant act of genocide against the First People. We are on the frontlines. A plan this big will require massive resistance. The few that will benefit from this have at their disposal all the machinery of the state and, with a price tag of $150 billion, they will use all of that machinery. What they have not counted on is that when the First Peoples’ very existence and life and all that they hold sacred is threatened, the response will equal that threat.


[SISIS note: most of this information is outdated and should be read as historical record, not a current update of the ongoing struggles of the James Bay Cree, Mohawks, etc. Where possible we have added links to sites with current information on the struggles discussed here.]

James Bay 2

In April 1971, Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa announced the “key to economic progress in Quebec” was a multibillion dollar plan to harness the 20 rivers flowing into James Bay and make it one of the largest hydroelectric projects in the world. James Bay 1 built 15 dams, 331 dykes, at a cost of $16-billion. James Bay 2 is slated for completion by 1998. The damage to the environment done by the first phase of the project has left 13,000 square kilometres of Cree territory flooded. Several communities have been uprooted, and in 1984 ten thousand caribou drowned when water was released from one of the reservoirs. The reservoirs have submerged large tracts of land and released mercury from the bedrock, causing contamination of fish and fish-eating wildlife, upon which the Cree and Inuit depend for food and income.

James Bay 2 will flood over an additional 10,000 square kilometres. Water level changes will destroy natural habitats for migratory birds, and flood waters will cover many caribou summer calving grounds with unknown and unspecified effects. River diversions would lead to a concentration of fresh water flowing into Hudson Bay, altering the salinity and water temperatures which will impact the marine life. The phenomenon that produced mercury contamination in the first phase will be repeated, and this time the mercury will make its way into the Hudson Bay and will effect the beluga whales and seals that live there.


The Mohawk territory of Kanesatake came to epitomize the anger and frustration of all original people of this land. From the Innu of Labrador to the Haida of the west coast, the situation wasn’t difficult to relate to. The Sulpician priests at one time held the deed which was given to them from the king of France. The object was to establish a Catholic mission for the Mohawks and Algonquins. The fight for recognition of their land base started then and would continue for the next two and a half centuries. It would eventually ignite a controversy over a proposed golf course to be built by the town of Oka in 1990. The town of Oka insisted that the golf course be built in spite of the fact that the area, called the Pines, was the burial grounds for the Mohawks.

The response from the federal and provincial governments was heavy handed and left people wondering what made a golf course important enough to call out the army. The last Warriors left on Sept. 27/90, and the army left shortly after. The government had promised to purchase the land, but ended up buying the wrong area. If one looks at the James Bay 2 map of power lines it would be obvious that the Pines is a necessary component to James Bay 2. The government insists that it made an honest mistake in purchasing the wrong land??

Current information on Mohawk struggles:

(Link no longer valid:   Mohawk Nation site)
(Link no longer valid:   SISIS Mohawk site)

Treaty Commissioner and Treaty Land Entitlement in Saskatchewan

The issue of outstanding Treaty land entitlement has gone unaddressed not only in Saskatchewan but in other provinces as well. This issue dates back to the 1800s when the government was unable to do a survey of the various band populations which in turn short-changed the bands on land quantum.

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, the provincial political body that lobbies on behalf of the bands of Saskatchewan, agreed in principal to a report on Land Entitlement that was released by the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. Within the report there was a series of recommendations on how to settle the outstanding entitlements. As well, on the table for discussion was mineral and water rights. The formula that appeared equitable to all parties allowed cash for land value and thus allow bands to purchase lands. It is the hope of Indian Affairs that a national formula would be established by this process.

It’s obvious that the motive behind the provincial government’s willingness to settle not just one land claim but 27 in total is more than “it’s the right thing to do”. Land, money and minerals are all secondary. The main reason that the government is pushing through the deal is because the issue of water rights could hold up the filling of the controversial Rafferty-Alameda project. The various dams and diversions will have to run through the majority of entitlement lands. It will at the same time address the issue of water rights (are they part of Aboriginal title) — on a national level. Saskatchewan has 6 of the 10 Treaties signed between the various Indian Nations and the Crown. The Treaties transcend provincial boundaries and run into the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. One only needs to look at the NAWAPA map and see how strategic Saskatchewan is.

Peigan Lonefighters

On August 3/90 the Lonefighters made camp near the Oldman River, which has sustained the cultural and spiritual life of the Peigan people. In 1976 the province of Alberta had announced plans to build a dam on the Oldman. The idea was shelved due to public outcry. In 1984 it was announced that the dam would be built. The dam will flood 5800 acres, the habitat of deer and prairie falcon. Herons and some large cliff swallow will disappear. Over 300 archaeological sites and 46 historic sites will also disappear. To the Peigan, the river is more than a source of food and water, it is Napi, the Oldman, the creator.

The background of the Oldman river dam has been seen as an integral part of the plan to divert water south. The government insists that the dam is necessary for irrigation purposes, which would only benefit some 200 farmers. Even the farmers feel the dam is unnecessary with new water conservation methods.

After several years of litigation, the federal court of Canada ruled in March 1990 that the project had not received a proper environmental assessment because of the possible impact it would have on Indians, but did not halt the construction of the dam.

Leaked government memos indicate the province’s intention is to build all dams so they fit within the eventual concept of interbasin water transfers. There is no economic logic that makes the Oldman river dam feasible, other than for diverting water to the US.

After all the legal avenues had been exhausted, the only option left for the Lonefighters to protect their territory was direct action. The Lonefighters attempted to restore a former channel of the Oldman river on the Peigan reserve. The diversion by the Lonefighters would have rendered the Oldman dam useless.

Lil’wat People’s Movement / Mount Currie

The Lillooet and Mount Currie communities are approximately 3 hours northeast of Vancouver located in the interior of BC. The two communities are located amongst some of the breath-taking beauty seen anywhere in North America. But it’s slated for logging. The struggle of the Lil’wat is to prevent the destruction of their forest. The logging companies need to build roads to gain access to the forest, these roads threaten the Lil’wat peoples burial grounds. If the logging companies succeed in their objectives, the clear-cutting of the forests surrounding Mount Currie and Lillooet will not be without a heavy cost on the environment. When logging occurs, it always leaves its impact on the water systems, which in turn will affect the marine life and thus the people who depend on the fish for food and livelihood.

Information on current Lil’Wat struggles

Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en

The Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en people’s territory spans 57,000 square kilometres of mountains, forests, fast-flowing rivers, and abundant wildlife and game. Archaeologists have found evidence that the area has been inhabited for at least 9,000 years. This has been their homeland since the retreat of the last glacial ice age. The Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en have never signed or entered into any treaty or agreement that would cede or surrender their title to the land. Nor is there any legislation provincially or federally that would expressly extinguish their title to the land. since 1977, the Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en people wanted a court decision that would force the government to negotiate an agreement that would allow both societies to co-exist peacefully.

The decision that Justice McEachern handed down stated that Aboriginal title did not exist for the Aboriginal people in BC. By stating this he has effectively handed over fiduciary jurisdiction to the province and that section 35 of the Canada Act does not apply to the First People of BC.

The decision will have an impact on all other Aboriginal people in Canada. It essentially states that the hidden government policy of termination is out in the open and that genocide of a peoples is accepted within dominant society.

The Political Process

This country is in the midst of a constitutional crisis. When the Meech Lake Accord was not ratified, it was a well known fact that there would be many issues left up in the air. The attitude before Meech Lake was that the governments and general public were not concerned with the impact the Accord would have on the First People. What took the country by surprise was the fact that their indifference would carry such a price. When the Accord failed ratification, an underlying issue would be a power struggle between the provinces and the federal government. This has become more and more evident over environmental issues. The federal government has responsibility for the environment and Indians, the two issues that stand in the way of diverting water south. These two issues are at the centre of the tug of war between the federal and provincial governments.

The federal government is holding to the position that its priority is to the provincial governments, but its fiduciary responsibility was and is to the First Peoples. If the provinces gain control it would have to eliminate that responsibility so that they can obtain legal control over provincial territory. History is fit testament to the fact that if the provinces gain control over the First People, it would be a sentence of death for the original people and the environment.

The Force of Resistance

The state has proven that it will use any means possible to enforce its will on the people and the land. That they care little for the earth, and do not have respect for anything that will promote harmony and balance in the world. The machinery of the state has used all available artillery to execute its plan of water diversion. It has used its legal and judicial system the subtle and insidious violence that is perpetuated by racism, it has used its propaganda to hide the truth and discredit anyone or any groups who speak the truth, and it has used the physical force of its police and army when all else failed.

(…) The justice system has been used in the belief that justice will be served. Instead, it has been proven over and over to serve the interests of the governments and corporations. The Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en have been fighting an ongoing battle with the provincial government only to be told you as a people do not matter and all that defines you is insignificant. Justice McEachern could come to such a conclusion even after taking part in the communities’ celebrations and ceremonies. He had the opportunity to witness first hand and observe the Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en peoples belief that it is better to show the proper reverence for life than it is to gain from it. The court decision has effectively legitimized Indian Affairs’ termination policy of its First People. The modern termination policy does not differ from when the governments used tactics such as starvation and the distribution of small pox infected blankets. The court sees no reason that the Aboriginal People should have a unique place in Canada’s future.

Within the same system, a known leader of the Aryan Nations [Carney Nerland-SISIS] can be told that when he murdered an Indian man [Leo Lachance-SISIS], that his beliefs had nothing to do with his act of violence. It is the same system that thought it proper not to take into account his statement that “he should be given a medal for killing that Indian”. This self-proclaimed racist received a sentence for four years and he is allowed to serve his sentence in a provincial correctional centre, near his home. This pales in comparison when one Warrior from Kanesatake receives 2 years less a day, and he never fired a shot let alone killed anyone.

When looking at the justice system further, it’s evident that the system is there to protect private property and the property holders first. Milton Born With A Tooth, the Peigan Lonefighter’s leader, was sentenced to 18 months for firing two shots into the air. While he was in remand he was under the constant threat of solitary confinement. After he was sentenced he was going to be sent to a special handling unit, the closest being in northern Alberta — far from his home, family and friends. The government saw it necessary to spend $10-million in prosecuting him. The system has no regard or respect for another language or culture. One young Mohawk woman was denied bail until she came up with a “real name”, what the court meant was an anglo-Saxon name, regardless of the fact that she had a Mohawk name. This same disrespect was shown to 15 Lil’wat people when they were denied bail for a month until they used a Christian name.

What is even more of a disillusionment is that when the provincial governments receive a decision from the federal court or a higher court they can blatantly ignore it. How can one respect a system that can disregard so casually its own laws.

This has been repeatedly done by the various provincial governments, especially when it pertains to the building of dams. The court of Appeal, in March 1990, revoked the license for construction of the Oldman river dam. The province continued in spite of the court’s decision. In Saskatchewan, the federal court ruled that construction on the Rafferty-Alameda would have to stop until there was a full environmental assessment done. The province continues to ignore that ruling as the project nears completion.

As well, the various provinces have passed legislation that would limit information being released to the public. In Quebec, there has been a recent decision by the Superior court that made it illegal for a reporter to release information he had on the provincial government’s secret contracts with 13 multinational corporations. In Saskatchewan, a group concerned over the building of the Rafferty-Alameda has continually applied to gain access to information and has even gone as far as petitioning the court. It’s ironic that, while this case is being heard in court, the legislative assembly is debating the province’s new Freedom of Information act.

The general public is being told the dams are being built for various reasons such as “flood control”, “irrigation purposes”, or “very much needed power, without it there will be no heating or electricity”. The general public follows the belief that the government would not lie. When groups or individuals stand up or speak out, they’re labelled as radicals and terrorists. This is the tactic used against the Mohawk Warriors, that they were using violence to protect their interests of gambling and cigarettes which they had smuggled into the country. The same tactic was used against Milton Born With A Tooth. They stated that he was a menace to society, militant, violent and lawless, that he had no respect for the “rule of law”. yet upstream the provincial government along with the environment minister were committing a far greater crime by building a dam without a license and did not show any respect to the burial grounds that they had desecrated.

When all else fails the state uses its police force, which can legally assault, harass and even kill someone. This past summer is a testament to that fact. When the police lose control of a situation the army is called out without any public accountability. What kind of society can we live in when the army can be used to ensure the oppression of a people, and where it can be witnessed daily by the country and public opinion is limited. It isn’t hard to fathom that we are living in a police state, that there are puppets and then there are puppeteers. As long as the Canadian society continues to live in a system that uses energy at such a high level the government will only become more and more repressive.

The frontlines of the struggle to preserve and protect the Earth have been the original people of the land. This resistance comes not from wanting to protect a vested interest, but a responsibility and a duty to respond when the Earth is in distress. The First People of this land know and understand their place in creation and one does not need a degree in environmental science to know the consequences of diverting and changing the natural flow of water. This insane plan of sending water south will only be prevented by all the Earth’s protectors responding. The first call has been sent out. Can you afford to wait for the second call?

The end… for now

compiled by Maggie Paquet

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