Nov 032005


2006-04-27  Water. Wrap-up statement, Proposed Meridian Dam. Battle won. 

2007-01-05   Proposed Highgate Dam, North Saskatchewan River. Process, Letter to persons responsible. Water diversion to U.S.



—–Original Message—–

From: Sandra Finley    Sent: 03/11/2005 3:01 PM  (November)

Subject:  Battle over water in Saskatchewan;  Federal Liberal’s Old Boys Network and Federal Money


Dear Fred Wendel (Provincial Auditor) and Sheila Fraser (Federal Auditor-General),


Battle arising out of Liberal old boys network in Saskatchewan eyeing the money to be made through water “development”.

Items 1 to 15 document the connections of which I am aware.

I suspect that someone should be checking to see where CARDS money is going after it is given to SCCD.  (see details below).

Sandra Finley


Federal money is paying for the promotion of archaic ideas and grandiose schemes for water diversion on the prairies.  Red Williams is behind Agrivision Corporation and a good pal of Ralph Goodale.  I have attended conferences and a lecture given by Red at the University.  He is a retired professor of Agriculture.  His “vision” includes the building of 200 dams. (Although he may have reduced the number after being challenged at the University lecture.) Through misleading big screen presentations and “experts” Agrivision is focussing on the construction of the “Hygate Dam” at North Battleford, SK. Read on …  it is tax-payers’ money that is funding the nonsense, and with no accountability because of how the money is dished out.


The myth promoted in Saskatchewan is that our farmers “feed the world’s starving masses.”  Hence dams and irrigation are required so they can produce more.  When you ask why farmers should irrigate to produce MORE grain, and why the public should subsidize the construction of irrigation infrastructure to produce cheap grain for transnational grain and meat companies (transnational corporations are the only ones making money), you are told that the farmers must “diversify”;  the irrigated land will be used to produce “specialty crops”. … When did “the starving masses” start eating “specialty crops”?  And with the rising cost of fuel, the transportation of grain across Canada and across the ocean, added to the cost of irrigated specialty crops, means that only the elites of the world will be eating Canadian specialty crops.  As a tax-payer I have no desire to feed the elites.   /Sandra



Agrivision conference. Friday Nov 4, North Battleford.




“Drought-proofing the Economy” conference put on by Agrivision Corp. this week.

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(Points 12 to 15 have been added to content of original email.)

The Summary seems like wild statements. The substantiating detail follows the SUMMARY.











(President) said the agenda for the development of water is to “move the economy into institutions”. This is a direct quote from Red. From my experience with herbicide tolerant wheat (Roundup Resistant wheat) “moving the economy into institutions” means moving it beyond democratic control and Government accountability.


My statements are substantiated by the information below which is an amalgamation of input from many people. This email has been circulated to them and others, in different forms.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

(1) Regarding the “WATER COUNCIL”, headed up by Wayne Clifton, a “partner” in the Conference:

– I attended a water conference in Saskatoon. Red Williams and Al Scholz (President and CEO of Agrivision respectively) put it on. Wayne Clifton, an engineer and owner of “Clifton and Associates” gave a presentation which high-lighted all the underground water in Saskatchewan that has not been “developed”, and the wonderful opportunity this represents. I asked him and the audience: what are the recharge rates, especially in a time of climate change? What data do they have on cumulative withdrawal rates? Mr. Clifton knew only about the development “opportunities”. He knew nothing about something as basic as recharge rates. To my knowledge the Government of Saskatchewan has little data and no water projections which incorporate climate change, although this deficiency is being addressed.

– I attended a “Drought-Proofing the Economy” conference in Regina put on by Agrivision. Red Williams announced the formation of the Water Council with much fanfare and that his good friend Wayne Clifton would head up the Council. A Google search on the Saskatchewan Water Council turns up:


(a) A fact sheet from Agrivision on “The Saskatchewan Water Council”. SWC’s purpose is to “implement” the “50-Year Development Plan for Water”.   (My comment: The gift of water in Saskatchewan belongs to “the Commons”. If anyone is going to implement anything regarding water, it is solely the responsibility and authority of the democratically-elected Government of Saskatchewan.)


(b) WHO is “The Water Council”? This one-page fact sheet web-site for the Water Council says “TO CONSIST OF stakeholders in the development and management …” and, for administration, “The Council WOULD BE served by …”. The wording says to me that the Water Council is an idea (charitably speaking, or a “front” not so charitably speaking) – it’s not a reality.


This email network is quite familiar with organizations that are “in name only” and whose name implies that they have some legitimate non-business interest – the name insinuates that the organization has the community interest at heart. They are fraudulent organizations that are only a name and a web-site – they attempt to appropriate the commons (air, water, seeds) for financial gain and to serve their own interests. You may be familiar with the example during the pesticide debate in Toronto – a web-site and press releases issued by the Toronto Environmental Coalition. There is a legitimate Toronto Environmental Alliance. The Toronto Environmental Coalition is CropLife Canada which is the chemical/biotech industry – a web-site and press releases, nothing more.


(2) Clifton & Assoc provide the water engineering for Florian Possberg’s hog barns (Big Sky Pork Production. Florian sits on the Board of Directors of Agrivision and heads the Business Development function of the ACRE Committee. Red also helps run the ACRE Committee.)


(3) At the Regina Water-spoofing Conference, President Williams talked of the opportunity for “equity interests” that would come with implementation of Agrivision’s Water Development Plan. Of course, water belongs solely to the Commons. There are no opportunities for anyone to own any part of the Commons. And it is the role of Government in an uncorrupted democracy to protect the commons against the appropriators.


(4) I attended a lecture given by Red Williams at the University of Saskatchewan, Dept of Agriculture. He enthusiastically laid out Agrivisions’s plan for building dams and water diversion schemes for irrigation.


I asked him and the audience whether they knew that the projected construction costs, by engineering consultants Golder & Assoc from Calgary, of the proposed Meridian Dam on the South Saskatchewan River, a few years ago, was between $3.5 and $5 BILLION dollars? And that the number of people who would potentially benefit from being able to irrigate was 100 land-owners – ranchers who do not want to be farmers? Red quotes $750 million dollars as the cost of a dam and doesn’t supply the year when the figure was calculated, or what it included.


Students asked questions that further under-mined his presentation. I have no grudge with Red. But he must use non-Jurassic information if he is not to embarass himself.


(5) Graham Parsons is part of the Agrivision team and will be giving a presentation in North Battleford, as he did in Regina.


HIGHLY SELECTIVE AND MISLEADING INFORMATION = PROPAGANDA At the Agrivision “Drought-Proofing the Economy” Conference (Regina) Graham Parsons gave the main presentations about the water resource. (He is an economist.) The credibility of the information supplied by Dr.

Parsons is dependent upon an ignorant audience.


Just one example (question I asked of him): “You have a graph which shows the fluctuation in the water levels of the South Saskatchewan River in the period 1912 to present. The graph shows declining fluctuation which you present as a positive consequence of a large dam on the River. (Agrivision is promoting many dams.)


What is the change in VOLUME of water in the River over the same period?


Response from Presenter Graham Parsons: yes, the fluctuations have declined, etc.


Questioner interrupts: I did not ask about fluctuation, I clearly asked “What is the change in the VOLUME of water?


Response from presenter Graham Parsons: he never did answer the question.


The answer is that over the period 1910 to present, the volume of water has decreased by 80%. The flow level at Saskatoon is 20% of what it was in 1910.

The summer-time glacial feed (irrigation happens in the summer months) will be gone when the last of the glaciers in the Rocky Mountains disappears, projected to be in another 15 years.


Several other questions from others and myself drew attention to the selective nature of the information presented, all of which contributed to a very skewed understanding, provided by an “expert”, as newspaper reports referred to Graham Parsons. It amounts to propaganda. It’s okay for me:

I’ve worked on water issues and know truth from fiction. But an intention to deceive is not okay. Perhaps it is only ignorance. Neither is that okay.


(6) Red Williams (President) said at the Drought-proofing conference in Regina, the agenda is to “MOVE THE ECONOMY INTO INSTITUTIONS” (like AgWest Biotech, a Government-funded front in which citizens have no influence over things like the development of herbicide tolerant crops that lead to the use of yet more chemicals in agriculture).



At the Regina Agrivision Conference, as will be at the North Battleford Conference, personal and specific endorsements and congratulations from Federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale and Prime Minister Paul Martin were projected on the big screen, with apologies from Ralph that he couldn’t be in attendance. Red Williams is well connected to the Liberals.


Given Paul Martin’s and Ralph Goodale’s big screen performances, there is significant Government support (politically) for Agrivision’s plans for the “development” of the water resource in Saskatchewan. The “development”

agenda is being promoted, not under the auspices of a Provincial Government Department that can be held to account, but through Agrivision Corporation.

Business interests are represented, with access to large amounts of public funding. It is very consistent with the Federal Government’s P3

(Public-Private-Partnerships) agenda (a partnership between Big Business and Big Government that does not serve the public interest. It steals from the commons.).


(8) Agrivision receives money through Government programmes. The Saskatchewan Council for Community Development(SCCD) comes in. The Federal Government has a funding programm called CARDS (the Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development Program). The GOVERNMENT does not administer the public money, which is “a $240 million, four-year fund” (extended, more money, as of Oct 14, 2005). … Who does administer the money? “Industry-led adaptation councils” in the provinces. In Saskatchewan, CARDS money is administered by SCCD, the Director of which is Linda Pipke. I met Linda when she sat down at the same table as me, at the Agrivision Conference. She is also on the ACRE Committee.


In the initial stage, Agrivision received in the neighbourhood of $300,000 from CARDS to do the 50-year plan for the development of the water resource in Saskatchewan. I am told that they also received money from PFRA. There could be more.


Oct 14, 2005:  (Link no longer valid)   The funding for CARDS has been extended.


(9) CONFLICTS-OF-INTEREST abound. As we have seen in our work, this is a common characteristic of “moving the economy into institutions” process. The final question I got to ask in Regina (before access to microphone was blocked) was to Clay Serby (Provincial Minister for Rural Re-vitalization and luncheon speaker), about the Govt officials who sit on the Board of Directors of Agrivision Corporation alongside industry people they are supposed to regulate and who have a large vested interest. This was after Clay’s speech, the first half of which was about the necessity to separate the water developers from the regulatory function (rhetoric in light of the facts).


Agrivision’s Board of Directors includes the intensive livestock operators, along with the Government officials. There are large problems with environmental protection around these factory barns. A couple of examples:


Florian Possberg, President

Big Sky Farms

is the “entrepreneur” behind Big Sky Pork Production who receives more Government largesse by far than he has invested. He is a member of the Agrivision Board of Directors.


Neil Ketilson, General Manager

Sask Pork, He is a member of the Agrivision Board of Directors.


(10) Agrivision has a speaker from the Tennessee Valley Authority to speak at the North Battleford Conference. What we learned during the Meridian Dam battle was that the trend in the United States and around the world is to DE-COMMISSION dams, not to build them. 300 dams in the United States had been de-commissioned in one year alone. We are in the process of obtaining updated information on de-commissioning.


The Tennessee Valley Authority is switching to the construction of nuclear reactors to generate electricity. This is understandable when you know that in Idaho in one summer alone, the Government paid the irrigators $73 million to turn off their pumps (which take a lot of electrical power to run). In an era of climate change and water shortage, the City people needed the electricity to run their air-conditioners.


Red Willians and Al Scholz brought a lawyer from the U.S. to speak at the Saskatoon Conference. I presume the reason was to show how valuable water is. The lawyer told us that every River in the U.S. today has litigation over rights to its water. It is such a hot commodity that there is now a national association of lawyers who do nothing but litigation related to water rights. Why in hell anyone would knowingly promote more water out of the South Saskatchewan River when Alberta is about to stop the permitting of any more water withdrawals because the River is over-allocated, is beyond me. Last year and in the preceding years there were many places in the River where a kayaker had to get out and pull the kayak to navigate the River, water levels were so low. Ferries experienced a great deal of difficulty.


What we should learn from the U.S. where the Colorado River no longer reaches its delta (in Mexico) because of water diversion schemes, is that water is a gift to be treasured, not exploited. Litigation tells you that the American allocation system is a failure.


(11) The University of Alberta’s Dr. David Schindler won the 2001 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering. The award is $1 million dollars. Dr. Schindler makes himself available. He presented at a Community Sustainability Conference in Humboldt. If Humboldt can get Dr.

Schindler, why does Agrivision have a problem getting presenters who will provide balanced and current information? It’s record to date isn’t great.


(12) The myth promoted in Saskatchewan is that our farmers “feed the world’s starving masses.” Hence irrigation is required so they can produce more. When you ask why farmers should irrigate to produce MORE grain, and why the public should subsidize the construction of irrigation infrastructure to produce cheap grain for transnational grain and meat companies (transnational corporations are the only ones making money), you are told that the farmers must “diversify”; the irrigated land will be used to produce “specialty crops”. When did “the starving masses” start eating “specialty crops”? And with the rising cost of fuel, the transportation of grain across Canada and across the ocean, added to the cost of irrigated specialty crops, means that only the elites of the world will be eating Canadian specialty crops. As a tax-payer I have no desire to feed the elites.


(13) From the Agrivision Web-site: The following quote by Red Williams leapt out at me (Kerry speaking) : ” It is not whether, but when, Saskatchewan develops the full potential … of the Saskatchewan Nelson

River basins..”   Also I noted : “numerous reservoirs” … “industry led

organization with a mandate to establish a clear vision for growth and expansion” … “Water will be the oil of the 21st..”


(14) I (David speaking) have to keep emphasizing to people who want water to be free to everyone that, in their efforts to ensure everyone has water, they are in effect subsidizing the rich. There are much better ways to get water to people who need it than to give it free to everyone.


(15) Re Manitoba. I (Sandra) included this note in the communication to Barry Oswald who will come from Manitoba to give their perspective. “The Colorado River was “diverted” to the point where the delta dried up.

Further grandiose diversion schemes on the North and South Sask River will impact the health of Lake Winnipeg. Some people are aware of it’s present day health, but many people in Sask are not.


People go to Conferences to learn. Down-River communities are vulnerable.

Lake Winnipeg is a serious problem that people in Saskatchewan should know about. You cannot expect help if people are unaware of your situation.”




You cannot have sustainable communities without protection of the gift of water.

Which means you have to fight corruption. (Some see water as an increasingly valuable resource to be exploited for their own purposes.)


Public money funded the 5-year water development plan for Saskatchewan, and helps fund the Drought-proofing the Economy Conference:

– the report for the Development Plan is not available to the public, except through a payment of $100, and

– discussion around the plans for the gift of water are being held at meetings that exclude the public because of the $50.00 registration fee.

– implementation is to be through a questionable organization (Sask Water

Council) headed by a man (Wayne Clifton) who would be in a clear conflict-of-interest (Clifton & Assoc, Engineering Co.) were that to happen.


The Govt has no business handing over public money, along with the accountability for it, to non-government organizations. (e.g. CARDS to SCCD)


The Government of Saskatchewan is the proper authority. What is the Federal Govt doing, funding Agrivision Corporation in all this?


This is not democracy.



We cannot have democracy without the participation of citizens.


I am sending the notes because

– of the difficulty for you in writing a speech for a Saskatchewan audience when you don’t know the local situation (you are in Ottawa).

– the information you DO receive is coming through “old boys’ networking”.

There is a great deal of self-interest in that network.

– when we are dealing with “the commons”, the Dept of Environment has ONLY the protection of the commons as its mandate.


The notes can help the Minister deliver a better speech:

– The economy and the environment are very serious issues in Saskatchewan.

A purely “political” speech for loyal Liberal supporters will be a mistake.

Many Saskatchewanians are well-informed. They wish to engage in constructive and real dialogue. The conference “Drought-proofing the Economy” will draw more than current Liberal supporters and those who think they will gain financial and personal advantage by becoming pals with “the boys”.

– Citizens respond to speakers who have investigated the local situation and are able to relate it to the message the speaker brings.

– Most people do not want to have their time wasted. Speakers need to have MEAT in their presentation.


In Craik I pointed out to the audience, the Minister and you, the obstacle between him and the achievement of his goals for the Environment:

– the marriage of corporate interests with the Federal Govt has more power than the Minister’s finely stated intentions.

– we are ferociously battling this infiltration by corporate interests into the Departments of Agriculture and Health, notably in the PMRA (Pest Management Regulatory Agency) and the CFIA (Cdn Food Inspection Agency).

The corporate interests are the chemical and biotechnology companies which are the same as the pharmaceutical companies.

– it is alarming to now see in Environment Canada, under the “Sector Sustainability Tables” (SST’s) the co-chairs of one Committee are Steve Griffiths, a Vice-President at IMPERIAL OIL and Suzanne Hurtubise, Deputy Minister of INDUSTRY CANADA. The “public private partnership” (P3) agenda clearly extends into the Dept of Environment now, too. This is wrong.






Look back on our work. Find the patterns in:

– WATER DEVELOPMENT (Meridian Dam battle, and recently the Agrivision Conference “Drought-proofing the Economy”)

– HEALTH (Romanow Healthcare Review battle to get “Prevention” addressed, and now the “Health Research Foundations” and the proposed changes to the Food and Drug Act.)

– TRANSGENICS & OWNERSHIP OF SEEDS (roundup resistant wheat battle, now proposed changes to the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act).


When you recognize the pattern in one, you see PRECISELY the same process at work in the others. We each need to understand what is going on. It will be our un-doing if we don’t.


The process is one of “MOVING THE ECONOMY INTO INSTITUTIONS”. Which is to move exploitable resources out of the reach of citizens who interfere with the agenda of those who will use the resources to enrich themselves.


The following has a bias of Saskatchewan detail and experience, but the underlying process will be the same in other provinces.


Each is a Manual on how to achieve more corporate domination of basic parts of what is “the commons”, that which belongs to all people and all species.

It includes the allocation of tax money handed over by citizens to Government which is supposed to be for the advancement of the public good – not to serve corporate interests and individual greed, or lust for power.





Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last?, W.W. Norton, 1999


Irrigation has been a powerful tool of human advancement for 6,000 years. In Pillar of Sand, author Sandra Postel examines the challenges to our modern irrigation society – from mounting water scarcity and salinization of soils to rising tensions between countries over shared rivers. She shows how innovative technologies and strategies can improve irrigation’s sustainability and alleviate hunger and environmental stress at the same time.


“Postel gives a lucid and authoritative account of humanity’s dwindling supply of fresh water and what to do about the shortage before it causes dangerous social and economic problems worldwide.” — E. O. Wilson, Pulitzer Prize winner and renowned Harvard biologist, in selecting Pillar of Sand as one of his three favorite books of the year for the Washington Post (Dec 2000).


Postel’s Pillar of Sand “has a global focus that…gives her a perspective that is almost breathtaking.” — Molly Ivins, syndicated columnist


To date, Pillar of Sand has been selected for course use at more than 130 colleges and universities.



Water scarcity is the single biggest threat to global food production.

Tensions over water have the potential to incite civil unrest, spur migration, further impoverish already poor regions, destabilize governments, and even ignite armed conflicts.


Irrigation is important because some 40 percent of the world’s food now come from the 17 percent of cropland that is irrigated-and we are betting on that share to increase. But, history tells us that irrigation brings serious risks along with its benefits.


Irrigation has been a powerful tool of human advancement for 6,000 years. It remains a cornerstone of agriculture today. Farmers strive to meet the increasing food demands of growing populations. We face the challenge of mounting water scarcity and salinization of soils to rising tensions between countries over shared rivers. The rise and fall of early civilizations can be traced, in many cases, to the failure of irrigated agriculture. Irrigated farmlands are being converted to subdivisions. The water is being converted to municipal uses and the price paid for the right to divert and use the water is ever increasing.


The recent news that 136 miles of the Middle Rio Grande is a protected habitat for the silvery minnow has placed new demands on the finite and overappropriated water of the Middle Rio Grande. This will increase the price of water rights further and faster.


Here are some facts to think about:


1. It takes about 1,000 tons of water to grow one ton of wheat.


2. In the next 25 years, the number of people living in water-stressed areas will increase sixfold to 3 billion.


3. A tenth of the world’s grain supply is propped up by unsustainable water use.


4. As water becomes scarce, competition for it is increasing – between neighboring states and countries, between farms and cities, and between people and their environment.


5. Many major rivers now run dry for most of the year.



The 2004 “50-Year Development Plan for Water” Committee includes:


Saskatchewan Agrivision Corporation Inc., C.M. (Red) Williams and Al Scholz Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development Program in Saskatchewan, Elvin Haupstein and Jim Schick Clifton & Associates Ltd., Wayne Clifton Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Guy Lonechild Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, Larry Lenton and Carl Neggers Saskatchewan Agriculture, Food & Rural Revitalization, John Linsley Saskatchewan Association of Rural Water Pipelines, Grattan O’Grady Saskatchewan Irrigation Projects Association, Roger Pederson Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, Wayne Dybvig SaskPower, Rick Patrick SaskWater, Stuart Kramer Tourism Saskatchewan, Roy Anderson and Darryl McCallum University of Saskatchewan, Agricultural & Bioresource Engineering, Gordon Kent Water Resource Consultants Inc., Ray Pentland



Larry Hayes, Farm Credit Canada, Saskatoon (Alternate: Brent Bender)

Tel: 306-975-4248 ? Fax: 306-975-4864


Larry Hiles, Regina REDA, Regina

Tel: 306-791-4694 ? Fax: 306-352-1630


Neil Ketilson, Sask Pork, Saskatoon

Tel: 306-244-7752 ? Fax: 306-244-1712


Donald R. Kunaman, MNP, Saskatoon

Tel: 306-665-6766 ? Fax: 306-665-9910


Dave Marit, SARM, FIfe Lake

Tel (Res): 306-476-2600 ? Fax: 306-476-2719


Robert McKercher, McKercher McKercher & Whitmore, Saskatoon (Alternate: Paul


Tel: 306-653-2000 ? Fax: 306-244-7335

All SAC Inc. members are also part of an Advisory Board of Directors, as



Mark Allan, Regina Exhibition Association

(Alternate: Rob O’Connor)

Donna Bohrson, Saskatoon Prairieland Park Corp.

Blaine Canitz, Agiz Management Consultants Inc.

Steven Chivilo, Lewis M. Carter Mftg.

(Canada) Ltd.

Tom Douglas, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool

David Gullacher, Prairie Agricultural Machinery

Institute (PAMI)

Lorne Hadley, Agribusiness Management


Neal Hardy, SARM (Alternate: David Marit) Bob Himbeault, Assiniboia Economic Development

Authority Inc.

Don Hrapchak, SPI Marketing Group Inc.

Kevin Hursh PAg, Hursh Consulting &


Christopher Johnson, Crown Capital Partners Inc.

Lester Lafond, Lafond Financial Inc.

Wolfgang Langenbacher, SIAST

(Alternate: Pat Flaten)

Andrea Lowther-Hilderman, CWB

(Alternate: Tom Halpenny)

Jim Mann, Farmers North America Inc.

Doug Matthies, Saskatchewan Agriculture & Food Ted Mitchell, SREDA Inc.

Russel Marcoux, Yanke Group of Companies Carl Neggers, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation


Rob Otway, PCL Construction

Garth Patterson, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Florian Possberg, Big Sky Farms George Pryce, CIBC (Alternate: David Beckie) Adrienne Robb, Saskatchewan Economic

Developers Association (Alternate: Larry Lang) Darrell Schneider, Saskatchewan Food

Processors Association

Keith Schneider, Saskatchewan Urban

Municipalities Association

Graham Scoles, University of Saskatchewan

(Alernate: Tom Allen)

Glenn Sinden, RBC Royal Bank

(Alternate: Glenn Harvey)

Rudy Sirke, LeHigh Inland Cement Ltd.

Margaret Skinner, West Central Pelleting Ltd.

Kent Smith-Windsor, Saskatoon & District

Chamber of Commerce

Dave Spearin, Logistics Marketing Services Inc.

Rodney P. Weber, Bank of Nova Scotia

Ed Wiens, Western Economic Diversification Brad Wildeman, Pound-Maker Agventures Ltd.

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