Thursday, July 23, 2009
SUPER-SOAKERS AT 50 PACES...
American and Canadian re-enactors had originally signalled their intentions to engage in the historic battle of 1759 last spring, but Canada's Battlefields Commission scuttled the deal when hard-line separatists in Quebec threatened to disrupt the friendly encounter. Now, Quebec rock station CHOI-FM has several hundred takers for its invitation to fight one another with water pistols. The event is "on" for August 2nd.
A much better idea it seems, and perhaps a worthwhile alternative as well for the ill-advised campaign just launched by the Ottawa Riverkeepers against plans by west coast based Aquablue International to bottle water in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Essentially the Riverkeepers claim residents of eastern Ontario are being duped into exporting their tap-water for profit. What's wrong with that?
American based Hershey Chocolates hightailed out of Smiths Falls in the last year for cheaper production of its chocolate line in Mexico. In the process the eastern Ontario town lost its major industry and 500 jobs. Aquablue is taking over the Hershey factory with plans to employ about 200 in a water bottling facility similar to its Vancouver Island operation which exports "glacial water" down to the USA.
The contentious and eventually unsustainable argument is that Canada forbids massive exportation of fresh water outside our national borders. Since we share the Great Lakes and their basin, including the waters of eastern Ontario, with the Americans the issue is moot. Fact is the United States of America, particularly the southern states, are running dry. Canada, which claims as much as 20% of the entire planet's fresh water resources, will eventually have to come to terms with sharing this plentiful natural resource, as we do with our other bounties, lest the "thirsty" forcibly take it from us.
In Smiths Falls, as it does out west, Aquablue will take advantage of a loophole in Canadian law that allows water to be exported for profit as long as it is packaged in containers of 20 litres or less. Environmentalists it seems to me would be far better to be concerned with those damned plastic bottles which our "silly" law forces packagers such as Aquablue to use in order to be "legal". The Rideau River lakes system which borders Smiths Falls is where the company plans to take about 350-million litres a year in bottles for export primarily south of the border.
The Ottawa Riverkeeper is described as a citizens' group which protects the Ottawa River and its tributaries. It's most recent arguments are similar in nature to those of the Ottawa based "Council of Canadians" which first voiced concerns when rumours surfaced about plans for the abandoned Hershey plant. While there is nothing wrong with citizen advocacy, the "Bottle" in bottled water is what's nefarious to the ecological, social and economic condition the planet. I am hopeful that the Ottawa Riverkeeper's objection isn't somehow a misguided application of the advocacy for "water justice" advanced by the international Blue Planet Project co-founded by Maude Barlow.
Critics might very well be confused because Ms Barlow is also National Chair of the Council of Canadians and a senior advisor on water issues to the United-Nations. Ms. Barlow's book though: "Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis And The Coming Battle For The Right To Water" speaks volumes about the future looming just over the horizon if we don't share...including with the Americans.
Maybe it's time trade the rhetoric for water pistols.
Labels: Canadian International Trade
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