Canada's Water: Resource War #2?

The Oil War in the Persian Gulf has been a great set-back for all those who fondly hoped for real change a “Peace Dividend” following the end of the Cold War. The opportunity was there to direct effort toward transforming military resources to work for genuine peace and a sustainable future but, instead, the United States chose the predictable role of the world’s bully and policeman. There is every reason why those of us north of the 49th parallel should be acutely concerned.

For the Persian Gulf war is most likely only the first of the turn-of-the-century Resource Wars that will be fought ostensibly by the most powerful nation states, but will be for the benefit of the transnational corporations which now wield the truly significant power in the modern geopolitical arena. If the U.S. was prepared to go to war in the Middle East mainly to exert control over oil not really needing that oil for itself one might well ask to what extent the U.S. will be prepared to exert its muscle over a commodity such as water which it needs?

As this issue points out (Ed: see above), American interests are eyeing Canadian water whether for power, irrigation or for drinking in an alarming way. Worse, Canadian policy seems to be one of active complicity in giving away such resources, as James Bay, the Rafferty-Alameda project and the move to export B.C.’s water all demonstrate.

Canada’s sycophantic support for the Gulf war, the seemingly inexorable advance of “free” trade, and the machinations of the B.C. government in its on-going war against nature in the Georgia Gulf and elsewhere in the province, all point toward further complicity as though we were surrendering, before the Water War and Forests War had even been officially announced.

Especially worrisome are the insidious ways by which even opposition groups are being seduced by the largesse of the corporations. When the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation in the U.S. are funded by the likes of British Petroleum, Chevron, Exxon, IBM, General Electric, Dupont, Pepsi, Coke, Monsanto and Waste Management Inc., ... then there is something seriously wrong. Co-option at all levels is the corporate strategy. Clearly, we need to bye super-vigilant to avoid being bought off.

Politically, we need strong and active grassroots coalitions and alliances which are emerging here and there, as this issue reports. Economically, we absolutely must retain our independence among the alternative media especially. And, among friends, we need to communicate and strategize more deeply and effectively together. In the face of a consolidation of “New World” power on a scale never previously imagined, our cohesion and ability to get along become crucial. We may be all we have.

From The New Catalyst, Spring 1991, No. 20. Reprinted from the Vancouver Sun, Mar. 16 and 23, 1991

The New Catalyst is published quarterly by the Catalyst Education Society, P.O Box 189, Gabriola Island, BC V0R 1X0, Tel (604) 247-9737


See also:
Water Exports: The New "Gold Rush?" - With global warming a reality, the shortage of water has become an top issue in the U.S., and it appears the nation will look north of the border for help. In Canada, opposition is growing. (CX5085).


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