Mr. Sid Parker (Kootenay East):
Mr. Speaker, I too wish to take part in the debate and speak to the report stage amendments on Bill C-115, an act to implement the North American free trade agreement.
Before I start I want to comment on what the government is doing here because it is not getting the message out to the people.
In my riding of Kootenay East some Americans came to Cranbrook and interviewed some of the businessmen with regard to the NAFTA agreement and what they thought about it. Most of the businessmen said they were not too concerned about the NAFTA. They were more concerned about the GST and its effects.
The Canadian people have to understand that the goods and services tax is a part of the free trade agreement. The manufacturers could not compete with the Americans and the other industrial nations with a manufacturing tax off, so the government took it off the manufactured goods, put it on the consumers and said: "There you are; now we are on a level playing-field".
The patent drug legislation is another area where the Americans complained so the government brought in patent drug legislation to answer their needs.
The Prime Minister said our health services would not be affected in Canada and that was not part of the deal. Why did it cut back on the equalization payments to the provinces? Why is it quietly saying it is going to be okay that we might have to bring in some user fees? Why is the new leadership saying that user fees could be something of the future? To beat the requirements of the free trade agreements. That is what it is all about. To downsize what we have in Canada so the government can say we can compete. Let us get it clear here what we are talking about.
I want to specifically talk about the environmental aspects of free trade. In my riding the situation is almost an environmental disaster. It was created by the Liberals in 1965 when Prime Minister Pearson was trying to bring about the Columbia River Treaty and some of those arrangements. We have a reservoir there called; Kooca-nusa: Kootenay, Canada, U.S.A. That is why it is named Koocanusa. It says "recreational reservoir". Twenty years later come to the Kootenays and have a look at that reservoir now. It is nothing but a dust bowl.
The Americans are siphoning the water out of there so fast when we are supposed to be storing it for flood control and hydro electricity. They are using it for irrigation, tourism and fish enhancement. They are going to flush it dry this summer and kill all the fish on the Canadian side of the border to meet the needs of the Americans.
May 25, 1993
I want to go a little further with regard to The Equinox which has put out a very good report called Diverting Interests: To Keep the U.S. Southwest Blooming, Visionary Engineers are Proposing to Replumb the Waterways of Canada.
Francis Dale, a Los Angeles lawyer who was Richard Nixon's ambassador to the United Nations who states: "We'll pay you for it. It will not take any water away from you. It is a path through from Alaska so to speak". His thesis is that to survive and flourish as a common market of North America, Canada and the United States must develop more co-operative and profitable uses for our fresh water resources. He confesses that the Americans are guilty of shameful over-consumption and notes that the United States uses three times more water today than it did 30 years ago.
I could go on with regard to another aspect of it. Bill Clancey, president of Multinational Water and Power Inc. of Vancouver is the dapper silver haired person behind the latest proposal to sell Canadian water to southern California. Claney, who describes himself as a business facilitator and public relations consultant, worked for and became a close friend of former B.C. premier W.A.C. Bennett during the Columbia River Treaty.
He talks of the North Thompson diversion which is another hare-brained idea to divert the North Thompson into the Mica reservoir, a salmon-bearing river in British Columbia, and bring it down into the United States to meet its needs.
They also talk about:
diversion, according to Clancey, would cause little or no
environmental harm to the North Thompson River since salmon
runs occur primarily in the fall, reasons Clancey,
They told us they were going to store the water in the Kootenays during the summer when there were high run-offs. Then in the fall they would take it for their hydroelectricity.
These are ramifying things that are happening here. If this government was really concerned about trying to protect our water instead of saying it is only selling bottled water it would put other terms in the treaty.
In the heat of the 1965 federal election campaign with massive river diversion schemes in the air such as the
North American Water and Power Alliance, then Prime Minister Lester Pearson spoke promisingly of arrangements with the United States by which some of our water resources would be moved to the south. Our Liberal member says he applauds what the Liberals were doing in those days. We know what they have done. We see it every day in the Kootenays.
Opponents of water exports say there are a number of legal manoeuvres that can be undertaken to blunt the possible effects of the trade pacts. Wendy Holm would like to see an official memorandum of understanding signed by both Canadian and American trade officials limiting the free trade agreement and NAFTA to only bottled water. If that is what they say it is, draw it up that way. As well, Canadian intentions can be clarified. At present large-scale export of water is against federal government policy but not against the law.
In August 1988 the government introduced Bill C-156 to prohibit large scale water diversion but the bill died on the Order Paper. When the federal election was called it was never reintroduced.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: MEASURE TO ENACT