On the latest manufactured panic over water sales….


The sale of water has long been a favorite issue for the hysteric-left to try and build up some good old jingoistic patriotism and protectionism. Maude Barlow with the Council of Canadians has built herself a good personal career spreading fear that the big bad Americans are going to come up and steal our local water supply to irrigate the deserts of Arizona and California. The logistics of such water thefts (or even sales) make it utterly impossible for the water to be reasonably moved south. Barlow and others in the fear industry are well aware of those simple logistical facts but of course overlook them when raising money for their very lucrative advocacy careers. Just last weekend I was driving along the very long and very full Koocanusa reservoir and was wondering to myself just how Maude thinks the USA will haul our water over these giant reservoirs in order to get it way down south.

The gormless-left have now evolved their water pap in that they have tied the evils of water sales into a nasty multi-national corporation. It has been released (as if this was something new) that Nestlé Canada has been bottling water without paying a per-litre fee. Check out the hysteric and loaded headline below as an example:

Billion-dollar Nestlé extracting B.C.’s drinking water for free

Nestlé Waters Canada takes 265 million litres a year of fresh water from a Fraser Valley well

Oh dear. Doesn’t that sound terrible? For “free”? Millions of litres per year??? Why, Langley B.C. will surely run totally dry within days at this rate will it not?

Now, lets look at some real numbers here. Facts are to leftist pap as light is to vampires, particularly when they are on their water hysteria.

To begin with, let’s look at what is considered “free” here. Nestlé is paying taxes to all levels of government here to the tunes of many millions of dollars along with employing over 70 people and spending money to extract and treat the water. Just because there is not a clear dollar-per-litre fee does not mean that Nestlé is getting the water for “free” by any measure. That is simply hyperbolic bullshit (as usual).

But what of all of those millions of litres of water taken from the eco-system? Surely this is a catastrophe in the making is it not? Not even close.

To be blunt, 265 million litres per year is squat in the scheme of things. My modest household well just south of Calgary is capable of pumping 9 million litres of water per year at capacity and I assure you it is a small well. Why don’t they go by litres per decade or cups per millennia if we are out to make it sound like such a nasty number.

Think of things this way; the Langley facility is in the Fraser River Valley. The Fraser River moves 3,475,000 liters per second! This means the river could theoretically sustain about 400,000 water facilities of the same size as this apparently evil Nestlé water bottling facility. I assure you, we will not see that many plants springing up.

Where do all these bottles of water go anyway? While perhaps not pleasant to think of, pretty much all of that water will return to the eco-system through sweat and urine. Nestlé is not taking this water and sending it off to space where it will never be seen again. At best, this water is being rented.

Resources get used and we don’t need government to tax every bit of it. Water is used in countless plants. So is air and sunlight. Get over it. The government extracts it’s pound of flesh in a myriad of ways.

Look at the prime ingredient in many products. All of these products will go up in price if we suddenly start taxing the crap out of water use. Do you want to pay more for almost all of your food products? All of your liquor products? Shampoo? Lotions? Paints? Water is used in the creation of them all.

Water pollution is a real issue as well as some of the water used in enhanced oil extraction where it gets pumped out of the cycle. Those issues are not simplistic enough however and do not lend themselves to the bombastic headlines that sell books for Maude Barlow as she tries to paint a picture of a world where water is being stolen and where we are at risk of running dry.

Look beyond the headlines folks.

OMG! OMG! Oh Noooes!! Danielle Smith is going to sell our water!!

One of the laziest yet most common fearmongering tactics that come from the shallow-left is to raise the boogyman of the USA coming up to take Canada’s water somehow.

In finding nothing else to really be critical about with Danielle Smith’s trip to the USA, union activist blogger David Climenhaga decided to clip out a part of Smith’s release where she dared utter the word “water”. Climenhaga then had to add emphasis and speak of how it makes his blood run cold as quoted below.

David Climenhaga:

This led Ms. Smith, whom the party news release was also careful to note leads Alberta’s “government in waiting,” to enthuse: “This is an important opportunity to represent Alberta and discuss three major areas of bilateral interaction: energy, agriculture and water. These issues are critical for Alberta’s future and are an important part in building relationships with our American friends.” (Emphasis added.)

I don’t know about you, but it makes my blood run cold when I hear a committed market fundamentalist like Ms. Smith musing about the need to chat about water with our American cousins.

To put it simply, what a load of crap. There is nothing to fear nor not even a hint of something to make one’s “blood run cold”.

To begin with, water is already a commodity. Companies pay to bottle it and sell it to us whether pure or mixed with food and chemical products. Water is purchased to use in irrigation by farms and it is purchased to use in energy extraction. Laundromats purchase water and cities sell me metered water to water my lawn. The best means we have in responsible utilization of our water is in fact to treat it as a commodity. I didn’t buy low flow toilets because I like the weak sound of the flush, I did it to save myself money. As long as treated and transported water are commodities, the end user will be motivated to limit the use of that water to their needs. I am saying this now before the Council of Canadian Kooks start barking about it being evil to sell water. It is a non-issue. We already do so and we always will.

There is an awesome little writing tool we all have heard of called “W5”. Whether in an essay or even writing a community flier, as long as you cover the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when” and “why” of something, you pretty much have it covered.

There is something that the w5 rule does not cover though and through utilizing it’s omission the lazy-left fearmongers about a looming crisis with bulk sales of our precious fresh water to the United States that will leave no water here for us. The word that the left refuses to address is:


 Back in 2008 I wrote about this on another forum so rather than rewrite I may as well just paste it here verbatim. As I say in the beginning of the piece, this non-issue keeps coming up over and over again and Climenhaga has demonstrated that. There is no need to change the response.

What I wrote in Project Alberta in April 2008:

I get so tired of this issue coming up year after year whether through groups like the Council of Canadians or lately the Polaris Institute with their report here:  http://www.polarisinstitute.org/files/t … ada’s%20ta.pdf

It was refreshing to hear Rob Breakenridge on QR77 take the author of the Polaris report to task and expose him rather well on the bunk that he is pushing. Tony Clarke with the Polaris Institute was constantly stuttering and dodging as Breckenridge challenged him with the most effective tactic available in the countering of anti-trade, leftist, fearmongering; he used facts.

Clarke began by asserting the constant myth about how Canada would be compelled to sell it’s water in bulk due to conditions in NAFTA. Unlike many who Clarke has spewed at, Breakenridge had done his homework and actually read the agreement. NAFTA expressly states that water (aside from bottled and tanked water) is not to be considered a trade-good under the agreement. If anything, NAFTA actually protects us from the mythical draining of the nation by the United States. Clark stuttered, had no case to make and eventually mumbled about having to agree to disagree on the interpretation. (it is difficult to have many interpretations of such a clear statement)

Next Clarke rambled about how the USA could just ignore agreements anyway and force trade as they have done many times before.    Breakenridge challenged him to name one single such case. Clarke sidetracked and kept rambling but Breakenridge continued to push. Clarke finally had to shamefully admit there was no such case.

This Tony Clarke is a classic example of those who continue to push this myth about the threat to Canada’s fresh water supplies. These people have an agenda of anti-American and anti-trade goals and they will not hesitate to fabricate issues in order to make their case. This “ends justifies the means” ideal is rather prevalent on the left particularly in trade and environmental issues where actual facts would undercut their entire case. Sadly, these people are not exposed to the light of reality as Breakenridge did so masterfully often enough.

Getting back to the Polaris Institute report, the document begins with a map of Canada with a depiction of a tap on it draining our water into the USA. Very cute depiction and gives a nice visual. Going farther down in the document, we see a nice picture of some dry cracked dirt. You know, the kind of thing that we see in our back yard if we forget to water during a dry couple weeks in August.  Through pictures we can now already see the terrifying prospect of the desertification of Canada through the mass draining of our fresh water into the United States. A terrifying thought indeed.

To begin with, they begin to lay out how this threat has existed for decades and trot out the tired old “Grand Canal” concept of the 60s. They forget to mention that the reason this Grand Canal has never even had ground broken on it is that it is and always has been an unviable pie-in-the-sky project that never could realistically come into being. What bringing this up does illustrate though is that the anti-trade folks can’t find any better examples of bulk threats to Canada’s water (perhaps because there are none).

Next they move on to pointing out some stats and facts about how many American cities and regions are facing shortages of fresh water supplies. This is true and urban populations throughout the world are facing this as their population grows. Rather than dedicate time to the issue of more responsible water management in urban settings though, these people have preferred to use this issue to imply that their is a growing threat to Canada’s water due to this.

Next, they move on to Canada’s water supplies and call us “the Great Green Sponge of the North”. Now they play some interesting stat games here in which they try to understate just how much water we have. In their rather creative accounting they determine that the United States actually has more renewable water resources than Canada. While their goal here was to portray Canada as being short on fresh water, does this not beg the question “In this case, is Canada’s demand not a threat to American supplies?”. Apparently the USA has more but I guess they are coming after ours due to simple greed.

Next, we have a picture of a reservoir next to a desert. Kinda cute, but it really means nothing. Water retention in arid regions has been done since prior to Roman times.

The report now moves on to one of their weakest points. The logistics of how this water will be transported.  This I have to post verbatim as it is simply too loony to be believed.

Western Corridor: Originally, the North American Water and Power Alliance [NAWAPA] was designed to bring bulk water from Alaska and northern British Columbia for delivery to 35 U.S. States. By building a series of large dams, the northward flow of the Yukon, Peace, Liard and a host of other rivers would be reversed to move southward and pumped into the Rocky Mountain Trench where the water would be trapped in a giant reservoir and then pumped through a canal transporting the water southward into Washington state and 34 other states.

Good heavens! A trench 1000s of kilometers long is going to be created and will drain the Great White North!!!!
Now lets get a little perspective here. One of the largest water diversion projects undertaken by man was the Panama Canal. This project took decades and the participation of multiple nations. 27,500 workers died in the construction.

What is the length of the Panama Canal? A total of 77km. The canal itself moves about as much water as the Bow river in Calgary (a tiny river in the scheme of things).

Now in light of that, try to picture what exactly it would take to move mass quanties of water more than 3000 km from the North to the USA. This means crossing numerous mountain ranges in the Rockies and somehow crossing all those pesky (and giant) river valleys along the way that would try to drain all that water back into the Pacific. This concept would take 1000s of times the resources of the Panama Canal if indeed it is even humanly possible.

We will have colonized Venus before such a project comes about. Despite this, kooky groups like this have no qualms about spreading such scenarios in hopes of spreading fears of the big bad USA. Even more sad is watching our mainstream media treat these guys like they have even a shred of credibility.

So, the crazy canal idea is out, what else have they got?

Ahh, I see they mention how a series of supertankers may drain water and take it south.   Just how many millions of supertankers would we have to line up at the mouth of the Fraser River just to capture and take what naturally comes out of there and flows into the Pacific Ocean? How many billions of tankers to cover all of the Canadian outlets to the Oceans? Why… this project could very well employ the entire planet by having them work on supertankers alone.

Next they touch briefly on pipelines. I suspect that they remain brief as even these folks realize that any massive pipeline constructed that would move a significant amount of water is really rather unviable. The Alliance Pipeline that transfers gas from NE BC costed billions and took years to build. Even if the trillion or so it would take to add the compression and pumping capability to that pipe in order to get it to move water that huge distance were invested, the pipeline would only move about the same volume of water as a small creek. It would take thousands of such pipes hundreds of years to drain even one of our smaller northern lakes dry and we would long have run out of the energy sources we would need in order to pump that water before we ran out of water.

The kooky ideas go on and on from multiple groups claiming everything from towing portions of the polar ice-cap south to large undersea bladders.

There is a very good reason that none of these projects have come about or are even in the works; water is tough to move in bulk. Water does not compress like gas. Water is heavy. While water is indeed a precious commodity, it still is not worth nearly enough per-gallon to try and move on the scales proposed.

The basis of the entire water fearmongering case is this; American cities are low on water (and some agricultural land), thus the Americans will force us to give them ours. The first part is fact, the second part is sheer baloney.

Desalination is an expensive process that makes for rather gross drinking water. That being said, desalinization is growing in leaps and bounds as the cost of the process is dropping and strides are being made in viable short-transfer of water processed this way. New plants are being built and water shortages down south are being addressed through it.

North America is indeed bounded by oceans on all sides. While desalinization remains expensive, it still costs a fraction of a fraction of the amount that would be required in order to come up with any of the loony water extraction schemes taking water from Canada and moving it to the USA. A person really has to ask themselves: “Why would the Americans spend 1000s of times the amount, plus pay Canada (or steal it ) in order to do what they can for far less on any of their coastlines?” The answer simply is that they will not.

Where is the demand for this water? Why do we not see companies lining up for the chance to extract and sell this precious part of life?
I do not want to see water export bans. We may indeed get fortunate enough to find some client crazy enough to purchase water from one of our river outlets to the ocean (unlikely as it is). It would be a great form of revenue for the nation all the same. I suspect though that these potential client-countries would probably just retain their own water before it hits their own coastline.

While this is a non-issue as I said, I still felt compelled to post this rather long rant addressing it. Sadly while being a non-issue, this issue does indeed gain some traction with many people who like to get scared by the headlines without looking more deeply into the story. This issue is being used to foster anti-Americanism by the leftist groups that thrive on that and people’s fears from this may impact trade-agreements on real commodities.

The fear of the loss of Canada’s fresh water can cost us all in itself and this myth needs to be countered vigorously whenever it pops up. Facts turn this issue into the non-starter that it is, but these facts need to be brought up and discussed often.

Real water issues such as pollution and urban over consumption need to be addressed. These can often end up sidelined as people jump on the fearful hysteria bandwagon being created by the anti-trade groups. This should not happen.

This report from the Polaris Institute was issued in collaboration with: The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, the Sierra Club and the Canadian Labor Congress.

I think the list of supporters kind of says it all.

Outcome or ideology? Which is more important to you?


There are few sacred-cows that have been more carefully crafted and fiercely protected than that of Canada’s health care system.

Tommy Douglas has been essentially canonized as a founder of our system and it is considered blasphemy to dare even consider questioning the merit of the system. Politicians and journalists alike are pilloried should they ever dare suggest that Canada’s health system may not be the best one on the entire planet. If health system issues should ever arise, the only appropriate response to the zealous is the addition of more funding. Systemic change is simply unacceptable.

Now back to reality. The World Health Organization used to publish comprehensive rankings of health systems based on accessibility, cost and outcomes. Unfortunately they have not done this since 2000. In their last ranking though, Canada was 30th and dropping like a stone when compared to other nations.  Considering we have changed nothing systemically in the last 10 years, it can be safely assumed that the trend has continued.

The most successful systems in the world have involved a mixture of public and private involvement while maintaining universal access. This is not conjecture. This is documented fact. The only other systems that legislate such a degree of government monopoly in them as Canada are North Korea and Cuba. I assure you those countries are not good models to follow.

When the word “private” is used almost immediately people begin chirping about the American system. There should almost be some form of “Godwin’s law” that applies to the insertion of the big bad American boogyman in healthcare discussion. As soon as some fool takes the leap to bring up the American system, they immediately shall have been deemed to have lost the debate.


Protectors of the status-quo (usually unions) constantly try to shut down discussion by trying to polarize debate. It is simply shallow and foolish to assume that Canada and the USA are the only two health-care systems in the world yet if we look at most Canadian discussion it would appear that way.

Another secret is that we have private provision all over the place. There are countless private labs, clinics and yes even hospitals in operation in Canada. Unfortunately, these facilities are still constrained by our inflexible system and often have to be almost snuck into the system by politicians who realize the need for expansion of our provision options but are afraid to dare question the sanctity of the status-quo.

We need to rip down this facade and have a real discussion. Hysterics and demonization of all who dare question the status-quo is harming us all.

We all have to ask ourselves; what is more important; the outcomes or personal ideology?

This is what it comes down to. The outright dismissal of private involvement is an ideology. The polarization of the discussion is an ideology. The self-blinding to all other discussion is an ideology.

We need to open the discussion and look to the best systems if we want to improve our own. I was impressed with Danielle Smith in last night’s debate in her being willing to entertain examining other means of health provision while the other 3 leaders stuck to the cowardly and closed minded defense of the unsustainable and failing status-quo. The whispered and shouted fearmongering continue about the Wildrose Party as ideologues dismiss any notion of real solutions and try to quell all discussion.

We need to stop the politics of envy, fear and division so that we can have a frank examination of our healthcare system based on what can lead to the best outcomes rather than the zealous and closeminded approach that we have had so far. Healthcare consistently ranks at the top of people’s concerns in politics yet it is the issue with which we are the most reticent in discussion.

Take off the ideological blinders and pursue what works best. It really is as simple as that. I am optimistic that a Wildrose government may be willing to be the first in a long time to do so.


Why are we not dropping like flies?

It seems every day I pick up the paper and read about how or why we are all reaching some kind of Armageddon due to our modern lifestyles. Whether it is somebody insisting that pesticides are killing us, to the idiotic and baseless anti-inoculation crowd, to the global warming kooks telling us that skin cancer will wipe us all out, to the anti-Genetically modified foods bunch, to the organic foods bunch, to the “alternative medicine” crowd and on and on and on.

Why do people feel this need to distrust technology? Why in light of the obvious fact that we in Canada are healthier than we ever have been do people feel compelled to jump on the fear bandwagon? People are afraid of modern medicine. People fear any chemical that they can’t pronounce. People are afraid of development and expansion.

One of the easiest stats to accurately trace is life expectancy in developed nations as we are prone to keeping good records of deaths. As of last January, the average life expectancy in Canada was 80.4 years.

I am having trouble finding the historical data for Canada, but the USA is similar. In 1900 life expectancy was 48.23 years. In 1950 life expectancy was 66.31 years.

 Is the trend clear enough for anti-development kooks yet? It appears not. Despite all the nasty pollutants and evil modern medicines, we are living vastly longer than we had only 100 years ago.

 When I hear some idiot telling me that their herbal remedy or whatnot is good as people have been using it for hundreds or thousands of years, I need only ask how long people expected to live only a hundred years ago. No need to go back thousands when the expectancy was about 30 years.

 The eco-nuts claim our lifestyles are unhealthy due to development. Well by that logic, undeveloped regions of Africa should enjoy blissful health should they not? Alas, in those parts of Africa they are struggling to live as long as 40.

 No we should not blindly accept any technological advancement and assume it is good. No we need not get rid of every old remedy that has been out there for a long time.

 We do need to end the fear-mongering though. The industrial revolution, capitalism and development have been the best thing to ever happen to mankind. One need only look at the life expectancies of undeveloped or non-capitalist societies in order to see that.

 Give me my chemical based medicines, pesticide laden foods, GM foods, vaccinations and modern pollution of the air. I want to see 100 years of age and with the direction life-expectancies are going I stand a reasonable chance of that.