|Priority 6 – Preventing Interjurisdictional Conflicts and Bulk Water Exports
- Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation and Oppose Unilateralism
- Assist Provinces in Resolving Differences
- Ensure that Canadian Water is Not For Sale
Canada and the United States share the longest common border between two countries that is not militarized or patrolled. Over its length—8,850 kilometres—the boundary passes along or intersects many economically and environmentally significant rivers and lakes. In the last century, a strong cooperative spirit marked the relationship between Canada and the United States over shared boundary waters. This cooperation will be critical in the future if both countries are going to be capable of addressing the new wave of stressors that arose in the latter decades of the 20th century, including invasive species, persistent organic pollutants, endocrine disrupters and climate change. We should also be aware that the pressure for Canada to export its freshwater could increase as a result of growing populations in areas of the world that are becoming increasingly arid due to climate change, such as the southern United States or dry regions in Asia.
Action 20: Make Support for a Strong International Joint Commission a National Priority.
- Work with U.S. counterparts to inject the International Joint Commission with the capacity it needs—financial, technical, and staffing—to evolve to meet new challenges.
- As recommended by the IJC, establish Binational Watershed Boards in all significant international boundary basins. These boards would work collaboratively with provinces, states, local organizations, and citizens to build cooperation and capacity at both regional and local levels.
Action 21: Establish a Binding Dispute Resolution Process for Interprovincial Conflicts.
- Create a binding dispute resolution process to encourage provinces to negotiate stronger and more equitable arrangements among themselves and to ensure a fair and sustainable outcome if an agreement cannot be reached.
Action 22: Prevent Bulk Water Exports and Prohibit Inter-Basin Diversions.
- Negotiate a specific exemption to NAFTA for freshwater as was done for raw logs and unprocessed fish.
- Legislate a safety net provision that would require the federal government to stop bulk water exports where existing regulations fail to do so.
- Ensure that large-scale diversions between all major watersheds within Canada are expressly prohibited. Ecologically, these diversions are just as damaging as exports to other countries.
Go to Priority Six resources.