Friday, May 23rd, 2008
Michael Oliveira, Canadian Press
Fri. May 23, 2008
PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – Canadians should be seriously concerned about wasteful lifestyles south of the border that could leave the U.S. dry and looking north for water, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Thursday.
Kennedy, an environmental crusader recently called a “hero for the planet” by Time Magazine, made the comments in Peterborough, Ont., where he delivered a speech at a conference for the International Association for Great Lakes Research.
“Canada is blessed with an abundance of fresh water so I think people don’t view the issue with the kind of urgency (that’s needed),” he told The Canadian Press.
He added many Canadians don’t support sending large amounts of water to the U.S., but so far, Ottawa hasn’t acted accordingly.
“There’s a broad consensus in Canada that’s against bulk water transfers, but the government has been very slow to act on that consensus.”
Kennedy said out-of-control suburban sprawl in the southwestern United States, coupled with wasteful agricultural water usage in the U.S., is spawning a water crisis that will only worsen in the future.
“We are in the midst of a water crisis that has no end in sight, and the place people are looking to solve it is Canada,” Kennedy said.
“If you talk to the engineers and the planning and policy makers in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Phoenix and Las Vegas . . . they’ll say, ‘Well we don’t have to worry about this because we’ll just get the water from Canada.’ ”
Kennedy added it’s important for the Canadian public to make it clear funnelling water southward is not the solution.
Kennedy added Canada and the U.S. both have a good foundation of environmental laws, but these laws are not properly enforced, meaning big polluters are given too much leeway.
Garry Keller, a spokesman for Environment Minister John Baird, said the government has made it clear that Canada’s water isn’t for sale.
“Canada has tough laws in place to prevent the bulk export of water, and we will continue to protect Canada’s waters from bulk export.”