Treaty right of US firm to Canada’s water or $10.5 bn

OTTAWA - Sun Belt Water Inc. of Southern California has filed suit under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) demanding up to $10.5 billion (US) in compensation from the Government of Canada for the loss of its alleged right to export bulk water from British Columbia.

"If this suit succeeds, like the Ethyl Corp case before it, then control over Canada's precious freshwater resources will pass from Canadians and their governments to faceless trade lawyers on international trade tribunals and the legal teams of multinational corporations," Nelson Riis, M.P. for Kamloops, Thompson and Highland Valleys, said.

Despite the Sun Belt NAFTA lawsuit, David Anderson, Canada's Minister of the Environment, insisted, for the second time in the past two weeks, that water is not an international trade issue.

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$ U.S. 10.5 billion NAFTA lawsuit threatens Canadian water, says Canadian MP
by Nelson Riis, M.P., October 22 1999

Last year, Ethyl Corporation successfully used the same Chapter 11 provisions of the NAFTA to extract $19 million from Canadian taxpayers, and to force the Canadian government to rescind its ban on the potentially toxic gasoline additive MMT.

"With the Sun Belt case, not only are Canadian taxpayers potentially on the hook for $10.5 billion (US), but they also face losing control over their own water," Nelson Riis said.

The NDP is calling for an immediate national ban on bulk water exports, as proposed in an NDP motion that received unanimous support in the House of Commons on February 9, 1999. The NDP is also calling on the government to seek major changes in the NAFTA, including removal of the Chapter 11 investor-state dispute mechanism which allows foreign corporations to intimidate and sue democratic governments.

For more information, please contact Nelson Riis, M.P. at Canada (613) 995-6931. -- news release October 22, 1999. Parliamentary information is here, and e-mail is
See the above also among newsitems on

Council Delivers Petitions Demanding Federal
Ban on Bulk Water Exports

(OTTAWA) With the threat of bulk water exports from Newfoundland looming, and the International Joint Commission now inquiring into the proposed export of Great Lakes water, The Council of Canadians today presented Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy with petitions from over 25,000 Canadians demanding the federal government ban water exports immediately.

The Council of Canadians; News Release, October 14, 1999 Water
"Council Delivers Petitions Demanding Federal Ban on Bulk Water Exports"

"The Newfoundland government has correctly passed the final decision over water exports on to the federal government," said Maude Barlow, National Chair of The Council of Canadians. "Unfortunately, they also seem to believe that proposed exports of Gisborne Lake water could go ahead despite a proposed national accord prohibiting such exports. We want to remind Minister Axworthy that Canadians are expecting the federal government to ensure the tap isn't turned on for the entire country because of the actions of one province and our trade obligations under NAFTA."

"This is a consequence of the federal government's patchwork approach to protecting Canada's water," said Jamie Dunn, Water Campaigner with the Council. "Relying on each province to come up with its own protections while entrepreneurs woo them with promises of new revenues from water exports is a recipe for disaster."

The Council of Canadians is spearheading a national campaign to stop the bulk export of Canadian water and prevent the loss of public control over water.

The Council of Canadians is a national public interest watchdog with over 100,000 members.  -- The Council of Canadians, media release, October 14, 1999

The Council of Canadians, 502-151 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5H3, Canada, Telephone: 613-233-2773, 1-800-387-7177 - Fax: 613-233-6776,

*** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. ***

Tagged with AOLPress/2.0  26 Oct 99 (10 kb), (links checked 13 Nov 1999), last revised with #8217 on 20 Oct 00
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