Tories seeking all-party support for ban on bulk sales of Canadian water

ATory MP is hoping to win all-party support for a bill that would ban bulk water transfers from Canada.

“Canadians need to know that our water is not for sale,” said Larry Miller, who is also chair of the Commons agriculture committee.

“It’s not a commodity like coal or iron ore or oil.”

Miller has introduced a private member’s bill and says he’s received support from Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Liberal MPs, and will be seeking NDP backing. Opposition support is needed to prevent private member’s bills from languishing on the Commons order paper.

His bill adds a key provision to similar government legislation that died when the May 2011 election was called that would prevent water from being diverted into another watershed.

The only criticism of the bill so far comes from the Council of Canadians. Miller isn’t accepting their criticism because it would involve interfering in waters under provincial jurisdiction.

“We will continue to work with our provincial and territorial partners to ensure that Canada’s freshwater is protected.”

The bill would protect rivers and streams that cross the Canada-U.S. border in the same way as waters that straddle the border, like the Great Lakes. It includes measures to strengthen enforcement and fines of up to $6 million for corporate violations. Fines would be cumulative, meaning that a violation that continues for more than one day is seen as a separate offence for each day it continues.

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