CTV.ca reports that, “Ontario’s Liberal government will move to cash in on a growing demand for water and clean water technology as part of a five-year plan called Open Ontario to be unveiled in the March 8 throne speech, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced Thursday.”
In his speech to a Liberal party fundraiser, McGuinty said, “In the next 20 years, worldwide demand for water will be 40% greater than supply. That means a lot of places are going to need new ways to use less water and purify polluted water. Well, as it turns out, for several years now, Ontario has been quietly growing one of the biggest clean water industries in all of North America. Our services and technologies are being sold here at home and around the world. And that means great Ontario jobs. The Conference Board of Canada recently estimated the global market for water technology at over $450 billion with annual growth of up to 15%. So, why wouldn’t we organize ourselves to grab an even bigger share of that market for Ontario? We’re doing exactly that for clean energy. Why not for clean water? So our ‘Open Ontario’ plan will look at ways to build on our clean water strength.”
Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow wrote in her book ‘Blue Covenant’ that, “It is to the distinct advantage of the private water industry that the world’s freshwater supplies are being polluted and destroyed. With governments, industries and universities investing so heavily in the burgeoning water cleanup industry, there is less and less incentive at every level to emphasize source protection and conservation.” (p.92)
She adds, “The World Trade Organization promotes and protects the trade in environmental services, encouraging cross-border trade and investment in private water cleanup companies. Under the national treatment provision of the WTO, governments cannot favour domestic water companies and will have to open up their bidding process to the water technology transnationals that are getting more powerful all the time.” (p.92-93)
Maude notes that Suez, Veolia, GE, Dow Chemical, BASF and other private corporations are already invested in this technology (p.78-79).
CTV also reports that, “Open Ontario will also include plans to help northern residents and First Nations develop what may be the largest chromite deposit in the world, the Ring of Fire in the northwest.”
Chromite is a mineral used to make stainless steel.
Council of Canadians Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara notes that Ontario Nature has raised concerns about this mining that would take place 240 kilometres west of James Bay and northeast of Thunder Bay.
They say, “The Ring of Fire threatens an environmental disaster that could be likened to a mini-Tar-Sands.” They also explain that, “Beyond the northern reaches of the forest lies tundra, which supports one of the earth’s largest, continuous wetlands, and through which half of Canada’s largest dozen rivers drain.”
McGuinty will be seeking an unprecedented third majority government on October 6, 2011, just twenty months from now.