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NEWS: New NAFTA challenge raises water rights

A media release issued this morning states that, “William Greiner and Malbaie River Outfitters, Inc., announced today that they have initiated arbitration pursuant to Chapter Eleven of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) against the Government of Canada for revoking authorizations of commerce to conduct business on various rivers in Quebec.”

$8 MILLION CLAIM
“The $8 million-plus claim alleges unfair treatment of U.S. citizen William Greiner concerning his Canadian-formed company, a lodge and outfitting business which offered Atlantic salmon fishing and hunting in Quebec.”

Their website promotes their business as, “We are located in the heart of SALMON COUNTRY with eight (8) different salmon rivers reached by an easy drive from our lodge. Each river offers its own unique opportunities to pursue salmon. In June and early July three of the rivers are high enough so that guests can enjoy canoe runs. All of the rivers are clear enough to enable sight fishing to individual salmon.”

A Public Citizen report on Chapter 11 cases and claims explains that, “U.S. citizen William Jay Greiner owned a business called Malbaie River Outfitters Inc., which provided fishing, hunting, and lodging for mostly American clients in the province of Quebec. Greiner claimed that by changing the lottery system for obtaining salmon fishing licenses in 2005, the provincial government of Quebec ‘severely damaged the investor’s business.’ Also challenged was Quebec’s decision to revoke Greiner’s outfitter’s license for three rivers which he contended effectively destroyed his business.”

ABITIBIBOWATER PRECEDENT?
Today’s media release notes, “The initiation of arbitration comes closely after the CAD $130 million settlement between the Government of Canada and AbitibiBowater, Inc., in relation to a similar NAFTA arbitration AbitibiBowater commenced earlier this year.”

In a recent Council of Canadians media release on that settlement, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow said, “If AbitibiBowater has in any way been compensated for the loss of water and timber rights, as the company is suggesting, the Harper government’s hundred million dollar buyout would turn water into private property.”

The company’s media release can be read at http://www.i-newswire.com/us-investor-commences-nafta-chapter/71859. Our campaign blog “NEWS: The AbitibiBowater NAFTA ‘win’ and water rights” can be read at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=4412.