May 21, 2009

The Canwest News Service reports this morning that, "the Water Quality Investment Act, which will provide US$13.4-billion for local governments in the U.S. to improve their drinking-water systems (has) been approved by the House (of Representatives) with Buy American rules and is awaiting Senate passage." 

Industry Minister Tony Clement is in Washington for the next two days meeting with Representative Bernice Johnson, chair of the House of Representatives transportation subcommittee on water, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and Bart Gordon, chairman of the House science and technology committee to raise concerns about the Act.

The article continues, "the fallout from Buy American is already being felt among Canadian firms - from sewage pipe manufacturers to water treatment companies - that are being shut out of valuable infrastructure contracts being awarded to local and state governments receiving stimulus funds."

May 20, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports that a genetically engineered Atlantic salmon may soon be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The article explains, "Tweaked with genetic material from chinook salmon and an eel-like creature called an ocean pout, it reaches market size twice as fast as normal Atlantic salmon, the company (Aqua Bounty Technologies) says."

"The Massachusetts-headquartered company, which has operations in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, has not applied for approval in Canada. But trade law could force Ottawa's hand following U.S. approval, making it irrelevant whether the Canadian consumer wants these fish or not."

Lawrence Herman, senior counsel with Cassels Brock in Toronto, says, "If it could be shown that the U.S. law met all accepted international health and safety standards, it might call into question whether (a) Canadian import ban is legally necessary to protect Canadians. Under international trade law, an import ban can be struck down if there are less trade-restrictive avenues available to meet health and safety concerns."

May 20, 2009

The Canwest News Service reports that, "U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano expected to meet with Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan at the Detroit-Windsor border crossing, likely on May 26. Plans are in the works for Ms. Napolitano to visit Ottawa the next day."

"While details of Ms. Napolitano's trip are still being finalized, officials at Homeland Security and the Department of Public Safety have been trying to finalize a border security deal that would make permanent a little-known -- and potentially controversial -- pilot project allowing the RCMP and the U.S. Coast Guard to conduct joint armed patrols of shared waterways."

May 20, 2009

On The Current today, "the draught in Northern Mexico is more than 10 years old and it coincides with major changes in the Mexican economy and agriculture, namely the North American Free Trade Agreement and attempts to privatize the country's water supply."

The Current is on CBC Radio One starting at 8:30 am.

May 19, 2009

Reuters reports that, "Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt said in a statement (today that) C$650 million has been earmarked to help pay for large-scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects as the government looks to follow through on agreements made during U.S. President Barack Obama's February visit to Canada...The Conservative Party government is looking to keep up with U.S. initiatives to stem climate change and to offset criticism of Canada's environmental record and of carbon-intensive oil production from the country's oil sands."

"Last year the federal government earmarked C$240 million to aid plans for a carbon capture program at a power plant in Saskatchewan while the Alberta government has a C$2 billion fund to support CCS programs in that province."