Sunday, December 28, 2008

"SPP : Kill it, recast it, or rebrand it"

is the recommendation of Sarah Ladislaw, member of the North American SPP Energy Working Group and fellow at CSIS - the Center For Strategic and International Studies. She was speaking at a CSIS book promo/discussion group in Washington DC last week for The Future of North America 2025 : Outlook and Recommendations, edited by Armand Peschard-Sverdrup who also chaired the Dec. 17 meeting.

You'll recall the public outcry up here in April last year when the CSIS NA2025 panel convened in Calgary and director Armand B. Peschard-Sverdrup was quoted as saying :
"It's no secret that the U.S. is going to need water. ...
It's no secret that Canada is going to have an overabundance of water.
At the end of the day, there may have to be arrangements."
According to comments made last week, the panel does not appear to have changed its position on that.
"Canadians have no water management, " said co-author Bill Nitze, adding that while "North America is water-rich, southern California and Mexico are not."
He recommended setting up "water markets and water banking", plus expanding the powers and budgets of the International Water Commission(US/Mexico) and the International Joint Commission (US/Canada) to "manage water in all three countries".

Noting that "the SPP has gotten a bad name on the centre-left in Canada" where it is "seen as a vehicle for business interests to exploit resources, including bulk water exports from Canada", he further advocated the importance of "a game changer" and "giving it a different flavour" by "getting people to talk differently".
In a recommendation from the floor, Diana Negroponte (wife of John) of the Brookings Institution suggested adopting the word "coordination" in place of "integration" and panel members duly noted her advice to "avoid the word integration".

Answering a question about the current stagnation of the SPP, Ladislaw advised expanding the focus from the federal to the state/provincial level, a tactic we have already seen in groups like PNWER and Atlantica.
"Based on the EPA experience," said Bill Nitze, "if you provide money, lots and lots of money, for local needs, then you can get co-operation. Federal governments have enough money to make this happen".

This easily ranks up there as the most boring and alarming hour and a half I have ever spent, so you guys out there owe me big time. Conjure up, if you will, a discussion of Germany's annexation of Austria in 1938 considered entirely from the point of view of making the trains run more efficiently and you won't be far off.

Cross-posted at Creekside

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