Canadian Water Politics

Canadian Water Politics: Conflicts and Institutions

MARK SPROULE-JONES
CAROLYN JOHNS
B. TIMOTHY HEINMILLER
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 408
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt802n1
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  • Book Info
    Canadian Water Politics
    Book Description:

    Canadian Water Politics explores the nature of water use conflicts and the need for institutional designs and reforms to meet the governance challenges now and in the future. The editors present an overview of the properties of water, the nature of water uses, and the institutions that underpin water politics. Contributors highlight specific water policy concerns and conflicts in various parts of Canada and cover issues ranging from the Walkerton drinking water tragedy, water export policy, Great Lakes pollution, St Lawrence River shipping, Alberta irrigation and oil production, and fisheries management on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7595-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Tables and Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    MARK SPROULE-JONES and CAROLYN JOHNS
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-2)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)
    CAROLYN JOHNS

    Water is essential to life. It is a vital resource, required for all environmental and societal processes (Gleick, 1993). It makes up two-thirds of the human body. A person can live without food for more than a month but without water for only a few days (Canada, Environment Canada, 2005b). Although water is essential for survival and increasingly valuable as a resource, many countries have used and exploited it to such a degree that freshwater supplies have decreased and pollution levels are unsustainable. Globally, the two biggest stresses on water systems are population growth and economic development (Averill and Whelan,...

  8. PART ONE: BACKGROUND
    • 1 Water as a Multiple-Use Resource and Source of Political Conflict
      (pp. 19-56)
      CAROLYN JOHNS, MARK SPROULE-JONES and B. TIMOTHY HEINMILLER

      Water as a natural resource has its own distinctive scientific and natural principles which make its governance a challenge. Because it is interconnected to land, air, and the broader environment, its governance is particularly complex. These defining features of water underpin the conflicts and institutions designed to govern water resources in Canada. This chapter presents an overview of the natural properties of water itself and its multiple uses in Canada, which set the stage for conflict, water governance challenges, and collective-action dilemmas. The chapter is based on the assumption that in order for policy-makers and analysts to design institutional arrangements...

  9. PART TWO: INSTITUTIONS, INSTRUMENTS, AND PROPERTY RIGHTS FOR WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN CANADA
    • 2 Institutions for Water Resource Management in Canada
      (pp. 59-89)
      CAROLYN JOHNS and KEN RASMUSSEN

      As outlined in chapter 1, the multiple uses and users of Canada’s water resources have the potential to lead to numerous and persistent conflicts at the local, provincial, and national levels. This chapter provides an overview of institutional arrangements at various levels in the Canadian federal system based on the fundamental assumption that it is critical to understand the historical development and evolution of Canada’s water management institutions in order to analyze the current policy context and political conflicts related to multiple water uses across the country.

      Chapter 1 highlighted the unique and multi-purpose properties of water as a natural...

    • 3 Instruments and Implementation Options for Water Resource Management
      (pp. 90-115)
      KAREN THOMAS

      In any given policy area, government decision-makers have a “toolbox” of policy instruments from which to choose in order to best meet designated policy goals. Policy instruments can generally be defined as “the actual means or devices which governments have at their disposal for implementing policies” (Howlett and Ramesh, 1995, 80). They have been studied to better understand the linkages between policy formulation and implementation, the decision-making process, and how the selection of instruments affect the success or failure of policy goals (Elidias, Hill, and Howlett, 2005).

      The range of instruments available for water policies can be categorized along a...

    • 4 Property Rights and Water
      (pp. 116-130)
      MARK SPROULE-JONES

      The term “property” can cause great confusion since it is frequently used in different ways and with different meanings. In common parlance, it is often equated with real estate. In historical terms, the ownership of property could foster widespread social unrest, from the clearances of the Scottish Highlands (and mass migration to Nova Scotia) through the communist revolutions of the twentieth century, when all privately owned property was seized by the state. At various times in history, people were treated as property, even in Canada, where some slaves were bought and sold before the abolition of slavery in 1832. More...

  10. PART THREE: THE POLITICS OF WATER WITHDRAWALS
    • 5 Enough for Everyone: Policy Fragmentation and Water Institutions in Alberta
      (pp. 133-155)
      KEITH BROWNSEY

      In June 2003 the two-year drought that had devastated a large part of Alberta was declared over. Environment Canada issued a statement declaring that “a wet spring has spelled an end to the driest conditions in decades.” Summer rains were predicted to set the conditions for a normal crop year in the province; indeed, the summer forecast called for abovenormal precipitation. This was described as good news for farmers and ranchers who had suffered through up to four years of drought. The dry conditions had seen grain production cut by half, while hay and pasture crops had also declined. The...

    • 6 Against the Flow: Institutions and Canada’s Water-Export Debate
      (pp. 156-176)
      JOHN K. GRANT

      Canada is said to be the single largest holder of freshwater resources in the world, possessing at least 7 per cent of the total renewable supply (Canada, Environment Canada, 2004a). Exploration, transportation, and energy production have all been dependent on this nation-building resource. Yet Canadians have predominantly viewed water as part of their national heritage, not just an economic commodity, and there is continuing debate and analysis around whether water is a tradable commodity (Canada, Policy Research Initiative, 2007). It is for this reason that the ongoing debate over bulk water exports has stirred public sentiment in Canada. Bulk water...

  11. PART FOUR: THE POLITICS OF WATER POLLUTION
    • 7 Politics and Pollution on the Great Lakes: The Cleanup of Hamilton Harbour
      (pp. 179-202)
      MARK SPROULE-JONES

      Pollution control in Canada and other countries is sometimes viewed as a “command and control” system of regulation. In this perspective, one or more government agencies develop standards for water or air emissions from stacks and pipes based on the best scientific evidence about the pollution, about best available technologies of control, and about best knowledge of the ambient environment. The agency can then issue regulations and enforce compliance from industries, municipalities, and other waste dischargers such as hospitals and universities (Dryzek, 1997, 63–83). A different perspective views pollution control as a product of negotiations and bargaining between regulators...

    • 8 Non-point Source Water Pollution Institutions in Ontario before and after Walkerton
      (pp. 203-240)
      CAROLYN JOHNS

      As in all jurisdictions across Canada, surface water and groundwater are key natural resources for a number of different users and uses in Ontario. Much of the province’s historic settlement patterns, industrial development, and economic growth derive from water resources. All of the multiple uses outlined in chapter 1 are significant in Ontario and have been central to its economic progress. Surface water and groundwater are important sources for agriculture, commercial development, industrial production, a variety of domestic uses, and drinking water. Of the province’s population of 11 million, 8 million residents have their drinking water supplied from a water-treatment...

  12. PART FIVE: THE POLITICS OF IN-STREAM WATER USES
    • 9 The St Lawrence: From River to Maritime Superhighway
      (pp. 243-260)
      B. TIMOTHY HEINMILLER

      Because of its size and geographic location, the St Lawrence has long been regarded as a key maritime artery to the heart of the North American interior. Nevertheless, since its discovery by French explorers in the sixteenth century, it has undergone a conceptual and physical evolution from the St Lawrence as “river” to the St Lawrence as “seaway.” This transformation has been quite significant for both the users of the St Lawrence and for the waterway itself. While a river is regarded as something wild and natural with inherent value, a seaway is seen as something that can be captured...

    • 10 Chasing Whose Fish? Atlantic Fisheries Conflicts and Institutions
      (pp. 261-285)
      PETER CLANCY

      Beyond Canada’s coastal provinces and territories, fisheries may be viewed as a distant and somewhat marginal concern. On the nation’s three oceans, however, where marine resources, harvesters, and regulators constitute a significant socio-political sector, the reverse is true. The oceans economy is currently valued at more than $22 billion (Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 2005), and the Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that the country’s fisheries resources are a common property, belonging to all the people of Canada. Recent fisheries management disasters, such as the collapse of the Atlantic cod, have shown that the centralized institutions traditionally used...

    • 11 Conflict and Institutional Reform in the British Columbia Salmon Fishery
      (pp. 286-307)
      RICHARD SCHWINDT and AIDAN R. VINING

      A review of commercial fisheries around the world concludes: “The world’s fisheries face the crises of dwindling stocks, overcapitalization, and disputes over jurisdiction” (Grafton, Squires, and Kirkley, 1996, 90). Several major Canadian fisheries face all three of these problems, as well as several other major issues. Partly as a result, several commercial fisheries in Canada are among the most contentious, conflict-ridden policy arenas that politicians, civil servants, and interest groups face. The observation that many fisheries around the world suffer from similar problems suggests that the underlying nature of these problems are at least partially fundamental, rather than idiosyncratic Canadian...

  13. Conclusion: Institutions and Water Governance in Canada
    (pp. 308-332)
    B. TIMOTHY HEINMILLER, CAROLYN JOHNS and MARK SPROULE-JONES

    Our case studies reveal the endemic nature of conflict between the various users of rivers, coasts, lakes, and aquifers. Rarely is a water body given over to a single class of water uses or so abundant as to accommodate all actual and potential users. Sharing a water body can bring conflict, then agreement or arbitration by regulation, then change, and then often cycling back through these phases. What is remarkable about the case evidence is how successful water user groups in one part of this cyclical process remain winners in subsequent parts, including new cycles and new uses. The winners...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 333-374)
  15. Index
    (pp. 375-390)