A reflexive “aqua-nationalism”


Canadians are still “dead serious” about water. Coureurs de bois and the ghost of Tom Thomson haunt the misty lakes of our collective subconscious. The effect, too often, is to dissolve reasoned debate about the subject in a solution of mythic imagery infused with implied threats to our identity. A reflexive “aqua-nationalism,” clothed in environmental righteousness, is hostile to any suggestion that Canada’s water could ever become a tradable commodity. The animus is all the more implacable if the discussion involves trading water with Americans — an idea close to treason in some eyes. In this atmosphere it’s easy to ridicule visionaries who dream of replumbing the continent. Nonagenarian Newfoundlander Tom Kierans’s scheme to dike James Bay and pipe water to the US Midwest through the Great Lakes invites a check of the old man’s sanity, and it hardly surprises that right-wing American anti-Semite Lyndon LaRouche is behind a plan to reroute water from the Peace and Liard rivers from northern BC deep into the United States. But our hostile reductionism is going to become difficult to sustain as greenhouse-gas emissions continue to heat up the planet. New patterns of wind, humidity, and ambient temperature are already dramatically altering the weather map. Some parts of the country are receiving more rain than ever before; other regions are drying up.

more from Chris Wood at The Walrus here.