Grand Canal Schemes (2012)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

GRAND Canal scheme – Water privatization and agri-food cartel agenda

– Groundwater contamination – Louis Desmarais – Thomas Kierans


Source: Mohawk Nation News

MNN. Feb. 13, 2009 –

On February 19th, the U.S. “bucket brigade” of President Barack “The-Sorcerer’s-Apprentice” Obama and his entourage will be bringing their empty pails to Canada. They want Prime Minister Stephen “Sponge-Bob” Harper and his buddies to start hauling Indigenous water to the States. They’re after our resources. You can bet on it! The following day, U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs, Ken “Spanish-Amphibian” Salazar, will make an important announcement about their plan to steal our water.

Ripping off our water is another route of the “banksters” to bring in their New World Order. The multinationals know about the forthcoming water shortages because they’re stealing and polluting it. These water czars call themselves the “global guardians”. Part of their plan to control the world is by controlling the food supply through controlling the water supply.

The United Nations calls water a human right. The fox wants to be in charge of the hen house in this “humanitarian crisis” of their making. Since colonization, our Indigenous communities no longer have access to clean water. This doesn’t stop them from pilfering even more from us.

Barack Obama’s front man, Rahm “Walleye” Emanuel, is known as “the godfather of Great Lakes restoration”. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence watershed is part of Haudenosaunee Territory which we will never surrender. The Nanfan Treaty of 1701 prohibits interference by colonists and foreigners on the eastern half of Turtle Island. If they try to do this, they will be committing another violation of the Two Row Wampum Agreement with our people. They know very well we never gave the colonists any rights over our land and resources. As the caretakers and trustees, we have the duty to protect the largest surface fresh water in the world. We Indigenous people are in their way; but we are not going away.

Thomas Kierans, GRANDCo frontman

Louis R. Desmarais (1923- ), water privatization czar

Tom “Ol’-Man-Canal” Kierans and GRANDCo executives like Louis “Marine-Dead-Zone” Desmarais know that Indigenous resistance and sovereignty are the biggest obstacles to their greedy power seizing schemes. That is why Indigenous people like the Algonquins are bombarded with agents from every direction who are trying to confuse and subvert them. The Grand Canal would pass through Algonquin territory in the Canadian Shield of northern Quebec and Ontario.

Senator Salazar of Colorado controls the tap. He lives near Canadian billionaire Maurice “Meathead” Strong who “owns” all that land on top of the largest aquifer in the “USA”. Strong is high up in the UN food chain. The resource grab will be “legalized” by setting up a UN army to enforce their attempted domination over us and our water.

Is it a coincidence that Maude “Stiletto-Rubber-Boots” Barlow of Ottawa has been appointed as the “UN Senior Advisor on Water”?

Strong also works in Beijing with the Chinese. Huge water diversion projects will be done in China first, where there are fewer environmental or labor laws. China is now building its South to North Water Diversion, the biggest engineering feat since the Three Gorge Dam built by Canadian companies. Half a million people will be relocated or forced to move.

One of the ways that the colonists destroyed our environment was through water diversion to do stupid projects like growing rice in the desert.

Even within the last few years, the salmon fishery on the Pacific coast has been destroyed to provide water for commercial farmers. They were so focused on immediate profits that they did not heed the damage they were causing to the environment. Turtle Island easily and comfortably supported a large Indigenous population before these catastrophic interventions by these European visitors.

 California has just declared a state of emergency due to their four-year drought.

Farmers have been denied water and forced to reduce their crops or to stop planting. Drought stricken southwestern USA and Mexico need irrigation to grow food for their market. The U.S. has been turned into a desert. Now they want to mess up the northern part of Turtle Island.

The “Grand Canal” scheme is supposed to divert what they call “wasted” water that flows into James Bay. One of their hare-brained schemes is to block off James Bay and turn it into a freshwater lake which will be diverted to the U.S..

Do they realize that they’ll kill everything in the ocean by making it too salty? These plans are made by money grubbers, not ecologists or Indigenous people. It was first proposed by Tom Kierans in 1959. It’s an old rotten idea, just like the opportunists who thought it up. Kierans has no qualifications as an environmentalist. He’s not looking at the inevitable environmental collapse he wants to perpetrate.

Water will be sent for miles along concrete canals and aqueducts – sometimes uphill. Nuclear energy will be the horse and wagon for this job.

The venture is backed by powerful dirty engineering companies like the UMA Group, the SNC Group, Bechtel Canada Ltd., and Rousseau Sauvé Warren Inc.. Kierans says that Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering company, is courting GRANDCo, his company. Even Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. [AECL] hopes to supply CANDU reactors to power the pumps that will move up to 30 per cent of the discharge of the Great Lakes.

Canadian people aren’t opposing these schemes – because they are too polite and too ignorant. They are also afraid the U.S. will come and take the water by force anyway.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and North American Union (NAU) are set up as “illegal diversions” for water theft. Don’t kid yourselves: the U.S. always behaved like vipers in these accords. When they want something, they take it. They don’t let the welfare of other people get in their way. Look at what happened in Iraq! The Great Lakes Water Compact recently approved by Congress and Parliament without any public discussion is a bucket full of holes. They’re going to need more than mops to swab up the humongous environmental disaster they’re trying to commit.

The White Mountain Apaches in Arizona just signed a deal to get clean water to drink. They were forced to give up their water in the entire state so that hundreds of golf courses could be kept green. Arizona “loaned” the Apaches the money for their water treatment facility and reservoir. Most Apaches weren’t consulted. The agreement isn’t legal. It’s just the usual colonial con job!

These colonists have to sit with us on a “nation to nation” basis according to our treaties, agreements and inherent jurisdiction, not on a “government to government” basis as they recently stated.

They cannot deal with their handmaidens, the illegal “band” and “tribal” governments they’ve set up.

For us, we should resume growing corn, beans and squash, the sustainers of our ancestors. We need to stay closer to home and family to care for the earth and protect our communities from these water world vultures. These zany visitors from Europe and their passengers just can’t stop themselves from creating one calamity after another over here. Hey, Barack, Stephen, Ken, Maurice, Tom, Louis and Maude, why don’t you stand on the street corner with your empty pails. We might put in a few drops of water to quench your thirst. But that’s all! [For more information and contacts, see background notes at the end of this article.


Ia’koha:kowa & MNN Staff Mohawk Nation News

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BACKGROUND NOTES: Water is the staff of life. We can live without oil, but not water. Some water usage statistics from the UN: Over the past century, the world population has tripled, but water consumption has multiplied by a factor of 6. Urban dwellers use more water than rural dwellers for personal use.

Right now, agriculture uses about 75% of water, industry 15%, and domestic uses the balance. Creating a glass of orange juice requires 850 litres of water to produce. A hamburger requires 2400 litres.

Maurice Strong worked at the UN in Environment and Economic Development. He was tainted in the Oil-for-Food scandal. He is still No. 2 at the UN.

 The water diversion plan is a big secret scheme.

The northern Quebec and Ontario Algonquin territory is being grabbed by Tom Kierans and his GRANDCo. One of his backers is the think tank, the “Montreal Economic Institute”, headed by the Desmarais family, which is supposedly worth $3.9 billion, all earned from extraction and exploitation of Indigenous resources.

Paul Desmarais Sr.’s older brother, Louis Desmarais, is on the board of GRANDCo.. Paul Desmarais Jr.’s wife, Hélène, is chair of the Montreal Economic Institute; another brother, André, is married to France, the daughter of former Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien. The Desmarais family is also closely associated with former prime ministers Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney and Paul Martin. These people know that water will soon be more valuable than crude oil.

The Desmarais own Power Corporation, one of Canada’s biggest investment firms. Paul Volcker, former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, is on Power Corp.’s international board. Power Corp. owns a major share in Total Group, formerly Total Fina Elf, the French company that wanted to buy oil from Iraq in euros.

Power Corp. and BNP Paribas, a French bank, were involved in the UN Oil-for-Food scandal in Iraq.

John Rae, Bob’s brother, is on the board at Power Corp. and Pargesa Holding S.A., a Paribas subsidiary. Bob Rae took a run at being head of the Liberal Party of Canada to become Prime Minister.

The Grand Canal – estimated in 1994 to cost $100 billion [in 1964 dollars] to build and another $1 billion a year to operate – sees a string of nuclear reactors and hydro dams to pump water uphill, and nine inter-basin transfer locations.

Water would be pumped south from the newly-formed James [Bay] Lake. This would be created by putting a dike across James Bay, which is the southern portion of Hudson’s Bay in northern Quebec and Ontario.

This water would be made to flow into the Harricana River, crossing into the Great Lakes watershed near Amos, which is near Barriere Lake, into Lake Timiskaming and the Ottawa River. It would cross near Mattawa into Lake Nipissing and the French River to Lake Huron.

The Ogoki diversion moves water through Lake Nipigon and the Nipigon River into Lake Superior at a point 96 kilometres (60 miles) east of Thunder Bay, Ontario. This water was diverted to support three hydroelectric plants on the Nipigon River in 1943.

Two huge dams reverse the flow of water way in the wilderness.

The Long Lake Diversion diverts water through Long Lake and the Aguasabon River into Lake Superior near Terrace Bay. The diversion provides water for the hydroelectric plant near Terrace Bay and to drive pulpwood down the river.

The Chicago Diversion was built during the 1890s, amid fears that sewage could infiltrate the city’s drinking water supply via water intake cribs in Lake Michigan, leading to an epidemic of typhoid, cholera and dysentery. The Chicago and Calumet Rivers were diverted to carry their water away to the Mississippi River. Because of Chicago’s growing population, there is always pressure to increase this diversion out of the Great Lakes.

Many insane diversions have been suggested, often involving blasting and paving waterways. The most persistent is the Grand Canal, which was first proposed by Tom Kierans in 1959. The multinationals know about the forthcoming water shortages because they are causing it.

Crandon Mine, Wisconsin is owned by Exxon and Rio Algom. They propose to develop an underground hard rock metallic sulfide mine near Crandon, Wisconsin, in the Wolf River Basin, which is in the Great Lakes Basin. The company wants to mine 55 million tons of ore, extracting primarily copper and zinc and some lead, silver and gold.

”Crandon Mining Company proposes to pump out the withdrawn groundwater through a 38 mile pipeline to the Wisconsin River to avoid costly water treatments required to return it to the Lake Michigan watershed.”

“As of February 1997, this proposal was still under consideration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The proposal is opposed by the Mole Lake Reservation, a large number of local organizations and local governments along both the Wolf and Wisconsin Rivers.” Surrounding states and provinces approved this water diversion in 1998.

Great Lakes United staff member Bruce Kershner and intern Carl Bolster found: “The areas with the highest potential to raise demands to divert water from the Great Lakes are Kenosha-Pleasant Prairie (Wisconsin), Lowell-Gary-Hobart (Indiana), Waukesha-New Berlin-Milwaukee (Wisconsin), Akron-Cleveland (Ohio), Chicago (Illinois) and New York City. Recent diversion requests are proving the accuracy of this study.”

Diversion within Great Lakes basin:

“For the past several years, the Ontario government and several municipalities in southern Ontario have been considering proposals by private companies to build a $500 million pipeline to divert 190 to 229 mld (50 to 60 mgd) of water from Georgian Bay on Lake Huron to provide water to York, Peel, Halton, Wellington and Waterloo Regions. This intrabasin transfer would bypass much of Lake Huron, all of the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, and, depending on the municipality served, Lake Erie and the Niagara River.


Great Lakes have different mineral content. Georgian Bay has drinkable water. Northern mountains have certain hormones that eat up certain viruses as they flow south.

”York Region, just north of Toronto, has most actively pursued this proposal, after awarding a tender to provide future water supplies to a consortium of Consumers’ Gas and British Northwest. In 1996, they came out with a proposal to draw 655 mld (177 mgd) of water from Georgian Bay and discharge treated sewage into Lake Ontario. Several citizens groups, including the Georgian Bay Association, the Safe Sewage Committee, the Canadian Environmental Law Association and Great Lakes United, objected on environmental grounds. In December 1996, York Regional Council dropped the proposal to divert water from Georgian Bay, primarily for economic reasons.”

Commission for Environmental Cooperation: Mexico has serious water problems.

Many of the U.S. groundwater aquifers are being rapidly depleted.

It [Grand Canal] can add 10% to Canada’s fresh water,” Kierans claimed in a 1989 presentation to American water regulators in Boston. Global warming, droughts and depleted water reserves in the Prairies, California and the U.S. Midwest make the GRAND project inevitable, he says. Now, Kierans says, individual pieces of the project are coming together. Lake Diefenbaker became operational in 1968, and the controversial Rafferty-Alameda dams in southern Saskatchewan – which are being constructed with substantial American financing – would help to regulate the release of water into the Souris and Missouri river systems,

Kierans says.”
”The venture is backed by powerful engineering companies – the UMA Group, the SNC Group, Bechtel Canada Ltd., and Rousseau Sauvé Warren Inc.. Kierans says that Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering company, is courting GRANDCo.” Even Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. [AECL] hopes to supply CANDU reactors to power the pumps.

Kierans’ company is GRANDCo: Chairman of the Board is Louis Desmarais, Liberal MP from 1979 to 1984 in Montreal; president of J.D.E. Consulting Services Ltd.; chairman of Canadian Home Assurance Co.; Power Corporation; and Canada Steamship Lines.

“GRANDCo Joint Ventures for Engineering is headed by Gilles Mariner, who recently returned to the SNC Group from the James Bay Energy Corporation.”

SEARCH TERMS: Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal; Thomas Kierans and GRANDCo; Simon Reisman, negotiator for the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement; the late Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa; Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister, on board of food cartel Archer Daniels Midland; Rafferty and Alameda dams in Alberta; Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan; Montreal Economic Institute, Hélène Desmarais; Alliance for the Great Lakes; American Rivers; Karel Mayrand of the David Suzuki Foundation, Quebec; Louis Desmarais; Bill C-6; Great Lakes Compact; Mitch Bronfman and Maurice Strong; Water: Rethinking Management in an Age of Scarcity, Worldwatch Institute; Power Corp., Paul Desmarais, Jr.; Garda World Security Corporation;

The Great Lakes Water Wars by Peter Annin.



Contact info, links and sources
The White House and Interior web sites:
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461
Mailing Address: Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W. Washington DC 20240
Phone: 202-208-3100 E-Mail:

Canadian Politricksters:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

White River Apaches

Indian Water Resources News

Read: The Great Lakes Water Wars, by Peter Annin
California’s water worries

China’s water woes
Human Rights in China (HRIC)
International Rivers Network (IRN)
Three Gorges Probe

Maurice Strong (1,000’s of hits at google)×3522537
poster: katenies

Supplementary audio:

Water Monopolization – Nine Dead Judges – Judicial Mafia – Political Corruption – Falsified Water Scarcity – NAWAPA


Mitch Bronfman and Maurice Strong alleged to be keys to massive Canada / USA fresh water diversion

by John Kovacs, 1996

Just like in director Roman Polanski’s film Chinatown (1974), our own experience is proving that in Canada, like in Chinatown, nothing is as it seems. That’s precisely the message anti-corruption / anti-high-treason crusader Glen Kealey is telling Canadians from coast-to-coast. Glen Kealey is Canada’s most tenacious crusader against NAFTA and the Canada / U.S.A. Free Trade Agreement. He is also our country’s most vocal whistle-blower.

There are startling parallels between what Kealey alleges to be a hidden globalist agenda behind NAFTA and Free Trade, and what movie villain Noah Cross did in Chinatown. The rich and powerful Cross caused mayhem as he exercised tyrannical control over the lives and destiny of southern Californians, through his greedy and illegal multi-million dollar land takeover and water diversion plot.

And that’s where fiction meets reality.

According to Kealey, Canada’s own overlords are an elite group of international bankers and their all-seeing-eye, Freemasonry. He calls these co-conspirators “Freemasons,” a term that derives its meaning from prehistoric times when a slave stonemason (Cain) was offered freedom if he agreed to work against his own family, starting by killing his own brother, if that brought him personal benefits. Kealey says today’s Freemasons exist in the form of military brass, politicians (both native and non-native), “mandarins” (deputy ministers) and elite corporate leaders who conspire to give their sponsors Canada’s national wealth and sovereignty, including our natural resources and Crown corporation assets.

Kealey says former Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney, left Ottawa knowing he could never again be re-elected. His free trade “sponsors” feared the numerous cases of corruption that surfaced during his tenure would make it impossible for Mulroney to get a majority government that would implement free trade. Nevertheless, Mulroney received, on top of his prime minister’s pension, millions of dollars worth of shares (arguably in return for services rendered while prime minister) from Peter Munk, chairman of Barrick Resources Inc..

Barrick is a participant in the world’s “gold cartel.” Shortly thereafter, Mulroney was also hired as a director of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), a vast European-controlled player in the U.S. agri-food industry.

Significantly, ADM had just been targeted for an in-depth criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. They were suspected of participating in a conspiracy designed to create a food cartel, to control the price and availability of all food grown in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Strangely, of all people, Brian Mulroney was commissioned by ADM’s chairman to look into these allegations and report back to their board on his findings.

An investigation by ADM’s own corporate director on charges of unfair competition and price fixing is dubious at best – especially since Mulroney was in court defending himself (after hand-picking his own judge to prosecute his case) against the federal government and RCMP charges of taking kickbacks on the Air Canada/Airbus 320 deal while serving as prime minister.

Kealey says Mulroney was central to laying the groundwork for carrying out a “Global Governance Agenda” of forming a “world food cartel” (ed. it is based on land stolen from American Indians a hundred and some years ago) in the mid and southwestern United States. ADM later paid a $100 million fine in the U.S. to avoid a prosecution on the matter, while Liberals absolved Mulroney.

Author Elaine Dewar in her recent book Cloak of Green (1995) says the Global Governance Agenda was envisioned by Nelson Rockefeller before World War II (ed. the Rockefeller family are agents for the European Rothschild banking family interests on the American continent). Global Governance also has links to the current regional trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Maastricht Treaty. The Maastricht Treaty is responsible for forming the European federation called the European Union, and Maastricht has created real regional-level governance with a federation-wide currency and a federation-wide series of regulations on trade. Similarly, NAFTA places structural imperatives on the Canadian government; it also rearranges powers to suit larger free trade agreements yet to come.

Dewar explains the Global Governance Agenda as a push to integrate East and West, while shaping the U.N. itself to fit a “brave new unipolar” world.

In line with this elitist economic theology of consolidating power for Global Governance, there is a dirty little secret that lurks behind the Canada / U.S.A. and NAFTA Free Trade Agreements. That secret is a major water diversion and dam project called the GRAND Canal project (Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal). It’s an unprecedented $196 billion plan to convert James Bay into a freshwater lake fed by northern Ontario and Quebec Rivers. It will be connected to a similar massive western Canadian network of dams and canals, to Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan.

The GRAND Canal will connect to other planned water diversions in B.C., such as the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) and the Central North American Water Project (CeNAWP) – which will divert water from the Fraser River basin (it includes the North Thompson River).

The GRAND Canal will then transport these massive quantities of Canadian fresh water southwest to the United States and Mexico. Canadian atomic (ed. using discarded Russian missile plutonium) and hydroelectric energy will be used to warm and pump 67 billion cubic metres of water annually to the south through the Great Lakes system and beyond. Through these new and existing networks of canals, water will be diverted to the midwestern U.S.A. from Saskatchewan in Canada and down to the southern states and into Mexico, to be used as a new source of irrigation and municipal freshwater supply.

In fact, Kealey says, one of the main purposes for diverting water from Canada is to use it to create a giant food cartel, managed from Colorado on the 57,760 hectare Baca Grande Ranch.

The ranch was purchased by Maurice Strong, the former secretary-general of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) for the 1992 Rio Summit and currently an executive at the U.N. (he was also named by former PM Mulroney to the Privy Council of Canada, giving him the lifetime title of “Honourable”). Strong purchased a major share interest in the agribusiness conglomerate, AZL Resources (Arizona-Colorado Land and Cattle Company).

Strong’s ranch happens to be on top of one of the world’s largest underground reservoirs (it is 250 times bigger than British Columbia’s Okanagan Lake). Strong and his partners are the largest landowners in the Baca Valley. The Baca Valley aquifer contains nearly three quadrillion litres of water.

International Freemasons, through Strong, sit on top of 148,000,000,000 cubic metres (or 120,000,000 acre feet) of water worth an estimated $5,000 per 1,234 cubic metres (or per acre foot). At this price, the water would be worth more than $600 billion.

The planned diversion will take water from 100 Mile House, B.C., via canals to be built atop the former Canadian National Railway (CNR) railbed across B.C. and Alberta, to Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan. In 1995, British Columbia’s NDP government passed a law to prohibit transfers of water between two river basins, such as the proposed “Multiwater” diversion project proposed for the transfer of North Thompson and Columbia Rivers.

Kealey says the laws to prohibit water basin transfers were created as illusions for deflecting attention away from the feasibility of the GRAND Canal. The GRAND Canal scheme in fact calls for the damming of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers in order to back water up, creating a reservoir on Gang Ranch, in the Cariboo region of B.C.. In fact, B.C. provincial government law can’t prohibit the GRAND Canal water diversion because the canal would contain water from only one river basin, the Fraser River Basin. In addition to this, Canadian water that crosses provincial boundaries is regulated federally; so any law passed provincially has no bearing. Also, the NAFTA and GATT agreements have created tribunals that disregard federal or regional laws anyway, under sections defining goods and services, which give the right of control of all goods and services to private property owners and not government.

The new trans-Canada GRAND Canal concept was conceived at least as early as 1960, following preliminary studies of the Fraser Basin commissioned by B.C. Premier W.A.C. “Wacky” Bennett, in 1953 and 1958. In 1985, a company called GRANDCo. was formed by an elite and wealthy group of Canadian and American Freemason interests.

At the time, media reports were generally skeptical of the vast GRAND Canal project, citing high environmental and political costs for implementing the scheme. Later, a study on the project was conducted by McMaster University economist Andrew Muller. The study panned the water diversion project for being uneconomical “under current market conditions.” Muller concluded, however, that in order for the GRAND Canal to be economically viable, it would have to overcome a huge capital and operating expenditure (ed. according to evidence testified to at the Kealey Section 507 Hearing in 1991, Mulroney made up the shortage by stealing the money via a 5% kickback on all major Government contracts over nine years from Canadian taxpayers). He added that the project proponents would also have to find a market for the expected 67 billion cubic metres of water diverted per year (the Fraser River Basin component extends the original diversion scheme westward).

Kealey says the project plans were never abandoned; they simply faded into the background. And today, the present political and economic climate under NAFTA / Free Trade make the project viable. Kealey says plans are already underway for its go-ahead, which is being assisted by politicians following an implementation scheme drafted during former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s reign. Kealey says the bargain basement discount sale of Canadian National Railway (CNR) for $2 billion dollars (about the same price as the now-privatized Air Canada paid in 1988 for the alleged Mulroney-kickback-scheme purchase of 34 Airbus model 320 jets – costing $1.8 billion) was actually the right-of-way sale for the project’s canal roadbed.

He says Prime Minister Jean Chretien sold Canada out by privatizing CNR for such an undervalued price (just like Brian Mulroney promised he himself would). Now, CNR trains are expected to share Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) tracks while water flows above the CNR roadbed. Kealey calls this privatization “GRAND theft – trains.”

The water, according to leaked engineering documents, will stretch 970′ across by 30′ deep on pivot-lined canals, with a capacity to hold 1,000 cubic metres of water. Kealey says the canals will likely be standing above ground on pylons.

“What people don’t realize from the engineering reports, is the canal will actually be more like a sidewalk of barges moving in both directions,” says Kealey. Freshwater canals and floating barges containing everything Canadian resources may have to offer – lumber, oil, minerals and even refrigerated Alberta beef – all picked up along the route from B.C. to Saskatchewan, in Canada, to be dropped off en route within the United States and Mexico. Then, when the barges are emptied, Kealey says they’ll be filled again with hospital garbage from Texas, Nevada and California. Some of the garbage will be nuclear waste shipped to the Meadow Lake Reserve in Saskatchewan, and then the remaining barges will be floated back to B.C. to fill the province’s abandoned mine shafts.

By coincidence (if one doesn’t believe in conspiracy), the elected chiefs of the South Meadow Lake Reserve (Flying Dust First Nation Reserve 105) already say they are prepared to store nuclear waste on their land.

Kealey says there will be no industry for Canada. Instead, “Canadians are to become the hewers of wood and drawers of water and raw resources.” Only American barges will be permitted on the canals, he says, and by further “coincidence” there is currently a proposal before the Canadian Competition Board to buy out the only Canadian barges on the Pacific coast.

Kealey explains “it’s the permits, not the floating stocks, they are after.”

During a recent trip to Lytton, B.C., Kealey learned that Hell’s Gate Airtram, a popular B.C. sky tram ride tourist attraction that was once owned by a German consortium, is now fronted by Canadians. Kealey says the changes in Hell’s Gate’s “public owners” is an indication that international investment is moving ahead with the GRAND Canal. His sources have told him there are five partners involved in the purchase: three are Canadian and two are German.

Kealey says Hell’s Gate’s location is strategic because it is possible to dam back the water all the way to Quesnel beyond Gustafson Lake to create a major new reservoir on Gang Ranch, below the Chilcotin River on the Fraser Plateau – which Kealey says is the real reason for government spending $5.5 million on heavily-armed RCMP and army personnel (ed. a flagrant abuse of power if one goes by the evidence presented at trial), when they attacked a few Native Tamanawas traditionals, a corporate pipe carrier and his family, and Rockefeller Foundation agents during the 1995 B.C. standoff (ed. by “coincidence”, the only Native leader who is still detained in jail is William Jones Ignace, an “open-pollinated” seed grower who, through his farming, circumvents the efforts of transnational agribusiness to control food by distributing only hybrid seeds that cannot themselves reproduce seed).

Also, when the canal is built, the water from the North Thompson river will flow backwards on the CNR roadbed up to Jasper, Alberta. The present line goes past the Lubicon Reserve, where the Lubicon Native Band is currently fighting to prevent the cutting of 11,000 trees a day. Kealey says this type of canal can be easily achieved through some relatively simple construction methods – and of course, with the use of atomic power.

In terms of legal issues, the FTA and NAFTA agreements have already set out some clear rules for participating countries not to restrict export trade of any “goods” or “services.”

The current assurances given by Canadian politicians that our water is protected under Canadian federal or provincial laws are, in Kealey’s opinion, complete fabrications designed to mislead the population. Kealey also says these laws cannot be enforced because: a) these trade pacts protect only “free-flowing” waters; and, b) international treaties supersede all national or regional laws. Kealey scrupulously points out that water behind dams and in reservoirs is not free-flowing; therefore, the GRAND Canal plan will convert a huge portion of Canada’s free-flowing water into giant water gutters that will move water through canals down to the United States. The other factor which has made the GRAND Canal project more attractive since the Muller study is the increase in demand for freshwater, especially in California.

Muller explains that the values for freshwater in the southwestern United States in 1988 were as high as $69 per thousand cubic metres. Muller found that this was not enough to sustain the GRAND Canal project with its huge capital costs; however, Muller also concluded that if between $100 to $200 per thousand cubic metres could be garnered from selling water to users, then that would be enough to take this project more seriously.

Kealey says that after the study was completed, the GRAND Canal never actually died: it merely became part of a secret agenda behind the FTA and NAFTA. Kealey says the GRAND Canal just went out of the public eye and into the background. He says the proponents were secure in the knowledge that American demand for water would soon bring prices up to make their project hugely profitable.

Kealey is right.

The value and scarcity of water in the southwestern United States have driven prices up beyond earlier forecasted expectations. The far higher prices are confirmed by a similar scheme for interbasin water transfer proposed by Multinational Water and Power Inc. and KVA Resources Inc. out of Vancouver. This project proposes to divert the Thompson River in B.C. through pipelines and canals to the southwestern U.S.. The executive summary indicates that huge profits of $600 million will be made after project costs (without paying regard to environmental or political costs for Canada, of course). The summary also gives projections for a 1992 market paying about $1,000 per acre foot of water. However, by the year 2000 they expect to be able to charge $3,000 per acre foot of water.

In a telephone interview with GRAND Canal Company President and CEO Tom Kierans, he defends his project by saying it has been greatly misunderstood by “so-called” environmental and nationalist concerns.

Kierans says that by damming James Bay, this will increase Canada’s freshwater supply by 1 per cent because the GRAND Canal will “recycle wasted” fresh water flowing out to Hudson Bay. He also says the project will “re-salinate a biologically unproductive Hudson Bay to create a lucrative salt water Canadian fishery, while extending navigation to 4 or 5 months a year.” Kierans is confident that the GRAND Canal project will be realized and that it is only a matter of waiting for the correct market conditions. “With public demand it has to happen because we need fisheries.”

Kierans adds that the real threat to Canada’s sovereignty is (ed. European banker-controlled, “Fortune 1000,” U.S.A. headquartered) corporations claiming prescriptive rights to Canadian freshwater.

He says it will be far worse for Canada not to supply the U.S. with our freshwater “because they’ll find a way of antagonizing us to get our water anyway.” Kierans denies any connection between the GRAND Canal and NAFTA/FTA trade agreements. But Kierans does agree that some of the pivot-lined canals will be built large enough to accommodate the movement of floating barges and some other additional uses. “The canals that need to be, will be large enough for barges and there will likely be some recreation use too,” Kierans says.

”But the barges are only secondary; they will come later, sometime in the next century.” In Prince George, New Caledonia College instructor Jim Windsor (who is writing his dissertation on the topic of water diversion) expects it would take the GRAND Canal Company (also known as GRANDCo) about four or five years to convert James Bay into a freshwater lake with the planned 160 km dam.

He says the plan originally was to reverse the flow up the Harricana River to Georgian Bay.

Windsor explains that once Kierans is in possession of the water, it will be relatively easy to know exactly how much water flows into Georgian Bay (ed. where Mitch Bronfman acquired the land in 1966) and the Great Lakes system. “So Kierans stands to make an immense amount of money from the privately-owned fresh water.”

Windsor says that an American water diversion project on Lake Michigan, called the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, has diverted water for sewage and barge navigation since it was built, starting in 1892. Recently, though, there have been American proposals to enlarge this canal by claiming a “Chicago diversion wildcard.” They argue that since Lake Michigan is inside the American border, it is, therefore, outside the International Joint Commission (IJC) jurisdiction on boundary water. They further argue that the IJC (1909) resulted in a boundary water treaty that doesn’t apply to the Chicago diversion, because the canal predates that agreement.

Windsor says that there are some Americans who think the Chicago diversion route could become a means to bolster the Mississippi River flows in times of low flow.

When a 1988 drought struck in the Midwest, it left many barges containing petroleum or oil run aground on the Mississippi. Windsor says that’s when all hell broke loose and several senators wrote to former president Ronald Reagan to demand the increase of water flows through the Chicago diversion – which was directly against Canada’s competing interests for hydroelectric power use from the Great Lakes system. Canada’s major concern, however, was the legal precedent of having the Americans unilaterally diverting water out of the Great Lakes system.

Windsor says the U.S. senators wrote in their correspondence that enlarging the Chicago water diversion was something the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could have done.

Canadian critics said that enlarging the Chicago diversion was just grasping at straws, because the rescue work could not have been done in time to refloat the stranded barges anyway. The Canadian position maintained that once a bigger diversion was started, the impetus would be to complete the construction; therefore, Canada would be facing a much larger diversion, and potential loss of more water from the Great Lakes system.

Windsor says that in the southwestern states, the Ogallala state water system pumps a greater amount of water annually than the Colorado River. But over the years, the Ogallala Aquifer has experienced a surface drop of between 50 and 300 feet in some Texas locations, Windsor says. So there is political pressure in the States to see if something can be done to replenish the Ogallala Aquifer by drawing more water out of Lake Michigan using the Mississippi River (through an enlarged Chicago diversion).

But the Chicago diversion is “grandfathered” and restricts the Army Corp of Engineers from pumping more water out of Lake Michigan than it can replenish. However, if circumstances changed so that the Chicago diversion were to be opened up into a larger canal, Windsor says that some Americans would argue, “Well gosh, we’ve got more water anyway, we’ll use it downstream to replenish the Ogallala Aquifer.”

Ironically, one of the authors of the letter was then-senator and now U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who is considered in the States to be the “green” vice president.

But to those people who oppose large-scale diversions, they are against treating river valleys like large plumbing networks. They reject that enlarging the Chicago diversion is merely a technical argument.

Windsor says that in 1985, Kierans received $30,000 from the Newfoundland regional office of the National Research Council under Brian Mulroney’s government.

The money was used by GRANDCo for publications and public relations. At the time, the original GRANDCo directors included Robert Bourassa, former premier of Quebec; another well-known supporter was former federal Finance Department mandarin Simon Reisman (Canada’s Ambassador to the 1986-88 Canada-U.S.A. Free Trade negotiations and Chief Negotiator). Reisman actually went before the New York Board of Trade to lobby for the GRANDCo canal project.

As well, Windsor disputes Kierans’ claim that the GRAND Canal project is merely “recycling” fresh water. Kierans argues he’ll be taking only 20 per cent of the flow, moving the 20 per cent up the Harricana River and eventually up to the Great Lakes; while 80 per cent still goes to Hudson Bay. Windsor says estuaries and ecological systems suffer greatly when freshwater inflows are interrupted. “The productivity of estuaries are dependent on freshwater inflows.


Windsor says if rational thought should prevail, the GRAND Canal would have no chance of being approved. But Windsor is quick to remind you not to bet the farm on rational action in Canadian water activity. He says Canada is already the single largest water diverter in the world (even more than Russia and the United States combined) with an annual diversion rate of 4,400 cubic metres per second; and most of Canada’s diversions are for hydroelectric power.

Even though Canada’s motivations may be different than the U.S.’s, we are nonetheless the world’s greatest diverter. Windsor says the question of whether Canada has a surplus globally of freshwater is also the point of some controversy. He says a true measure of our water resource is to measure our “flowing” water. On that basis, he says Canada has approximately nine per cent of the world’s flowing water: that is equal to 105,000 cubic metres per second.

Canada’s land area is about 7 per cent of the land surface of the planet; so comparing water with land, it is not too far off. If you compare Canada’s having 1/2 of one per cent of the world’s population, it sounds like a lot of water; but at the same time, that assumes that the only function of water is to serve people. Windsor says that, based on these opposing views, Canada’s water supply is actually a major source of controversy and acrimony. It may seem as ifCanada has a huge chunk of water; but alternatively, the flow of the Amazon River is 150,000 cubic metres per second. Windsor says that this means Canada’s flow of all freshwater is actually equal to two-thirds of the Amazon River’s. People must ask themselves if that qualifies as a surplus.

Windsor also questions whether there is a need for water to be diverted to the U.S.. He says most people in Canada would say an emphatic “NO!” But what’s interesting is that the U.S. is only marginally smaller than Canada and has only slightly less water flow than Canada; but their water is mostly in Alaska.

He explains that there is actually more stream flow in B.C. than in the western two-thirds of the U.S., from the Mississippi to the Pacific Coast. Despite this difference, Windsor says that there is enough water in the western United States already – if it were properly priced. Windsor says that water can be re-allocated from agriculture to municipalities, where there are shortages of available water, if there is political will to do so. The trouble is that in U.S. politics it is always easier to bring in new water through diversion.

”There’s vested interest in this from big political contributors or corporations,” Windsor says.

He also says “there’s not a shortage (of water) in an absolute sense; but there’s a shortage in municipal water use.”

Windsor agrees there’s still concern that NAFTA and “Free Trade” obliges Canada to export water. He says Bill C-156, called the Canadian Water Preservation Act, stated when introduced in August 1988 that Canada’s water was not for sale. However, the fact that Bill C-156 was even necessary is evidence it is a concern here.

Furthermore, Windsor concurs the act is irrelevant anyway because international trading agreements override domestic legislation. And finally, he says the Act never passed: it “died on the order paper” with the calling of the federal election in November 1988.

Does Canada have a moral obligation then to export water, given that we have global warming [scams] and water shortages in Phoenix, Arizona; Los Angeles, California; and now in Texas (which is currently going through the worst drought in 60 years)? And if Canada does export water – is this export interruptible? In other words, once we turn the tap on – can Canada unilaterally decide to turn it off? In this regard, Windsor draws on an article by Victoria, B.C., writer R.C. Bocking [“Canadian Water: a Commodity for Export? Canada’s Aquatic Resources,” (1987)], quoting an anonymous American.

Windsor, paraphrasing, says: “Canada will begin exporting water to the U.S. with a treaty; but if it wants to turn the tap off, it will have to deal with the Marines.”

Windsor says it will also be difficult for Canada’s elite to say no to billions – perhaps trillions – of dollars in water export revenues per year when there exists a perception of economic difficulty. He says this is the U.S.’s (ed. European bankers’) ace up their sleeve. The prospect of huge revenues appeals to others – as we move out of an era of environmental determinism to one of economic determinism.

”I don’t accept this,” Windsor says, “because I believe nothing is inevitable unless you want it to be.



GRANDCo has a long list of elite Canadian and American directors who are politically connected with world power and our own Canadian establishment. For example, the GRANDCo Chair, L. Desmarais (the middle initial of either Paul Jr. or André?) is one of two sons of Paul Desmarais, Sr. – the richest French Canadian in the world today and Chair of Power Corporation. [Actually, the “L.” refers to Louis R. Desmarais (b. Feb. 16, 1923 in Sudbury, Ont.), elder brother of Jean Noël Desmarais (b. Apr. 11, 1924 in Sudbury; d. Jul. 25, 1995) and Paul Desmarais, Sr. (b. Jan. 4, 1927 in Sudbury).] In 1981, son Andre Desmarais, the CEO of Power Corporation (which also owns Consolidated Bathurst, the multinational paper company) married Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s daughter France, in a wedding that matched Power with power. The Desmarais Group controls 69 corporations in Canada including Power Corporation of Canada; Power’s former executive and vice president was John Rae (he was also Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s campaign manager / Liberal fundraiser and is now working for The Desmarais Group). Rae is the brother of former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae.

Famille Desmarais: Paul Jr. (fils: 1954- ), Paul Sr. (père: 1927- ), André (fils: 1956- )

Other Power executives include Senator Michael Pitfield, former Trudeau confidant; and William Simon, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin Jr. formerly worked for Maurice Strong at Power Corporation; and he is still associated with the corporation. Paul Martin, Jr. also has 4.5 per cent interest in a Denver company, Baca Petroleum Corporation, controlled by Maurice Strong. Baca Petroleum Corporation, which is a subsidiary of Baca Resources Ltd., is now managed by one of Strong’s sons. Power Corporation has a $152 million treasury, built mostly from selling utilities to the B.C. government. The Desmarais family controls $15.8 billion of shares in media, oil, financial and forestry empires. Power Financial Group, a holding company, controls Montreal Trustco Inc., Crédit Foncier, Investors Group, as well as the Great-West Life Assurance Co. and Consolidated Bathurst Inc. – which includes the laser pioneer company Lumonics, oil and gas producer Sulpetro Ltd., and aluminum and bottling corporation C.B. Pack. The Desmarais Group also owns (via Power Corporation of Canada subsidiary Groupe Gesca) the newspaper publisher Les Journaux Trans-Canada – whose publications include French-language Montreal daily newspaper La Presse – and has an ongoing partnership with CBC Newsworld International.

Other GRANDCo directors include: Tom W. Kierans, its president and chief executive officer, and GRAND Canal’s planning engineer. Kierans is also the cousin of Canadian “nationalist” Liberal Eric Kierans, the former Quebec cabinet minister in the Lesage government.

Tom Kierans is also an independent director of Southam Inc., which owns 20 daily newspapers across Canada. Kierans is currently under attack to resign from Southam Inc.’s board of directors by media mogul Conrad Black, owner of Hollinger Inc., which recently bought out Power Corp.’s shares of Southam Inc. – making Black, Canada’s dominant publisher, with 58 of Canada’s 104 daily papers. Black also controls all mainstream newspapers that reach the people of Saskatchewan, where the GRAND Canal is to be diverted south.

Next on the board of directors is Mr. Denis J. Côté, now retired from the UMA Group, Vancouver. Then comes Mr. Camille A. Dagenais of the SNC Group, Montreal (now SNC-Lavalin, the biggest engineering firm in Quebec today). SNC was used by the federal government as a front for a semi-private intelligence and influence network, ostensibly created to curtail Quebec’s separatist support. In French Africa during the 1960s, SNC’s president Raymond Garneau is a former Minister of Finance in Quebec. The firm today is merged with Lavalin, who are Brian Mulroney’s wealthy buddies in the engineering field. Next, Mr. R.H. Paul, Bechtel Canada Ltd., Vancouver.

(All the U.S. administration big shots get trained here at the largest privately-held engineering firm in the world; and their alumni include U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, also former head of World Bank. The military brass and foreign affairs big shots come out of there too.) Also, Dr. George Pon, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Ottawa (AECL’s job will be to supply electricity for pumping water uphill in the canals, and to keep it warm during cold winter months); Mr. J.C. Roger Warren, Rousseau Sauvé Warren Inc. (Groupe RSW), Montreal; Mr. H. Snyder, VP, St. John’s; Mr. D. Harris, Secretary and Comptroller, St. John’s.

Version en français (traduction: Évolution Québec)

Le Grand Canal de Brian Mulroney – L’eau de la Colombie britannique reliée au cartel alimentaire du Nouvel Ordre Mondial

Additional information:

Canada’s Power Corporation – Canada’s Wealthiest Man: Paul Desmarais – Maurice Strong – Nadhmi Auchi – Connecting The Power

The Grand Canal and the National Interest: When Should Rational Thinking Apply to Water Policy?
by Donald J. Gamble

Source: Canspiracy

[Appeared in Northern Perspectives, vol. 15, no. 3, October 1987; published by Canadian Arctic Resources Committee (CARC)]

The chief proponent of the GRAND Canal scheme, Thomas Kierans of St. John’s, Newfoundland, describes his proposal as an “environmental project”, one that “fixes the plumbing system of the continent.” The scheme, estimated to cost between $80 billion and $130 billion, is novel. But it is only the most recent of many schemes Kierans and other engineers have devised to capture the waters of Canada’s northward-flowing rivers for use in the south – rivers that otherwise are said to “waste their way to the sea.”

Kieran’s scheme –

GRAND being an acronym for Great Recycling and Northern Development – envisages a dike across James Bay and the creation of a new freshwater lake through the impoundment of rivers that now empty into the bay. This fresh water would then be pumped back to the Great Lakes basin and beyond. Water which would otherwise be “totally lost” would, therefore, be “recycled” and, Kierans argues, put to better use by addressing four problems simultaneously:

· fluctuations in Great Lakes water levels and water shortages within the basin;
· a shortage of water in the Prairies;
· shortages of water in the U.S. Midwest and Southwest; and
· the need to avoid any future diversions of northward-flowing rivers [as advocated by other major schemes to deliver Canadian waters to the South].

Kierans is adamant that the GRAND Canal system, whatever the criticisms, is the only way that the water problems now facing 160 million Canadians and Americans can be addressed.

It is a project for the 21st century, he says. “The idea is to get wasted water from the wrong places to the right place. Why should the Prairies remain water deficient?” Rejecting the export label others have attached to his idea, and insisting instead that he is creating new fresh water and recycling it, Kierans is convinced that he has the solution. It is a conviction he pursues with zeal and diarming salesmanship.


In his book Power from the North, Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa strongly promotes studies of the GRAND Canal scheme. The venture is backed by powerful engineering companies – the UMA Group, the SNC Group, Bechtel Canada Ltd., and Rousseau Sauvé Warren Inc.. Kierans says that Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering company [and Energy Minister Marcel Masse’s previous employer] is courting GRANDCo. Even Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. [AECL] is contractually involved, with hopes of supplying CANDU reactors to power the pumps that will have to move water south from the James Bay watershed in amounts equivalent to 30 per cent of the discharge of the Great Lakes.

In addition, the GRAND Canal scheme has been described by Canada’s free trade negotiator, Simon Reisman, as the most important bargaining leverage Canada could exercise. In a 1985 article on Canada-United States trade in The Canadian Business Review, Reisman stated: “This project could provide the leverage to a free-trade agreement with the United States containing terms and conditions that would meet many Canadian concerns about transition and stability.”

Louis Laberge (Quebec Federation of Labour), Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa,

Paul Desmarais Sr. (Power Corporation of Canada)

Thomas Kierans and Robert Bourassa


Kierans has been advocating the project since the early 1960s. Within the last several years it has taken a more substantive corporative form. GRANDCo is a privately-held St. John’s [Newfoundland] company incorporated on 15 October 1984. Its nine directors are drawn from engineering companies, AECL, academia, and elsewhere in the private sector. The chairman of the board, Louis Desmarais, was a Liberal member of parliament from 1979 to 1984 and is now president of J.D.E. Consulting Services Ltd. and chairman of Canadian Home Assurance Co..

With past involvement at the most senior levels of Power Corporation and Canada Steamship Lines, Desmarais is GRANDCo’s high-powered political and business “door opener”.

Trained as a mining engineer and a veteran of the Churchill Falls project, Kierans is the major GRANDCo shareholder. He and an assistant are the part-time staff. Investors are the various engineering companies, which obtain shares through work in kind and cash. A seperate entity, the GRANDCo Joint Ventures for Engineering, is headed, again on an as-needed basis, by Gilles Mariner, who recently returned to the SNC Group from the James Bay Energy Corporation. The joint venture is made up of the engineering companies on the GRANDCo board and has the exclusive contract for technical studies associated with the scheme.

Money is a problem for GRANDCo. Kierans says the company has spent the equivalent of $750,000 in cash and services in kind since its establishment.

Seven studies have been completed, covering subjects from a corporate development strategy to James Bay dike locations and routing of water to the Midwest and Prairies. These studies are not public. A 1985 request for $763,000 from the federal Department of Supply and Services [DSS] and the National Research Council [NRC] created sufficient controversy in Ottawa to cause it to end up in the Prime Minister’s Office. The request was turned down, but Kierans eventually managed to obtain $30,000 from the public purse through the NRC branch in Newfoundland. Two public servants involved in responding to Kierans’ requests at the time were Art Bailey, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister at DDS, and Keith Glegg, Vice-President of Technology Transfer at NRC. Glegg says his and NRC’s interest has always been to investigate matters so that there can be a better understanding of issues raised by the scheme. Bailey retired from DSS in 1984, and for one year acted as the head of public relations in Ottawa for GRANDCo.

Although no longer associated with the company, he is listed by the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs as one of its founding directors.

Kierans says another $1.5 million to $2 million is needed for engineering and promotion before major investors can be approached for the $10 million needed for detailed studies. The major investors, he says, are resisting because of the “intransigent opposition from Environment Canada.” It is not quite that simple.


 Semantics, it seems, are everything. Although Kierans bristles at the characterization of his project as a water-export scheme [rather than a “recycling” scheme], the GRAND Canal project is predicated on the transfer of huge volumes of water into the United States from the Great Lakes, and that is made possible only by the dedication of waters flowing into Canada’s James Bay. However it is phrased, such a transfer runs contrary to stated federal policy which, as the recent Pearce Inquiry on Federal Water Policy established, is reinforced by solid public opinion.

Whatever Reisman’s personal conviction [and that can be ignored only in the long run at great peril], Canada’s Minister for International Trade, Pat Carney, says that “water exports” are not on the table in free-trade negotiations.

That position has been verified by statements in the House of Commons by Secretary of State for External Affairs Joe Clark. Environment Minister Tom McMillan and his Liberal predecessor have both opposed the GRAND Canal scheme. McMillan maintains that large-scale water “export” would only be considered in the context of a comprehensive federal water policy, which is now being developed. Furthermore, in 1985 the governors of the Great Lakes states and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec signed an agreement to guard against “transfers” or “diversions” to the Midwest or Southwest. These policy positions could change, as Kierans insists they will, when the full impact of water shortages are felt in the decades ahead.

Politics aside, moving, transforming, diverting or exporting water on the scale envisaged by GRANDCo is a Canadian solution to mid-continental water problems that must be subjected to the most thorough and penetrating questioning – now, at the conceptual stage. There is some good work that provides a useful beginning.


In a recent issue of the Canadian Bulletin of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, entitled “Canadian Aquatic Resources”, Richard Bocking has taken a comprehensive, continental view of water supply-and-demand issues. He provides convincing documentation showing that no responsible authority in the United States, apart from engineering firms and others with a project-specific vested interest, has ever claimed that there is a need for Canadian water. To quote Bocking:

”From promotion to planning to construction, large-scale water projects can easily take 20-30 years or more. Even if rationally conceived, in an era of rapid social, economic and technological change, they risk being totally inappropriate long before they approach completion.

With present export proposals such as the NAWAPA or GRAND Canal schemes, we start with no conceivable market, unqualifiable but very great environmental risk, inevatable large-scale social disruption, and the opposition of the vast majority of those Canadians who have expressed views on the subject. The possiblity of a favourable outcome to such an enterprise reaches the vanishing point….

”Focussed research aimed at deepening our understanding of our freshwater resources and careful analysis of the impact of past water developments are among the pressing needs in water research.

Exploration of the wide range of social, economic and technological alternatives to massive water developments is essential. Then, perhaps, when faced with real problems, we will be able to choose wisely, allowing for the ignorance and uncertainty that will always be dominant. If the best alternative involves manipulation of streams and rivers, perhaps with such a basis of understanding we will be capable of doing that with sensitivity and elegance. For the experience of recent decades demonstrates that conventional large-scale structural solutions to water problems, whether domestic or international, comprise a simplistic, expensive and outdated approach to water resource management.”

Article includes a map, entitled The Great Recycling and Northern Development Scheme, showing the recycle steps, existing major diversions, and proposed transfer canals which would make up the massive GRAND Canal project across Canada, the Midwest United States and the Southwestern states.

It was sourced from: M.C. Healey and R.R. Wallace, eds., Canadian Aquatic Resources, Canadian Bulletin of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 215 [Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1987], p.107.

Peter Rogers, Professor of Environmental Engineering at Harvard University, makes much the same point. In a keynote address to a November 1986 workshop on water issues sponsored by the Science Council of Canada, Rogers describes the discussion of export on the Canadian side as “having taken on an xenophobic tinge”. Noting Anthony Scott’s “careful, cool and rational examination of the issues” for the recent Pearce Inquiry on Federal Water Policy [where Scott concludes that the cost of water transfers would be well above what the U.S. market would bear on any conceivable level of subsidization by the U.S. government], Rogers goes on to say: “When viewed from the U.S. point of view, the question of water export [or import] is of considerably diminished importance.


A world view of water issues is helpful. In the Soviet Union, for example, there have been major northward-flowing river diversion proposals motivated by continental water redistribution ideas somewhat similar to the GRAND Canal scheme. But the Soviets’ initial enthusiasm has been tempered. Recent scientific delegations to Canada have indicated that such schemes are now seen as quite undesirable. In a 1984 publication entitled Water: Rethinking Management in an Age of Scarcity, the Worldwatch Institute considers past experiences and future plans, including those in the USSR, Canada and the United States. It concludes:

“In an era of growing competition for limited water sources, heightened environmental awareness, and scarce and costly capital, new water strategies are needed. Continuing to bank on new large water projects, and failing to take steps toward a water-efficient economy, is risky: Vital increases in food production may never materialize, industrial activity may stagnate, and the rationing of drinking-water supplies may become more commonplace.

”Alternatives to large dam and diversion projects exist. Water crises need not occur…. In water-short areas of industrial countries, people and economic activity must begin adapting to water’s limited availability.

Supplies in Soviet Central Asia, for example, simply cannot support a booming population and an expanding economy for long. Oasis cities such as Phoenix and Los Angeles can no longer expect to grow and thrive by draining the water supplies of other regions. Conservation and better management can free a large volume of water – and capital – for competing uses. Thus far, we’ve seen only hints of their potential.

”Canada can learn from the international context of water management. Rogers described it this way: “The resource endowment that sets Canada apart from all other countries is something to be thankful for – but it also brings with it large responsibilities. How much of this endowment should Canada save for future generations [of Canadians and populations of other countries] and how much of it should be pledged for economic gain in the short run? ….

“In the area of water resources we should remember that ‘we get exactly what we pay for’. In both Canada and the U.S., the prices charged for water are so low as to be not believable. We deliver a valuable commodity to very wealthy consumers who would be willing to pay substantial amounts more for it, yet receive the commodity practically for free. In no other sector of our economies do we encourage such profligate behaviour. The time has come for a concerted effort to challenge the ‘water-is-different’ syndrome and raise the cost of water for all water users.

I believe that the most important lesson to be learned is that people who use and abuse valuable commodities should pay full price for what they use, and the full price of dis-abusing what they abuse.

”Combining an aggressive pricing policy with tough environmental laws will enable Canada to get control of its water resources in a way that will be efficient from the point of view of the market and the environment. Everybody will be better off.”


Is a $100-billion-plus scheme like Kieran’s GRAND Canal really in the national interest? Certainly it is unique. It is based on capturing freshwater at Arctic tidewater and moving it back through canals, rivers, lakes and diversions to benefit areas throughout North America that are “water deficient”. But the cost is immense. There are obvious, powerful, vested interests involved. But who would end up paying, and how?

The technical appeal of GRANDCo’s scheme is one thing. The political, scientific, social, and environmental implications of large-scale manipulations to address water shortages in the Midwest and fluctuating levels in the Great Lakes are another matter. The economic aspects are something else again.

Kierans points to the general economic boost provided by major water schemes elsewhere. The projects he cites are all predicated on a huge capital and operating cost subsidy, and were undertaken when that subsidy was the norm. That past norm is implicit in the GRAND Canal proposal. It is a controversial assumption upon which the financial viability of Kierans’s venture is balanced. It is not, as Kierans often implies, quite as simple as a market need being addressed by private enterprise. The GRAND Canal scheme cannot be undertaken on a “user pay” basis.


Applying the ledger-keeping rigors of the accountant too early in a visionary enterprise can be quite inappropriate, even though apparently rigorous. Nevertheless, when looking at mega-projects like the GRAND Canal, it is helpful to distinguish between economic impact and economic benefit. The former is the financial stipulation resulting from the project, as measured by economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product; it assumes that if the project did not go ahead, nothing else would take its place. The economic benefit is the net gain or return realized by the investment in the project.

When addressing the advantages of the GRAND Canal, Kierans talks about the Central Valley Project in California and a 1985 study of the impacts of irrigation projects in Alberta.

Both point out that only a small proportion of total benefits accrue to the end-user. Although this is true, the two assessments Kierans cites can be fundamentally misleading. They confuse economic impacts with economic benefits.

Building on the cost-benefit approach advocated by Scott’s background paper to the Pearce inquiry, Dr Andrew Muller, of McMaster University’s Department of Economics, has provided the only systematic assessment to date of Kierans’s water development proposal. In a 1986 paper, “Some Economics of the GRAND Canal”, Muller concludes that, even setting aside the opportunity costs of exported water and the social and environmental costs incurred during construction and operation, “the quantified costs exceed the benefits by a factor of 6 or 8.” Admitting that his estimates are crude, Miller goes on to say:

”These estimates were developed in order to gauge the economic feasibility of the GRAND Canal project and to identify the areas in which further information is most urgently needed. The estimates suggest that the GRAND Canal project is not economically viable. Net benefits are consistently negative….

”This conclusion arises from the limited benefits which flow from the project. Estimated benefits were small for four reasons. First, both the estimated willingness to pay for exported water and the potential volume of exported water were low. Secondly, the losses from flooding and low water on the Great Lakes were estimated to be two orders of magnitude smaller than the estimated costs of GRAND Canal water. Thirdly, care was taken not to confound the economic impact of the project with economic benefits. Finally, only a limited credit was allowed to the project for employment creation.


If further study of this project is undertaken, the most pressing need is to identify a realistic market for the large volumes of water contemplated. Without such a market, additional discussion seems pointless. If, at prices in the order of $100 to $200 per thousand cubic metres, a market for 67 billion cubic metres of water per year can be found, then high priority should placed on refined estimates of the engineering costs of the project. To be taken seriously, the proponents must demonstrate that it might be possible to deliver a specified flow of water to the Great Lakes for combined capital and operating cost in the area of 100 $S/M1 [Canadian dollars per 1000 cubic metres]. This is one-third the cost estimated [of Kierans’s current proposal to direct less than 25% of the total runoff to James Bay].

“Much has been made of the social and environmental costs of a GRAND Canal project. Without much more solid evidence of the financial viability of the scheme, it seems premature to attempt to evaluate these costs with reference to this specific project.”

Environmental assessment of the GRAND Canal may be premature. Kierans quite rightly stresses the environmental benefits of bringing water to water-deficient areas. He warns of the serious environmental and social implications of not doing so. And he seeks to downplay criticisms by citing the project endorsement received in the early 1960s from Dr. Ken Hare, a prominent environmentalist at the University of Toronto. Hare, now with the Ontario Nuclear Safety Review Commission, says Kierans overstates his “endorsement”. Hare says he is certainly not an advocate of the project; rather, he was intrigued by the option it provides to direct more water into the Great Lakes for level and outflow stabilization. Beyond that, Hare questions the northern social and environmental impacts as well as the feasibility and inter-basin implications of water transfers to the west and south. This kind of concern is best exemplified by the Garrison River Diversion and Canada’s hard-line opposition, which is based on the impact of biotic transfer.

The prospect of this in a continental water grid is daunting. What, for example, would be the effect of having the sea lamprey distributed throughout the waters of western Canada and the United States?


 The best “first cut” at the potential ecological effects of the GRAND Canal on James Bay and Hudson Bay has been done by Robert Milko of the Library of Parliament Research Branch in Ottawa. Milco’s paper raises serious questions about possible long-term ecological, oceanographic, and climatic effects. Milko’s work, based on a comprehensive literature survey, suggests that changes to the salt-freshwater boundary, known as the pycnocline, may affect short- and long-term productivity at all levels of the food chain within Hudson Bay and down the Labrador Coast. Fish, seals, polar bears, whales and millions of migratory birds will be affected, with profound national and international implications. But assessment of the project’s impact is speculative, largely because of the lack of scientific knowledge about the region on the part of non-native specialists and the meagre data base currently available. Milko concludes:


This analysis of the potential ecological effects of the GRAND Canal project indicates that a great deal more research is warranted before such a large-scale diversion is seriously considered. The implications for some of the ecological parameters addressed suggest that large-scale, possibly irreversible detrimental changes to the northern ecosystem would occur. Downstream effects, which receiving areas of the diversion may encounter, have not been addressed but also need to be studied.

”Specifically, more oceanographic research in Hudson Bay, particularly documenting pycnocline development and its role as a regulator of sea surface temperature, ice pack and primary productivity, is needed. The relationship involving circulation and exchange between Hudson Bay, Foxe Basin, Hudson Strait and the Labrador Sea with regard to freshwater contributions and nutrient exchanges must be established.

As well, more complete biological inventories and an understanding of their ecological relationships are needed in all potentially affected bodies of water.

”These are all complex questions for which long-term monitoring will be necessary in order to establish relationships of ecological parameters through the total range of variability that could be experienced naturally. In particular, data at the limits of the range of variability will be helpful in modelling responses to conditions as extreme as envisioned in the GRAND Canal scheme.”


No assessment has been made of the effect of the GRAND Canal scheme on the Cree and Inuit of James Bay and Hudson’s Bay region.

Kierans talks of jobs and of developing this economically-depressed area – a mega-project solution that has been suggested and tried before in northern Quebec, the Mackenzie Valley, and elsewhere in the North. It should have a familiar ring to aboriginal peoples. Nevertheless, it is a very particular utilitarian mentality that considers the freshwater components of James Bay and Hudsons Bay as “totally wasted”. And it is disturbing to see the North again viewed as an empty space, the natural resources of which can be “better” used only to satisfy the appetites of the South. No doubt these shortcomings will be addressed in due course. Kierans simply says: “first things first”. To GRANDCo, that means engineering and promotion, for now.

But in the process, it would be only prudent to acknowledge the existing aboriginal rights to the northward-flowing rivers of the region. Recent studies at the Institute for Resources Law in Calgary suggest that these constitutionally-enshrined rights could create quite a surprise for enthusiasts like Kierans, Bourassa, and others.

The GRAND Canal is definitely a grandiose scheme. Where Kierans is on solid ground is in his emphasis on present and future problems in the Great Lakes. He is also quite correct in identifying future water problems in some areas of North America. But linking that to James Bay on one hand and to a continental water grid on the other takes some daring, to say the least. Some see that as a kind of visionary genius that goes beyond limited piecemeal approaches. To them, Kierans’s determination and dismissal of contradictory views is necessary for the attainment of a goal beyond all the immediate complexities.

Many others see that as a throwback to the tunnel vision that creates problems while purporting to solve them. To them, it is a structural, supply-fix approach of questionable feasibility that ignores the true nature of the problem as well as the consequences so evident from the past.

Long-term trends, including climatic change, suggest the need for some kind of new supply to the Great Lakes if levels are to be maintained. It was a point acknowledged, however meekly, in the Pearse Report. That supply focus may seem curious in a year when high levels are a problem – which is why, of course, Kierans’s idea of “stabilization” has appeal – but stabilization requires massive inflows [about 50,000 cubic feet per second, according to Kierans] in some years and dedicated massive “exports” whatever the natural cycle of the lakes.

When the price tag is $100 billion or more, government subsidies and financial guarantees will be needed on a scale never before seen in North America.

[TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: those readers who are familiar with the Implementation Steps Chart which Shelley Ann Clark (who was involved at the highest level in the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement negotiations) reproduced from memory, detailing the steps involved in the commitment to GRAND Canal’s construction and, ultimately, Continental Union, will recollect that it predicted the admission of American Express into Canada as a bank, in order to handle the financing of the immense GRAND Canal project. That has since occurred.]

It is all too easy to address a need by conjuring up simplistic, technological fixes to complex social, political, economic and environmental problems. The grander the scheme, the more vast and general its scope, the easier it seems to be to generate enthusiasm. And it is also too easy, with quite another kind of enthusiasm, to over-simplify issues – to focus too narrowly and criticize big schemes and dreams from which solutions can sometimes be developed. Zeal in proving a point replaces the commitment to really investigate. The consequences are unhealthy.

In his January 1987 Saturday Night article on water, entitled “The Unknown Element”, Peter Newman mentions the GRAND Canal scheme, and quotes Tom Kierans warning that Canada should negotiate water export while it still has the option. “Of course, the United States will not simply come and grab our water”, Kierans explains. “They’ll find another rationale – like saving us from the Russians.” In sounding the alarm, Kierans is not alone. Newman ends his article with a quote from Roy Faibish, executive assistant to the minister of agriculture in the 1950s and now a television executive in England: “The strategic planners sitting in Peking, Moscow, Washington, Paris and London are looking at Canada…. Either we start exporting our water or else!”

This is a powerful emotional appeal based on fear. It is the kind of appeal that bypasses proper evaluation and assessment, and stampedes the decision-making process. Although it is not uncommon, it is the worst kind of nonsense coming from otherwise intelligent people.

Faibish could, perhaps, be excused. But it is strange coming from Kierans, who takes such exception to the “export label” being applied to his project. It is stranger still when GRANDCo purports to provide such a rational approach while discounting as emotional or biased the seriously considered critiques of others.


 Water is not just another resource.

It is the basis for all life. There is no substitute. It has a special place in the human psyche. Society, particularly Canadian society, quite rightly places water in a category quite different from anything else. Water is an all-encompassing symbol of value and life that transcends comprehension as market worth and even intrinsic worth. When threatened, that value naturally prompts great emotion.

To deride this trait in Canadians only cheapens the values that are a vital part of our identity. If this stretches conventional reason for some, then perhaps the strong public reaction to ideas like the GRAND Canal is more understandable in the context of opinion polls that consistently place environmental issues, and water issues in particular, at the top of the list.

This public concern is shared internationally, as the recent report of the World Commission on Environment and Development points out so well.

The dedication of waters from Canada to the United States on the scale envisaged by the GRAND Canal does raise serious continental questions. For example, such a scheme, if it were feasible, would create a permanent and direct American interest in one of our most basic resources.

The waters of the Great Lakes are already shared, but that arrangement would be extended north and south. If the scheme actually does what its proponents claim, it would create a lifeline from the U.S. Midwest and Sothwest up through the Great Lakes into Canada’s North. Americans would be dependent on that supply of water – water they will increasingly see as their own, their right, and vital to their continued well-being. But there are real possibilities for tension and serious misunderstandings that cannot be overlooked. The implications of establishing the GRAND Canal scheme with its origins in Canada and criss-crossing the nation’s heartland are at the core of the decision-making process. These decisions cannot be made lightly. They are not in the purview of engineers.

Problems, where they do exist, can always be addressed in more than one way. The choices must not be artificially defined nor should they be restricted by short-term, vested interests. And fear whipped up to suit a cause should be understood to be the emotional blackmail that it is.

Water shortages exist now, and they may get worse in some regions; but it is important to remember that these shortages are defined by human use and abuse of water resources. Resource specialists and users worldwide see augmented supply as only one aspect of the solution to shortages.

Using very expensive and massive water transfers is increasingly suspect. More often the real issue is seen to be in the laws, regulations, economies, and management techniques that drive our manipulation of water. Within that, demand management through efficiency of use, conservation, and realistic pricing offer immediate means to address shortages. If history can teach us anything, it will show that few water shortages are solved in the long run by throwing more water at the problem. More elegant solutions are worth pursuing as the avenue of first recourse.

Perhaps, in the end, the GRAND Canal scheme, or some variation of it, may be necessary, even desirable.

If so, we must accept that it is fraught with issues that can be ignored only at our peril. Today, the scheme is more symbolic of the potentially fatal water mismanagement we are quietly perpetuating than it is of any solution that will provide a sustainable future. In all the talk and promotion, hopefully, we will be wise enough to see that sustainable future as the real issue to be addressed. If nothing else, Kierans could be just one more “agent provocateur” that compels us to do so.

Don Gamble is Executive Director of the Rawson Academy of Aquatic Science and a member of CARC.


· GRAND Canal [Kierans] – James Bay diked, water diverted to Great Lakes and United States. 347 km3 annually. Construction cost: $100 billion [all in 1985 dollars].
· Great Lakes-Pacific Waterways plan [Decker] – Skeena, Nechako and Fraser Rivers of B.C., Peace, Athabasca, Saskatchewan Rivers of Prairie Provinces. 142 km3 annually. No cost estimates available.
· North American Water And Power Alliance [NAPAWA] {Parsons} – primarily the Pacific and Arctic drainage of Alaska, Yukon and B.C.; also tributaries of James Bay. 310 km3 annually. $100 billion cost.
· Magnum Plan [Magnusson] – Peace, Athabasca and N. Saskatchewan Rivers in Alberta. 31 km3 annually at border. No cost estimate available.
· Kuiper Plan [Kuiper] – Peace, Athabasca, and N. Saskatchewan in Alberta; Nelson and Churchill in Manitoba. 185 km3 annually. $50 billion cost.
· Central North American Water Project [CeNAWP] {Tinney} – Mackenzie, Peace. Athabasca, N. Saskatchewan, Nelson and Churchill Rivers. 185 km3 annually. $30-$50 billion cost.
· Western States Water Augmentation Concept [Smith] – primarily Liard and Mackenzie River drainages. 49 km3 annually at border. $90 billion cost.

NAPAWA-MUSCHEC or Mexican-United States Hydroelectric Commission [Parsons] – NAPAWA sources above, plus lower Mississippi and Sierra Madre Oriental Rivers of Southern Mexico. 195 + 159 [NAPAWA + MUSCHEC] km3 annually. No cost estimate available.
· North American Waters, A Master Plan [NAWAMP] {Tweed} – Yukon and Mackenzie Rivers, plus drainage to Hudson Bay. 1850 km3 annually. No cost estimates available.
SOURCE: P.H. Pearce, F. Bertrand and J.W. MacLaren, “Currents of Change”, FINAL REPORT OF THE INQUIRY ON FEDERAL WATER POLICY [Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1985], p. 127.