CBC’s “The Current”
June 18, 2003
Damming Evidence: Canada and the World Commission on Dams
It's the most expensive construction project in the history of the human race, and one of the largest.
The Three Gorges dam project in China won't be finished until 2009, but this month it passed a symbolic landmark. Engineers closed the dam's sluice gates and for the first time the mighty Yangtze was blocked. The enormous reservoir behind the dam is now starting to fill with water.
In the past two weeks, the waters rose more than 400 feet.. submerging dozens of villages, towns, temples, and tombs. By the time the dam is complete, about 1.2 million people will have to be relocated.
The Three Gorges Dam remains a controversial subject. Proponents of the dam say it will help prevent floods and bring power to an area that suffers chronic shortages. Opponents say the environmental and social costs outweigh any benefits.
One thing is for sure… Canadian companies are profiting from projects like this, and they are doing so with Ottawa's help. Arthur Fitzgerald is a former consultant for the World Bank and now works as the Chief Environmental Advisor for Export Development Canada … or the EDC, as it is known. The Crown corporation helps finance Canadian corporate involvement in foreign projects such as the Three Gorges Dam. Mr. Fitzegerald was in Ottawa.
Karen Campbell is a lawyer with the West Coast Environmental Law Association and a member of a coalition of environmental organisations that tracks the work of the EDC. They just released a report entitled "Damming Evidence: Canada and the World Commission on Dams".
Hear the Live Audio of Part 3 of the Current on Canada and Dams.