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Canada Relations

Canada Relations Committee Recap

By CSG West

Committee members discuss binational relations, water and energy.

Western Association of Canadian Studies utilizes a novel approach to help those interested gain understanding of the Columbia River Treaty.

Consul General Mia Yen of the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle highlighted common areas of priority with the United States, such as security and defense, the Arctic, and the Columbia River Treaty. She also underscored the region’s critical economic drivers, such as the cruise industry and agricultural trade.

Boise State University Professor Dr. Ross Burkhart and David Hill, from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, focused on water. Dr. Burkhart shared the role of the Western Association of Canadian Studies (WACS) in adding perspectives to discussions regarding the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty in which input from tribes, First Nations, and local communities living in the Columbia Basin had been absent from the original agreement.

In 2019 Canada invited three Columbia River Basin Indigenous Nations as observers. The 13th round of Canada-U.S. negotiations to modernize the Treaty took place on August 10 and 11.

David Hill urged us to consider ways to move from conflict to collaboration and cooperation on water issues. He provided, as an example, a study titled “The Future of the South Saskatchewan River Basin: Stakeholder Perspectives,” in which a group made up of nine graduate students interviewed and filmed 42 water users within the basin.

Interviewees included members of the First Nations, farmers, small business owners, land developers, persons affiliated with conversation groups, environmentalists, staff from cities, provincial government, and water districts, as well as scientists from the University of Lethbridge, the University of Calgary, and the University of Alberta.

When reviewing the videos, they discovered that these intentional conversations paired with active listening resulted in agreement upon 95% of values-based issues and only 5% disagreement, which is where negotiation could be focus.


Water Across the Nations: A Field Course On The Columbia River Treaty.


Mia Yen
Consul General of Canada in Seattle,
Consulate General of Canada

Ross Burkhart
Boise State University

David Hill
Research Associate, Agriculture Research,
Transitio at University of Lethbridge

Meeting hydrogen demand requires coordinated public-and-private-sector action.

Andrew Place provided a global perspective on Zero Carbon Fuels but paired it with North American insights. Andrew is the U.S. State Climate and Energy Policy Director at Clean Air Task Force; he shared that the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that global hydrogen demand will increase from 90 Mt/y to 530 Mt/y by 2050.

However, costs, infrastructure development, and markets are some of the biggest challenges. The prices make competition with high-emitting fuels impossible without public policy support.

He assures that developing and deploying a sufficient volume of clean and affordable hydrogen fuels will also require leadership, oversight, and resources from the public sector.

CRC Canada Co-Chair MLA Nathan Neudorf provided a local perspective from the province of Alberta. The Government of Alberta has taken a strategic, coordinated, and collaborative approach to advance cleantech innovation, a Clean Technology Road (CTR) Map guided by the Alberta Research and Innovation Framework (ARIF), and the Climate Change Innovation and Technology Framework (CCITF) informs.

Last year a new blue hydrogen energy complex was announced with a $1.3 billion investment by Air Products, an American-based multinational corporation to be in operation by 2024.

Alberta is allocating $15M to the project, which is also expected to create 2,500 construction and engineering jobs and intends to capture 95% of its carbon emissions.

Due to its ample natural gas supply, Alberta is well suited to develop blue hydrogen production, which utilizes natural gas, carbon capture, and storage technology.



Andrew Place
U.S. State Climate and Energy Policy
Director, Clean Air Task Force

Nathan Neudorf
Legislative Assembly of Alberta