Canada a role model

Posted on : 08 Oct 2018  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING: Sarawak will be taking Canada as a model in the management and governance of its hydroelectric dams and water usage because of the latter’s long and proven experience in the field.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Canada – particularly Ontario – has a long history and reputation of hydro power generation, with its first hydroelectric plant built about 100 years ago.

The plant produces more than 70,000MW of power in Canada, which is second only to China.

“The visit (to Ontario) had demonstrated to us how water was treated as a precious commodity to generate economic returns for the country, particularly Ontario.

“I was particularly impressed with how various legislations had been introduced in the province to regulate the many uses of water compared to Sarawak, which has practically none.

“The Ontario water legislation had also provided a clear picture of what came under federal and provincial jurisdiction in Canada in the governance of the extensive system of water bodies in the country, including the Great Lakes,” he said at the end of a study visit to Ontario.

Abang Johari (fourth right) and his delegation listen to a briefing at the Sir Adam Beck Hydro Power Station.

Abang Johari and his delegation, who arrived in Toronto last Monday for a four-day trip, also toured the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo where research on water is conducted.

They capped their visit by visiting the Sir Adam Beck Hydro Power Station near the world-famous Niagara Falls on Wednesday.

While at the station, they were briefed on the station’s water management plan, management of dams and public safety risk, and the relationship between dams and agriculture.

According to Abang Johari, Sarawak needs to learn from Ontario on various aspects of water management such as water policy, water legislation, water research, development of water bodies, as well as environmental enforcement and compliance.

“The things learned during the trip would be useful inputs in Sarawak’s desire to formulate a water policy and water legislation, in order to turn water into a precious economic asset,” he added.

The delegation also toured Toronto Island Park where they were briefed by the park’s supervisor on how the park had been developed and became an important income generator for the Toronto City Council.

Also of significance to Sarawak’s position vis-a-vis the federal government was the level of autonomy of provinces – notably Quebec – from the Canadian central government that would become a useful reference for the state to determine its stance on issues involving state and federal relationship.

Delegation members included Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani, Assistant Minister of Water Supplies Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, and Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi.

Related News: Sarawak to emulate Canada’s water management, governance