On Saturday, the Canadian Federation of University Women Nelson and district club enjoyed an informative and compelling presentation by Eileen Delehanty Pearkes about the Columbia River Treaty.
Pearkes is an accomplished author who is currently completing a book on the upper Columbia River in Canada titled A River Captured: Betrayal and the Politics of Power in the Columbia Basin. As a result of her research, she offers wide-ranging knowledge of the social and cultural aspects of the Columbia River Treaty.
Her presentation offered club members a perspective which invites everyone to take notice and become involved.
The treaty that was signed in 1961 and ratified in 1964 to allow construction of the Libby Dam. Although Canada was provided with a one-time payment of $69 million for flood control, the treaty neglected to consider local ramifications.
The treaty has no end date, but can be terminated after 2024. Preliminary discussions on a renegotiated treaty have already begun.
Club members hope for the involvement of Columbia Basin residents and particularly women, who were largely excluded from the process of developing the existing treaty. They believe a new treaty must focus on addressing hydrologic changes caused by global warming and achieving much-needed river restoration.