Madam Speaker, Lavoisier, the great 16th century scholar, brought us the principle of the conservation of matter. There is a set amount of water on the planet and this amount does not change.
Earlier, my colleague, the member for Chicoutimi, reminded me of the floods in the Saguenay region and in Manitoba. The fact that it rained heavily in these two places does not mean that there is more water on the planet. If more rain falls in Chicoutimi one year, less will fall in Washington, Tel Aviv or Paris the following year.
The planet's resources in water—or ice, of course—x number of years ago are the same resources it will have x number of years from now. This is known as the water cycle, and we have Lavoisier to thank for our understanding of it.
I have a question for the member for Scarborough East and I will use Newfoundland as an example, rather than Quebec. I am sure the member has seen Churchill Falls. The number of cubic metres of water that go over it per second is mind-boggling. Newfoundland could fill a huge ship with containers of water and sell it somewhere like New York. It is said that, in that city, a litre of water costs more than a litre of gas. Newfoundland could make a lot of money that way. It would be more lucrative to sell water than oil.
If we are to believe what we are hearing, Newfoundland will not have this opportunity. If not just a truckload, but a whole boatload of water is removed from the Churchill River as it flows to the Atlantic Ocean, nothing is lost and the water will eventually return to the Atlantic Ocean via New York, because of the principle of the conservation of matter.
Obviously, I too will object to major changes in the courses of rivers or to draining lakes dry, but when we look at examples as simple as these, I do not see why the sale of water in containers would be prohibited when, in fact, it does not deplete the ecosystem in any way.