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Canadian bulk water exports: Analyzing the sun belt conflict using the graph model for conflict resolution


A conflict over the proposed bulk export of water from Canada is systematically studied using the graph model for conflict resolution in order to illustrate how strategic conflicts of this type can be better understood and managed. The ongoing conflict involving a US company, Sun Belt Water Inc., and the Canadian federal and provincial governments is modeled and analyzed using the graph model methodology. This dispute reflects the kinds of controversies that can arise when international trade laws, which stress competition and profits, are in conflict with environmental and social laws. The Sun Belt conflict is especially interesting because of its evolution over several stages; at each stage of the conflict, the objectives of the disputants, and their strategic implications, can be realistically modeled and thereby investigated using the graph model.

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Amer Obeidi received his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Jordan in 1990 and M.A.Sc. in Management Sciences in 2002 from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is currently pursuing a PhD degree in the Department of Systems Design Engineering, at the University of Waterloo. His currents research interests include confrontation analysis, conflict analysis, negotiation, cognitive and emotional processes effect on decision making, and choice theory.

Dr. Hipel’s major research interests are the development and application of conflict resolution and time series analysis techniques from a systems design engineering perspective. The main application areas of these decision technologies are water resources management, hydrology, environmental engineering and sustainable development. Dr. Hipel is the author/co-author of four books, nine edited books, many journal papers and is an associate editor of six international journals. Moreover, he is a professional Engineer and has carried out consulting activities with engineering firms, government agencies, and utilities in many countries.

Director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, and Adjunct Professor of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Kilgour’s research interests lie at the intersection of mathematics, social science, and engineering. He has applied game theory and related formal techniques to analyze decision problems in international security and arms control, environmental management, negotiation and arbitration, voting, fair division, and coalition formation, and has pioneered the development of systems for decision support in strategic conflict. His most recent books are Perfect Deterrence (Cambridge) and Designing Institutions for Environmental and Resource Management (Edward Elgar).

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Obeidi, A., Hipel, K.W. & Marc Kilgour, D. Canadian bulk water exports: Analyzing the sun belt conflict using the graph model for conflict resolution. Know Techn Pol 14, 145–163 (2002).

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  • Decision Maker
  • Federal Government
  • Graph Model
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Solution Concept