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July 30th, 2019

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Right to Clean Water – Why No Support from Canada?

On July 28, 2010 the nations of the world made an historic commitment recognizing that every human on earth has a right to clean water and sanitation. It is embarassing that Canada was not one of the 122 countries that voted in favour of the United Nations resolution. Bolivia’s ambassador proposed the new convention that will hopefully weaken market-driven corporate control of water and empower local communities around the world to hold sway over their own water quality, use and supply.

Water shortage has become desperate.

Competition for water is heating up. Global demand is predicted to exceed supply by more than 40% by 2030. Meanwhile another child dies every 8 seconds due to lack of access to decent water. Three billion people around the globe have no running water within a kilometre of their homes.

Canada’s subterfuge: what’s the real agenda?

The right to water is fundamental. Why does Canada continue to be a leading opponent? Tellingly, the U.S., Britain and Australia were among the other obstructionist nations. Canadian officials are disguising their real agenda behind false ‘concerns’ that this new U.N. convention might force Canada to share its water with the US. (These same officials support NAFTA and the proposed CETA which are the real threat to Canada’s water, potentially giving American and European corporations control of our water.)

The new UN resolution does not oblige Canada to provide water to any other country, only to its own citizens! This means cleaning up its act in First Nations communities where water quality is substandard and sometimes lethal.

Privatization versus publicly-controlled water

Privatization of water resources has proven disastrous, as evidenced in Argentina, Bolivia, the Philippines and the U.S. The allocation of a resource as fundamental as water is misplaced in the hands of market-driven decision-makers.

Although many publicly-owned utilities are also failing to provide safe water, the governance of water remains the responsibility of the local public.  The fast growing pressures of water shortages must force the potentially painful maturation of this responsibility.

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