A Letter to Prime Minister of Canada: Canadian Water Is An Essential Public Trust – Protect It Now

Title: A Letter to Prime Minister of Canada: Canadian Water Is An Essential Public Trust – Protect It Now
Resource Type: Letter
# of Pages: 1
Date authored: February 9, 1999
Author/s: Maude Barlow, Judy Darcy, Sarah Miller, and Steve Shrybman
Author Organization: Council of Canadians, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Environmental Law Association, West Coast Environmental Law

The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien
Prime Minister of CanadaRoom
309-SHouse of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
VIA FAX: 613-941-6900

Canadian Water Is An Essential Public Trust – Protect It Now

We have gathered in Ottawa today with groups from across Canada to express our collective alarm at the failure of governments to protect our most essential public trust – our water. Nothing is more essential to public health, security and well being than water. Yet, in recent months our governments have remained silent while there has been a proliferation of schemes for bulk export of water for private profit. Time is fast running out on the most serious of those challenges by Sunbelt Inc., a US company seeking millions of dollars in compensation from Canadian taxpayers for lost business opportunity to profit from the sale of BC water. With only 30 days remaining before the Sunbelt challenge moves to a secret NAFTA tribunal, we ask that you inform Canadians of your intentions in this case. We also ask that you act swiftly to protect Canada’s water as a publicly held resource. Recent media reports have hinted that new policies will be introduced by Parliament regarding water exports. The vague policies from the mid-1980s “discouraging” water export have led us to the watershed we now face, fending off opportunistic raids on Canada’s waters. Only laws will give us permanent protection and stability. Groups like the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Worldwatch Institute predict world water shortages early in the next century. As stewards of over 25 percent of the world’s fresh water resources Canada must be a leader in sustainable planetary solutions. This nation will be doubly challenged by having to balance the depletion of its water resources from climate change. We call upon you today to act in the public interest first by legislating a ban on bulk water exports. International trade agreements must be secondary concerns and must be reopened if they continue to erode our most basic rights to clean accessible water.

Yours truly,
Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians
Judy Darcy, Canadian Union of Public Employees
Sarah Miller, Canadian Environmental Law Association
Steve Shrybman, West Coast Environmental Law