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Analysis of Canadian water politics by the Council of Canadians' national water campaigner.
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Nestlé has made a conditional offer to purchase the Middlebrook Well in Elora, Ontario, formally owned by the Middlebrook Water Company. Nestlé wants to test the water first -- for up to 60 days over a two-year period -- for quantity and quality and has applied for a Permit to Take Water with the Ontario government.
Five years ago, the United Nations formally recognized the human right to water and sanitation by passing resolution 64/292. Social movements who campaigned for it saw the human right to water and sanitation as a tool in the fight against a global water crisis produced by abuse of the water commons, inequality and social exclusion.
"We are determined to protect this land for future generations, and in the process do our bit to shut down the toxic fossil fuel infrastructure that threatens all forms of living life on this planet." - Unist'ot'en camp
I recently returned from the sixth annual Unist'ot'en Camp where a diversity of people came together to participate in and conduct workshops, continue the construction of the Healing Centre, and discuss how we could lend solidarity to the Unist'ot'en people fighting numerous oil and gas pipelines on their territory.
In B.C., public and media attention has been focused on water pricing and Nestlé's water takings. In February, the B.C. government released water rates which ranged from $0.02 to $2.25. The rates, which take effect January 1, 2016 when the new Water Sustainability Act comes into force, are the lowest across any of the provinces in Canada.
Over 400 kilometres into his run to Ottawa, Caribou Legs spent the last few days in Chase, B.C. In a video posted on his Facebook page, Caribou Legs crosses the bridge where the Shuswap Lake forms into the South Thompson River and comments on the "beautiful water, a lot of recreation" and how the "town thrives around this water." In a Facebook posting, he talks about an elders dinner and Rattle making class at Adams Lake Resource centre he attended last week. He said, "Awesome groups! I heard a story about the "water people" of the Shuswap nation in the old days.
Ultra-marathoner Caribou Legs is now in Revelstoke, B.C. On his Facebook page, Caribou Legs posted a video of a train shipment of coal that he saw just after Sicamous -- 72 kilometres from Revelstoke -- on the bridge overpass. The Council of Canadians has highlighted that British Columbia has roughly 10 active coal mines and many more in development.
CBC has reported, "The Coal Association of Canada says 90 per cent of Canada's coal deposits are located in western provinces, and about 80 per cent of Canada's coal exports are shipped through B.C."