rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Blue Summit demands government action on water

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

The Blue Summit, a water conference that took place November 27-29, concluded with a declaration demanding a national water policy that recognizes water as a human right and a public trust. The full declaration can be read here.

Over 300 people from various sectors including environmental organizations, the student movement, labour organizations, healthcare professionals, water workers and social justice groups participated in the summit on water issues organized by the Council of Canadians and CUPE. Workshops and panels dealt with pressing Canadian and international water issues such as the impacts of the Canada-EU trade deal, Alberta's emerging water markets, industrial pollution, the privatization of water services and climate change to name a few.

A rally held on Parliament Hill demanded that water to be a central element in climate talks taking place in Copenhagen in a little over a week. "Climate justice is water justice" read a banner that would be carried to Copenhagen by Council of Canadians Chair Maude Barlow and CUPE Secretary Treasure Claude Généreux. The banner has been signed by hundreds of water activists gathered at the summit and sends the message that any policy formulation that comes out of COP15 must include a plan to address the global water crisis and the lack of access to safe drinking water.

The Summit marked the 10-year anniversary of the Water Watch coalition -- a network of community-based water advocacy committees aimed at protecting public water resources and services. As such, the summit was aimed not only at discussing problems facing Canada's water, but at celebrating accomplishments of the water justice movement. At the launch party, Council chair Maude Barlow and CUPE President Paul Moist listed a series of victories achieved in the last 10 years including battles against privatization, bottled water bans in public spaces and the recent decision not to build the site 41 landfill atop the Alliston aquifer in Simcoe County.

Speakers included Al Hassan Adam, coordinator of the African water network, Irving Leblanc of the Assembly of First Nations, Shannon Biggs from the San Francisco based NGO Global Exchange, Darlene Sanderson of the Indigenous Environmental Network, trade lawyer Steven Shrybman, Ralph Pentland of the Canadian Water Issues Council and many others.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.