Canadians say "no" to water privatization

Is water the next commodity battle?

We know the U.S., particularly the arid southwest is keen for Canadianwater.

The good news is 75% of British Columbians are opposedto privatization of water services, according to a recent survey commissionedby the Canadian Union of Public Service Employees (CUPE).

These numbers are no surprise-British Columbians havegood reason to be wary of privatizing our resources.  Just look at what has happened toTerasen.  They are in the final stages ofa transition from publicly owned BC Gas to part of a privately ownedcorporation with headquarters in Houston, Texas. 

As the world’s oil and gas becomes scarcer at the sametime as demand grows, we are giving control of our energy future away toforeign governments, instead of keeping it in public hands to be managed forthe good of all British Columbians. Someone is benefiting from this, and guess what?  It’s not us.

If geopolitical battles are being fought over oil andgas now-water is the next big issue.

Life on Earth began in water, and has always depended for its veryexistence on water.  With water, life canflourish;  …without water, we die.”John Robbins

Butfar from viewing water as an essential for life, the corporations see water as a great commercial opportunity. Searching forsomething lucrative to replace oil, they are looking to water to boost theirprofits in the 21st century.

The two biggest giant globalcorporations in this sector-Vivendi Universal and Suez-deliver private waterand wastewater services to more than 200 million customers in 150 countries andare in a race, along with others such as Bouygues Saur, RWE-Thames Water andBechtel-United Utilities, to expand to every corner of the globe.

As we follow the same patternas oil-growing demand and depleted sources-the issue of who controls thequality of our water and our access to it assumes even more significance.

Canada is home to 20% of the world’s fresh water.  Global corporations are licking their lips atthe prospect of all that lovely cash.  Sofar, to their chagrin, Canadians have largely said no.  Let’s keep in that way.

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