From Victoria to Halifax, CUPE members used World Water Day to celebrate and promote public water and wastewater services.
In Victoria, CUPE and its coalition partners are in the final stretch of a campaign to keep the region’s new sewage treatment system public. There’s strong community support, and many reasons to say no to privatization – including new analysis that keeping it public would save $100 million.
As commentator Murray Dobbin writes, it’s a battle that’s too important to lose.
In neighbouring Vancouver, CUPE was part of an upbeat World Water Day celebration that handed out “Tappie” awards to public water advocates. Victoria and Dawson Creek both held tap water toasts, and CUPE helped organize a water display at Surrey city hall.
CUPE BC is also working with the Council of Canadians, Mining Watch and the Tsilhqot’in National Government to protect the Fish Lake watershed. The groups are challenging plans for an open pit gold-copper mine near Williams Lake that would destroy the Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) watershed.
In Alberta, CUPE took part in a roundtable on the threat of water markets. The Council of Canadians convened the meeting of more than a dozen groups just before World Water Day. Alberta is the first province to experiment with an open market for the sale and purchase of water licenses – a move that commodifies water and threatens local control of a public resource.
Other community events around the country included video screenings. In Kelowna, CUPE co-sponsored a showing of Tapped. In Brockville, the president of CUPE 115, a water worker, took part in a discussion after the movie Flow.
In Nova Scotia, CUPE is part of a broad and active water coalition. The groups used World Water Day to call for provincial action promoting tap water, protecting aquifers and recognizing the right to water.
Public Services International, the global trade union federation which counts CUPE as a member, used March 22 to promote public-public partnerships as an alternative to privatization.
- See also: CUPE’s World Water Day 2010 statement