CUPE’s work to protect our public water services is once again being attacked by corporate giant Nestle, one of the world’s largest distributors of bottled water. John B. Challinor, Director of Corporate Affairs for Nestlé Waters Canada, tried to throw a wrench in a campaign to restrict the sale of bottle water in municipal facilities, being undertaken by citizens of Chatham-Kent.
Nestle’s latest attack comes just days before Bottled Water Free Day, an international day of action to stand in support of public water services, and against the growing commercialization of water. You can learn more about the initiative and about events near you here: www.backthetap.ca.
Union counters Nestle’s comments
Sir: CUPE is proud of the public services our members provide to Canadians every day – including treating, testing and delivering safe drinking water to millions of Ontarians. In defense of these services, CUPE has never made any secret of our concern on the toll the bottle water industry has on our municipal public water systems.
Our campaigns loudly voice the concerns of CUPE members on the need for federal investment in our public water infrastructure, the dangers of turning over water and wastewater systems to private for-profit corporations by way of risky public-private partnerships, and the drinking water crisis on First Nations across the country.
While Mr. Challinor in a recent letter to the editor gives CUPE a lot of credit for the ever growing number of calls from a wide range of public bodies to limit bottle water, it is misplaced. It is the grassroots advocacy of concerned community members – like Robyn Hamlyn - that is shining the most light on the environmental and financial waste of bottle water.
Nestle pays a mere $3.71 per million litres they extract, bottle and sell to Ontarians. Pressuring the Chatham-Kent council to ignore the concerns of its citizens and the millions of Canadians recognizing the waste of bottle water, is nothing more than a cynical attempt to protect these lucrative profits.
Canadian Union of Public Employees