Water workers are fed up with the problems in our water systems and are demanding concerted action by all levels of government to address the source of the problems, says National President Judy Darcy.
The unfolding tragedy in North Battleford is the latest sad spotlight on the problems bubbling just beneath the surface of Canadas water systems.
Its a national disgrace that governments are too busy buck-passing to actually deal with the real issues of bucks and regulations, says Darcy.
Since 1997 CUPE has been calling for action to protect and improve Canadas water supply. Stronger regulation and enforcement is a cornerstone of CUPEs action plan, as is sufficient infrastructure funding to ensure drinking and wastewater systems can meet high standards of quality and safety.
CUPE supports the Saskatchewan governments decision to conduct a public inquiry into the contamination of the citys drinking water.
Our members want to know the full story about what caused this tragic situation and what can be done to ensure it never happens again in this city or any other community across the country, says CUPE spokesperson Andy Iwanchuk.
We welcome the public inquiry, as we did in Walkerton. But we need more than inquiries. We need urgent action, said Darcy.
Weve been calling for national standards with teeth enforceable rules that will hold provinces and municipalities accountable. Guidelines just dont cut it, says Darcy.
CUPE is also calling for stable, long-term infrastructure funding that will support provincial and municipal efforts to build and upgrade public water systems while heading off threats of privatization.
Given the federal surplus, theres no excuse for not allocating more money now to infrastructure and tying any new money to publicly owned and operated projects that meet national standards, says Darcy.
We cant approach water issues by simply trying to plug leaks as they spring. Its time for a serious top-to-bottom overhaul of water protection in this country.