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Ottawa The Canadian Union of Public Employees has joined with other unions and non-governmental organizations around the world in condemning the corporate agenda evident at the World Water Summit. Representatives of Canadas largest union have been active at the Summit, taking place in The Hague, Netherlands from March 16-22.

The purpose of the international gathering is to find solutions to the challenge of providing clean, safe water to a growing population around the globe. CUPE is concerned that corporate interests are vastly over-estimating the cost of water needs to reap huge profits from the sale of water.

“It is ironic that the same day the United Nations has declared World Water Day, corporations and governments are gathering to price water beyond the reach of many citizens of this planet,” said Claude Genereux, CUPE General Vice-President.

“By pushing the privatization of our domestic water services and promoting bulk exports of water, these multinationals are trying to undermine public, community controlled alternatives to a corporate water cartel,” said Genereux.

CUPE has been on the front line defending public ownership of our water systems and services. “As a result of Paul Martins February budget the question of who will own our potable water as well as our wastewater systems has been put in to question. The lack of public funding for infrastructure announced in the budget raises serious concerns for many municipalities across Canada,” said Genereux.

“We came to the World Water Summit in The Hague to join with other communities and organizations around the globe to protect public water from multinationals. Those corporations cant buy the air we breathe, so they want to buy the water we drink. We will not let that happen. Water is a basic human right, not a commodity to be bought, sold and traded,” added Genereux.

The privatization threat of our water systems is looming large in communities across Canada. Last month elected officials in Halifax asked three transnational corporations to bid on the construction and operation of four new wastewater facilities. “We have an efficient publicly owned and operated water system that could be expanded to meet our future needs. Why would we want to give up public ownership of such a vital system?” concluded Larry Power, CUPE representative in Halifax.

CUPE, Canadas largest union, represents 480,000 women and men working in water services, municipalities, health care, education, libraries, utilities, social services, transportation and airlines.

For more information:
Catherine Louli (613) 237-1590 ext.268

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