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Broderick says corporate power threatens PEI’s drinking water

Leo BroderickThe people of Prince Edward Island will be voting in a provincial election on May 4.

In a letter to the editor The Guardian, Charlottetown-based Council of Canadians vice-chairperson Leo Broderick writes, “One of the most important questions facing Islanders during this election campaign is what will a newly-elected P.E.I. government do with Cavendish Farms president Robert Irving’s request to lift the moratorium on high capacity deep-water wells. Mr. Irving has threatened the province with the ultimatum that unless the moratorium is lifted, he may have to cut back or simply move his business elsewhere. He is supported by the P.E.I. Potato Board and the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture.”

He adds, “What Islanders are faced with, with Mr. Irving’s threat, is the corporate take over of our ground water – our only source of drinking water. Already, much of our ground water is contaminated with nitrates and pesticides primarily from industrial agriculture. And in areas which presently have high capacity deep water wells, we have seen private wells and streams go dry. Governments usually cave in to corporate power and their threats. It is often said that politicians are no longer the primary movers and shakers. Instead, powerful corporations control them. That’s been the situation here on P.E.I. for sometime now.”

And Broderick concludes, “During the past year, Islanders have raised their voices in unprecedented numbers against lifting the moratorium on deep water wells. Our drinking water must be protected was the message – we all drink from the same source. The moratorium on deep water wells for agricultural irrigation should never be lifted. In fact, those 35 or so high capacity deep water wells that are presently ‘grandfathered’ for irrigation should be revoked. Corporate power is a major threat to our drinking water. Islanders must continue to challenge that power.”

Further reading
Council of Canadians calls for ban on deep well irrigation in PEI (January 2014 blog)
Broderick & Barlow raise concerns about deep well irrigation in PEI (January 2014 blog)
Barlow in Charlottetown for water forum, Feb. 26 (February 2014 blog)

Photo: Leo Broderick