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Kelowna chapter opposes Bill 18

Karen AbramsenThe Council of Canadians Kelowna chapter opposes Bill 18, the British Columbia government’s so-called Water Sustainability Act.

In her letter to the editor published in The Daily Courier, chapter activist Karen Abramsen writes, “The Kelowna Chapter of the Council of Canadians is thanking their chairperson Maude Barlow for asking B.C. premier Christy Clark [in this letter] to rethink Bill 18, her government’s new Water Sustainability Act. Barlow told her that in July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. As a result, governments must now respect, protect and fulfill that right. Unfortunately, Bill 18 fails to explicitly recognize this right or meet these obligations.”

She also notes, “The Kelowna chapter is particularly concerned because the B.C. government has been promoting water-intensive and water-polluting industries. This bill would not constrain that agenda. We believe it’s wrong that under this legislation Nestle Waters could bottle 250 million litres of water for a small administrative fee of just $562. We’re deeply concerned this water-sustainability law would fail to stop 582 billion litres of water being used for fracking to feed just five of the proposed Liquid Natural Gas terminals.”

And Abramsen highlights that, “Bill 18 is not scheduled to be implemented for another 10 months. Barlow told the premier there’s still time for her government to take measures to ensure the human right to water and its obligations to protect, respect and fulfill that right are fully met in B.C.’s policies and practices. March 22 is World Water Day. There will be several activities this day and I encourage everyone to get involved in helping protect this valuable human right.”

Abramsen encourages other Council of Canadians chapters in British Columbia to take her letter – which can be read in full here – revise it as they see appropriate and submit it as a letter to the editor for their local newspaper to help promote our shared concerns about Bill 18.

Further reading
Council of Canadians opposes BC’s new Water Sustainability Act (February 2015 blog)

Photo: Council of Canadians Kelowna chapter activist Karen Abramsen.