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NEWS: PEI needs to protect its public water from CETA

CBC reports that:

The Council of Canadians is calling on the P.E.I. government to take a stand to protect the Island’s public water and sanitation services.

The council said municipal water systems are being discussed as part of a free trade agreement being negotiated by Canada and the European Union in Brussels in January.
Europe’s large private water companies have requested that the provinces and territories consider including drinking water and wastewater services in their Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) commitments.

The report said the effect would be the encouragement of more private sector involvement in a number of public service sectors, including water.

The council believes that could have a negative impact on public water systems and water management.

The report explained the benefits of public ownership and management of water systems and the importance of financing municipal water system upgrades.

“It’s clear that if public water and sanitation facilities are included in the free trade agreement with Europe, that Charlottetown’s water system, which needs to be improved … is going to cost millions,” said Leo Broderick, vice-chair of the Council of Canadians. “The Harper government is looking to have more privatization in these public services, so we’re calling on the premier to stand up for public water on Prince Edward Island.”

P.E.I. officials are at the negotiating table for the proposed Canada-EU agreement.

Broderick wants the premier to inform Islanders about discussions that could impact drinking water and sanitation services.

The article is at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2010/12/18/pei-needs-to-protect-its-public-water-report-584.html.

Our report – Public Water for Sale – can be read at http://canadians.org/trade/documents/CETA/water-report-1210.pdf.