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Scary stories of privatization

With a new minority federal government, you and I have an opportunity to help shape public policy. The Council of Canadians and our 150,000 supporters across the country are coming together from coast-to-coast-to-coast to stand up for the issues that matter to you.

One of those issues is water, specifically the water in your community.

Although most municipalities own and operate our drinking water and sewage treatment plants, the infrastructure is deteriorating due to chronic underfunding. This is where the federal government could step in with low-cost public funding for municipalities. Unfortunately, the government continues to side with corporate interests and is pushing public-private partnerships (P3s) that put our water at risk.

That’s where you come in. You can fight back against the privatization of our water at the federal level by letting government know that we are the balance of power. You can count on the Council of Canadians to fight P3s as the people’s balance of power. Let’s show the Trudeau minority government how strong we are, together.

While privatization creeping into our public services is not new, the process was formalized when the Trudeau government established the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) in 2017. The CIB’s mandate is to include private corporate partners in 80 per cent of its projects.

Privatized drinking water and sewage treatment services directly threaten our human right to water. P3 projects cost more, eliminate jobs, lack transparency and exclude municipalities from the decision making process. Our communities are left paying the price. Private providers charge on average 59 per cent more per household for water and 63 per cent more for sewer compared to the public option.

I can tell you what privatizing water could look like for your community, and it’s pretty scary. In 1998, Hamilton, Ontario signed a 10-year P3 deal for their water systems. Soon after, residents woke up to 135 million litres of raw sewage spilling into the harbour, and flooded basements and businesses. Hamilton’s water service workforce was cut in half, project costs ballooned, and the water contract changed hands four times.

But Hamilton is a good news story too. Through pressure from the community and folks like you, the City of Hamilton ultimately took water back in public hands, saving the city and its residents millions of dollars.

In fact, the Council of Canadians is helping to lead a global movement aimed at taking back public control of water that now consists of 267 municipalities in 37 countries.

We need the federal government to hear what the city council in Hamilton did.  And I need your help to amplify this call to action. Privatization of our water reduces jobs, costs more and puts our waterways at risk.

The Council of Canadians has a critical role to play as the people’s Balance of Power, but we need your help to be strong and effective.

As we continue to hold that balance of power you and I must safeguard our fundamental rights to public water and sanitation, and fight off the federal government’s and Canada Infrastructure Bank’s creeping corporate influence and false P3 solutions.

Thank you for all that you do.

P.S. Read my blog from Monday: Our water is for sale