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UPDATE: Tap water drinkers unite against Harper!

Likely not welcome

Likely not welcome

The Toronto Star reports, “When Joanna MacDonald pressed officials further (on why she couldn’t enter a Harper forum in Guelph), she was asked if she had ever been involved with any on-campus clubs. When MacDonald replied that she had been involved with various environmental groups — including one advocating for the removal of bottled water from the university grounds — she said the official responded, saying: ‘Well, that’s probably why.’”

By that measure, most Council of Canadians members and supporters would be restricted from hearing the prime minister during this election. Who else might be barred from a Conservative rally for opposing bottled water? Well, find out by seeing our ‘tap water gallery’ on our website at http://canadians.org/water/issues/Blue_Communities/gallery.html.

Council of Canadians, Polaris Institute statement: Since when is bottled water a threat to the Prime Minister?

The Council of Canadians and the Polaris Institute are shocked that, according to media reports, a Guelph University student was denied entrance to a Stephen Harper campaign event because she opposed the sale of bottled water on her university campus.

While this is another egregious example of the Conservative party’s draconian efforts to exclude Canadians from its political rallies, in this case Conservative party officials appear to have blocked a university student for simply trying to create a more sustainable campus by promoting public tap water.

“How could the Conservatives think this is acceptable?” asked Brent Patterson, Director of Campaigns at the Council of Canadians.

The answer could be the Conservative party’s ties to the bottled water company Nestlé Waters Canada’s Director of Corporate Affairs, John Challinor. Challinor recently served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Halton Conservative Association. The riding, near Guelph, is presently held by Conservative MP Linda Raitt.

“John Challinor and his company have vociferously opposed any action to limit the sale of bottled water on university campuses across Canada,” said Polaris Institute Research and Communications coordinator Richard Girard. “That this student was denied entry to this rally is not surprising given this Nestlé executive’s past connections to the Conservative party.”

Both organizations call on the prime minister to clarify his position on bottled water and student campaigns for bottled-water free campuses and a more sustainable water future.

Contact: Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of Canadians, (613) 795-8685, dpenner@canadians.org, Twitter: @CouncilofCDNs; Richard Girard, Research and Communications Coordinator, Polaris Institute, 613 668-5543, richard@polarisinstitute.org

To protest Harper’s campaign bubble and ‘blow a bubble for democracy’ – and to see the first pictures now coming in! – go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=7371.