After voting in April to support the citizens’ Climate Emergency Declaration, the Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM), Québec’s biggest school board, became the first to become a Blue Community.
Anne-Alice Simard, Executive Director of Eau Secours, an NGO devoted to responsible water management who initiated the action, attended the CSDM’s May 22 council meeting to issue a certificate and to present the project’s goals: to support the human right to water, to keep water public and to ensure that water bottles are replaced by publicly accessible water fountains.
Simard reminded the commissioners that the right to water is far from trivial. Many indigenous communities are without safe drinking water, and the resolution commits the school board to pressure governments to protect the human right of access to water.
Simard noted that the Blue Communities project, initiated by the Council of Canadians’ Blue Planet Project and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, emerged in response to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s attempts tie municipal water funding to the use of public-private partnerships. The Blue Communities project insists that water services remain public.
The CSDM’s Green Plan includes a commitment to manage drinking water more responsibly. The school board plans to replace automatic flush urinals and install water fountains so that people can fill water bottles in its facilities.
"Preserving the environment and our water supply, a precious and vital resource, is a priority for our organization,” CSDM President Catherine Harel-Bourdon stated. “Joining the Blue Community movement is an important step in a series of measures established to ensure a better future for future generations, especially since students in our elementary and high schools are part of it.”
Eau Secours is delighted that the CSDM can be counted upon to protect water as a common good and a public service.
"The Blue Community project has been very popular in Québec since the launch of our campaign just six months ago,” added Simard of Eau Secours. “We are delighted to see the CSDM join the growing network of Blue Communities.”
This is Québec’s 10th Blue Community. Other educational institutions, including McGill University and Monseigneur A.-M.-Parent Secondary School in Saint-Hubert, are Blue Communities, as are the cities of Amqui, Danville, Montreal, Nicolet, Richmond, Rivière-du-Loup and Trois-Rivières.
Now, over 15 million people all over the world live in Blue Communities, including Berlin, Paris, Zurich, Victoria, Lunenberg and many more.
Photos (top to bottom): Alice-Anne Simard, Excecutive Director of Eau Secours presents the Blue Communities to the CSDM, Alice-Anne Simard, Eau Secours Executive Director,presents Blue Communities certificate to Catherine Harel-Bourdon, CSDM Chairperson and to school commisioners.