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Local Nestlé fight sparks national protests

Quinte Nestle

From Vancouver Island to the Atlantic coast, Council of Canadians chapters took to the streets this past weekend in support of residents of Wellington County and their fight to protect local water sources from bottled water giant Nestlé.

“Nestlé’s water takings near Guelph, Ontario have become an issue of concern from coast to coast,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “Communities are shocked that Nestlé continues to take water despite record drought this year, and people are moved to take action on water issues and protect the human right to water in their own communities.”

Local chapters of the Council of Canadians distributed flyers and gathered pledges for the Nestlé boycott at farmers’ markets, grocery stores and major intersections. The events took place in advance of the Ontario government’s December 1 deadline for public comment on changes to the province’s Permit to Take Water process.

The Ontario government is proposing a two-year moratorium on the creation or expansion of bottled water plants. The Council of Canadians is calling on the governments of Ontario, B.C. and other provinces to phase out all bottled water taking permits, review rates for other industries, hold public consultations on how to prioritize water uses, and fund job retraining programs for workers in the bottled water industry.

Already more than 45,000 people have pledged to boycott Nestlé and bottled water. Over 7,000 more have sent letters to the Ontario government expressing concern and opposition to Nestlé’s bottled water takings.

“People understand that this is about so much more than one community and one corporation,” says Barlow. “It’s inspiring to see so many take action to protect water.”

Event were organized in Chilliwack (BC), Powell River (BC), Northumberland County (ON), Guelph (ON), Quinte (ON), Peterborough (ON), Kitchener-Waterloo (ON), Centre Wellington (ON), South Shore (NS) and Kent County (NB).