Thursday 21 June 2012

Working in Montréal today --Drink up

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today.  Tomorrow in Toronto.

Hey, consider this.  Should our social committees abstain from selling water in the lunch rooms?

This is the moment that many of you may be thinking, "Say what?! .. has the lad lost his mind?"

If you have not considered the ramifications of the commoditization and privatization of water, then this would be a surprise to you.

Let me wander around a bit and explain.  I belong to two gyms.  One I play Squash at, and one I play Racquetball at.  I also own a set of golf clubs that I rarely have the opportunity to use, but when I do, I like to rent a cart and I buy beer from the beer gal (there is occasionally beer guys, but they don't earn as much in tips).  Not everyone can afford two memberships or golf cart rental, but that does not bother me from a moral and conscience point of view since I consider neither a fundamental human right.  Want some free exercise?  Throw a snowball at a cop car and run like hell, turn it into a sport, have your friends join in, keep score.

But water I do consider a fundamental human right.  The U.N. agrees with me, Canada... dragging its heels, but we'll see.  I also consider water in Canada to be a public resource that should be managed in manners that are in the public interest.

Since I do, and I hope that you do as well, allowing a private firm to draw off our public water, run it through the equivalent of a large Brita filter, package it and sell it back to us creates a number of problems.  I'll also mention that up to a few days ago, we would buy bottled water by the flat, and I would drink it.

Like the gym membership, the cost of the bottled water fit into my budget.  So drink I would.  That meant that I have not been paying attention to the taste of the Mississauga public utility water (it's actually indistinguishable from the bottled) and more importantly, if someone asked me as a Mississauga rate payer if I wanted to spend more taxes on better filtration I may have not been especially interested.

If fact if all persons that could afford bottled water collectively voted for less public spending on public water utility and incidentally Nestlé and the other water bottles would prefer that, then it is those individual's that can't afford bottled water that would be subjected to substandard filtration.

This would good for Nestlé, but bad for social equality.  So I believe that we should not support the water privatization business, but instead drink from the tap.  If we detect funny tastes or quality issues, then the affect us all, and people with cash can bitch real loudly.

One more tidbit on that, public water is subjected to rigid controls and testing.  The public servants that look after public water effect testing around 30 times a day to ensure safety and quality.  Bottled water on the other hand is not subjected to mandatory testing or quality levels, there is no central repository of statistical data and no government body ensuring the safety.  

Consider that as you read words like pure, fresh, clean, spring (largely bull), crystal clear, etc, on a bottle of water that is sold back to you for more than the cost of gasoline.

Have a good day, seek social justice.

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