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Saving Water from Commercial Bottling at Queen's Park

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

From Sister Anne Karges:

As a Blue Community we have the opportunity for forming many partnerships around our concern for water justice. Paul Baines, our project coordinator has facilitated this networking with his many connections.

One of our concerns is that water is becoming privatized by allowing water bottling companies, such as Nestlé, to take water from the aquifers in a way that puts local municipalities (providing public water) in competition with Nestlés' water-for-profit business plan. The fact is the areas where these companies are located are expected to expand in population and will need this water for future use.

CSJ delegates at Queen's Park: Varka Kalaydzhieva, Sr. Mary Fatta, Sr. Janet Fraser, Sr. Betty Lou Knox, Sr. Dorothy Schwietzer and Sr. Anne Karges.

On February 27th a group called Save Our Water, through Mike Schreiner MPP with the Green Party, presented a petition in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to eliminate new permits to take water for commercial water bottling purposes. There were six of us from the CSJ Federation who attended this event as a support and to give witness in the public gallery. There were also members of the Wellington Water Watchers from the Guelph area and GASP (Grand(m)others Act to Save our Planet) from the Halton region. One of the best parts of this day was to meet new advocacy groups with similar values and goals such as GASP. A most striking feature is the number of women who are willing to be energetically engaged in matters of concern to the future of our planet and generations to follow.

The proceedings of the legislature where somewhat of an eye-opener. It would lead me to say that most of the effective work goes on behind the scenes, with personal visits to one’s member of Parliament, and one on one conversations. During the introductions of guests and visitors for the day the Sisters of St. Joseph did receive recognition.

From Save our Water member Mike Pride (part of his speech at Queen's Park)

Save our Water is a group of residents in Wellington County and surrounding communities, who are determined to do everything possible to prevent water extraction from the Middlebrook Well in Elora for commercial water bottling purposes.

I want to thank all our supporters who have joined us here today to help give voice to this important issue ... the issue of protecting the future of our community!

The Ontario Government moratorium on new or expanded groundwater taking by water bottling companies ends October 1stof this year. This is our last chance to convince the Jeff Yurek & the Ministry of the Environment to say “NO to large scale bottled water taking in Centre Wellington.”

The government talks about listening to communities and providing municipalities more autonomy. The efforts of Save Our Water have large scale public support throughout our Wellington County. Over 3,400 people have signed our petition and demonstrated their opposition to large-scale water extraction for bottled water. Now is the time for the Government of Ontario & the Ministry of the Environment to put words into action by denying a water taking permit for the Middlebrook well.

Some of the allied groups against commercial water bottling permits. A few of the Sisters had the opportunity to chat with Mike Schreiner (Leader of the Green Party of Ontario) at the end of the event..

Save Our Water has also prepared a Science & Policy brief. Here is the summary:

What do you think?

What possible allied groups could also join this movement? What aspects of this issue would you like more information on? What appeals would you make against commercial water bottling in Ontario? Where is the recognition of Indigenous rights and jurisdiction when advocating to the Provincial government? How is the sacredness of water guiding our service for water justice?

Please leave a comment.

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