Monday, March 29, 2010
Good to the Last Drop... if you can afford it.
This coming fall, the Government of Alberta will be amending Alberta's Water Act and expand the system of selling water to the highest bidder.
The idea of selling water rights to the highest bidder is repugnant to most Albertans. It seems this government is again trying to facilitate business at the risk of the environment and the well-being of average citizens. However, that doesn't seem to bother Mr. Stelmach, et. al. As long as what they do caters to industry (and particularly the petro-chemical industry) they ignore the long-term outlook of the province.
Alberta is the driest province in Canada with only 900 lakes (as opposed to 100,000) in Manitoba. Perhaps more than any other Canadian, Albertans understand the importance of water to the sustainability of our province... and our tradition of family farms. Access to fresh water is the birthright of every citizen. Water is precious and Albertans know it. For the sake of monetary gain, our current government is now contemplating limiting our access to water.
Unfortunately, we are governed by a party that cannot see the forest for the trees. Selling water to the highest bidder makes sense to this bunch government MLAs who believes everything in this province is up for sale. Short-term thinking for immediate profit. Nothing new for Alberta's PCs.
Selling water to the highest bidder... along with the loosened environmental oversight this province is behind bodes poorly for the future of this province. It will put the final nails into the coffin of many family farms and drive rural folks off their land. Unable to water livestock or crops, there will be an exodus from Alberta farms. The land will be left to those who can afford the highest bids for water... and who are they? You don't have to be a member of MENSA to figure it out.
As obvious and trite as it is to write... water is life. Selling water is equivalent to selling life. Water cannot be controlled by those with the most money. A government whose principles were to ensure the well-being of its citizens would never consider privatising water. The concept is simply absurd. Whoever controls water, controls life.
Water is a basic human right. Human rights cannot be paid for by those with access to the greatest financial power. Water is a resource that must be protected by responsible governments FOR the well-being of everyone... and not only those who can afford to exploit it.
Excuse the pun, but amendments to Alberta's Water Act ought to be a "watershed" event for this government. Choosing to give up Alberta's fresh water to the highest bidder ought to be the "straw" that breaks the back of this tired government.