Magazine article Anglican Journal

Water More Expensive Than Gas in Canada, Says Primate

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Water More Expensive Than Gas in Canada, Says Primate

Article excerpt


Canadian church leaders including the primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, helped launched a national campaign last month near the Rideau River aimed at protecting public access to safe water in Canada and elsewhere.

Speaking on Oct. 6 from a band shell to about 60 people, the church leaders and representatives of eight denominations voiced concerns about the privatization of water and urged the federal government to take action to ensure that water is kept under public control with community participation.

The primate underscored the need for the campaign, entitled, Water: Life Before Profit! when he spoke of a recent meeting he attended with the bishops of northern Canada. "We met in Split Lake, in northern Manitoba, and there the 2,600 people have been living on bottled water ever since the development of the Manitoba Hydro projects in that province--bottled water which, in spite of the inflated price of fuel in Canada, still sells at more per litre than does a litre of gasoline."

Split Lake is about 800 kilometres north of Winnipeg and is home to the Tataskweyak Cree Nation, which five years ago signed an agreement with Manitoba Hydro to provide the native community with equity in the proposed Gull Project hydro development (see related story, p. 9). Manitoba Premier Gary Doer referred to the signing as "an historic day for all Manitobans."

Archbishop Hutchison said, "Access--and free access--to dean water is an imperative, not only elsewhere in the world but indeed, here in the far north, in Canada."

He also said the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the church's development arm, has sent a pastoral letter and resources to every Anglican congregation in the country and invited them to join the water campaign.

The campaign launch, organized by Kairos, a national, ecumenical justice coalition, and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, included a ceremony rich with symbolism in which clean water was poured into a larger jar and carried away by water bearers. As well, stories from Canada and the global South were related aimed at conveying the message that the world is facing a water crisis.

"The issue of water security touches all creation and all humanity," said Bishop Ray Schultz, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. …

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