Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Water. Keep it. Conserve it. Protect it.

Green Vision 3.2  Water protection and conservation

I grew up beside a stream - we referred to it as a “creek”; it ran continuously through the summer but was not large enough to rank as even a small “river”. It was shallow enough that our parents let us - indeed encouraged us - play in it all summer. We caught minnows with baited hooks on strings. We had mud slides and raced sticks through the current. 

Such idyllic summers occur for fewer and fewer children. Children downstream from the tar sands are told to stay out of the water. There are lakes that are too contaminated with fertilizer run-off and turn green in early July, some that are contaminated with pesticides; Premier Moe gave a mining company permission to pollute a lake with radioactive mining tailings.

The Green Party principle 3.2 recognizes the threat to water and rolls out three principles: Keep it. Conserve it. Protect it. 

Keep it. Canada has within its boundaries the world’s largest supply of fresh water. Multinationals see the potential to rake in trillions of dollars when Canada’s trade agreements make it possible to trade bulk water. Without a national water policy, the very aquifers beneath the Western provinces could be siphoned South. As a Green, I would press for a national audit of Canada’s water resources, surface and subsurface, and an audit of instream and downstream needs and potential demands.  

Conserve it. We are the second most wasteful people in the world after the United States. The Canadian government must strive to provide safe drinking water to all Canadians including First Nations communities. Greens believe that combinations of research, regulations and appropriate infrastructure should ensure safe water for future generations.

Protect it. Not only should the federal government use its powers via the Fisheries Act and its role in interjurisdictional sharing to protect water supplies in the present but anticipate changes (such as decreasing glacial run-off)  to ensure that a safe water supply reaches people before industry, small scale market gardening, mining and fishing operations. 

Based upon these principles, the Green Party promises to increase research into less water-intensive agriculture, shift research from dams and diversions to source water protection, watershed restorations and towards locally-based water conservation and efficiency planning and programs.

The Regina-Qu’Appelle riding has conflicting interests within its relatively small piece of Canada. Water is a complicated issue.

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