Statement on World Water Day 2019

OTTAWA – “Canada is fortunate to have access to an abundance of water, and yet today numerous First Nations communities across Canada remain without access to potable water, four years after the Liberals promised to resolve this issue once and for all,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Ironically, the theme for this year’s World Water Day is: Leaving no one behind. I therefore ask Prime Minister Trudeau why, under his watch, has this situation not been resolved when it should be the highest priority?

“Currently, 70 First Nations communities still don’t have safe drinking water. Imagine bringing a new baby home to a house with no available drinking water and having that child live for 20 years without knowing what it’s like to turn on a tap and be able to drink the water,” said Lorraine Rekmans, the Green Party’s Indigenous affairs critic. “Imagine what it is like to nurse an elderly parent at home while you have to boil water to care for them. We are talking about a lifetime of being denied a basic human right.”

Protecting fresh water in Canada has become a daily battle for many Indigenous communities. This month, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court denied the Mi’kmaq the right to protect their river ecosystem from the Alton Gas project, by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. This particular injunction also contravenes the Fisheries Act, which prohibits the deposit of noxious substances into fish habitat. This should not be happening to anyone, anywhere in Canada.

“The most precious resource a nation can have is its water supply. We need to start protecting it judiciously, and ensure that every single community has access to this most basic of human rights,” stated Ms May.

The UN designated March 22 as World Water Day in 1993. This year’s theme, Leaving no one behind, is an adaptation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which observes that as sustainable development progresses, so too must the availability and management of water for everyone.