In 2002, Canada was the only nation to vote against accepting water as a human right at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Canada has not since changed it stance on water in International affairs. This stance also affects Canada’s domestic water policies, as the inquiry into the Walkerton water situation discovered that Canadians are not guaranteed the right to water anywhere in Canadian legislation.
Why are the implications of proclaiming water as a human right?
1) If water is declared a human right, than privatization of water is limited or abolished altogether. This means that Internationally vendors and governments can no longer deny their customers and citizens access to water because they are not able to pay for it. This means less profits for governments and multinational corporations. People die and suffer everyday because they are denied access to water which is readily available, though they cannot afford it.
2) If water is declared a human right, governments will be forced and obligated to provide all of its citizens with healthy, potable water. Again I reference the situation in Walkerton. Likewise, there are a number of Canadian reserves which face issues of access to safe drinking water. If water is declared a human right domestically, the federal government would have to address these issues and be responsible for providing potable water to all communities.
3) If water is declared a human right, governments will be forced to mandate more strict environmental controls into place to protect this human right.
I have provided some resources which I encourage you to take some time and look at. I have also added a voice defending water privatization for some balance. If you feel so moved to contact the government to speak out against this situation, click here.
The Council of Canadians
Blue Planet Project
World Health Organization
CBC News In-Depth
THE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL OF WATER PRIVATIZATION - a report paid for by American Water Works Inc.