I’m writing regarding Tom Fletcher’s op ed ‘Nestle protest doesn’t hold water’, in which he characterizes a 225,000 signature petition demanding fair pricing for groundwater as another example of misguided environmentalism in B.C. But you don’t have to be a wild-eyed environmentalist to recognize that the province’s proposed price of $2.25 per million litres to companies like Nestle for an increasingly threatened resource like groundwater, makes no sense.
The straw man that Fletcher and the Minister of Environment, Mary Polak construct – we can’t set a higher price because it would ‘allow the US to press for equal access to Canadian water’ – blows away with even a slight breeze of scrutiny. Provinces like Nova Scotia are charging up to $179 per (million) litre(s) without triggering any trade-related action.
Legal experts like Deborah Curran, Hakai Professor of Environmental Law at the University of Victoria, and Andrew Gage of West Coast Environmental Law, agree. Applying a rental rate for water that covers the true cost of managing B.C.’s water resources is not only permissible under NAFTA, it is essential to protect and conserve this vital resource.
The NDP Official Opposition will continue to urge the province to establish a water pricing regime that recovers the full cost of sustaining and enhancing a resource that will only become more precious with climate change.
MLA, Saanich North and the Islands