Thank you for taking the time to write. Canada's New Democrats share your concerns and have consistently opposed bulk water exports of this precious natural resource. In fact, our interest to protect Canada’s water resources date back to Canada’s early involvement with the North American Free Trade Agreement.
First and foremost, New Democrats believe that the access to clean water is not a privilege but a human right for all Canadians and people world-wide. Unfortunately the Conservative government refused to support a recent United Nations resolution to recognize access to water and sanitation as basic human rights.
Our vision for Canada includes a commitment to protecting our supplies of fresh water by excluding it from all international trade agreements, privatization and deregulation. That`s why New Democrats want to ensure that NAFTA excludes water and bulk water exports from its scope. Water is our most precious natural resource, but it belongs to both all of us and none of us— it is not a commercial commodity. We have been told repeatedly that our water resources would be protected in trade deals. However, neither Conservative nor Liberal governments have added water to the list of goods to be exempt from NAFTA. This omission has left a loophole which could eventually cause us to lose control over our own water resources.
We have consistently called on successive Liberal and Conservative governments to develop a robust National Water Policy. Such a policy is urgently needed to address important water-related issues facing all of us today-- including the roughly 1,700 boiled water advisories affecting Canadians and the negative environmental impact of water use in the tar sands development. While the Harper government committed to a clean water strategy in the past, it has yet to produce one.
As you may know in the 2007 spring session, Parliament voted 134 to 108 in favour of a motion to prevent bulk water exports. The motion came about from a push by the New Democrats to have hearings on the impact of the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) because SPP negotiations have revived troubling questions over access to Canadian water. For more information on the SPP.