Water concerns will flow in PEI election campaign

Our Water Matters Coalition working to create more public awareness about water issues
Charlottetown Guardian
Date published: 
Mon, 2011-09-19

Edith Perry gives plenty of thought to water.

She has had no issues to date with her own well in Millview. She can pour a fresh, clean glass of water from her tap any time.

Still, Perry need not look beyond a stream that runs through her property to conjure up concern. She fears the possibility of chemical runoff from neighbouring farms, though she is quick to laud farmers in her area for commitment to crop rotation and in stringently following buffer regulations.

Taking a broader look at water, however, gives Perry cause to sound an alarm or at the very least to take part in delivering a collective wake-up call.

She belongs to a group of concerned citizens called Our Water Matters Coalition that is determined to provide awareness about water issues on Prince Edward Island during the current provincial election.

Several Green Party of P. E. I. signs were held above the heads of some 60 or so participants at a Monday rally outside Province House to listen to speakers highlight threats to water including nitrates and pesticides, fracking and polluted rivers and harbours. Politicians and political hopefuls of several stripes were also in attendance.

“ I have been concerned about water for years,’’ Perry told The Guardian.

“ We don’t need any more studies. We need action.’’

Perry cringes over the excess of plastic water bottles. Where have all the drinking fountains gone in schools and throughout communities, she wonders aloud.
“ Water is like air,’’ she said.

“ It should be ours. It shouldn’t be in corporate control.’’

Leo Broderick of the Council of Canadians, not unfamiliar with resorting to alarmist language, declared there is no way out of what he sees as a water crisis “ unless we break the addiction to chemical fertilizers and pesticides.’’

The Our Water Matters Coalition is endorsed by a number of groups, including the P. E. I. Environmental Health Co-op, the Sierra Club of Canada - Atlantic Canada Chapter, Council of Canadians, CUPE, Cooper Institute and the Environmental Coalition of P. E. I.

Marion Copleston, vice-president of the P. E. I. Environmental Health Co-op, says the coalition wants to put water on the table as a key campaign issue.

A letter campaign is planned to urge provincial candidates to make the protection of water resources part of their platform.

Copleston says the coalition plans to put a spotlight on environmental issues, including the use and abuse of water, during an all-candidates meeting Sept. 20 at Holland College.

While not necessarily a player in the provincial election, Charlottetown MP Sean Casey appears to have already embraced the issue.

He plans to show a film called Water on the Table Sept. 25 at 2 p. m. at the City Cinema in Charlottetown.

Admission is free and the floor will be opened the public for input.



PHOTO: Close to 60 people took part Monday in a public rally outside Province House organized by the Our Water Matters Coalition., The coalition recently launched a campaign to provide awareness about water issues on P. E. I. during the provincial election.


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