|Posted by Winnipeg Chapter on June 6, 2010 at 5:37 PM|
Proponents of the City of Winnipeg's deal with Veolia say it has nothing to do with water.
The day before the May 19th Council Meeting, that saw Winnipeg City Council vote 9 to 4 in favour of the signing with Veolia, St. Norbert Ward Councillor Justin Swandel went on CJOB to confront members of Water Watch. During the exchange Swandel said "Again I'll remind you it's not about water. You'll see that the pair in front of me keep going back to the word water. Water! Water! Water every chance they get. We're talking about sewage here."
To which Dr. Mary LeMaître of Water Watch answered, "You're dealing with a multi-national corporation who aggressively goes after water. There's a growing world water shortage and these companies know that if they have control then they're going to make a profit, and I'm not just talking about drinking water."
On May 18th in front of City Hall, at a rally opposing the Veolia deal, Provincial Green Party leader James Beddome asked the crowd, "We don't have to use so much water to deal with our waste and if we have a private company how much control are we going to have over it? How much are we going to be able to direct that in the future? Or is that all going to be protected by the contract? I'm sure they've got their lawyers already working on that."
During the City Council debate on May 19th St. Boniface Ward Councillor Dan Vandal said "Once this is approved this afternoon and Veolia is managing our waste water for the next 30 years, they are going to do everything in their power to manage our water next...You can count on it." as reported by the Winnipeg Free Press.
Veolia has aggressively gone after control of water and promotion of privatizing water in countless countries. Although the plan for the utility said that water is to be fully owned and controlled by the utility, the deal leaves room for other expansions in its strategic partnership, which might include staff 'expertise' and 'technology transfer' for water. As well the plan and the utility model may be changed as there is no act governing it. We just formed a 30 year partnership with a company that we know is eyeing our water, and might just get it through its political influence, lawyers, industry experience and other resources.
This deal is all about water. It's about the water that goes down our drains and is flushed down our toilets. It's also about the water we swim, play and fish in. The point is that it's not exactly about drinking water...yet!