The Spending Tour Continues
In what has become a pattern for Canada’s new government, Prime Minister Trudeau stopped by the University of Waterloo (Kitchener/Waterloo) this morning to pledge $12,000,000 to an academic and business partnership. Today’s recipient is S.O.W.C. (Southern Ontario Water Consortium) .
Stressing his now all too common theme, Trudeau informed the audience that this project is an example of how strong environment concerns and a strong economy can exist is equals. He claims that this funding will assist S.O.W.C. towards the eventual commercialization of waste water technology and creat3e “100’s of good jobs”.
In addition to the University of Waterloo and several other Ontario universities, the “Consortium” contains representatives of Dutch corporation, ARCADIS (climate change specialists); Hatch Canada (a firm also involved in route selection for transit) and Trojan Technologies (involved in ultra-violet water treatment).
Investment in Technology
There was a time when private sector corporations, by way of internal research and development did such research. The R&D tax credits provided are, apparently not sufficient incentive and thus we have a new model where we apparently have taxpayers (the eventual customer) funding the research. This is truly an interesting concept.
Interesting Timing, Odd Priorities
In mid November 2015, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre disclosed that the City of Montreal had dumped 4.9 billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.
Hundreds of First Nations communities throughout Canada continue to cope with water unfit for human consumption and thus requiring boiling before use. In Ontario (where Trudeau just announced this gift), Kashechewan as well as over 40 other Reserves have been attempting to cope with dirty water for years. It is certainly not lost on those of us who are Aboriginal that Trudeau’s concept of fairness is skewed.
$12,000,000 is a great deal of money and would have gone considerable distance towards protecting the health of FN families by way of repairs to water treatment infrastructure in those communities. In addition to the over 40 Ontario communities suffering from unfit drinking water, I can name at least 50 others (from Miawpukek along the Colle River to Kehewin in Alberta) who are presently denied safe and clean drinking water.
It is not going unnoticed that these (almost 100 First Nations Communities in Canada) are being denied a fundamental right promised under international law (Human Right to Water and Sanitation (HRWS), was recognized by the United Nations General Assembly on the 28 July 2010). Canada signed that law and committed to assuring that EVERY person in Canada is fully entitled to safe, clean drinking water. The famous 1982 Canadian Constitution of Mr. Trudeau’s much talked about father (Pierre Trudeau) goes further by promising that the rights of all persons must equally be protected.
While it is always nice to see science and technology being encouraged and, it is perfectly accurate to say that in 2016 over 13% of humans have serious water problems; I wonder about the priorities of this gift to S.O.W.C. today. With such widespread world-wide drinking water problems, there is most assuredly a very lucrative international market awaiting the various corporate beneficiaries of this $12,000,000 gift. In the mean time, people living on over 100 Reserves right here in Canada exist in third world conditions.
There is a paradox in this by which one would tell a person dying of thirst n and endless desert that IF they crawl for another few months/years, they are likely to happen upon an oasis somewhere in the far-off distance.
While using government money (therefore tax payer’s money) to fund research for future corporate commercialization and thereby remove the risk to the corporations, would it not be far fairer to first protect the health and well being of Canadians? Much of the damage to previously pristine drinking water in the communities (above) has been severely polluted as a result of corporate pollution from mining, forestry and paper production in those locations.
I question Mr. Trudeau’s sense of fairness.
Copyright Thunderbird Rising 2016
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