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Congrats to Maude Barlow for being named to UN water adviser post.

You may know Maude Barlow from her work as Chairperson at the Council of Canadians. You may be hearing more about her in the upcoming future, as she has been named by the UN to be it’s first senior adviser in water issues:

Barlow..will work with the current president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. D’Escoto extolled on Barlow’s ability to “combine humanitarian vision with a practical approach to problem solving” and has expressed support for her crusade, calling water a “human right as basic as the air we breathe.” The United Nations estimates 42,000 people die every week from diseases related to bad water and poor sanitation.

I haven’t noticed the Conservative government issuing any press releases yet congratulating a prominent Canadian citizen (apparently dubbed by the international media as “the Al Gore of water”) for receiving such an honour to this international posting, but then, this Conservative government is rather apt to not congratulate Canadian citizens which are opposed to its agenda, and that would be an apt description for Ms. Barlow, who will be pressuring Canada on the water issue:

Barlow said there’s “growing momentum” in the international community for water justice but will focus some of her attention on her home country.”I also plan to take this opportunity to get the Canadian government to change its shameful position, and to finally join the international community in recognizing water as a human right,” said Barlow.

Barlow is referring to the fact that Canada opposed a UN resolution this year recognizing water as a basic human right. If the Cons. have issued such a congratulatory statement, I’ll be the first to give them credit. In the meantime, best of luck to her on the new position.

12 comments to Congrats to Maude Barlow for being named to UN water adviser post.

  • James

    I think the logistics of moving water to Africa is going to prevent bulk water sales (or donations) from ever being shipped overseas, but pipelines to our neighbor and biggest trading partner are feasible in the near future.

  • Ted

    Water, as well as food is needed for survival. Basic needs should be met. Having said that, we do not give away our wheat, we sell it. Water is no different.
    We can give water to those who are dying of thirst(we give wheat to those dying of hunger). I see no problem selling water to anyone who has the resources or willingness to pay (ie. the US, Saudi Arabia).

  • James

    Long standing policy can change.

    We were the party of Free Trade for over a 100 years before Turner latched onto the nutty views of Barlow and Hurtig, and than Chretien brought us right back to our Free Trader roots.

    Maybe the next leader can see the benefit to the country that Bulk Water exports could be? I’m not sold on it, and agree that there are many problems with it, but at least we should consider it as policy.

  • @James

    Uh..the Liberals long standing policy has been to refuse to bulk export water. You sure you’re in the right party, James?

  • James

    As a Liberal, I hope the party looks at water exporting during the policy conference in May. With this resource becoming more and more valuable, we the orginal party of Free Trade should look to bettering Canada’s future by selling it.

  • The Rat

    The pertinent distinction here is between ‘giving’ and ’selling’. If water is sold, it becomes a commodity. If it becomes a commodity, it will have a price determined by the market. If it has a price, then those who cannot pay that price will be denied.

    I think you need to think that through. Whether it is sold or given, if I have some and you have none, and it is your human right to have water, you will be entitled to take some. So Canada has water, the US needs water, it becomes a human rights issue and either way, sell or give, we end us having to ship them water. In this case we (as you and me) are the evil capitalists who have the water and the Americans are the poor Bolivian peasants who need it. Do you still want to make water a basic human right?

  • Don’t you think there is some hypocrisy here? Canada’s representative says to the world that drinking water is ‘a human right’, yet the legislated Federal drinking water standard of Canada does not apply to Canada’s own native reserves! No standards to protect the drinking water quality of native children on our reserves!

  • pale

    Ms Barlow is a great choice…

    As for the first commenter here….Now thats a spin cycle…

    Too funny.
    Actually…..Whenever there is some sort of “agreement” with the US, we here in Canada seem to get left with no stick, not even the short end.
    I don’t think that you get that water is NOT a commodity.
    Ask the people in India who lost all water rights to coca cola.

    The cons don’t give a flying fug about “rights”. Their mission is to sell us off bit by bit. And the head office in Washington wants water ON the table.
    I realize that commenter number 1 is possibly a climate change denier to boot….But with what is coming, we are going to need to sustain clean water sources. (and add what is happening to water in the Tar sands)

    I highly recommend Ms Barlow’s books. Filled with facts and data. Yes, I know its not as fun as superstition and mythology but they would be far more informative.

  • Phillip Huggan

    One prerequisite for stewarding water is to chart it. We still don’t know where the world’s aquifers are. Example, the oil industry has successfully lobbied the AB government not to chart aquifers, knowing full well oil pollutes water.
    There are a vareity of desalination methods. It will be iportant to determine which one is the easiest to scale up, both for brackish ground water and for sea water.
    The melting of the Himalayas has the potential to kill billions. It will be important to cost the value of lives lost, GDP lost, globalized workers lost, if Harper-ish global GHG policies prevail.

  • Rat –

    The pertinent distinction here is between ‘giving’ and ‘selling’. If water is sold, it becomes a commodity. If it becomes a commodity, it will have a price determined by the market. If it has a price, then those who cannot pay that price will be denied.

    Do a quick Google for ‘water, privatization, Bolivia’ and you’ll see what I mean.

  • Ted

    Maude Barlow?…she was one of those isolationists opposed to NAFTA. The Herbert Hoover economics of trade barriers that makes the world poor.
    If a congrats from the Feds will make the hard left happy, I am sure the government will oblige.

  • The Rat

    Barlow is referring to the fact that Canada opposed a UN resolution this year recognizing water as a basic human right.

    Don’t you think it odd that Maude Barlow supports water as a human right but opposes water exports to the US? I mean, if it’s a “human right” wouldn’t we be violating that right if we refuse to give/sell water to those in need? In fact, might that not be WHY the Conservatives oppose listing water as a basic right?

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