Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
August 27, 2001
League taps into many sides of the value of water
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
CALGARY — The importance of water flowed through the Catholic Women's League's national convention here Aug. 12-15.
The words "I thirst" took on new meaning at the opening Mass on Aug. 11 as several CWL volunteers scurried around Holy Spirit Church dispensing glasses of water to convention-goers overcome by the sweltering August heat.
A few were assisted from the church after fainting as league members fanned themselves vigorously with their liturgy programs.
The next morning, about 750 Catholic women opened their national gathering by pouring water from across the country into a large, clear glass bowl, in a symbolic reference to Baptism.
They ended the convention a few days later by passing a resolution urging the federal government to protect the country's drinking water from contamination.
Delegates from every province and territory arrived at the Catholic Women's League 81st annual convention bearing bottles filled with water.
From the Mackenzie River in the North to the Courtney Powerhouse on Vancouver Island to the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, the waters from sea to sea to sea were poured together and blessed.
"As we bring the waters from all over our great country and join them together we are reminded of the new life we received through our Baptism," more than 750 women reflected in prayer.
"We are reminded that we have become one and it is through this unity that we are a sign of Christ to the world."
That unity was evident as a member from New Brunswick spoke on a resolution about water quality, citing a Sierra Club report, Waterproof, released late last year about the deteriorating quality of Canada's water.
Ann Marie Gorman spoke about the growing frequency of problems with drinking water along with the accompanying orders to boil the water arising in different parts of Canada.
Apart from last year's tragedy in Walkerton, Ont., concerns about drinking water contamination have been raised in recent weeks in Stettler, Ladysmith, B.C., and St. John's, Nfld.
Common water contaminants include human waste, household and garden products, chemical migration from waste disposal sites, and animal waste and pesticides carried by runoff.
Gorman said provinces and territories currently regulate the water supply and sets standards for water quality.
Instead, the same standards should apply throughout Canada for the well-being of every Canadian, she said. As it stands, there are only guidelines that are not legally binding.
A brief on the resolution presented by New Brunswick CWL said, "Water must be regularly tested and, if necessary, treated. National standards must be legislated and consistently applied . . . .
"Prevention, rather than treatment, provides the more effective protection against water contamination."
After discussion, the CWL unanimously passed the resolution urging the federal government to ensure national water quality standards.
In addition, they encouraged league members to become knowledgeable about water quality in their own communities.
"Water is the lifeblood of the environment and water quality is a matter of urgent health concern to all Canadians," said New Brunswick members.
"The same standards of water quality should apply throughout Canada for the well-being of every Canadian."
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