Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 17, 2005
Religious leaders launch water campaign
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Christian leaders gathered in an Ottawa Park Oct. 6 to launch Water: Life before Profit, a campaign to urge
Canadians to fight efforts to privatize water supplies both at home and abroad.
"Water is necessary for life," Gatineau-Hull Archbishop Roger Ebacher, chair of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) social affairs commission, told the gathering of about 40 people at Vincent Massey Park.
"We don't think enough about what happens in other countries," Ebacher said, noting that in South America, Africa and Asia, millions of the world's poor do not have access to safe water.
Ebacher described access to clean water as a fundamental right, necessary for the common good, and "justice and equality for all."
He warned that access to water is being further threatened through pressures to privatize water supplies, making water too costly for many poor families and leaving control of the resource out of public hands.
A joint project of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) and KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, the water campaign kicked off with the support of Canadian Church leaders and representatives of eight denominations.
Bill Janzen of the Mennonite Central Committee pointed out that while Canada has an abundance of clean water, Walkerton, Ont., and North Battleford, Sask., have experienced the devastation of polluted water supplies.
Andrew Hutchinson, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said members of a Cree nation living in Northern Manitoba are living on bottled water because a provincial hydro development spoiled their water supply.
"Bottled water has a higher cost per litre than gasoline," Hutchinson said.
Elizabeth Eilor, a director of the African Women's Economic Policy Network in Uganda, said that water in Africa was a "matter of life and death."
"Water does not have a substitute, just like we do not have a substitute for Jesus Christ," she said.
More information on the water campaigns can be found at www.devp.org.