Blue Communities campaign ‘a Trojan horse-like treatise’

Dear editor,

I read with interest about Comox Valley municipalities being encouraged to consider a bottled water ban.

Dear editor,

I read with interest about Comox Valley municipalities being encouraged to consider a bottled water ban.

While Council of Canadians’ Comox Valley Chapter member Linda Safford is to be commended for her commitment to environmental sustainability, the Blue Communities Project is not an environmental initiative — it’s a political campaign being waged by the Canadian Union of Public Employees against the Canadian beverage industry and its 13,000 employees.

CUPE national president Paul Moist acknowledged this in recent correspondence in the Owen Sound Sun Times, Toronto Sun and Waterloo Chronicle when he wrote, “Nestlé spokesperson John Challinor is partly right about CUPE’s joint work with the Council of Canadians on bottled water. The Blue Communities Project is absolutely a political campaign. What could be more appropriate than grassroots activism that invites our elected local representatives to have a democratic, public debate about how scarce municipal tax dollars should be spent.”

In receiving Ms. Safford’s presentation and taking no further action, councils in the Town of Comox, City of Courtenay and Comox Valley Regional District clearly recognize this resolution for what it is — a Trojan horse-like treatise developed solely to encourage municipalities to ban the sale of bottled water in their facilities under the guise of human rights and infrastructure management.

These councils should be commended for exercising critical, independent thinking in the face of an overly simplified, factually incorrect, feel-good resolution prepared by the council and CUPE about complex matters that either eliminates future viable policy alternatives or extends well beyond their municipalities’ legislative authority.

We agree with the council and CUPE that water is a human right. And given that Canada has a $21-billion water and sewer infrastructure deficit resulting in, among other things, more than 1,500 boil-water orders across the country last year, we also support continued investment in our municipal systems.

Where we draw the line with the council and CUPE is their misguided and misleading attempts to ban the sale of bottled water in public facilities. Bottled water does not compete with tap water. More than 70 per cent of Canadians drink both. They consume tap water at home and bottled water on-the-go for proper hydration, better health and simple convenience.

Purchasing bottled water does not impact much-needed investments in Canada’s water and sewer infrastructure. Canadians pay local, provincial and federal taxes with the expectation that a portion of those funds will be invested to properly maintain their municipal water systems. They spend their disposable income on a myriad of consumer items, including bottled water.

About 80 per cent of plastic beverage containers, including bottled water, were recycled in B.C. last year, according to Encorp Pacific, the provincial steward responsible. The Canadian beverage industry is working with government and consumers to improve on that diversion rate through such initiatives as public spaces recycling.

John B. Challinor II,

Guelph, Ont.

Editor’s note: John B. Challinor is the director of corporate affairs for Nestlé Waters Canada.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Of Bears at Fridges, drinking Planes and Cinderella’s Shoe” is Jordis Trumby’s first children’s book. Photo supplied.
Courtenay author writes, illustrates first children’s book

When is a collaboration not a collaboration? At first glance, Courtenay author… Continue reading

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Gas prices jump in the Valley – and experts predict prices to rise even more

“We still could be talking about record prices…”

NIC Practical Nursing instructor Barb McPherson (right) is pictured with student Rebecca Wood in 2018 in NIC’s SIM lab. NIC photo
Learn about Practical Nursing opportunities for Island students

Students interested in exploring a future in health care are invited to… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is hoping to see more bike lines in the Cumberland area. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cycling coalition wants better bike links for Cumberland

Group says members want more connections with Comox Valley

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

Most Read