Tonight I had the astounding pleasure in meeting Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, in Guelph, Ontario. Originally I had planned on arriving early, getting a good seat and all that jazz, but I was late. I got lucky, but I was late. On arrival, I got to sign a few petitions to help protect water sources in the area, as well as meeting Maude and having a book signed. I was ecstatic. Not because I idolize this woman, but because I idolize her intelligence. Her passion. Her ideology in regards to protecting our land, air and water. Her big, beautiful brain.
The first speaker Arlene Slocombe spoke from a local perspective, talking about how Nestle is invading their land in hopes to obtain permits to extract more water from Wellington County. They are already extracting water from two wells, and in process to extract from a third in Alberfoyle. The uproar is loud. The audience before her booed and booed, all in unison. The thing with licenses and permits, they expire but Arlene compared an expired driver's license to Nestle's expired water extraction license, and felt compelled to share with us that there is no fine, no charges, no real stress at all for the multinational corporation. But for us? If we drove with an expired license, we are fined, charged, and deemed unworthy of the privilege.
Where do we draw the line?
Where do corporations end, and people begin? I have a bit of a problem. I like to humanize. I like to think that at the bottom of every smelly, corporate pig, is a person who is someone's child or someone's parent. I like to think that behind the facades that these CEOs and executives are still people too. Like you and me. Yet so many actions and statements significantly say otherwise.
Maude was pleasant. She could have tore into Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the chairman of Nestle but I would like to say she was fair. She painted him in a light you would be blinded by. That's how it felt for me. I was blind. I've read articles before that mention him saying 'water is not a human right' but hearing it from Maude, it just became that much more surreal. I do not like to not like people, but if there were someone not to like, it might just be this man.
The event itself gathered I want to guess, over 100 folks at the Harcourt United Church. All different ages: kids, teenagers, parents, grandparents. The plethora was there. And I am glad I was too. When you're surrounded by so many people who care and are revolutionaries in their own ways, it really helps unify and collectively produce a solid foundation.
I will be submitting a review of Boiling Point on here within the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
The Council of Canadians is launching a national campaign to boycott Nestle. They will be promoting this campaign starting tomorrow.
There will also be a direct action this Monday September 26 at 630pm outside the Guelph City Hall, hosted by the Wellington Water Watchers, more information can be found here http://wellingtonwaterwatchers.ca/event/pack-guelph-council-chambers/
About the Author
Robyn Sifton is a Mcmaster University graduate, social media guru and website moderator for Hamilton 350 and a full-time advocate for clean air, water and land. #BoycottNestle