Polaris Institute Statement: Concordia University is Canada’s newest bottled water free campus

April 8, 2011 - The Polaris Institute congratulates the Concordia University administration for taking this important step towards a more sustainable and just campus. A special applause goes to the students who organized the successful TAPthirst campaign that was instrumental in this incredible outcome.

By phasing out the sale of bottled water from vending machines on the Loyola and Sir George Williams campuses and by committing to upgrade drinking fountains to accommodate reusable drink containers, Concordia University is making a serious commitment to responsible environmental practices.

Since when is bottled water a threat to the Prime Minister?

The Council of Canadians and the Polaris Institute are shocked that, according to media reports, a Guelph University student was denied entrance to a Stephen Harper campaign event because she opposed the sale of bottled water on her university campus.

While this is another egregious example of the Conservative party’s draconian efforts to exclude Canadians from its political rallies, in this case Conservative party officials appear to have blocked a university student for simply trying to create a more sustainable campus by promoting public tap water.

“How could the Conservatives think this is acceptable?” asked Brent Patterson, Director of Campaigns at the Council of Canadians.

Video Game Makes Tar Sands an Election Issue

OTTAWA, March 29 /CNW/ - Today the Polaris Institute re-launched TarNation a popular political video game aimed at highlighting Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff's unwillingness to take action on the environmentally destructive tar sands. Players spray oil at Conservative and Liberal party leaders to get them out of the tar sands.

"Harper and Ignatieff need the most encouragement to help Canada shift away from dirty oil and towards a more sustainable green economy" Says Tony Clarke, Executive Director of the Polaris Institute.

Play game: www.tarsandswatch.org/tar-nation-play-game-now

For further information:
Contact: Richard Girard, 613 237-1717 105
Richard (at) polarisinstitute.org

Important new report on the Great Lakes

The Council of Canadians released a new report on World Water Day outlining a critical plan to protect the great lakes.

See the report here

About the report from the Council of Canadians' website:

Our Great Lakes Commons: A People’s Plan to Protect the Great Lakes Forever is an in-depth report about the critical importance of forging a new future for the Great Lakes watershed, which provides life and livelihood to more than 40 million people in Canada and the United States, as well as thousands of species that live around it.

Written by Maude Barlow, the paper is intended to serve as a background and a call to understanding and action on a new proposal to designate the Great Lakes and its tributary waters as a lived Commons, to be shared, protected, carefully managed and enjoyed by all who live around them.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Says Nestle Waters Canada Exploiting World Water Day

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - March 22, 2011) - CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh is joining a chorus of water activists who say Nestlé Waters Canada, a private water company, is exploiting World Water Day for profit.

CUPE says the company issued a press release alerting the media that company executive John Challinor II will be accepting calls from the press on World Water Day (today) to talk about the company's "policies on water management and conservation."

The Inside the Bottle coalition – which CUPE is a part of – is encouraging its supporters to call John Challinor II today and let him know that water is not something that can be bought and sold for profit.

World Water Day Statement from the Water Justice Movement March 22, 2011

On World Water Day 2011, with water justice activists around the world mobilizing to assert the right to water and sanitation for people and communities, to preserve water as part of an ecological trust and to ensure that water is democratically controlled by the people in the public interest, we issue this short statement to reflect on both recent victories towards implementation the right to water as well as the challenges and threats that remain ahead.

We are heartened by passage this past year of two resolutions within the UN system that have further affirmed the right to water and the obligations governments must fulfill to uphold this right. The first resolution, passed in July 2010 in the UN General Assembly was championed by leading countries in Latin America, including Bolivia, as well as other countries in the global South, and its passage marked the first time this body had gone on record formally acknowledging the right to water and sanitation.

Action Alert!

The Swiss multinational Nestlé wants to extend its Permit to Take Water with the Ontario Provincial Government. The company currently has permission from the Province of Ontario to take 3.6 million litres of water from an aquifer near Guelph to bottle its Pure Life Brand of bottled water. It is now asking the province to extend this permit for 10 years!!!!!!!!!

We need your help to stop this from happening.

Please send your comments to the Ontario Provincial Government directly via email to:

You can also mail your comments to:

West Central Region
Permit to take Water Evaluator
Ministry of Environment
Operations Division
West Central Regional Office
119 King Street West
Floor 12
Hamilton, Ontario.

Provide your own comments or copy and paste the following sample:
(adapted from the Wellington Water Watchers Submission http://tinyurl.com/4gbe9mo)

I am opposed to the renewal of this Permit To Take Water for the following reasons:

Thousands Mark Canada’s Second Bottled Water Free Day

For immediate release

OTTAWA ––Today, people across Canada and around the world are marking the second Bottled Water Free Day.

“Canadians are rejecting the privatization of public water resources and pledging to toss the bottle and go back to the tap,” said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. “While Bottled Water Free Day started in Canada last year, this year it has spread to five continents.”

Organized by the Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Sierra Youth Coalition, Polaris Institute, and Development and Peace, Bottled Water Free Day aims to raise awareness about the negative impacts of bottled water and the need to defend public water resources and infrastructure.

“Across the country students are standing up for public water,” added Shelley Melanson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “A dozen campuses have already banned the bottle and brought back the tap.”

Despite Nestlé's behest, the City of London decides not to repeal Bottled Water ban!

For Immediate Release

March 1, 2011

Last night the City of London upheld its commitment to promoting public drinking water by rejecting pressure from the bottled water industry to rescind its 2008 bottled water ban. Dozens of municipalities, universities, colleges and school boards across Canada have taken similar steps to provide accessible drinking water in facilities, promote the quality of municipal drinking water, and phase out the bottle.

New Polaris Institute report about the prospects for an electric car industry in Canada in the age of climate change

February 10, 2011 - A new report is being released today by the Polaris Institute called, “Electric Car Report: What are the prospects for an electric car industry in Canada and is this a real or false solution for climate change.” The report contributes to the ongoing discussion about the greening of automobiles by highlighting how Canada could become a production centre for electric vehicles and raising important questions about the role of electric vehicles in mitigating climate change.

You can access the report here

For questions and inquiries please contact:

Richard Girard, 613 237-1717 ext 105 richard@polarisinstitute.org

Excerpt from the introduction: