Water is a fundamental right, but according to the United Nations we are one the best countries to live in. Canada is considered a world leader in fighting for human rights yet hundreds of thousands of First Nations, Inuit and Métis continue to suffer in third world conditions.
Many of us have seen the phrase posted everywhere 'Water is Life'. Yet the sacred water that has given us all life and is the veins to Mother Earth continues to be mistreated with contaminants and pollutants.
It does not matter what you hear about our water across Canada it must be treated with chemicals (Chlorine)to rid the water of water-borne diseases. The truth is, if we did not add chemicals to the water we would all be dead in as little as two days!
It is estimated that 3.5 million people die yearly because of water-borne diseases and this is because of illnesses caused by unclean water.
Maude Barlow, Chair of the Council of Canadians states that when water is seen as a "Human Right" it creates three obligations for the nation.
1. The obligation to respect
2. The obligation to protect
3. The obligation to fulfill
Within Canada there are roughly 634 First Nations in Canada and regardless of the water mandate many of these communities are living under drinking water advisories that require them to boil their tap water, or avoid drinking the water completely, because of contamination.
Canada is failing its obligations to protect and fulfill the human right to water in aboriginal communities.
Just look at the contamination that occurred in Walkerton, Ontario where there were seven deaths and thousands of cases documenting illness in 2000.
Our Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada argue that getting sick from drinking water for Canadians remains low, however they also say that their exerts have determined what a safe amount of chlorine is for human consumption and that on-going studies still need to be done to determine the severity of the by-products from the chlorine and the connections to cancer.
They further state that if you are not happy with your water in your community or municipality then you should research and install a certified water purification system in your home.
Despite the fact that Canada has the world's third largest per-capita freshwater reserve, the water many Indigenous communities depend on is contaminated, difficult to access, or at risk due to faulty treatment systems.