2019 Federal Election: Where do the main political parties stand on access to clean drinking water?
During the 2015 federal election campaign, the soon-to-be Prime Minister, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau committed to ending long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations communities by 2021.
There are 3 types of drinking water advisories: boil water, do not consume, and do not use. In Canada, the most common advisories are boil water notices where communities are advised to boil water for at least one minute before drinking, brushing their teeth, or cooking. Additionally, they are warned not to use tap water to bathe infants, toddlers, or the elderly. A long-term drinking water advisory is a water advisory which has been in effect for over 12 months.
When the Liberals came to power there were “93 different communities under 133 different boil-water advisories”. According to government statistics, over the past 4 years, 87 long-term drinking water advisories have been lifted after an investment of $2 billion leaving 56 still in effect.
With the election tomorrow (October 21), we thought we’d kick off the Canoe for Clean Water Blog with a quick guide to each of the key party’s stances on the issue of access to clean drinking water. This blog does not critique or endorse any of these of these platforms but is merely an attempt to highlight the various positions and promises.
The Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal Party has committed to fulfilling the promises made in 2015 by reaffirming their commitment to eliminating long-term drinking water advisories on reserves by March 2021 and ensuring that water stays safe to drink so these advisories don’t remerge. They plan to achieve this by improving water infrastructure on reserves, as well as monitoring to prevent short-term issues from developing into long-term advisories.
Green Party of Canada
The Green Party has announced that they will develop a national strategy to end drinking and boil water advisories, regardless of length, by investing and upgrading critical infrastructure to ensure safe water access in every community. They do not provide a specific timeline.
New Democratic Party
The NDP has promised to ensure clean water and eliminate all drinking water advisories by 2021 with the support of Indigenous-led water management training programs. The parliamentary budget office has stated that $1.8 billion is the minimum capital investment needed to meet First Nations’ clean water needs and the NDP has committed to finding this money to be included in their budget.
Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservative Party’s has also committed to continued support for efforts to end long-term drinking water advisories, although they do not provide specific actions.