Pure Life, Vittel, S,Pellegrino, Perrier... Take a close look at the brand name on the label of your next bottle of drinking water. All the above names spell one thing: their producer is none other than Nestle and you may have heard about them recently. It may be you've just paid for something that as a citizen of Ontario is rightfully yours anyway. In our current long period of austerity and government withdrawal from economic responsibilities from at least the 1980's it comes as no surprise that governments continue to sell off public assets and/or rent them for prices that the market, the neo-liberal criterion for all things bright and beautiful, would reject. The Ontario government's recent virtual give away of key water resources at Aberfoyle, near Guelph, Ontario to beverage giant Nestle is a shock only because of the scale of its public generosity to private interests.Is it too much to expect that the benefits of Canada's resources best serve social, rather than private, good as a real social economy requires they should?
The reality of another gutless public regime withdrawing from its duty to best protect our common heritage is depressingly at one with mainstream policy by many western political parties in these times of self-imposed austerity. If nothing else, the virtual give-away of Ontario water to Nestle should ignite long shell-shocked public indignation and awaken a move to "repatriate" our common resources from the marketplace. Maintaining our waterways free of pollution is key, but ensuring our birthrights serve the long-term public interest is fundamental to a progressive politics dedicated to the common good.