It is completely inappropriate for this movement to have any influence on the procurement policies at U of T, particularly where the personal health of its students is concerned. Too many student union leaders on Canadian campuses have delegated their thinking on bottled water to CUPE and other anti-bottled water advocates.
Cornwall - Nov. 9, 2011 - Rhiannon Kay recently wrote a column stating that "September marked the beginning of a bottle-free school for the University of Toronto. Bottled water is no longer being sold or distributed in most places on the University of Toronto campus. "
Today, we received an E-mail to the Editor" from the Director of Corporate Affairs of Nestle Canada. We have published it in its entirety below:
I read with interest the article written by Rhiannon Kay about bottled water that appeared in the November 7, 2011, edition of Our Hometown entitled, "University of Toronto now thinking outside of the bottle."
In the piece, Ms. Kay quotes University of Toronto student Leanne Rasmussen and Tap Water founder Racquel Youtzy who, unfortunately, based their objections to bottled water on information that has long been confirmed as false - mythology one typically finds on anti-bottled water activists' websites.
For those who require bottled water for health reasons, like coping with immune deficiencies, for those who are frequently on-the-go and for those who prefer the taste of bottled water, their access to water has been reduced, their basic right to choose denied and their fundamental freedom to purchase a legal, healthy and federally-regulated food product where ever they may be trampled on.
It is wholly legitimate for the anti-bottled water movement to express its misgivings about bottled water. It is completely inappropriate for this movement to have any influence on the procurement policies at U of T, particularly where the personal health of its students is concerned.
As Redeemer Pacific College professor Christopher Morrissey regretfully expressed recently, Canadian universities are increasingly witnessing a "colonizing of student minds" on a number of environmental, social and ethical matters.
In the case of bottled water, the bans are advocated by students' unions, but are orchestrated by outside organizations like the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Too many student union leaders on Canadian campuses have delegated their thinking on bottled water to CUPE and other anti-bottled water advocates.
McGill University professor Margaret Somerville is more pointed about the matter, writing that she believes, "it's important to protect our universities as spaces where open dialogue can be engaged in, especially in relation to ethics, and for us to be aware that those spaces are at substantial risk of being shut down in some of our universities, because of the impact of political correctness on Canadian university campuses."
The decision to ban the sale of bottled water at U of T was founded on a fiction about bottled water, justified by a plebiscite only a minority of students participated in and driven by special interests rather than reasoned procurement policies.
As a consequence, those staff and students who rely on bottled water for legitimate health reasons, the institution's operating budget and, ultimately, its academic reputation, will be poorer for it.
John B. Challinor II APR
Director of Corporate Affairs
Nestle Waters Canada
101 Brock Road South
Guelph, Ontario N1H 6H9
The views written in the Email to The Editor do not necessarily reflect the views of OurHometown.ca, nor does OurHometown.ca take any responsibility of the views stated by those who write to the editor.