Margaret Trudeau leads Earth Day water walk
Margaret Trudeau, honorary president of the charity WaterCan, gives a pep talk on Tuesday to more than 100 walkers raising money for well and sanitation projects overseas. (DAVID P. BALL/ 24 HOURS)
Margaret Trudeau — mother of current federal Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau — joined more than 120 participants in an Earth Day walk Tuesday to raise money for African water projects.
She is honorary president of WaterCan, a charity which promotes clean water, hygiene and sanitation around the world as a means to reduce poverty.
The six-kilometre walk — sponsored by Aveda — fittingly started at the hair and beauty giant's Water Street storefront.
“That's the average that a woman and her daughters would walk carrying water,” Trudeau told 24 hours. “Usually that water is pretty filthy and can weigh 50 pounds on their heads. We'd like to take that walk and the drudgery of that walk away from them and give them a chance to start thriving.”
Trudeau described opening a well for WaterCan in several Ugandan villages, and when she returned two years later the changes were obvious — women told her their children weren't dying.
“It certainly inspired me, seeing the difference it makes in women's lives,” said Andrea Hill, Aveda's Robson Street location manager. “I had an opportunity to go to Ethiopia last year and see the work that we've done and meet the people affected by the money we're raising for this walk — it's dramatic.”
Trudeau said her passion for water “as a human right” goes back to when she was married to former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
“We travelled the world, and I saw — because we couldn't help but see — that the difference between a thriving community and a suffering one was water,” she said.