Opinion Column

B.C. selling out taxpayers

Bill Tieleman

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

The provincial government must start charging more for our water. (FILE PHOTO/QMI AGENCY)

The provincial government must start charging more for our water. (FILE PHOTO/QMI AGENCY)

“The marketers can compete with free; it just has to be better. Look at bottled water if you don't believe me.” - psychologist Jonathan Potter

Have you ever paid $2.25 for a bottle of water? Of course - you can pay a lot more if you go to a Vancouver Canucks game, a concert, movie theatre or restaurant.

So what if you could pay $2.25 not for a 500-ml bottle of water, not for a big office cooler full, but $2.25 for one million litres of water?

Sounds ridiculous given the retail price, but that’s the unbelievably low rate the BC Liberal government has given to giant multinational firm Nestle and others to extract fresh, clean groundwater to bottle and sell for exorbitant profits.

The price is so outrageous I have to repeat it - Nestle Waters Canada pays the province just $2.25 for each one million litres of water.

The total estimated price of all the water Nestle will bottle from B.C. in an entire year is - wait for it - just $562 a year.

But, if you can believe it, that’s an improvement - because until recently they got it all for free.

It must be nice to have an endless supply of potable water where you can take as much as you like, sell it for an enormous profit and pay a pittance at worst for millions of litres of liquid gold.

Unfortunately, I have to confess a terrible sin - I drink bottled water regularly - and mostly Nestle products.

I pay 50 cents a bottle - and I know I should be drinking tap water in the metal refillable container currently gathering dust in my house.

Don’t bother lecturing me - at least I’m drinking healthy water and hydrating myself - but this farce make me really rethink my willingness to line their pockets.

I feel apologetic, but Nestle doesn’t for its role.

“We’re investing millions of dollars in that plant. We employ 75 people [and] we pay millions of dollars in taxes,” said Nestle spokesman John Challinor in 2013.

Cry me a river. And at $2.25 a million litres, they can bloody well afford it.

Time to put a serious smart meter on the bottled water tap and make Nestle and others really pay.

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman  

Poll

Do you think it’s fair that Nestle pays $2.25 per million litres of B.C. water to use for their bottled water?

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions