Water and Reconciliation
As I started to write this column, I paused to watch Pope Francis and his address at Maskwacis, Alberta. This public apology was an important and critical step in the long process of reconciliation. Beyond apology, he looked to full investigation, healing and recovery. Blessing of the waters was on his schedule. I have said many times that First Nations issues may not lie within the formal mandate of CWWA, but supporting reconciliation and recovery is in the mandate of every Canadian.
For many thousands of years, our First Nations have been the true stewards of the resources that make Canada so wonderful – among them our precious water. Yet so many First Nations communities and peoples are without access to this most essential resource. CWWA continues its commitment to reconciliation and recovery through the building of healthy communities developed with and by the First Nations with our fullest support and respect. The comment from the Pope that stuck with me was that “the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference”.
Our National Water & Wastewater Conference in Halifax will begin with a keynote address from the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority so that we may understand this governance model, its potential in Canada, and our role as Canada’s water utility leaders to support this and other initiatives.
In 2024, Canada will host the International Water Association’s World Water Congress where we hope to shine a light on our Indigenous water issues, but also invite an international dialogue on the health of indigenous communities around the world.