OTTAWA – An inquiry by New Democrat Water Critic Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior North) has revealed at least $2,478,073.02 in government spending on bottled water in the last fiscal year alone. The question on the House of Commons’ Order & Notice Paper also showed that $967,457.01 of this was spent by departments and agencies where safe drinking water from fountains or other public sources was readily available.
“It’s incredible that while other levels of government are cutting back on expensive bottled water, the federal government is making Canadians pay for more every year,” said Hyer.
“This last fiscal year, they spent almost two-and-a-half million on the bottle – including almost a million where perfectly safe drinking water was already available. At a time when the government is asking Canadians to start tightening their belts, they are guzzling more than ever,” said Hyer.
Hyer says, “Some departments and agencies did well over the last year, while others were bathing in expensive water. No money was spent on bottled water by Infrastructure Canada, the Canadian Space Agency, or the Public Service Commission; while the RCMP spent only $708.55. But Transport Canada spent $250,863.00, Health Canada spent $227,937.00, Environment Canada spent $129,097.00, Fisheries & Oceans $178,496.00, and Canadian Heritage spent $62,749.96”.
“An entire year’s worth of safe tap water for one person costs less than two bottles of water,” said Hyer. “So there are 34 departments who have some explaining to do – all of the money they spent on bottled water was spilled where perfectly safe drinking water was already available. Environment Canada drowned in $129,097.00, while Public Works was awash with $90,104.09 in expensive bottled water when not a single drop was really needed.”
“The worst part is that in the last year, seven government departments and agencies stopped tracking their bottled water expenditures – bringing the total to seventeen that were not able to report how much they spent,” Hyer concluded. “So departments like Industry Canada, Justice, and HRSDC won’t tell Canadian taxpayers how much they are getting hosed for.”