Mr. Speaker, today is World Water Day, a day to reflect on a resource we too often take for granted, a day to reaffirm our commitment to water as a public good.
There are over one billion people in the world without access to safe drinking water. Over 2.5 billion lack access to proper sanitation. Contaminated water kills over two million people annually, the majority of them children. One-half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from water-borne diseases.
In Canada, too many first nations must cope with having to boil their water before drinking it.
We need to pay more attention to our domestic freshwater supplies. For example, whether the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, or Lake Winnipeg, the federal government has not focused enough on these world-renowned water bodies.
The responsible stewardship of this fundamental resource requires that we prevent water from becoming a private good.
Water is vital to human health, to the integrity of our ecosystems, and to the strength of our economy. We need federal leadership on the issue of water. We need a true national water vision.