Today I learned that, sadly, the City of Guelph seems to have been convinced by the bottled water lobby to pull a screening of a documentary about the issue. In Barrie, we've also seen similar pressure from the industry, and below are a series of letters that ran in the local paper in response to my column, plus the (current) final result for Barrie.
This was the first letter, in response to my first column, which spawned my second column.
Banning bottled water not the answer (May 8)(Re: 'Plenty of ways to keep our beautiful city squeaky clean' in the May 3 edition of the Examiner)
Water bottle issue 'muddied': LETTER OF THE DAY (May 14)
Bottled water not banned (May 22)
Meanwhile, Mr. Challinor had also written a letter in response to my second column:
Column dilutes water facts (May 18)(Re: 'City heads must leads residents back to the taps' in the May 10 edition of the Examiner)
I read with interest the column written by Erich Jacoby-Hawkins. While I studiously avoid he said/she said debate through the editorial pages of local newspapers, the comments by Mr. Jacoby-Hawkins require a reply.
I must say that of all of his spin, the part I take greatest exception to is his accusation that "His information related to recalls is simply false." No, it's not - it's fully documented here.
Anyhow, back to letters, as Don again came to my defense:
Flood of missing information in letter (May 22)
And for good measure, Don also responded to Challinor's response to him:
Facts do hold water (May 30)(Re: 'Bottled water not banned' in the May 23 edition of the Examiner)
I see John Challinor of Nestle Waters Canada is at it again. His playing three card monte with the facts would be comical if it weren't so disconcerting.
He makes the claim that, in a previous letter to the editor, I had made "a number of statements about bottled water that have long been confirmed as false."
Yet, of all the information I , presented he could only cite one statement he found erroneous.
And he even got that wrong.
Mr. Challinor writes "contrary to what was stated (by me), the province of Manitoba has not banned the sale of bottled water in its facilities."
What I wrote was that "the Manitoba government actually banned the use of provincial funds to purchase single-use plastic water bottles."
Manitoba Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie said, at the time: "We believe, by taking this step, we are leading by example and encouraging Manitobans to move away from using single-use bottled water."
I had forgotten to mention at the time that Nova Scotia enacted a similar ban on purchasing bottled water a year before Manitoba did.
Perhaps in the future, Nestle Waters can use some of the profits it makes from its overpriced, unnecessary product to pay for a proofreader, or fact-checker.
Don MacNeil, Simcoe Region Chapter of Council of Canadians (Barrie)
If you've read this far, you probably agree that Challinor lost the battle of the letters. Unfortunately, he won the battle at Council - for now, anyway. And he's trying to do the same in Guelph. I hope that their valiant letter writers will have more success than we did.
p.s. Apologies for the weird formatting, Blogger seems to have trouble with cut-and-paste from some websites.