Friday, April 8, 2011

Ipso Facto Election Coverage 2011

There's nothing Canadians love more than our frequent federal elections.  Except perhaps anything.  But whether you're for or against, election season is again upon us!  Ipso Facto is bringing you interviews with the candidates and parties and we want to know: what answers do you want from the candidates?  Do you have a pressing query about the state of post-secondary education in Canada?  Or do you just want to know when that damn bridge is being built to Detroit?  We know you have questions, so let us know so we can ask them!

To listen to our first interview with Green Party organizer Rebecca Harrison click here.  On April 13th tune in at 8 AM to hear our interview with Windsor-West Liberal candidate Melanie Deveau.  We also have interviews scheduled with the Conservative Party of Canada, and the Pirate Party of Canada.  Watch the blog for more updates on our election coverage.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ashley Smith inquiry

Today's episode was an interview with Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Canadian Elizabeth Fry Society.  Listen to the episode here.

If you want more information on the Elizabeth Fry Society, you can find the Canadian Elizabeth Fry Society here.

Lastly, here's a link to the excellent 5th Estate episode about Ashley Smith's death.

Monday, January 10, 2011

We're Back!

Anyone else remember this movie?

Welcome to 2011 friends!  I hope Santa and/or Moses was kind to you this holiday season.  As for the Ipso team, we got what we were all hoping for: more textbooks to buy!

Before I get to Ipso Facto news, some tidbits from over the holidays.  One of our first interviewee's, Nathalie Des Rosiers of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, was named a nation builder of the year by the Globe and Mail.  Congrats to Nathalie!

We also want to congratulate our friends at the Law Enforcement Accountability Project for winning a 2010 Clawbie!

Now for the Ipso news.  This Wednesday, January 12th 2010 marks our first live show since the break.  And we're starting with an absolutely great episode.  Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, joins us to discuss the Ashley Smith inquiry. Ashley Smith was a juvenile offender who died while in custody. Her death has raised many questions about how young offenders and people with mental disabilities are treated in our prison system. Tune in at 8 AM on CJAM 99.1 FM Windsor/Detroit or on

Ipso is also looking for a new member of our editorial board.  We need a promotions exec to run our facebook and twitter, and contribute the odd blog post.  Give us a shout at if this sounds like it's up your alley.  We don't need a resume, but we do need a few words on what makes you social media savvy, or just why you want to get involved. 

Coming soon: Podcasting so that you can work out to the sounds of Ipso, as well as more promotions.  All of us at Ipso are thrilled to continue working on the show and see it grow this year.  Thanks to all our listeners and supporters for making it happen!

Also; did you know the Golden ticket contest is still going on at CJAM?  Better get those entries in before it's too late!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ipso Facto Update!

Hey gang.  You'll have noticed things have been quiet on the Ipso blog of late.  That's because the Ipso Facto team has been busy prepping our pre-recorded episodes for the winter break, studying for exams, writing papers, and working on our Christmas lists to send to Santa (Madeleine is really hoping for the hardcover delux edition of Black's Law Dictionary; H.G. can't keep her eyes off of this).

We will be updating with all new content in the new year.  However, we wanted to remind you of two important CJAM events coming up.

Firstly, make sure to buy your Golden tickets.  You have till December 15th to win tickets for a year to a venue of your choosing.

Secondly, Wednesday December 22, 2010, is Joe Strummer Day at CJAM.  We'll be celebrating the man by playing his music and highlighting poverty issues in Windsor/Detroit.  Ipso will be taking part, so make sure to listen in from 8-9 AM.

Lastly, if you've missed any Ipso Facto episodes over the last month, check them all out here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ipso Facto OpEd: Gamers can be normal too

Disclaimer: Ipso Facto editorials represent the views of the author, and do not represent the views of the Ipso Facto editorial board, CJAM 99.1 FM, the University of Windsor, or the University of Windsor Faculty of Law.  

I am a 25 year old adult male who still plays video games.  I have played video games as far back as I can remember.  My parents used to purchase video games for my brothers and me at Christmas, at our birthdays and other special occasions.  Yet looking back over my video game collection I noticed that I never had any games that were rated M for Mature (17 years of age and above) when I was young.  Once I was over 17 I was able to purchase these types of games for myself.  So I was never given games that were outside of my age limit (with the exception of a few games rated T for Teen (13 or older) when I was below the age of 13).  My parents exercised their ability to monitor the games that I was able to play, without the need of government intervention.

Although Ontario does have a prohibition on the sale of mature rated video games to anyone under the age of 18; it is simply an enforcement by the province of the voluntary Electronic Software Ratings Board ratings.  In the US the law will have the government doing the ratings, making it a complete government regulated body that will prohibit the sale of “deviant” violent video games to minors. 

It is easy to see how this debate is such a hot button political issue. As Tudor Carsten said on the air Wednesday morning on Ipso Facto it is easy to score political points when you say you want to keep violent video games out of the hands of the children.   If one was to make a statement that he or she doesn’t mind allowing 12 year olds buying a brutally violent game they will be massacred on the news.  They will most likely be voted out in the next election when their opponent plays that clip over and over in an attack ad campaign.  It is a vicious cycle that allows laws like this to move through the system.

I feel that I have developed into a normal, everyday sane human being despite my exposure to violent video games.   Video games were a great escape, like a good book or movie, but I had control over what was going to happen.   Even now I have several games on my wish list that involve war, or assassins.  All of the friends that grew up around me played the same kinds of games.  They all turned out to be normal, everyday sane human beings as well.  

It is my opinion that the law should not be used to push around such hot button political issues, but instead should focus on the more important aspects of society.  They said similar things about the effects of movies and rap music, but neither of those forms of media have brought about the cataclysmic events that were foretold.  The legal system of the United States should have better things to do than discuss whether a 15 year old can buy a copy of the newest M rated video game. 

(As an aside, I do find it very comical that the case is Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California v Entertainment Merchants Association since Arnold is one of the most prolific violent action heroes in movie history)

Michael Spagnolo is a member of the Ipso Facto editorial board.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CJAM has a Golden Ticket for you!


CJAM is proud to announce it’s biggest giveaway to date. CJAM 99.1FM has teamed with the area’s finest music venues and promoters to create the ‘Golden Ticket’ campaign.
CJAM will be selling raffle tickets over the coming weeks for a chance to win a Ticket for either The Majestic, Phog Lounge or Sinnastar Promotions that would allow the bearer access to every live music performance in the year of 2011. This unique promotion has never  been done at CJAM or in the greater Windsor-Detroit area. With prize values totaling over $5000, winning a ‘Golden Ticket’ is the most exciting prospect possible for fans of live music.
Raffle tickets will be sold for $5 each or 3 for $10 with all proceeds raised going towards CJAM’s goal of increasing it’s wattage to create greater accessibility to the station throughout Windsor and Detroit. The raffle tickets will be sold until December 15th/2010 with an on-air draw and announcement of winners happening on Monday, December 20th at 3:15pm.
Raffles tickets can be purchased at the following locations:
CJAM Studios – CAW Student Centre, University of Windsor
Phog Lounge – 157 University Ave. West, Windsor
Dr.Disc Records – 471 Ouellette Ave., Windsor
Call the station for further details: 519-971-3606
Sounds like a pretty wonderful study/practice break, does it not?  If you want to buy tickets, contact one of your friends at Ipso Facto at

Gene Wilder not included

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Virtual Legal Reality

Tomorrow on Ipso Facto, we're talking video games.  In California a ban on selling violent video games to minors has faced multiple constitutional hurdles.  Does banning video games infringe peoples right to freedom of expression?  Does violence in video games breed violence in kids?

 Tomorrow, we'll find out.  We're talking with Tudor Carsten, a lawyer with Davis LLP in Toronto whose area of expertise is cyber law.  He also regularly contributes to Davis' very popular Video Game Law Blog.

We'll also be joined by Anton van Hamel, an intern with the Children's Media Awareness Network, to discuss what current research says about the effect of video games on youths.

Ipso Facto is broadcast every Wednesday at 8 AM on CJAM 99.1 FM, and on

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ipso Facto Feature: The No-Nonsense Guide to Ending Human Trafficking

This week the Canadian Lawyers Abroad Windsor Chapter hosted the Stop Sex Trafficking Campaign in partnership with The Body Shop and Beyond Borders.   The campaign seeks to raise awareness of sex trafficking in Canada and petition the Federal government to form a National Plan of Action to stop the sexual exploitation of children in Canada.  Body Shop’s Happy Hands kind Heart Hand Cream were sold with 100% of the net proceeds going to Beyond Borders to help support victims of trafficking.

 There is a commonly held misconception that slavery was abolished long ago, however, this is not the case.  Modern-day slavery is human trafficking.  Millions of victims (predominantly women and children) are being controlled and exploited for profit through forced labour and sex slavery.  Canada is no exception.  Domestic human trafficking is a major problem, especially within the Aboriginal community and youth demographic.

Windsor students at the Faculty of Law were made very aware of the reality of human trafficking in Canada this week.  The Student Law Society hosted Superintendent Marty Van Doren, the Human Trafficking Awareness Co-ordinator to the RCMP.  Mr. Van Doren provided a lot of information but it was his stories of the victim’s that really opened our eyes to what human trafficking is.  He told us of a 14 year old girl from Mississauga who ‘serviced’ 12 men in the time it took to get a warrant.  Another girl was told by her pimp that she could buy her freedom for $100 000 but only after she paid the $1000 a day she owed him for the customers he brought to her. 

The nature of the crime presents several problems.  Victims often don’t self-identify as being trafficked or are too scared to leave and testify against their pimp.  The Internet has allowed for traffickers and Johns [Ed’s. Note-Johns are a term used to label men who use the services of sex workers; in this case women who have been trafficked] to lure, groom, advertise and exploit victims in a private and anonymous environment.   Immigration laws label victims as offenders denying them the support and protection they need.  When traffickers are prosecuted, the judiciary is handing out minimal sentences of a few months to a few years for the most heinous of crimes.   

The international community is calling on all states to implement a national plan of action to address this growing crime.  For a plan to effectively combat human trafficking, measures on multiple levels must be implemented.

But always the question comes down to, what can you do?

It starts with education.  Become aware of the different forms of human trafficking and bring awareness to those around you.  

Get involved.  Volunteer, intern, fundraise, campaign and support those fighting the cause.  My internship through the Canadian Lawyers Abroad Internship Program is how I first became connected with Beyond Borders.    As an intern I conducted research analyzing the legislative and policy response of different countries to child sex tourism and the effect of the internet in perpetuating the sexual exploitation of children.  It was a truly eye-opening experience.   

End the demand.  The prevalence of sex trafficking is a direct correlate of societal demand, consisting primarily of men.  Men need to begin speaking out against the sexual exploitation of children in Canada and abroad.

Spend wisely.  The private sector perpetuates and profits off the buying and selling of women and children, specifically the travel and tourism and new technologies sectors.  For example, Craigslist is commonly used to post sex ads by traffickers.  They have blocked their “Adult Services” section in the U.S., but only after two girls wrote open letters to the Washington Post describing how they were forced to sell the virginity at the age of 11 on Craigslist.  Chinese police recently raided a brothel in a Hilton hotel Karaoke club.  Outraged anti-human trafficking groups called the Hilton to take a stand against human trafficking.  Hilton hotels have responded and are working with ECPAT International to develop an internal code of conduct and educated employees.  Only when the public calls on the private sector to take responsibility for their actions will change truly be seen.

We must remain mindful that there is no one solution.  Shutting down craigslist may not end human trafficking.  Tougher sentences may not end human trafficking.  Helping one victim may not end human trafficking.  But with every step the movement grows. 

Canadians are becoming aware that human trafficking exists in our country but it is our response which truly matters. The nature of the crime is exceptionally heinous and inhumane, a topic in which many people do not want to hear about let alone bring to the attention of others.  But only once the demand for change transcends the demand for modern-day slavery will those complicit in human trafficking be held accountable for their actions and freedom for those exploited truly realized. 

Guest contributor Chelsea Hishon is a student at Windsor Law.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blog Round Up: November 5th-November 12th 2010

Techno Lawyer outlines the top 5 reasons associates hate partners.   I just want a partner to hate! #stillhasno2Ljob (via Sweet Hot Justice).

Public hearings on police conduct during the Toronto G20 have been taking place this week.  Read all about it at the CBC, or check out one woman's story of having been "kettled" on the Sunday of G20 weekend at the Globe and Mail.  Plus Ipso Facto has our own exclusive story about what it was like to be a legal observer at the G20.

The University of Windsor School of Law has responded to Professor Emily Carasco's allegations in a factum submitted to the Human Rights Tribunal, in it claiming that she has a reputation of being vindictive and vengeful.  I just wish we could make a cake full of rainbows and smiles and we would all eat it and be happy.

The lawyer behind the now infamous "So You Want to go to Law School" YouTube video has been revealed.  Now I know who to send my complaints about the crappy auto-tuned voices to.

Today is Random Act of Kindness day!  So much better than "Kick-a-homeless-bum-in-the-street-day".

Missed Ipso Facto this week?  Click here for this week's episode.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Human Trafficking: Resources

If you tuned into to today's episode (which if you missed, can be found here) you know that we talked about human trafficking with Shelley Gilbert, Coordinator of Social Work Services at Legal Assistance of Windsor, and Chelsea Hishon with Canadian Lawyers Abroad.  Below you'll find links to organizations that are working to stop human trafficking, as well as places you can contact if you, or someone you know, is involved in human trafficking.

Stop Human Trafficking: Windsor-Essex Action Group

Legal Assistance of Windsor
85 Pitt Street East
Windsor, ON N9A 2V3
Phone: (519) 256-7831
Fax: (519)256-1387
TTY: (519) 256-5287

Windsor Refugee Office

RCMP Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre

Beyond Borders
National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking
Canadian Lawyers Abroad

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pledge Drive Update!

Hi all! The team at Ipso Facto just wanted to thank everyone who listened to our pledge drive show yesterday.  So far we've managed to reach the halfway point of our goal of $300!  Thank you for your donations and for supporting Ipso Facto during our re-boot this year.  We have a ton of great content coming up, including episodes on human trafficking and video games.  Remember to listen every Wednesday morning at 8 AM on CJAM 99.1 FM Windsor/Detroit.  And we are still looking for donations.  Head over to to make a donation online, or send us an email at if you'd like to donate via cash or cheque.  Every little bit helps!

And in case you dug the music from yesterday, here's our playlist for the pledge drive show.  Just another reason to tune into CJAM; kick-ass music!

Hot Panda-Start Making Sense
Bend Sinister-Change Your Mind
Crissi Cochrane-Coming Home
Michou-Struggling to Connect
Hannah Georgas-Dancefloor
StereoGoesStellar-The Information Age
Treelines-Canadian Airlines
Arkells-No Champagne Socialist

Thursday, October 28, 2010

CJAM Pledge Drive!

It's that time of year for CJAM's annual Pledge Drive!  The Pledge Drive is a hugely important event because it raises funds to keep CJAM going and expand our station signal.  That means great shows like Ipso Facto have a place to call home, and you get to hear the things that interest you on the radio! 

Ipso Facto has set ourselves a lofty goal of $300 raised this year, so help us out Windsor Law and donate!  If you can make a pledge, head over to or shoot an email to us at Ipso Facto at

What else do you get for your pledge, besides the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting campus community radio?  Why, there are some great incentives!  A mere $30 gets you a fashionable eco-friendly CJAM shopping bag, a friends of CJAM card (good for discounts at many fine Windsor businesses), and a CD from a selection chosen by the fine folks at CJAM.  The more you donate the more you can get, including t-shirts, hoodies, and stickers! 

So pledge soon, pledge lots, and thank you so much from the team at Ipso Facto!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ipso Facto OpEd: I am a Person. Hear me roar!

Disclaimer: Ipso Facto editorials represent the views of the author, and do not represent the views of the Ipso Facto editorial board, CJAM 99.1 FM, the University of Windsor, or the University of Windsor Faculty of Law. 

81 years ago 5 women got together and did something that seems almost unthinkable to us today; they forced the government of Canada to recognize that women are persons.    For Emily Murphy, Nellie Mooney McClung, Louise Crummy McKinney, Irene Marryat Parlby and Henrietta Muir Edwards, the fight to have "persons" as it was interpreted in the then British North America Act include women meant being recognized as equals in politics, and in life.  Since then Canadian women use October 20th-dubbed "Person's Day"-to celebrate equality and bring attention to contemporary womens issues.

It may seem strange to some of us now that the personhood of women is even up for discussion.  Women in Canada enjoy equal rights; they have actively particpated in the political sphere for some time and more and more we see women rising to positions of power in the judiciary, in business, and on the world stage.  However, every once and a while a news story comes up that should remind us all that the battle for equality is not yet won.

One such news story is the Col. Russel Williams trial.

I have been following this case since the story broke due to my own morbid curiosity.  Here we have a man who, by all accounts, was outwardly kind and friendly.  A leader at CFB Trenton, he loved his wife and was a good commander.  But the second life he led was one of hate.  The more and more details that come out of the trial the more we find that Col. Williams was a deeply disturbed individual.  His crimes are indescribably horrific (I won't repeat them in full here, as they have been adequately covered in mainstream press).  It were as if this was an episode of "Dexter" rather than a true story that happened not 600 KM from where I now write.

The more I read about his victims the angrier I get.  I have always considered myself to be a peaceful person, but I'll admit that there is a dark part of me that would take a grim sastisfaction in having this pitiful excuse for a human strapped to an electric chair.  He represents to me one of the scariest things a woman would ever have to confront; a man that views females as pure objects, nothing more.

Objectification.  It's a word that's bandied around a lot by feminist scholars without much understanding of what the issue with it is.  In our culture objectification can occur when women are viewed singularly as something to be obtained for sexual and/or domestic pleasure.  It's pervasive in our media images.  Advertisements will often depict models as tied to (figuratively) the object for sale, or as passively gazing at the viewer while the male is active.  The men on "Jersey Shore" go to clubs to find someone DTF (down-to-fuck) barely caring to find out their name and throwing them out of the house if they aren't immediately willing to hop into bed.  I haven't always bought the "media will warp the minds of youth!" argument, but I do believe that when women are continually shown as objects that it can be hugely discouraging and create a systemic belief that this is in fact the case.

And why is this dangerous?  An object is something with no voice, no conscience.  It can be used at will and discarded just as easily.  It can be destroyed and maimed with no thought to any ill effects.  This is how Col. Williams views women.  When Marie-France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd begged for their lives, he didn't hear anything.  Because objects don't have lives; they don't have mothers and fathers or siblings and friends who will care that they are gone.  We know that they were people, with hopes and dreams and all that mushy stuff that belongs in a Lifetime movie.  They deserved to have the life they wanted.  But that chance that all people deserve was unmercifully ripped away from them.

Col. Williams represents an extreme.  A wide majority of men do not view women as pure objects.  But the systemic beliefs that we carry thanks to years of gender roles being burned into our brains does affect what we think of ourseleves as woman, and how people view us.

This is why Persons Day is as important as it was 81 years ago when the Privy Council handed down its decision.  Women have come so far, but as long as even one person like Col. Williams is able to exist, we still need to agitate for change.  We need to make sure that womens voices continue to be heard and we need to seriously question the way that women are represented in media and in society.  This is the only way that we can truly honour the memory of so many women, like Comeau and Lloyd, who are killed in acts of sexualized violence, and the many more who continue to bravely live with the physical and psychological scars of sexual assault.  We need to talk, we need to yell, we need scream, and sing and make sure the whole world knows: I am a person.  Hear me roar!

-H.G. Watson

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Blog Round Up: October 9th-18th 2010

First up: sorry that the blog round up is tardy this week!  To make up for it you will be getting two blog round ups to quell your thirst for legal news and tidbits.  Now, on to the fun stuff.

The National Post reports that a police officer dubbed "Officer Bubbles" during the G20 protests in Toronto because of this video, which led a popular YouTube cartoon of him, is suing YouTube for a cool $1.2 million and the identification of the creator of the latter video.  The cartoon has been removed from YouTube until the lawsuit is resolved.  I don't know why he's so mad.  His nickname is soooooo cute!!!

The judge in the Colonel Williams hearing has lifted a ban on laptops and smartphones for journalists who are present at the proceedings, allowing them to update readers live via Twitter and Facebook.  But will the judge be able to keep the sentencing under 140 characters?

 A Boston College School of Law 3L wrote the Dean asking for his money back, sparking the old question; is school a product that we pay for, or does it have more intangible benefits?

Asylum found 10 of the worst law firm ad's out there.  My fav?  The CGI rappers who just want their insurance to pay up (via Precedent Magazine).

And advance polls are open for Windsor municipal elections!  Go vote!

Missed the last episode of Ipso Facto?  As always, find us on (you can find us on the program schedule on Wednesday's at 8 AM).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ipso Facto OpEd: Why I don't drink bottled water

Disclaimer: Ipso Facto editorials represent the views of the author, and do not represent the views of the Ipso Facto editorial board, CJAM 99.1 FM, the University of Windsor, or the University of Windsor Faculty of Law.

I don't drink bottled water.

In my first year at McMaster University I lived on campus and would go through the monthly effort of lugging a giant case of bottled water to my 3rd story dorm room. I went to the gym, and tried to take good care of myself, so I drank a lot of water. I would often refill my bottles at the gym when I ran out, but it never occurred to me to just buy a reusable bottle. Perhaps rumours about Hamilton having dirty water because of its bad record of pollution sunk into my head, or maybe it's just because my family drank bottled water. Regardless, near the end of my first year I made the switch, and I honestly cannot imagine switching back. As long as my tap water is clean and drinkable, why would I pay up to 2000x as much for the same thing (1/3 of bottled water actually comes from the tap)in a bottle that is horrible for the environment?

For my boyfriend, who cares about the way bottled water is filtered, we got a Brita tap filter. It was a little pricey, but we could have opted for the cheaper Brita pitcher.  We didn't because I didn't want to always be the one refilling it. Either way, both options are far cheaper than buying case after case of bottled water, month after month, year after year, landfill after landfill.

Wait a minute, landfill? What about recycling? Well, yes, I do recycle, and always recycled my plastic water bottles. The Brita commercial with the woman drinking a plastic bottle of water in her kitchen full of empty bottles that says Brita filters reduce the amount of water bottles that end up in landfills always seemed odd to me. Does Brita think that bottled water drinkers are non-recyclers? Well, actually, they generally are!  According to The National Post, 86% of plastic water bottles produced do NOT end up in the recycling bin.  Moreover, many that are disposed of properly in the blue bin are not actually recycled at all, and are instead down-cycled.

Recycling means turning something at the end of its use into something else of equal or greater value, such as bottle-to-bottle, which happens with resin code 1 PET plastic, as well as glass and aluminum. But resin code 2 HDPE plastic-which is what most water bottles are made of-may not be able to be truly recycled.  Michael Bloch from the website Green Living Tips says, "These are often downcycled into things like tables, chairs and trash bins and require extra treatment in terms of energy and chemicals to do so. While durable plastic products can be created it takes an awful lot of plastic bottles to create these items. Additionally, the HDPE may be blended into other plastic resin types which then turns them into a "resin code 7" - and that is then the end of the line. Once that product has outlived its usefulness, its next destination will likely be landfill."

Hey, Durham Region! You know that garbage incinerator you're so excited about as THE ONE AND ONLY solution to our waste management issues? Maybe banning the bottle would help lessen the waste load, along with several other suggestions for alternatives to the incinerator that you pretend don't exist, which you can read about here.

So in summary, only 14% of water bottles make it to a recycling plant, and then many of them end their life cycle in a landfill anyway. Considering that the start of their life cycle involves using tonnes of oil to produce the bottles, and a great deal of energy and pollution to manufacture and then ship bottles around the planet, wouldn't we be better off scrapping the whole idea?

What about places where water is unsafe to drink? In that case, the only alternative I can think of to individual water bottles is the giant water bottles for water coolers, but that's not much better. Should you drink unsafe water? No. But why is your water unsafe? The UN General Assembly declared this past July that access to clean drinking water is a human right, and as Canadians we should stand up for our rights. In some poor countries where the water unsuitable for drinking, it is the result of the pollution of bottling companies, including those that manufacture bottled water! Clean water is essential for life, we cannot survive without it, and many people in poor countries do not have access to cures for the diseases that accompany dirty water, such as the rota virus which causes diarrhea and kills approximately 3 million children a year (Singer 2009, p. 86). The companies that manufacture bottled water in poor countries and pollute sources of drinking water then try to sell the water back to people who cannot afford it, but now cannot survive without it.

According to the organization Charity: Water, almost a billion people don't have access to clean, safe drinking water, and while that isn't all (or even mostly) because of the pollution from water bottling plants, if we all stopped buying bottled water and instead donated the money we would have spent money to charities that provide access to clean drinking water for all we could be helping rather than essentially rubbing it in.  Our water IS safe, yet we CHOOSE to buy bottled water even though it is completely unnecessary.

My mom has used reusable shopping bags since my first memory of shopping with her. She works at Metro, and hears every excuse in the book for a) why people think the charge for plastic bags is ridiculous (back in my day...), and b) why they will buy them anyway (if I don’t the bag makers will be out of a job!). However, the fact that grocery stores are even charging (where they don't have to, in Toronto it is the law, in Durham it isn't) shows that times are changing. People are jumping on the reusable shopping bag bandwagon (though the origins of the reusable bags may not always be ideal), and an all-out ban on plastic shopping bags may happen in the near future. What's the difference between plastic bags and plastic water bottles? Well, in short, plastic shopping bags don't make a ginormous profit for gigantic powerful multinational corporations, and bottled water does. However, bottled water sales have declined, and reusable bottle sales are booming! That means there is hope that the public will stop buying into the dirty tap water myth.  Even if they are turning on the tap because of economic crisis related belt tightening, hopefully they won't go back to the bottle when the economy recovers. Also, many regions already have banned plastic water bottles, including Toronto, which is in the tail end of a plan to ban the sale of bottled water on all municipal premises by 2011.

And that’s why I don’t drink bottled water.

If you want to learn more about water issues, check out these helpful links below!

Sources cited by the author

Singer, Peter (2009). The life you can save: acting now to end world poverty. N.Y.: Random House.

Guest writer Colleen Bain is an environmental studies student based in Durham Region.

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