Water Haller: Winds of Change at the Window?
Of course, whenever we refer to "window" at CWWA, we mean the "Window on Ottawa." If you weren’t there earlier this month, you really missed a good one! For those who haven’t heard, the renewed Window event is now in June. Same location with the same great program – just a far better time of year. We will be sending out a Communique soon sharing some of the highlights.
But more than just the timing has changed... there is definitely a new wind blowing in Ottawa. The change in federal government has dramatically altered our conversations. Instead of begging for funds, we are talking about how soon the funds will be put to work and how we can access them. Instead of trying to get water recognized as a priority, we are talking about how to make the greatest impact through investments in water. Instead of wondering how we will ever pay for the costs to implement the Wastewater System Effluent Regulations (WSER) we are having meaningful discussions around enforcement and maybe (just maybe) some flexibility in meeting the targets and deadlines.
* one of the greatest benefits of attending the Window is not the presentations themselves, but the ability to ask questions of these federal policy-makers - both on the plenary floor and in the informal green room sessions that follow.
CWWA’s cooperation with Public Safety Canada on security issues and with Health Canada on Climate Change has never been stronger. We also brought together a few key players on the flood mapping front and began a dialogue of future collaboration. My favourite session was the discussion on advocacy in Ottawa and in Washington with WEF’s Deputy Executive Director Tim Williams and FCM’s CEO Brock Carlton.
* that’s another great benefit of the Window as we bring together so many national water leaders in one room. We had leaders from CWWA, FCM, CAWQ, CWN, CWRA, WEF, WEAO and more.
I greatly enjoyed the opening presentation from the Ambassador of Israel, His Excellency Rafael Barak. But I do have to send out a special "thank you" to our water champion within the Liberal caucus MP Francis Scarpaleggia. Mr. Scarpaleggia shared his commitment to the water portfolio and inspired all of us at the CWWA Awards Banquet. Congratulations to all the CWWA Utility Award winners!
* See their stories in this e-Bulletin
Finally, the Window is also an opportunity for our CWWA Board of Directors to meet. The board had a great discussion on reviewing our priorities as well as on how we continually strengthen the value of membership. You’ll be hearing more about all that soon enough.