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Yikes! Nestle “Pure Life” Exec. Is UofA’s Doctor of Laws?

for "water leadership"

by Zach Ruiter

Brabeck-Letmathe, photo from Wikipedia
Brabeck-Letmathe, photo from Wikipedia
Protest, photo from COC
Protest, photo from COC

Austrian businessman and Valentino impersonator par excellence, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman and former CEO of the Nestle Group, received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Alberta for “contributions to water management” which can be understood as Excellence-in-Commercializing-University-Research-for-the-Purpose-of-Greenwashing-Corporate-Profit-Sustainability-and-Pillaging-the-“Earth”-as-we-know-it-Studies

A group of approximately 100 students were forcibly removed from the March 1st honorary degree ceremony after they yelled obscenities at administrators as Brabeck-Letmathe went to collect his award.  


The President and Vice-Chancellor of UofA, Indira Samarasekera, is positioning the school to Take-the-Plunge as a “global leader on the whole in water, we have a hundred professors and a thousand workers in the area”.  The honorary degree for “water leadership” was “Put in by respected academics and intellectuals, the nominations were vetted by committees of the senate, and independent voices, so in some respects this is as a result of a due process”. 


UofA Sociology Professor Amy Kaler, argues Mr. Brabeck “has spent his adult life at a company which has been consistently indicted for bad practices for actions which are actually destructive to human well-being and the environment”. 


Kaler’s work has investigated how Nestle’s promotion of infant formula discourages women from breast-feeding, “the problem is not infant formula per say, the problem is promoting it in communities where the mothers don’t have access to safe water to mix it with and the result in terms of health has been under-nourished sick babies at greatly increased risk of diarrheal disease and dehydration which in increasing cases leads to infant death”. 


That’s right, making babies sick and getting away with it in a provincial neo-fascist-oil-burping-dystopia, otherwise known as Alberta, is worthy of that honorary Doctorate of Laws. 


Here in Ontario the Wellington Water Watchers have opposed the Nestle’s bottling in Aberfoyle, Ontario, outside of Guelph.  According to Guelph resident Jennifer Summer, Nestle’s Aberfoyle pumping operation goes “against the deepest common life interest of Ontario’s citizens and their futures”.  


The Wellington Water Watchers opposed Nestle’s 10 year license renewal to pump 24/7. The license that costs Nestle a refreshing $3000 dollars. The group argues Nestle’s operations have a harmful affect on “nearby Mill Creek, the Grand River watershed, and the local aquifer”. 


The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has allowed Nestle to continue pumping approximately 4.7 million litres of “Pure Life Water” per day from two ground wells, one in Aberfoyle and the other near Erin, Ontario.


Where they get the bottles, what the bottles leech into the water, how the bottles are made and disposed of, and the fossil fuels and electricity required to transport and refrigerate the bottles, is not within the scope of this article. 


Academics and students from across Canada have added their voices in rhetorical outrage, Professor Cambre, of the University of Western Ontario, or “Western University” writes “there should be more outrage at the disgraceful comportment of UofA President Indira Samarasekera in her utter disregard of the overwhelming evidence of Nestle’s unethical and criminal disregard for human life”.

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Topics: Environment

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Zach Ruiter (Zach Ruiter)
Peterborough, ON
Member since December 2011

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