NDP demands Premier listen to Grassy Narrows leaders calling for mercury cleanup
During Question Period today, NDP Aboriginal Affairs critic, France Gélinas, demanded Premier Wynne listen to Grassy Narrows First Nations leaders in Toronto today. They are calling on her to act on a scientific report that says mercury contamination of the Wabigoon river can be remediated.
“Yesterday, the Premier said she didn’t know the source and had not read the report into cleanup options for the mercury poisoning of the First Nation People of Grassy Narrows,” Gélinas said. “Well, it was the government-appointed working group, and I don’t know why no one in the government has read it, since they got the report back in April.”
Gélinas said that despite the report that found mercury contamination continues in the Wabigoon river, and that cleanup can be enhanced safely and economically, the Wynne government continues to claim cleanup is unnecessary. MPP Gélinas said that last February a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Environment said: “Currently there is no evidence to suggest that mercury levels in the river system are such that any remediation, beyond continuing natural sedimentation remediation, would be warranted.”
“Just yesterday, the Ministry continued to say cleanup is not needed, and responded to the report in the exact same way as last February, word-for-word,” Gélinas said. “Does the Premier think this is an acceptable response to the people of Grassy Narrows?”
Leaders of the Grassy Narrows First Nation have again travelled 1700 kilometres to plea with the Wynne government to take action to clean up the river that is poisoning them.
“Two years ago former Chief Steve Fobister had to starve himself on the lawn of the legislature to get a meeting with this government. And it took a team of Japanese researchers to fly half way around the world for the study to re-start,” Gélinas said.
“So my question on behalf of the good people of Grassy Narrows is simple: when will the Premier clean up the mercury contamination of Wabigoon river and Clay Lake?”