Premier should act on Human Rights Watch report and fix water crisis in First Nations reserves: NDP

During Question Period today, Ontario NDP health critic, France Gélinas, demanded Premier Wynne take action on a report released by Human Rights Watch that found unsafe water drinking water for First Nation people in 90 Ontario reserves, and called for an end to the First Nations water crisis.

“Last week I asked the Premier to explain how it is acceptable that First Nations people in Ontario still don’t have access to clean drinking water.  Today, internationally respected Human Rights Watch, that is normally concerned with abuses in Sudan or Afghanistan, released a special report on the unacceptable water situation for Ontario’s First Nations people” Gélinas said.

“My question is simple:  after 13 years in power what has this government done to clean the contaminated drinking water of First Nation people in 90 Ontario communities?”

Communities such as Pikangikum and Shoal Lake 40, communities Gélinas asked about just last week, are all in the Human Rights Watch report today.  Grassy Narrows, whose youth had to travel thousands of kilometres last week to plea with the Premier, again, to clean up the mercury poisoned river and lake they depend on, is featured in the international report.

“Mothers, whose babies have infected skin rashes from the unclean water, can’t clean and dress their baby’s wounds because the water is unsafe. It’s a viscous cycle, that the First Nations people want to end” Gélinas said.

“For some of the First Nations, they’ve had ‘do not drink’ advisories for over a decade. So will the Premier do as the Human Rights Watch report says and fix the drinking water for the First Nation people of 90 communities, including Attawapiskat, Peawanuck, Koocheching, Mishkeegogamang...”    

Human Rights Watch report