November 28th, 2016

Singh calls on Liberal Government to put Wabigoon-English River clean-up in writing

Today during Question Period, Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh called on the Liberals to fully commit their government to the clean-up of mercury from the Wabigoon-English River in Grassy Narrows First Nation and to put that commitment in writing. 

“Last week the Minister of Environment and Climate Change committed to cleaning up the Wabigoon-English River, something the Premier has yet to back up,” said Singh.  “When will the government put their commitment to clean up the mercury in writing, or at least give Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Fobister a start date on the clean-up that was promised by the Minister?” 

The Wabigoon-English River was poisoned in the 1960s when 9,000 kg of mercury was dumped into it by a paper mill.  Scientific reports and medical researcher published this spring show that up to 90% of the people who live at Grassy Narrows are suffering from symptoms of this mercury poisoning. 

“People in Grassy Narrows have been living with mercury poisoning for more than 50 years. People lose their vision, their hearing, their balance, and sometimes even their ability to speak,” said Singh.  “The government has been studying the mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows for generations. Cabinet has had clean-up plans on the table since 1984. It’s time to act. Plain and simple.”

The Minister of Energy agreed to a clean-up of the River last week in the legislature and Chief Fobister has said that Grassy Narrows First Nation is going to hold him to his word.  The Ontario NDP has committed to doing the same.