July 18th, 2019

Minister O'Regan a No Show Two Weeks Into Attawapiskat Crisis: NDP

ATTAWAPISKAT – Frustration is growing in Attawapiskat over the seeming indifference of Minister Seamus O'Regan to the state of emergency over the water crisis. NDP MPs Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay) and Tracey Ramsey (Essex) held a public meeting in Attawapiskat and met with hunger strikers Sylvie Metatawabin and Theresa Spence. This is a crisis that can be resolved by a coherent commitment to addressing the infrastructure problems.

Angus says they were particularly moved by families whose children are being directly impacted by the chemical contamination in the water.

"We met children who get nose bleeds when they are given a bath,” said Angus. “These children deserve better. Their families are wondering why the Minister is not giving this issue the attention it deserves.

"The problem facing the community is seriously inadequate infrastructure. Even if the water plant is able to produce 100% safe water, the water is undrinkable by the time it reaches the taps in the homes. This is because the whole system requires an overhaul.

Ramsey says the inadequate infrastructure is compounding the issues facing the community.

"We have over 300 families without homes,” said Ramsey. “The community can't build new homes because the water system is in such poor state. And the poor state of water is making people sick. This is unconscionable in Canada."

The Liberal government is sitting on a full report outlining the needs and cost of ensuring safe drinking water in Attawapiskat. The price tag is about the same amount of money the Trudeau government gave to Galen Weston to repair his fridges.

The NDP is calling on Seamus O'Regan to show up in Attawapiskat and explain why his government is unwilling to ensure safe drinking water for the families of Attawapiskat.