October 23rd, 2020
NDP calls for action over Neskantaga water crisis
OTTAWA – A growing water crisis at Neskantaga First Nation has forced the evacuation of families from the isolated northern reserve. The water supply is so dangerous that the community has been relying on gathering water in buckets from the river. With snow falling and fears of people getting sick, the community has begun to evacuate the elderly and sick from the reserve. MP Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay) says the crisis at Neskantaga shows the absolute failure of the Trudeau government to get serious about its promise to end boil water advisories.
“The people of Neskantaga have lived without clean water for over 25 years. This community was supposed to be the proving ground of Justin Trudeau’s commitment to Indigenous people. Instead, it’s the proving ground for his empty words,” said Angus. “In the midst of a pandemic, they are now without any access to safe water. This is unacceptable.”
Conditions in the community had been precarious with the community shutting off water in the evenings to families. This was not supposed to keep happening. The government had invested in the community’s water supply, and yet after more promises and millions of dollars, the issues continue.
“I am calling on the Minister of Indigenous Services to end his pattern of nice words and no action. People are at risk here. The snow is falling in the north and people are being forced to go without water,” said Angus. “He and the Liberal government need to step up and launch a full and transparent investigation into what the problems are, who built this system, and what it will take to bring fresh water to this community after twenty-five years. I mean, what kind of country sits back and allows such a situation to continue?”