January 30th, 2019
January 30th, 2019
OTTAWA – Today, NDP MPs Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay), Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski), Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River) and Romeo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie James—Nunavik—Eeyou) called out the Liberal government for being asleep at the wheel when it comes to mould in First Nations’ homes.
“The crisis in Cat Lake is a national disgrace, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Angus. “Mould in on-reserve housing has been an invisible crisis that the government has known about since at least 2003, when the Auditor General blew the whistle. We’re 15 years, one national strategy, and countless crises later now. Communities are still losing homes and people are still getting ill.”
"It’s no different in Northern Manitoba,” added Ashton. “While the Prime Minister talks about reconciliation, his government's actions show otherwise. We are talking about unacceptable living conditions. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government must act now.”
“Mould in the North has become the new normal for a lot of folks,” stressed Jolibois. “People have stopped reporting the mould in their homes simply because they know nothing will be done about it, so it’s not worth trying anymore. Homes in the North are built to the standard of homes in the South, but there are very different climate and housing needs. The Liberal government need to be proactive. We have solutions and need funding, not new studies.”
Housing is a recognized treaty right in Canada and UN conventions state that Indigenous peoples are entitled to housing without discrimination and equally with all Canadian citizens. However, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have failed to honour those rights given the current inadequate and unsuitable housing conditions on-reserve.
“Canada has signed many international human rights treaties and other instruments that it is obliged to fulfill,” added Saganash. “The Prime Minister has already acknowledged the right to adequate housing, and he must realize that Canada is obligated to provide housing to certain vulnerable or marginalized people. Certainly, given Canada’s history, this applies to Northern and Indigenous communities. This Liberal government must stop discriminating against Indigenous Peoples.”