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June 6th, 2019

NDP Pushes Government to Honour Promises to Grassy Narrows

OTTAWA – This week, New Democrats renewed their call on Trudeau’s Liberal government to fulfill their promise to the community of Grassy Narrows and rectify decades of living with mercury contamination in their water.

During proceedings at the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, NDP MP Niki Ashton (Churchill—Keewatinook Aski), called for a unanimous motion on providing Grassy Narrows with the trust fund they have been asking for to build the Mercury treatment facility.

“We’ve heard repeatedly from the Liberals that they have the political will to get this done. Can we put forward a unanimous motion to urge the government to act on this and urge the government to put this trust fund in place before this place rises in the next two weeks?” asked Ashton.

Unfortunately, the call to move the motion reflecting Grassy Narrows’ demands was rejected by the Liberals.

“The Liberal government should be doing everything possible to help Chief Turtle and the people of Grassy Narrows,” said NDP MP Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River) who also was present at committee this morning. “Instead of listening to the community and delivering what they need, the government is telling Chief Turtle what is needed and how to get the job done. The Liberals are denying funding to the community. This is wrong.”

Last week, Minister Seamus O’Regan went to Grassy Narrows with the intent of signing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Chief and Council. Chief Rudy Turtle did not sign the MOA because it did not address his community’s concerns. The Liberal government did not include the original funding promised in 2017 or the guarantees that the mercury treatment home would be built. The Liberals even left out the community’s demand to create a trust fund to ensure that the mercury treatment home would be built regardless of the federal election results. Instead of taking responsibility for failing to address the community’s concerns, the Minister put the blame on the Chief for not signing the MOA.

New Democrats will continue to stand with Chief Turtle and the community of Grassy Narrows to make sure they get the help they need and deserve.