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July 26th, 2019

NDP Reacts to Green Party's SNC Privatization Plan for First Nation Water

Charlie Angus, NDP Critic for Ethics and Indigenous Youth, issued the following statement:

"Guaranteeing the right to clean water for First Nation families is one of the fundamental moral challenges facing this nation. Therefore I was appalled and disappointed to learn that Elizabeth May's Green Party is proposing to use this crisis as an opportunity to turn over water infrastructure contracts on reserve to SNC-Lavalin who are presently facing serious charges of international corruption.

As we speak, my colleagues and I are working alongside Indigenous leaders to fight for the right of safe water in communities like Attawapiskat and Grassy Narrows. I’ve seen first hand the devastating impacts on children and elders who are sick because they’ve been treated like third-class citizens by the federal government. And yet, I have never met with a community who thought privatizing water systems to the benefit of large corporations was the answer. They want and expect what every other Canadian takes for granted - the right to properly funded water and sewage systems.

Elizabeth May's proposal is not helpful. We are dealing with the systematic failure of Liberal and Conservative governments to live up to their moral, fiduciary and treaty obligations. This is not a time to experiment with privatizing water services. It is especially not the time for the Green Party to use this crisis as a chance to promote an international corporation facing corporate corruption and bribery charges. What kind of message does that send to Indigenous communities about the value of reconciliation?

New Democrats will continue to work with, and listen to, First Nation communities and leaders. Together we fight for the principle that every citizen in this country - Indigenous and non-Indigenous - deserves access to clean, safe water coming out of their tap thanks to proper investments in public infrastructure.

Let’s focus on the real issue. The federal government needs to step up with the investments needed to ensure clean water and lift all drinking water advisories for good - and New Democrats won’t stop until the job is done."