QUEEN’S PARK – Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa, Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition NDP and Critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, issued the following statement on World Water Day 2023.
“We know that many First Nations children in Ontario continue to lack access to clean water, and as a result, they suffer unnecessary physical and mental health consequences.
In Ontario, we continue to have long-term boil water advisories in 21 First Nations, 11 of which are in the riding of Kiiwetinoong.
Ontario is one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world, and it is shameful that governments continue to accept boil water advisories and the ongoing lack of access to clean water for First Nations people as normal in 2023.
Statistics alone do not tell the story of what it’s like to live without access to clean water. There are much larger effects on the physical and mental health of those who live without this basic human right.
Today, I call on the governments of Ontario and Canada to commit to studying the long-term health effects of boil water advisories while at the same time, investing in additional health supports to perform a real-time scan of the related health issues and engaging resources to resolve these issues immediately.”
Chief Cornelius Benson, North Caribou First Nation:
“In our community, we have asked Indigenous Services Canada for help with the water crisis affecting families and the process for improvement is ongoing at the community level.
Governments need to continue the work they are doing to maintain the water treatment plant, and upgrades to the water treatment facility are needed as the water is not always useable.
The quality of water in First Nations needs to be the same as our southern counterparts and the rest of Canada. Resourcing for this basic human right must continue and be maintained on a long-term basis.