KENORA – Bob Nault, the Liberal candidate for the Kenora Riding, has released the following statement regarding work on repairing Neskantaga’s current water supply:
“On several occasions, I have clearly stated my position that all Northerners, regardless of where they live, have a right to clean, safe, drinking water. This includes remote and rural First Nations like Neskantaga. Despite Mr. Angus’ misguided statement, Northerners, including Indigenous peoples across the riding, are well aware that I have been anything but silent on this issue and others when it comes to representing the Kenora riding.
“I want to begin by saying that I have been informed that the issue with the water pump is now resolved and that testing is now underway. This is very good news for community members.
“It’s also important to provide context to what we understand happened to the water pumps in the community, as well as the work that has been underway that will ensure clean and safe drinking water for generations to come.
“Late this past Saturday evening, I received a notice via email that the water pump and back-up pump were experiencing problems. Officials at Indigenous Services Canada responded, and as reported in the press, Minister O’Regan spoke to Chief Moonias on Sunday reaffirming his commitment to resolving the current issue with the water pumps.
“In July 2017, the Liberal government invested $8.8 million to upgrade Neskantaga First Nation’s water treatment system, including an addition to the existing water plant. Neskantaga First Nation is now in the final stages of completing construction upgrades to the existing water treatment plant. My understanding is that the new water treatment system will be completed in October, and I am looking forward to ending the longest advisory in Canada’s history. When completed the water treatment plant that will provide safe, clean, drinking water for generations to come.
“As you can imagine, construction in a remote fly-in community can be difficult at best, as the seasons and weather often dictate the transportation and arrival of supplies. Despite these hurdles, we made significant progress and I remain as committed now as I was in 2017, to seeing this project through.
“Just this past August, I visited Neskantaga’s Water Treatment Plant– my first of two visits to Neskantaga in August alone – as work continued on the plant. I have fought and will continue to fight, for clean, safe drinking water for all First Nations and communities throughout the Kenora Riding.
“The Kenora Riding represents a third of Ontario’s landmass; 42 First Nations, 22 of which are accessible only by plane. Yet, each summer, I make it my personal mission to visit as many communities as possible. During the summer of 2019 alone, I had the pleasure of visiting 35 communities – many of them more than once.
“Unfortunately, the NDP seem to think that it is more constructive to run around in the media, playing politics. I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. I have spent the last 20 years of my political career building relationships with Indigenous peoples, including the 42 current Chiefs of the Kenora Riding. If Mr. Angus is interested in actual results rather than media coverage, perhaps he should consider following my lead.
“This is just part of the job description for a rural Northern Member of Parliament – one that I am proud to do every day.”