OTTAWA – Eric Melillo is “deeply concerned” that the Liberal government may be walking back its promise to end all boil water advisories by March of next year. “This public health crisis is underscoring the urgency of these issues and the need to act quickly,” Melillo charges. “I urge the government to make sure Indigenous and Northern communities are prioritized and given what they need to survive and thrive through this crisis. They have waited far too long.”
The Kenora MP states that, “Last week’s Liberal Throne Speech had no mention of the March 2021 deadline, and a senior government source recently told CBC News that the government is uneasy about their ability to meet it.”
“Indigenous communities, including many in the Kenora riding, have gone far too long without clean drinking water,” says Melillo, who serves as the Conservative Party’s Shadow Minister for Northern Affairs. “This is a public health issue as well as an equality issue – the last thing the government should be doing is moving it lower on the priority list.”
Eric Melillo says “It’s ironic that the Liberals seem to be backing off their boil water advisory commitment, when they’ve recently shown their ability to spend billions of dollars on short notice to address a crisis. “It certainly looks like they’re using this situation as an excuse to put Indigenous communities on the backburner.”
Melillo noted that there has been an increase in new advisories in recent months, as well as many long-standing advisories within the Kenora riding.
He concluded that many challenges faced by Indigenous and Northern communities, including boil water advisories, food security, the housing crisis, and the lack of reliable Internet, have been exacerbated by COVID-19.