Toronto – The Chief of Grassy Narrows First Nation is speaking out today after Prime Minister Trudeau committed last night, through a spokesperson, to take action on the mercury crisis in Grassy Narrows and the English-Wabigoon River watershed. The statement said that the federal government “will continue working closely with the Province of Ontario and the First Nations to get to the bottom of the science, and the next steps necessary to deal with this issue once and for all.”
“I am pleased to see Trudeau finally stepping up and accepting his responsibility to solve the ongoing mercury crisis that my people have endured for three generations,” said Chief Simon Fobister of Grassy Narrows. “We have seen many politicians and their promises come and go, and still our river is poisoned with mercury. I call on Trudeau to clearly commit in writing to clean our river until our fish are safe to eat. Trudeau must commit to a short timeline and a sufficient budget to make our dream of a healthy river a reality. Our youth yearn to see our river cleaned soon. Trudeau must not frustrate their hope.”
Prime Minister Invited to Grassy Narrows
“I Invite Trudeau to come stand with me in Grassy Narrows and pledge together to clean the river that is our lifeblood so that our children may have a bright future again,” said Chief Fobister.
Earlier this year the federal government denied responsibility for the mercury problem in Grassy Narrows, saying that the mill was not on federal lands.
The Chief is also calling for immediate access to the mill site for Grassy Narrows’ experts to investigate, and he is calling for the Wynne and Trudeau governments to clean up any mercury contamination that is found.
Mercury is a potent neuro-toxin that damages the brain and nervous system leading to loss of vision, touch, balance, and coordination as well as learning disabilities with lifelong impacts.