QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong) is calling on the Ford government to support his bill to include Ontarians living in reserves in a law that ensures all Ontarians have access to safe drinking water. Mamakwa’s bill, the Inherent Right to Safe Drinking Water Act, will be debated in the legislature on Thursday.
“No child in Ontario should have to grow up never knowing what it’s like to be able to drink the water from the tap,” said Mamakwa. “No family should have to live with bath water so contaminated that it could make their little ones sick, or tap water that isn’t safe enough to use to make dinner. But this is what people who live in Ontario reserves face every day.
“That’s why I am calling on Doug Ford to support this bill so that his government can work with First Nations to ensure access to safe, clean, and reliable drinking water for all Ontarians wherever they live.”
“We should not have two Ontarios: one where clean water is guaranteed, and another where people are forced to live without it,” adds Mamakwa, the NDP’s critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations. “It is time to include all Ontarians, including people living in reserves, in our provincial right to clean drinking water.”
Chief Wayne Moonias, Neskantaga First Nation states, “Neskantaga First Nation continues to be on a 26 year Boil Water Advisory, the longest in Canada and a distinction that we are not proud of. The fact that both levels of governments continue to ignore these issues with their inaction is a clear violation of our fundamental human rights. Our people deserve better and our people have rights to clean and safe drinking water. As this continues today it is appalling that systemic racial injustice continues on our people. I call on both levels of governments to act and address our basic human right to clean drinking water. There shouldn’t be any debate about this as this has gone far too long.”
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Chief Delores Kakegamic, Sandy Lake First Nation comments, “Sandy Lake has been under a boil water advisory since January 2003. Waiting 18 years is totally unacceptable. Our people deserve the same right to safe clean drinking water as anyone else in Ontario. We call on the government of Ontario to do the right thing and pass Bill 286. We continue the fight for basic human rights like safe drinking water.”
Currently, Ontario has two pieces of legislation that address clean water access for Ontarians, the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 and the Clean Water Act, 2006. Yet First Nations communities go year after year without access to clean water. Mamakwa’s bill intends to address this inequity by making sure First Nations have the same access to safe, clean drinking water.