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Two Ontario cabinet ministers & government scientists to visit Grassy Narrows First Nation on June 27

The Council of Canadians was at the annual River Run event in Toronto on June 2 demanding justice for Grassy Narrows.

Yesterday, the Council of Canadians asked you to write Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne about mercury contamination in the Grassy Narrows First Nation.

We highlighted, “A Toronto Star investigation has revealed that the Ontario government was told about an illegal mercury dump upstream of Grassy Narrows over seven months ago and did nothing about it until journalists started asking questions. …The illegal mercury dump could explain why the English-Wabigoon River system has failed to recover over the last five decades, and why the fish still contain mercury at levels up to 150 times higher than what is safe for consumption. …Basic testing of the river water upstream and downstream of the former chemical plant site that dumped over nine tonnes of mercury into the river would reveal if there is an ongoing source of pollution – but the Ontario government hasn’t done even that since 1980!”

Today the Toronto Star reports, “Wynne is sending government scientists to Grassy Narrows to investigate a report of a potentially dangerous mercury dumping site on land near the First Nation community. …’I’ve asked our ministers — both the minister of environment and climate change and the minister of indigenous relations and reconciliation — to go to Grassy Narrows on [June] 27th, but they’re taking scientists with them in order to try to figure out exactly what is happening here’, she said.”

In response, Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Simon Fobister has stated, “We don’t want visitations, we want action.”

The letter we are encouraging you to send to Premier Wynne calls on her to:

  • provide the best possible healthcare for mercury survivors

  • compensate those who have been impacted

  • fund an environmental health monitoring station run by the people of Grassy Narrows

  • monitor pollution sources and remediate the mercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon River system

  • end corporate logging without community authorization

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow says, “After 57 years of devastating contamination of their waters, the people of Grassy Narrows are owed a debt of justice. It is the premier’s responsibility to ensure that their rights are finally respected and upheld.”

To maintain the pressure on the provincial government to act on these demands, please respond to our Premier Wynne: Do what’s right for Grassy Narrows action alert today.

For numerous blogs by Mark Calzavara, Michael Butler, Meera Karunananthan and myself on the Grassy Narrows First Nation struggle for water justice, please click here.