The people of Grassy Narrows First Nation have been waiting for more than 50 years for our governments to address the terrible mercury contamination of their territory.
Thanks to you and Council of Canadians supporters across the country, over the last decade we have helped the people of Grassy Narrows push for real government action and they are so close to getting the help they need and deserve for the hundreds of community members suffering from the prolonged effects of mercury poisoning.
The federal government has promised funding for a mercury treatment centre, but the funds have not been placed in a dedicated trust, which means they are vulnerable to potential clawbacks by future governments.
Council supporters helped convince former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to clean up the remaining mercury contamination in the lakes and rivers of Grassy Narrows and she had the foresight to put the provincial funds in a trust. Premier Doug Ford cannot touch that money. The funds can only be used to help the people of Grassy Narrows with the cleanup of their territory.
I was with dozens of people from Grassy and hundreds of their supporters last Thursday, taking part in the Grassy Narrows River Run through the streets of downtown Toronto. It was a moving and provocative protest when they literally crawled on their hands and knees towards federal government offices. That should never have to happen again.
Our federal government made a commitment on behalf of all Canadians to reconcile with First Nations. We can give the people of Grassy Narrows the certainty they deserve by putting the mercury treatment centre funding into a dedicated trust.
The $89 million trust would be used for the development and 30-year operation costs of the care facility, which will serve as both a hospice and hospital centre.
It is our actions – not our intentions – that will lead us to reconciliation. The people of Grassy Narrows have waited long enough.
Thank you for taking action.