The federal government will not meet its commitment to end all drinking water advisories affecting First Nations communities by 2020 without significant changes to current processes, according to a new report, Glass half empty? Year 1 progress toward resolving drinking water advisories in nine First Nations in Ontario.
Another stunning story in the Toronto Star today, revealing that top environment officials in the Ontario government knew that clearcut logging in Grassy Narrows territory would increase mercury levels in fish even as the province refused a request by the First Nation for an environmental assessment of the province’s ten year logging plan for the area.
Today the Grassy Narrows First Nation declared a state of emergency over unsafe drinking water conditions in the community. The community has started delivering bottled water door to door to ensure that their families, many of which have already been impacted by mercury poisoning, have safe drinking water.
Council chapters from London and Guelph came to Toronto today to join a large protest in solidarity with the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation who are appealing the National Energy Board’s approval of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline which runs through southern Ontario and is set to carry tar sands diluted bitumen east for export.
Earlier this month, Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau gave a speech to the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships where he promoted Public-Private Partnership (P3s) as a solution to infrastructure needs. The Harper government has also been promoting P3s in infrastructure projects such as water and wastewater and transportation through the P3 Canada Fund. A P3 model is also being planned for a new Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford.
Photo by Jorge Barrera.
Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow says, "On this International Women's Day, I stand in solidarity with the CN blockade in memory of murdered and missing aboriginal women."
The Canadian Press reports, "Police say three people will be charged after Mohawk protesters occupied CN Rail tracks in eastern Ontario in a demand for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. Provincial police say demonstrators moved onto the tracks Saturday morning in Napanee, east of Belleville, leading to CN issuing a stop order for all trains."
The 2012 federal budget, Economic Action Plan 2012: Our plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity (EAP 2012), was released late yesterday afternoon. The details of how the various cuts will impact public service jobs and federal departments will be revealed over the coming months. Reflective of the concerns of people across Canada on the cuts to programs, jobs and services, 16 protestors interrupted Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s speech to demand “Where are we in the budget?” It is also clear that the Harper government failed to adequately prioritize key water issues in the budget.