NAN Grand Chief concerned First Nation drinking water low on federal p...
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NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION
Transmitted by CNW Group on : November 1, 2006 17:43
NAN Grand Chief concerned First Nation drinking water low on federal priority list
THUNDER BAY, ON, Nov. 1 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy is shocked by federal snub of Ontario's actions to push agenda of
safe drinking water in First Nation communities across the province.
"If the Government of Canada can't even commit to working with the
provincial minister responsible for Aboriginal issues to address the issues
facing First Nations in terms of safe drinking water and land claims
(Caledonia), how can we expect Minister Prentice to work directly with First
Nation leadership," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy who recently demanded
immediate action to implement both short-term and long-term solutions to
various water emergencies in NAN territory - an area covering two-thirds of
"Minister Ramsay was prepared to address the issue of safe drinking water
and Prentice snubbed him. It's a shame that strong support from the provincial
level isn't being recognized by the feds."
Beardy's comments come after Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jim
Prentice cancelled a pre-scheduled meeting with provincial Aboriginal Affairs
Minister David Ramsay yesterday evening. The meeting's agenda was to include
the stand-off in Caledonia and First Nation water. Ramsay was prepared to
request the Government of Canada take a leadership role at Caledonia and
question the status of the federal safe drinking water report that was
scheduled to be released by the end of October.
As relayed by Minister Ramsay's staff today, no alternate meeting time
was given by Minister Prentice's Chief of Staff who advised Ramsay of the
cancelled meeting while he waited in Prentice's Ottawa office just hours after
confirming the meeting would, indeed continue.
"You'd think Prentice would want to step up and work together with
Ontario, especially considering the current state of water emergencies that
have been brought to light in the past few weeks," said Beardy.
Fearing increased risk to the health and safety of community members,
Marten Falls, Pikangikum, and Attawapaskat First Nations have declared water
emergencies due to lack of capacity of water treatment plants, filtration and
turbidity levels, contaminated intakes, and traces of carcinogens.
Nineteen of NAN's 49 First Nation communities are under boil water
advisory. Last week marked the one year anniversary of the evacuation of over
1000 residents of Kashchewan First Nation after e-coli was found in drinking
water. In the Kelowna Accord (November 2005), the former Liberal Government of
Canada outlined specific commitments to the James Bay coastal community in the
areas of water, health, housing, and social services.
The Conservatives have not fulfilled that deal, nor has an alternate deal
been presented or implemented.
/For further information: Jenna Young, Director of Communications,
Nishnawbe Aski Nation at (807) 625-4952 or (807) 628-3953 (mobile)/
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