October 28, 2020
QUEEN’S PARK – Doug Ford must stop turning his back on the people of Neskantaga and help the community through a public health crisis after it lost running water last week and families were forced to evacuate, said Sol Mamakwa, NDP MPP for Kiiwetinoong.
Mamakwa went to Neskantaga and brought concerns directly back to the premier during question period Wednesday, and said it’s time for Doug Ford to end the apartheid system of clean water access for First Nations people.
“With no running water, people have to use bottled water or lake water to flush toilets or wash their hands,” said Mamakwa. “Water is a basic human right. Neskantaga is a signatory to Treaty Nine.
“This government needs to provide direct funding and support to Neskantaga for this crisis now.”
The community had to shut down its water plant when an oily sheen was found in the reservoir. Tests have shown it is hydrocarbon. Last week Mamakwa called on the Ford government to help in evacuation efforts, and today he called on Ford to help bring back running water to Neskantaga, and finally provide clean drinking water.
“Losing running water to a whole community during COVID-19 is a disaster. All services are shut down in Neskantaga due to this public health emergency. The health and lives of community members are now at more risk. After 9,401 days without clean drinking water, Neskantaga now has no running water at all,” said Mamakwa.
“There are 14 other Neskantagas across Kiiwetinoong and they need clean drinking water too.
“This would not be allowed in a community like Etobicoke North.
“When will the Ford government stop making excuses and invest in infrastructure for clean drinking water for Neskantaga and all other First Nations who need it.”
The Ford government refused to commit to any direct action for Neskantaga and responded by continuing its game of jurisdictional ping pong with the federal government. Instead of helping to bring clean water to First Nations communities in Ontario, the Ford government slashed 80 per cent of the budget for Ontario’s Indigenous Drinking Water Program.