NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa joined the family and supporters of late Grassy Narrows leader Steve Fobister Sr. to call the Ford government to account during a press conference on Queens Park on Friday. The family of the late former Chief of Grassy Narrows is calling for an inquiry into his death.
“On October 11, Grassy Narrows leader Steve Fobister Sr. passed away after many decades of fighting mercury poisoning in his body and fighting denial from Ontario’s government,” said Mamakwa. “Yesterday in the legislature, I asked the Ford government to admit publicly that Mr. Fobister died as a result of mercury poisoning. They refused to do that.”
The Ontario government has not admitted that even one person was poisoned by the 10 tonnes of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, which was dumped in the English and Wabigoon Rivers in the 1960s and never cleaned up.
Sylvia Pahpasay Wapioke, Fobister’s niece, spoke on behalf of the family, calling on the Ford government to finally take meaningful action for their family and the people of Grassy Narrows.
“We call on the government to admit at long last that Steve Fobister Sr. lived with mercury poisoning and died from mercury poisoning,” said Wapioke. “Will you respect Steve by speaking the truth, and commit to fairly compensate all Grassy Narrows people for the ongoing mercury crisis that has been denied and neglected for so long?”
“94 per cent of Grassy Narrows people get no compensation even though we have all been hurt, we have all lost loved ones, and our way of life,” Fobister’s friend Robert Williamson added.
“Steve always wanted the government to admit that he had been poisoned by mercury. Every day they deny the truth makes our suffering worse and keeps us from the path to reconciliation.”