On Monday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and NDP MP Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay) visited Neskantaga First Nation to talk with the community about their longstanding water crisis. In 2015, Justin Trudeau promised an end to boiled water advisories on reserve and made Neskantaga the symbol of the Liberal promise to deliver on clean water. And yet the community is now 26 years without safe water with no end in sight. Singh was in the community to hear firsthand what solutions are needed.
“How is it possible in a country as rich as Canada with the greatest water resources in the world that First Nation communities can be left without access to clean drinking water?” asked Singh. “For six years, Justin Trudeau has said a lot of nice things about working towards reconciliation, but those words don’t mean anything when he continues to do nothing to fix the water crisis in Neskantaga and in other communities across the country. People have been living without clean drinking water for decades. Some residents have lived their whole lives without it. How can Justin Trudeau speak about reconciliation while continuing to deny Indigenous people this basic human right?”
There are currently 51 long-term boil water advisories in place in Indigenous communities across the country, including in Neskantaga First Nation.
“What I saw in Neskantaga is the brutal indifference of the federal government to basic rights of families to live with safe water. The solution to the water crisis requires more than Liberal talk,” said Angus. “I challenge Justin Trudeau to come here and see the injustice he is upholding first-hand and speak with community members. The answer to the water crisis is not rocket science. It just takes political will.”
The NDP is committed to a clean water strategy that addresses the real issues at the ground level and works with the communities to put in long-term solutions that ensure that people in every part of Canada can live in safety and dignity.