NDP calls for emergency debate on water crisis in Indigenous communities « Canada’s NDP
OTTAWA – Today, NDP MP Niki Ashton (Churchill – Keewatinook Aski) sent a letter to the Speaker of the House calling for an emergency debate regarding the federal government’s failure to meet their deadline to solve the clean drinking water crisis facing Indigenous Peoples.
“We’re now April, which means that the government has fundamentally broken their commitment to Indigenous Peoples, by missing their March 2021 deadline. This is the first opportunity to address this in the House and debate this. Every day that people go without clean drinking water is a dire emergency,” said Ashton. “While the government continues to say all the right things, its actions deserve scrutiny and an emergency debate is the perfect avenue to do so.”
Fifty-eight long-term drinking water advisories are still in place in 38 First Nations as a result of decades of neglect on the part of Liberal and Conservative governments. While the government has argued that their failures are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Auditor General’s report on Access to Safe Drinking water in First Nation communities was clear that this isn’t the case.
“The Liberal government has been promising clean drinking water for Indigenous communities for too long. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exasperated this need,” said Rachel Blaney, Deputy Critic for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Indigenous Services. “If the best this government can do is set up a new website, we desperately need an emergency debate to urgently address the situation.”
Ashton’s request for an emergency debate was denied in the House on Monday.
The NDP will continue to fight so that everyone in Canada, no matter where they live, has access to clean drinking water. Indigenous people have been waiting long enough and cannot afford to wait any longer.
You can read the letter sent to the Speaker of the House here.