Ring of Fire Updates Weekly News Roundup

October 27-November 2, 2020 : Weekly News Roundup

A few essential services workers remain in the Neskantaga after the remainder of the community was evacuated to Thunder Bay, due contaminated water. Various government representatives and technical advisors visited the community on Monday. According to NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa, the situation demonstrates the Canada’s ‘apartheid’ system in terms of access to clean water.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole raised concern over the ongoing inaction by the Federation government during Question Period on October 27. Meanwhile, Minister of Public Security and Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair stated that the Canadian Armed Forces have been deployed to the community to help with the evacuation process.

Meanwhile, mining consultations related to a supply road that will run through Neskantaga’s territory continues, despite the fact that the entire community had to be evacuated last week. While the national Conservative party and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh attack the Trudeau administration for dragging its heals, the provincial NDP attacks the Ford government for its inaction. The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) called on the Federal Liberals to fulfill the demands brought forward by Neskantaga First Nation. The community, along with the NDP plan a sit in at Queen’s Park for next Tuesday.

October 27, 2020 (CBC):

Neskantaga First Nation crisis shows ‘apartheid system’ of clean water access, NDP MPP says

No plan to restore running water a week after contamination shut the system down, leaders say

“A week after the evacuation of a remote First Nation in northwestern Ontario, First Nations leaders say there is still no plan to restore running water to the community. Neskantaga First Nation shut down its water plant on October 19 after an oily substance was discovered in the reservoir. An evacuation began the following day and now, only a few essential workers remain in the fly-in community, located about 450 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.

First Nations leaders and technical advisors visited Neskantaga on Monday to see the problems first-hand. NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa, whose Kiiwetinoong riding includes Neskantaga, told CBC News what he witnessed there was “the utter failure” of Canada and Ontario.” Read more here…

October 27, 2020 (Net News Ledger):

Neskantaga water crisis raised in House of Commons by Eric Melillo

“The longest boil water advisory in Canada at twenty-five years and counting was raised by Kenora MP Eric Melillo during Question Period in the House of Commons. Kenora MP Eric Melillo and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole are calling for action on the Neskantaga water crisis.

In Question Period on Friday, MP Melillo used his first question to bring attention to the crisis, which he called “a public health emergency – and one that could have been prevented if action had been taken sooner.” Melillo called on the government to expedite its timeline to provide clean drinking water to all Indigenous communities.” Read more here…

October 27, 2020 (Narcity):

Ontario community in crisis calls on Trudeau to come see how they live

Hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate after their water supply got cut off

“After finding out their water source was contaminated, an Ontario community is calling on the government for help. Neskantaga First Nation was under a boil advisory for 26 years prior to finding out they had hydrocarbons in their water supply last week. Now, they have no water at all, and most of the community’s 300 residents have been forced to evacuate, reports CBC. MPP Sol Mamakwa took to Twitter to speak on the crisis.” Read more here…

October 27, 2020 (Global News):

Canadian Armed Forces to assist in Neskantaga First Nation amidst water crisis: Blair

“Members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will be sent to Neskantaga First Nation in Ontario to assist in the ongoing evacuations as the community struggles with a water crisis, the country’s safety minister says.

In a tweet Tuesday evening, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said the federal government has approved a request from Ontario to assist the community.” Read more here…

October 27, 2020 (Yahoo News):

MPs discuss Neskantaga water crisis: VIDEO

“Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the federal government will not rest until the issues with the water system in an Ontario First Nation evacuated over a water crisis are fixed. Neskantaga First Nation has been living under a boil water advisory for 25 years. Residents were evacuated to Thunder Bay last week over high levels of hydrocarbons were found in the water supply.” Watch here…

October 28, 2020 (CBC):

Mining consultations continue even as water stops flowing for Neskantaga First Nation

Mining developments were supposed to bring an end to the water crisis in Neskantaga, they have not

“Consultation on the environmental assessment for a road to mineral deposit in northern Ontario will proceed even as one of the First Nations affected has been emptied out by an emergency. Neskantaga First Nation was evacuated last week after the community water supply was shut down when an oily substance was discovered in the reservoir. Nearly all of its 300 residents are staying in hotels, about 450 kilometres away, in Thunder Bay, Ont. Meanwhile, consultations on the terms of reference that will set the stage for environmental assessment on a mining supply road through Neskantaga’s traditional territory continue. Ontario has a constitutional duty to consult First Nations when their treaty rights may be impacted.” Read more here…

October 28, 2020 (Kenora Online):

Neskantaga evacuation could have been avoided, MP

“Kenora MP Eric Melillo is pushing the federal government for action, when it comes to lifting a boil water advisory at Neskantaga First Nation that’s lasted for 25 years. Melillo took his case to the House of Commons earlier this week.

“Mr. Speaker, Neskantaga First Nation in my riding has been under a boil water advisory for 25 years,” he told the House of Commons. “Now, due to the shutdown of their water treatment plant, many community members are being forced to evacuate. This is by all accounts a public health emergency, and one that could’ve been prevented, had action been taken sooner,” he said.” Read more here…

October 28, 2020 (CKDR Dryden):

MPP pressures government to act on Neskantaga

“There are demands on the Ford government to do something about the water problems in Neskantaga First Nation. Kiiwetinoong NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa points to the 25-year boil water advisory and the current problems with the water reservoir in the remote community. “This would not be allowed in the riding like Etobicoke North,” noted Mamakwa.” Read more here…

October 29, 2020 (Narcity):

Jagmeet Singh drags Trudeau with video of Indigenous kids calling for clean water

This is second time he’s called out the PM this week

“The NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, has been calling out Justin Trudeau all week, and today is no different. He tweeted at the PM on Thursday morning, along with a video of four Indigenous children calling for clean water in their community. The children in the video ask when they can expect to “get help,” and when their water is “going to be fixed.” The tweet comes just one day after Singh shared a video of himself on Instagram, explaining the water crisis that the Neskantaga Nation and many other Indigenous communities are currently facing.” Read more here…

October 29, 2020 (Press release):

OFL statement on Neskantaga First Nation’s water crisis

“The Ontario Federation of Labour demands action for Neskantaga First Nation peoples, who have been evacuated and left without a safe, clean water supply for the winter. The community has lived under a boil water advisory for more than 25 years. “It is appalling that clean drinking water, a basic human right readily available to millions of settlers on Turtle Island, is a luxury for the First Nation community of Neskantaga,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Patty Coates. “Shame on the government for continuing to treat First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples like second class citizens.”” Read more here…

October 30, 2020 (Global News):

Canadian Rangers to arrive in Neskantaga First Nation amid water crisis

“Canadian Rangers were expected to arrive in Neskantaga First Nation on Friday to help the remote community in northern Ontario as it grapples with a water crisis. Much of the First Nation was evacuated earlier in the month after high levels of hydrocarbons — chemical compounds found in crude oil and coal — were discovered in the water supply, forcing officials to turn off the pipes. “The Canadian Rangers have also been deployed to support the community and should be on the ground as of today,” Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller told reporters on Friday.” Read more here…

October 30, 2020 (Global News):

Indigenous affairs minister says feds ‘won’t give up’ on lifting Neskantaga boil water advisory: VIDEO

“Indigenous Affairs Minister Marc Miller said Friday that the government wouldn’t give up on its efforts to lift a boil water advisory in Neskantaga, which is the longest-standing advisory in Canada. But, Miller said the COVID-19 pandemic has shortened the construction season, which is having an impact on the work to introduce clean drinking water to the community.” Watch here…

October 30, 2020 (The Globe and Mail):

Canadian Rangers to arrive in Neskantaga First Nation to provide support amid water crisis

Unfortunately this article is behind a paywall. If you subscribe to the Globe and Mail, you can check out the article here

November 2, 2020 (TB News Watch):

Neskantaga residents plan a ‘sit-in’ at Queen’s Park

A multi-day sit-in will begin Tuesday

“Neskantaga First Nation and the New Democratic Party are trying to ramp up pressure on the Ford government to do more to help the community during its drinking water emergency. The leadership ordered the airlifting of more than 230 residents of the remote First Nation to Thunder Bay nearly two weeks ago after an oily sheen appeared in the water supply.” Read more here…

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