Two Indigenous groups in the Atlantic region, the Mi'kmaq and Wolastoqiyik, are pitching a First Nations owned water authority to the federal government and First Nations. "We want to be able, at the end of the day, to turn on the tap and drink a glass of water," said Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul, one of the three current board members for the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority (AFNWA). "Some communities can't do that," she said.
An abrupt downturn in an already poor water-quality situation in a northwestern Ontario Indigenous community poses more of a safety risk than the federal government is willing to acknowledge, representatives of the First Nation said Wednesday as they called for help covering the cost of evacuating the community. Most of the 250 residents of the Neskantaga First Nation, a member of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, flew out of the community on the weekend after untreated water began flowing from local taps and water pressure tapered off dramatically.
SHOAL LAKE, ONT. — A joint venture (JV) involving Shoal Lake 40 Contractors LP and Sigfusson Northern Ltd. has been named the winning bidder in a competition to earn the right to construct a new water and wastewater system for Shoal Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario. Indigenous Services Canada is contributing $33 million for the project, which includes construction of a water treatment plant, reservoir, raw water intake structure and lift station as well as the installation of watermain connections and fire hydrants, stated a Sept. 6 release.
The Columbia River Treaty, an international agreement governing the flow of water between British Columbia and six U.S. states, will be 55 years old this year. It has not aged well. The river springs from the Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains of B.C. and winds 1,930 kilometres through the Northwestern United States – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming. No other river in North America spills more water into the Pacific Ocean.
WEST VANCOUVER, BC, Aug. 27, 2019 /CNW/ - The governments of Canadaand British Columbia are investing in modern reliable water services to build healthy sustainable communities where families can thrive today and for years to come. Today, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; and Sheila Malcolmson, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Member of the Legislative Assembly for Nanaimo, on behalf of the Honourable Selina Robinson, B.C. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, announced funding for 15 projects to improve drinking water and wastewater services for residents across British Columbia.
A non-profit group is working with a First Nation community in northeastern Ontario to become citizen scientists. Swim Drink Fish, with funding from Environment Canada, is continuing to set up citizen science water monitoring hubs. The group is now working with Zhiibaahaasing First Nation, located at the western end of Manitoulin Island on the northshore of Lake Huron. "We're trying to build a community of people around the Great Lakes who are working for swimmable, drinkable and fishable water," Mark Mattson, president of Swim Drink Fish said.
An Indigenous-led group plans to offer to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from the Canadian government this week or next, a deal that could help Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mitigate election-year criticism from environmentalists. The group, called Project Reconciliation, aims to submit the $6.9 billion offer as early as Friday, managing director Stephen Mason told Reuters, and start negotiations with Ottawa two weeks later. Project Reconciliation said the investment will alleviate First Nations poverty, a watershed for Indigenous people who have historically watched Canada’s resources enrich others.
Over a thousand people poured into the streets of downtown Winnipeg Friday to bring attention to the dozens of First Nations across Canada currently under boil water advisories. Roughly 1,100 people, including more than 800 students from the Seven Oaks School Division, took part, organizers estimate. Carrying signs, the demonstrators walked from city hall down Main Street to Portage Avenue, and then up Memorial Boulevard, before ending at the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Ontario's government is working to protect what matters most by identifying priorities for action to help protect the water quality and ecosystems of the Great Lakes and other waterways as part of its commitment in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. Today, Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and Grand Council Chief Glen Hare co-chaired the Great Lakes Guardian Council, which includes leaders from across Ontario including municipalities, First Nations and Métis communities, environmental organizations, and the science community, to discuss challenges and opportunities around the Great Lakes.
“Far too often, governments in Canada have demonstrated that they place little value on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples and the revitalization of their cultures and traditions,” Tara Scurr, business and human rights campaigner with Amnesty International Canada, said in a statement Thursday.
There is also concern the changes that were made that allowed some of the advisories to be lifted were just temporary fixes. There are long-term, structural problems with the water treatment systems in many Indigenous communities that have not been addressed. Many of these places lack the proper equipment needed to remedy the operational issues with which they are confronted.
Representatives for the town of Pictou, N.S., did not learn the proposed route for a new effluent pipe from Northern Pulp would cross their watershed until the plan was made public in media reports. Officials from the pulp mill met with Pictou Landing First Nation officials and fishermen's associations several weeks ago to detail the new proposed route after problems were discovered with the original route.
Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, congratulated Horse Lake First Nation on the opening of their new water treatment system. The new water treatment system in Horse Lake is critical to the community's efforts to ensure future generations have access to clean water. The new system features dual media filtration, reverse osmosis membranes, and ultra-violet light radiation.
Today, Randy Boissonnault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, visited Kehewin Cree Nation and congratulated Chief Brenda Vanguardand the entire community on the official sod turning for their new water treatment system. This new water treatment system is critical to the community's efforts to lift their long-term drinking water advisory.
Recently elected Xeni Gwet’in chief Jimmy Lulua doesn’t have running water in his own house. He brushes his teeth from a cup. It is a daily reminder of how precious water is to his people — but, he noted, “It’s not by choice.”
“We’ve never been high on the government’s priority list,” he said. “We live in a third world country in one of the richest countries in the world.”
A green dot. That’s the symbol the federal government uses for this First Nation in the Gatineau River Valley. An online map that tracks one of the Liberal administration’s signature pledges — to rid First Nations of warnings that their tap water is dirty and unsafe — marks Kitigan Zibi with a green dot, like a traffic signal, indicating Mission Accomplished.
Tellingly, Ms. Philpott publicly declared last fall that her department’s mandate is to make itself “obsolete” by empowering Indigenous groups to gain long-asked-for independence in providing services to their own communities. It’s clear that the goal is to assist First Nations to expand their role in operating and maintaining their own water systems.