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.
While some remote Indigenous communities are still struggling with boil water advisories and crumbling infrastructure, a community north of Manitoulin Island has some of the best drinking water in the province. Since 2012, Whitefish River First Nation has won the Water Taste Challenge five times. The award is handed out to the First Nation with the cleanest water. It's an honour that community members take pride in.
Water is something most Canadians take for granted. We have so much of it, it's no wonder. Per capita, our country has the world's third-largest freshwater reserves, but yet in many Indigenous communities, water can be difficult to access, at-risk because of unreliable treatment systems, or contaminated. That's the case in Delaware First Nation, an Indigenous community of about 500 people an hour southwest of London, Ont., a place where fishing was everything 60 years ago.
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.