Dear Honourable Jody Wilson Raybould,
I wrote Carolyn Bennett in February 2016 about the First Nations Reserves with contaminated water and missing population records on the Health Canada website. She replied on July 16th, 2016 indicating that these communities were given bottled water. How does a mother of three bath her children in a 12 pack of bottled water?
If the Canadian Government is committed to the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples Rights, when will safe drinking water and sanitation be provided on First Nation Reserves so families can maintain an acceptable standard of health through daily baths and showers?
The Bill S-8 or the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations gives the Federal Government the power to set up rules and regulations around water and sanitation (Uechi, 2012, para. 11). In the Health Canada reports on water boiling advisories of Canada’s First Nations, the population demographics are documented as unknown.
There are 136 Drinking Water Advisories in effect in 92 First Nation communities across Canada (Health Canada, 2015, para. 2). (Refer to appendix #2). The water advisory chart on Alberta First Nations reserves reveals no statistics available on the population (Refer to appendix #2 ). This reflects the poor living conditions from a lack of safe, clean drinking water.
When will the following promises be kept?
Prime Minister Trudeau’s 2016 Budget allocated approximately $2 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure over five years to end boil-water advisories on First Nations reserves within the next five years (Kirkup, 2016, para. 9). More specifically, $141.7 million will be allocated for the monitoring and testing of reserve drinking water and $1.8 billion for facility operation and maintenance (Kirkup, 2016, para. 11).
Anna Wilson M Ed.
Drinking water advisories in Alberta First Nation Reserves
Health Canada. (2015). First Nations and Inuit Health: Drinking Water Advisories in First Nations Communities. Retrieved
Levasseur,J. & Marcoux, J. (2014),Bad water: ‘Third World’ conditions on First Nations in Canada: Two-thirds of First Nations have been under at least 1 water advisory between 2004 and 2014. CBC News. Retrieved From: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/bad-water-third-world-conditions-on-first-nations-in-canada-1.3269500.