For the last half century, the people of Asubpeeschoseewagong (the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwest Ontario) have been dealing with the devastating impacts of industrial pollution of their river system, including widespread mercury poisoning from contaminated fish. Momentum is building in support of Grassy Narrows and its long struggle for justice. But we need to ramp up pressure to break through government indifference and bureaucratic inertia.
The Trudeau government had promised to deal with the mercury crisis once and for all. The federal government even promised that it would act quickly to ensure mercury survivors at long last had access to the kind of specialized health care that they need. Unfortunately, as we learned this summer, that promise has been broken.
The federal government doesn’t want to commit all the money that’s needed. And it wants the option of taking even that money away whenever it wants.
The people of Grassy Narrows deserve better. They are asking for the government to establish an ongoing trust fund to ensure that mercury survivors get the care they need, regardless of the political winds in Ottawa.