QUEEN’S PARK — In question period on Monday, Ontario NDP Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic and Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha called on Kathleen Wynne to explain why her Liberal government sat on a 2016 report confirming that residents of the Grassy Narrows First Nation are still at risk of mercury poising.
“We recently learned that the Liberal government has confirmation that Grassy Narrows First Nation is still being exposed to mercury poisoning through the contamination of the Wabigoon River,” said Mantha. “But the premier says the report that confirms this, delivered to the government in September 2016, never made its way to her desk. But the minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation said it wasn’t a communications breakdown – and that ministries don’t ‘keep the premier of the day in the dark’.”
A 2016 report commissioned by Domtar revealed that Grassy Narrows First Nations and First Nations along the Wabigoon River are still at risk of mercury poising, contrary to the claim that the river would clean itself naturally over time. Rather than immediately disclosing this information, the Wynne government withheld the report for more than a year. Mantha is demanding that Kathleen Wynne come clean about her role in covering-up the report.
“The premier has an entire team of staff and cabinet ministers working with her. It’s hard to believe that no one in the Liberal government thought that this information was important – or that it would save indigenous lives. This report would have set off alarm bells throughout the entire Liberal government.”