Ottawa’s funding offer for mercury care home in Grassy Narrows far less than needed, chief says

Rudy Turtle, chief of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, seen here in a May 28, 2018 file photo.

Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan has said the government is committed to building a care home to help the sickest of those impacted by the industrial mercury poisoning of Grassy Narrows First Nation.

The money is “booked” and “approved,” and the funding agreement the government wants the Indigenous community’s leaders to sign is “for keeps” and “legally binding,” he told CBC in June, adding that Chief Rudy Turtle will have “certainty … of our commitment financially.”

After reading the proposed funding agreement, Turtle said he does not have that certainty. The document, he said, is “the opposite of what O’Regan promised me and what he is telling the public.”

A draft of the proposed agreement obtained by the Star says Ottawa will contribute $10.5 million — far less than the total cost to build, according to a feasibility study — and that Ottawa can walk away from the deal for any reason with 60-days notice.

The draft also says the government may increase or decrease funding “based on approval of proposals or submissions from Grassy Narrows” and that ongoing funding for the construction of the home is dependent on annual approvals by Parliament. MORE

Trudeau apologizes after telling First Nations mercury poisoning protester, ‘Thank you for your donation’

https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/5106095/WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is apologizing after critics accused him of making a smug response to protesters at a Liberal fundraising event in Toronto Wednesday night

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is apologizing for what critics called his “smug” response to protesters who hoped to draw his attention to mercury contamination in the First Nation communities of Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong during a Liberal fundraiser in Toronto on Wednesday night.

According to a video posted to Twitter that showed Trudeau delivering a speech during the Laurier Club event at the luxury Omni King Edward Hotel, Trudeau responded to protesters by saying repeatedly, “Thank you for your donation.” MORE

 

Find the dumped mercury barrels

Please take a moment to send an email to the federal and provincial governments in support of the people of Grassy Narrows.

I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am by reading today’s Toronto Star report that the Ontario government is dragging its feet on commitments to search for mercury at the infamous Dryden mill site – mercury that may still be contaminating the waters of Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong) First Nation.

n the 1960s and early 1970s, the Reed Paper plant dumped 10 tonnes of mercury waste into the adjacent Wabigoon River upstream from Grassy Narrows. The property is now known to harbour significant amounts of mercury, including some that was illegally buried in steel drums decades ago.

A retired plant worker blew the whistle on this, saying he was ordered to haphazardly bury dozens of barrels of mercury waste in the 1970s. Recent soil samples from the property show unnaturally high levels of mercury, indicating that the barrels may have rusted away and released their toxic contents.

The people of Grassy Narrows deserve justice – they deserve clean land and water and for these illegally dumped contaminants to be fully removed and the area restored. Will you take a moment of your time to write to the Ontario government and demand that it fulfill the commitment to remediate this site? SOURCE