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Open letter: Premier, it's time for action in Grassy Narrows

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 10:30

Dear Hon Premier Wynne:

Now is the time to clean up the mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows. Your government cannot continue to drag its feet on this issue. People’s lives are at stake.

Sending Ministers Zimmer and Murray to Grassy Narrows today is a good step. But this cannot be a public relations exercise - real, concrete steps must be taken.

Scientists have concluded that it is possible to clean up the mercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon River system. There are also reports indicating there may be a source of ongoing contamination. 

Over 500 citizens in the past week have taken the time to write your government a letter demanding action to clean up the mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows. Thousands attended a rally and march at Queen’s Park.

I ask you to listen to these concerns. We do not want to live in a province that allows its people to be poisoned. It’s clear a strategy of natural remediation is not working, and it’s been way too long without additional action.

Your government has pledged action on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation report. Specifically, Minister Zimmer promised “Ontario is working to provide the resources and space for Indigenous languages, traditions, teachings and governance to thrive.”

Premier, how can the Grassy Narrows First Nation thrive when the river they rely on for water, food and economy continues to be poisoned by mercury?

I urge your government to take immediate action to clean up the mercury problems in Grassy Narrows. This includes physically removing mercury from polluted silt in the river system and limiting clear cut foresting in the area.

I appreciate your attention to this important issue.

Sincerely,

Mike Schreiner
Leader, GPO

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