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Canada Trudeau walks back pledge to end boil-water advisories on First Nations by 2021

00:07  24 october  2020
00:07  24 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Even if Justin Trudeau eliminates long-term boil water advisories , experts say he likely won't have solved the issue of providing clean drinking water During the 2015 election campaign, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau promised to eliminate all long-term water advisories on First Nations by March 2021 .

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to eradicate all drinking water advisories in First Nations communities by March 2021 . Can PM Trudeau keep drinkable water promise to First Nations ? ' Boil water ' advisories , which requires the water to be boiled before consuming or for cooking or

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walked back a long-standing promise to lift all boil-water advisories in First Nations by 2021 on Friday, pointing the finger at travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau made the comments when asked about the situation in Neskantaga First Nation, where an unknown contaminant in the water prompted officials to shut off the pipes earlier this week, leaving the community without running water and forcing a partial evacuation.

The First Nation in a remote part of northwestern Ontario has the longest-standing drinking water advisory in the country, in place for 25 years.

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The pandemic has put some of the Liberal government's key deadlines of its reconciliation agenda in jeopardy, including a promise to end all long-term boil - water advisories on First Nations by next March. Last week's throne speech indicated a shift in language around the commitment to eliminate

Since the Trudeau Liberals were elected in 2015, they’ve made progress on their pledge to end long-term Four years after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau vowed to end all drinking water advisories on First Nations reserves, the federal government faces lawsuits from five First Nations demanding

"Understandably, COVID-19 and the travel restrictions have come and created challenges in certain communities and certain paths forward," Trudeau said. "But we continue to be optimistic we're going to be able to lift those remaining boil-water advisories soon."

He noted that roughly 90 long-term boil-water advisories have lifted since his government took power in 2015, but around 60 remain.

"This is a commitment that matters an awful lot to us as a government but matters even more to Indigenous communities across the country that have gone in many cases decades without safe drinking water," Trudeau said.

He didn't comment on Neskantaga's specific case.

The NDP said that won't do, and called on the Liberals to act.

"(Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller) and the Liberal government need to step up and launch a full and transparent investigation into what the problems are, who built this system, and what it will take to bring fresh water to this community after twenty-five years," said MP Charlie Angus.

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Justin Trudeau highlighted the push for reconciliation with First Nations , Metis and Inuit at a rally Saturday night, an issue he has otherwise rarely raised when The platform also pledges to fully implement previous commitments, such as ending boil - water advisories on all reserves by 2021 .

Despite an influx of billions in funding and a campaign pledge , the Liberals have barely made a dent in ending drinking water advisories for First Nations communities, a report released “We have many First Nations communities in Canada that are living in Third World conditions in a first world country.

Even before this week's discovery of an "oily sheen" in the reservoir, Chief Chris Moonias said the community had to turn off the taps overnight to build up a water supply that's depleting due to leaks.

On Thursday, Moonias and his council sent a list of minimum demands to Miller that they said must be met before they'll send evacuees back to the reserve.

They include fixes to the water distribution system so that the community has access to running water 24/7,  repairs to water-related hardware in homes and the installation of two mobile membrane water treatment units.

"Government must commit and immediately move forward with examining the feasibility of continuing with repairing a flawed system versus the design and construction of a new water distribution system that meets the highest current standards," the demands read.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020.

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press

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