Premier needs cleanup action plan for Wabigoon River in Grassy Narrows: Campbell


QUEEN'S PARK - During Question Period today, Sarah Campbell, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, called on Premier Wynne for a commitment to clean up mercury contamination of the Wabigoon River in Grassy Narrows, following the release of a new scientific report that says cleanup of the river is possible.

“Will the Premier commit today to an action plan to clean up the Wabigoon River so that future generations don’t have to grow up poisoned and the community of Grassy Narrows can heal?”

Groups supporting the Grassy Narrows First Nation held a press conference at Queen’s Park today to release an independent study commissioned by the First Nation, that recommends cleaning up the Wabigoon-English River system of the mercury that was dumped there 50 years ago.

“Members of Grassy Narrows First Nation will travel this week, as they do every year, the 1,700 kilometres to Queen’s Park to, once again, call on this government to do something, to act on the contamination of their traditional fishing and hunting lands,” Campbell said.

During this time last year the Premier said, “The scientists have said to us there are questions about how to actually do the cleanup because … the sediment at the bottom can actually cause further damage.”

MPP Campbell called on the Premier to actively address the cleanup based on the new report today.

“Yes, this needs to be done very carefully, but here today a report written by scientists says that it is possible to clean up the river. In the press today, the response from the Ministry of the Environment to this new report is, word for word, the same as the ministry comment from February. How is this possible?,” Campbell said.

“Truth and reconciliation: It means being honest with our relationships with our First Nations partners.  Will the Premier commit today to the cleanup of the mercury in the Wabigoon River once and for all?”