Trudeau fails to keep word on drinking water for Indigenous peoples

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to be unable to keep his word on the pressing issue of fixing the dysfunctional water supply in many Indigenous communities across the country.

The previous commitment was that 441 projects for communities to have potable water would be finished by March of 2021. The latest comment from Trudeau on the matter did not refer to a definite date:

“We recognize there’s lots more work to do. We will continue to work extremely hard to lift those long-term boil water advisories as soon as possible,” said Trudeau at a press conference on Friday.

According to CTV News, there is no evidence of anything being done since the start of the pandemic, and the project’s progress is no longer being tracked online.

“As we know this is the 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,” continued Trudeau at the press conference.

One water advisory has been up since 1995 in northwest Ontario at the Neskantaga First Nation reservation. It also appears that water quality has been getting worse there. Recently, the area has had to be evacuated when an unidentified oil was found mixed in with the water in the local reservoir.

Currently, Indigenous Services Canada reports that there are 61 water advisories still in place for public water systems managed by the Trudeau government which have been there for a year or more.

The water advisories range from “boil water” advisories to “do not consume”, which means the water is for adult bathing only, to “do not use” which means even contact with the water could be harmful.