Sol Mamakwa MPP for Kiiwetinoong

Government of Ontario

Ford government needs to start Grassy Narrows mercury clean-up now: NDP

Published on March 5, 2019

QUEEN’S PARK — During question period on Tuesday, NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa, said that after 200 days in office, the Ford government needs to stop delaying and start cleaning up mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows immediately.

The Toronto Star reported that the Ford government has still not taken action to begin cleaning up the area, despite knowing the source of mercury contamination. A retired mill worker in Dryden who said he helped dump 50 barrels of salt and mercury behind the mill in 1972, helped identify the spot.

“It’s been over three years since the Chief of Grassy Narrows First Nations called for an investigation into mercury poisoning of the soil and the river,” said Mamakwa, the NDP’s Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic.

“The government’s own environmental experts recommended clean up action in the area over a year ago.

“Yet this week, the Toronto Star reported that the Ford government has still not taken any action to find the barrels.

“How long will it take this government to dig and clean up this toxic dump before more people from Grassy Narrows are poisoned?”

Mamakwa, the MPP for Kiiwetinoong, told the Ford government that the people of Grassy Narrows are depending on the cleanup action now, and the longer the government takes, the more people will be hurt.

“The children, youth and elders of Grassy Narrows First Nation live downstream from the Dryden mill and eat the fish from the Wabigoon River,” said Mamakwa.

“If mercury was buried in Toronto, and it was poisoning people, you can be sure that this government would act.

“After more than 200 days in office, it is time this government takes action to find the buried mercury upstream from Grassy Narrows.

“Why the double standard? When will Grassy Narrows have answers?

“The community is waiting.”