No excuses for boil water orders on First Nations reserves – Michael’s essay
No excuses for boil water orders on First Nations reserves – Michael’s essay.
In May of 2000, during a random test of the water supply in the farming town of Walkerton, Ontario, traces of e-coli were found in a shallow water supply well.
This was the result of cattle manure washing into the well.
People in the town started to get sick — with, ultimately, 3,500 residents falling ill.
A formal judicial inquiry was held to determine what had gone wrong with the system.
While all this was going on, thousands of men, women and children in Ontario and across the country were boiling their water for at least a minute because what came out of the tap was toxic, dangerous to drink.
In all of the complicated relationships and seemingly intractable problems between governments and First Nations peoples, clean water has to be one of the simplest to resolve.
Drinking water on reserves is a federal responsibility.
A year before, the number was 139 advisories in 94 communities.
In the 13 years between 1995 and 2008, the federal government, through Aboriginal Affairs, spent $3.5 billion.