Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse made it clear during his Feb. 8 presentation to the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples he does not support Bill S-11, Safe Drinking Water Act for First Nations.
“Our opposition to this bill is a clear indication that we will not accept legislation that disrespects our constitutional and treaty rights and is unilaterally imposed on us,” Toulouse said. “This is an issue of paramount concern to First Nation leadership, as far too many of our communities lack safe drinking water and the infrastructure necessary to deliver safe drinking water. These circumstances are not acceptable and this bill does not address the situation and is not the way forward.
“First Nations are entitled to enjoy safe drinking water from the sacred water sources entrusted to us and to our care and stewardship by the Creator. This right cannot be separated from our right to manage and apply our laws and values to water management.”
Toulouse would like to see the recommendations made by Expert Panel on Safe Drinking Water for First Nations fully explored. These included the options of having new water legislation created at both the provincial and federal levels.
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