Two years ago Parliament voted to recognise the right of every Canadian to clean running water. Yet in remote communities across the land people are still living with boil water advisories. One such community, Neskantaga, has been living with this for so long that younger people have never known what it’s like to turn on the tap and drink the water. This in the heart of pristine lakes and rivers.
Chief Peter Moonias will be joined by many others in Toronto to bring full attention to this and many other features of life in remote communities in Ontario and across northern Canada : no jobs, poor health, terrible housing conditions, and no real means to address these issues without government leadership.
As governments announce their willingness to partner with First Nations, the central contradictions persist: First Nations’ governments do not have the means, the money, the revenues, to solve their own problems, and so are left with the perils of dependency. Both Ottawa and Queen’s Park control the purse strings. All revenues flow to the Crown. And the Crown doles out what it wants when it wants. And so the dependency continues, as does the hardship.
Peter Moonias is calling on all of us to change the pattern and end the dependency. His voice should be heard.