"When I hear him say that, first of all, I am not really a believer," says Chief Rudy TurtleCanadian Press
Dec 6, 2018 10:00 PM
OTTAWA — An Ontario First Nation suffering from generations of mercury poisoning still needs a treatment centre and help for children harmed by the toxic metal, its chief said Wednesday.
Until Grassy Narrows gets aid Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised, its Chief Rudy Turtle said, he won't think much of Trudeau's commitment to reconciliation.
A few blocks away in a downtown Ottawa hotel, Trudeau told an assembly of First Nations chiefs on Tuesday that his Liberal government "will start from a place of partnership" with Indigenous people, recognizing their rights without being dragged to it by courts, and seeking to make that a precedent for all future Canadian governments.
"When I hear him say that, first of all, I am not really a believer," Turtle told a news conference on Parliament Hill. "If he is serious about having a legacy, then it is time that he meet with Grassy Narrows, that he meet with the chief and council, that he meet with our people, that he stand in front of our people and talk to our people."
Turtle, speaking alongside others from his community near Ontario's border with Manitoba, said Grassy Narrows really needs its treatment facility for people with mercury poisoning. Their local river was doused with waste mercury from an upstream chemical plant for years in the 1960s and 1970s, contaminating the water, the fish that live in it, and the people who consumed both.
The symptoms of mercury poisoning include impaired peripheral vision, muscle weakness, impaired speech, hearin…