OTTAWA -- The chief of Grassy Narrows First Nation is accusing the Liberals of stalling on a treatment centre for residents with mercury poisoning and is calling for a less "paternalistic" approach from the feds.
Chief Rudy Turtle was joined by the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and elders and youth from the community in Ottawa Tuesday, all calling on the Liberal government to stop the delays in getting the centre built in the First Nation in northern Ontario.
Turtle, who ran as a candidate for the New Democrats in the last election, says he has become disheartened watching two years go by, and still the federal government and Grassy Narrows can't come to an agreement on the design.
In the meantime, people in the community have had to leave for treatment and some have died away from their families.
Elder Bill Fobister Sr., who is among many Grassy Narrows residents suffering from mercury poisoning from industrial contamination in the water supply, said his greatest fear is that he will become more ill and possibly succumb to his illness away from his community.
Turtle said he is upset with the approach the Trudeau government has taken on the consultations for the treatment centre, which he says has felt paternalistic with federal officials telling the community what it needs rather than listening to what residents want.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2019.