Monday, December 4, 2017


The article in the November 30, 2017 edition of the Waterloo Region Record is titled "Grassy Narrows First Nation gets mercury treatment help". Apparently residents for the last many decades who are suffering from severe effects of mercury poisoning have had to travel from the Grassy Narrows area to either Winnipeg or Kenora to receive specific mercury contamination treatment. These symptoms have included "...impaired peripheral vision, muscle weakness, impaired speech, hearing and cognitive function and numbness or stinging pain in the extremities and mouth.".

This latest pre-election promise from the Liberal government is for a local treatment system and may cost around $4.5 million. The local Chief Simon Fobister stated that "We've been requesting for this for years and years.". This environmental scandal and disgrace was initially caused by the Reed paper mill in Dryden, Ontario dumping 9,000 kilograms of mercury into the English-Wabigoon river systems in the 1960s. In Japan localized mercury pollution caused terrible suffering and the disease was referred to as Minamata disease.

Now of course let's see if this local treatment centre actually ever gets built. Promises are wind to politicians and the history of delay and avoidance regarding this environmental disaster even puts the province's treatment of Elmira, Ontario to shame. Here citizens have not suffered from a single, signature disease but have suffered and succumbed to various cancers, heart and respiratory diseases over the decades. Of course with the able assistance of our local politicians; provincial and federal politicians have been able to ignore calls for health studies which could have put pressure on Uniroyal/Chemtura/Lanxess to clean up much more, much faster. Suggesting our local clean up is proceeding at a snail's pace is an insult to the speed and mobility of snail's.

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