Today marks the day where Canadians come together to celebrate the traditional cultures, unique heritage and contributions First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples bring to our communities and our nation’s culture.
The Hospital Employees’ Union continues to advocate for fair and equal treatment of all Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The HEU First Nations Standing Committee (FNSC) takes on a number of issues, including the fight back against the Enbridge Pipeline and the privatization of water services on reserves in Canada. Many First Nations communities are still under “Drinking Water Advisories” or have water systems classified as “high risk”.
Although legislation and a strict set of safety guidelines for drinking water and wastewater treatment have been developed in provinces and territories, these do not exist in First Nations communities. Water on reserves is not regulated like the rest of the water in Canada.
And according to the Polaris Institute and the Assembly of First Nations, much of the blame can be placed on the federal government for improperly installing wells and filtration systems, and abandoning any responsibility for maintenance and repairs after the initial installation.
The FNSC is also doing an outreach campaign to encourage First Nations peoples to vote in elections and to have polling stations set up on reserves across the province.
June 21 provides an important opportunity for all HEU activists to come together and show our public support for each other.