The Executive of CUPE 3906 openly condemns the Canadian federal government’s failure to meaningfully address the mercury crisis that has impacted the community of Grassy Narrows First Nation for more than fifty years. The government of Canada has long eschewed its responsibility and broken many promises to address the consequences of the community’s long-term exposure to toxic levels of mercury, which started when a paper mill in Dryden, Ontario was allowed to begin contaminating the Wabigoon River. Recent studies have even shown signs of congenital mercury poisoning in infants and young children.
It is incumbent upon the federal government, the leader of which campaigned on the importance of fostering “nation-to-nation” relationships with Indigenous peoples, to rectify this incredible injustice in ways deemed suitable by the community itself. CUPE 3906 thus endorses the following demands being made by Grassy Narrows community members: (1) Compensation for everyone in Grassy Narrows for the ongoing
mercury crisis, and (2) That the government of Canada put the full cost of building and operating a Mercury Home in Grassy Narrows into a trust so that the commitment is fulfilled regardless of who gets elected this October.
These demands will be central to River Run 2019: Walk With Grassy Narrows for Mercury Justice, wherein members of the community will be in Toronto from June 17 to 22 to lead several events and raise public awareness about their struggle for environmental justice, culminating in a large march to Queen’s Park on June 20 at noon.
CUPE 3906’s Political Action Committee will provide $300 in financial support and send a delegation of members to Toronto in order to help ensure that the River Run is a success and receives the attention it deserves. We also call on other organizations and associations like ours to do the same.