Atlantic Chiefs express frustration over lack of action in Potlotek First Nation (Updated)

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Chiefs in Atlantic Canada are expressing frustration and concern over Canada’s lack of action to address serious water conditions in Potlotek First Nation. It’s been one year since residents of the Cape Breton indigenous community raised serious concerns about the quality of their drinking water, and this week, the community has been advised by Health Canada not to drink the water, bathe in it or even wash clothes in it. To date, no clear action plan has been committed and no funding confirmed to address these repeated water issues.

“Our community has been working with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) over the past decade to address the serious issues, to no avail,” noted Chief Wilbert Marshall of Potlotek. “In spite of promises for action, here we are a decade later and no action. What must happen to address this water crisis here in our community?”

“All First Nations in Canada must continue to call for real actions to address the water situation in all our communities,” said Chief Bob Gloade, Co-chair of Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs (APC).

“Prime Minister Trudeau committed to address this situation and still, we see no action in communities which makes this a real tragedy,” said APC Co-chair Chief Candice Paul. “I thought we were working to solve this problem but the reality is, nothing is happening and our concerns for the members of this community, and many other communities are growing.”

Water quality is consistently at the top of the Atlantic Chiefs priorities each year. Chiefs continue to work toward a collaborative strategy and solution, APC has been working for over five years on The First Nations Clean Water Initiative. This initiative, developed with Dalhousie University’s leading researchers and experts, would see an Atlantic First Nations Water Authority govern, own, construct, operate and supply clean and sustainable water and wastewater services, created by and for indigenous communities. Chiefs and communities have committed to the project. )

“We have provided multiple briefings in recent years to several members of the Federal government, both elected and non-elected, and we are committed to working towards a solution, but to date, there is no assurance from government,” said John Paul, Executive Director, APC. “Perhaps safe water continues to be not a priority for the government of Canada and Prime Minister Trudeau.”


About APC

Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat is a policy research and advocacy organization that analyzes and develops culturally relevant alternatives to federal policy for 30 Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Innu communities and peoples.

For further information contact:

John G. Paul
Executive Director
Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat
Phone: 902-830-5023 (cell) or toll free 1-877-667-4007
Fax: 902-435-8027


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