Canadian Rangers deployed to Neskantaga First Nation during water crisis, Miller says

OTTAWA — Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says Canadian Rangers should be on the ground in Neskantaga First Nation today.

The remote community in northern Ontario has mostly been evacuated after high levels of hydrocarbons in the water reservoir forced officials to turn off the pipes earlier this month.

Miller says the Rangers, a sub-component of the Canadian Army Reserve, were deployed to “help support the community.”

He says his department is also working to restore clean drinking water to the First Nation, which has been under a boil water advisory for 25 years.

Miller says the government is looking at both short-term and long-term solutions, but notes the COVID-19 pandemic has led to some logistical challenges.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backtracked on a longstanding promise to end all on-reserve boil-water advisories by March 2021, citing travel restrictions implemented because of the pandemic.

Miller said the government continues to “work aggressively” to end boil-water advisories by next spring.

“Canada won’t stop until all First Nations on-reserve have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water,” he said Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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