Thirsty for Justice campaign takes aim at First Nations water issues – by Kris Ketonen (CBC News Thunder Bay – June 22, 2016)

Campaign calls on federal government to address First Nations water problems

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has launched a new campaign aimed at pressuring the federal government to address the water quality issues in First Nations communities across Canada.

The Thirsty for Justice Campaign officially launched on Tuesday, National Aboriginal Day. It includes a website and a video chronicling the water quality problems faced by Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwestern Ontario.

However, the goal of the campaign is to see the water issues being faced by more than 100 First Nations communities in Canada addressed, said Michael Desautels, PSAC’s human rights program and Aboriginal rights officer.

“We had a convention resolution passed unanimously that called on the union to engage in a national campaign on safe drinking water for First Nations communities,” Desautels said.

The union has not yet determined the total amount it will spend on the three-year campaign.

The campaign also includes sample letters and talking points for use when talking to MPs about the issue, a petition, posters and other initiatives aimed at raising awareness and getting the government’s attention.

Partnership with Grassy Narrows

Desautels said PSAC partnered with Grassy Narrows because the First Nation — which has been without drinkable tap water for four decades due to mercury contamination — was inspiring in how the community’s members have dealt with adversity.

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