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Dec 21, 2023
Ottawa dumping responsibilities on First Nations without adequate support or consultation, chiefs say
First Nations leaders in Manitoba and Alberta are calling on Ottawa to redraft proposed new clean water legislation — and warn that the bill would fail to ensure safe drinking water and wastewater services in their communities.
Two groups representing more than 100 First Nations in the two provinces told CBC News they can’t support the bill because it’s too lax and could leave their people on the hook for problems with water treatment.
“Basically, Canada has given me a broken-down old vehicle,” said Chief Rupert Meneen of the Tallcree Tribal Government, based about 590 kilometres north of Edmonton.
“I’m not in any way going to take on something that is all broken down and take the liabilities on that come with it.”
Bill C-61 — an Act respecting water, source water, drinking water, wastewater and related infrastructure on First Nation lands — generated a mix of reactions when it was introduced on December 11 in the House of Commons.