JESSICA LAWS: Drinking water should be election issue

Share Adjust Comment Print

At the beginning of the week we saw the federal leaders kick off against each other in an English debate.

It was, among other things, a complete disgrace to what a democratic debate should be.

It was a verbal fight billed as an election debate that accomplished nothing but a consensus our democracy deserves a way better platform for what we call ‘debate.’

This election feels very hopeless as voting for one party is just another vote that lands us in another four years of displeasure.

There is no winning for those that don’t align themselves with a political party; you are ultimately left voting for the lesser evil of the party’s leaders.

While I am still completely in the dark as to whom or which party my personal beliefs align with, I, like so many, just don’t feel a pull to any one federal leader or party.

No matter my indecisiveness I acknowledge the fact it is my duty as a Canadian to head to the polls with everyone else on October 21.

This race, like the debate, has been anything but polite and the media has been there for every blow and every punch landed (as is their job).

However there was one press conference with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh that really caught my attention.

Held in Grassy Narrows, Ontario this past Saturday, Singh, who was standing in front of a crowd of Indigenous supporters, was asked about ending the boil water advisories that have been going on for many years in Indigenous communities.

Singh promised to do “whatever it takes” and committed to $1.8 billion, which is required to solve the issues.

He stated “there is no excuse for any community in Canada to not have access to clean drinking water” and when pushed by questions from the media about writing a blank cheque to solve the issue Singh’s rebuttal was everything I’d hoped for.

His response was to simply return the question back to reporters asking if they would basically be concerned with the cost of providing safe drinking water to cities like Toronto or Vancouver.

Let’s face it, nobody would be rebuking the cost of providing communities like Toronto boil-free water, but because we’ve gotten away with allowing these communities to suffer for years people feel that spending the billions of dollars is a waste of money.

Justin Trudeau and his Liberals have promised to end boil water advisories by 2021, the Progressive Conservative leader Andrew Scheer wants to focus on ‘practical things that can alleviate the types of challenges facing Indigenous Canadians, a boil water advisory being one of them, but hasn’t committed to a timeline or any extra funding.

The fact Scheer’s Conservatives use the language ‘practical’ means $1.8 billion isn’t going to be ‘practical’ to their budget.

It just surprises me Canadians haven’t yet demanded our Indigenous communities reap the same benefits as we do.

After all, the Liberals found billions of dollars to buy a pipeline so they should absolutely be able to find the funds to do something that benefits the relations we have with our Indigenous communities yet they’ve chosen not to.

It’s not like we lack the technology, what we as Canadians have lacked is making it a priority because not enough people have demanded it.

Our Indigenous communities deserve the same support we offer to communities like Walkerton, which we rallied behind.

It’s a shame past leaders haven’t been able to see the benefit in committing to our Indigenous communities, especially when relations continue to be as rocky as they have.

Apologies can only go so far to help improve relations, it’s time to show these communities we mean business and take action.

Hopefully that means after this election we will actually see something done.

Comments