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Conservatives stall Indigenous clean water law, minister says – Canada’s National Observer

May 28th 2024

Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, says the First Nations Clean Water Act will be “another tool” for nations to curb environmental racism and protect their waters.

Also known as Bill C-61, the bill proposes a new water commission, run by First Nations and funded by Ottawa. The commission will increase capacity to help First Nations monitor their water for pollution, Hajdu said.

The bill will also mandate that Ottawa and the provinces and territories ensure stronger protections for bodies of water that feed into First Nations’ lands and that First Nations have the same rights to quality of water as Canadian municipalities, Hajdu explained.

“And of course, that is still not the case in many First Nations in this country,” she added.

But Hajdu said Conservative conduct in the House over “the entire legislative process” is stalling the bill’s progress. Though she hopes to steer the bill into the committee process by the end of the June sitting period, Ottawa is still waiting for “all-party collaboration,” she said.

“It’s obstruction of things that deeply matter,” Hajdu said.

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