Troubled Waters: The Globe And Mail Opinion Piece

August 4, 2020

On July 30, Adrian Sutherland’s opinion piece for The Globe and Mail titled “Troubled water: The slow drip of change in Attawapiskat is not and has never been enough” was published. In the piece, Adrian discusses Attawapiskat’s water contamination crisis in his home community of Attawapiskat one year later.

Adrian writes about how he and his community reacted when they were informed their tap water contained potentially harmful levels of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids.

“As my family and I struggled to come to terms with the crisis, I kept coming back to three core questions: Why did it take several days to inform us? How long had we been exposed to these chemicals? And what kinds of effects are they going to have on our children, our elders, our community?” Adrian writes.

Adrian also reflects on how he felt when he saw then-environment minister Catherine McKenna’s insensitive tweet about Ottawa’s clean drinking water, and why he responded publicly.

“Suddenly, people were calling me an activist, because I started speaking out against poor water conditions in First Nations in this country. But how could I not speak? It’s what I live, every day. Let me tell you, when your basic human needs aren’t met, when you don’t know that your family is safe, when it’s one crisis after another, after so much time, it wears you down. After a lifetime, it becomes normal,” Adrian writes.

Adrian ends the piece by writing about how the conditions First Nations communities live in isn’t something Canada, or anyone, should be proud of.

“It’s not surprising the federal government was able to suddenly pull billions of relief dollars for COVID-19, yet can’t ever seem to find money to fix the water crises in First Nations once and for all,” Adrian writes.

You can read the full article HERE.