Cabinet ministers to meet Grassy Narrows leaders to talk about mercury poisoning

Toronto – Ontario’s minister of indigenous relations and reconciliation says he wants to hear firsthand about mercury poisoning from leaders of the Grassy Narrows First Nation.

David Zimmer says it’s time he and Environment Minister Glen Murray sit down with the Grassy Narrows leadership to discuss various reports about the mercury contamination that has plagued the remote northwestern Ontario community for decades.

The two cabinet ministers, along with some technical experts from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, will travel next week to Grassy Narrows, near the Manitoba border.

Zimmer says the government wants to find out any new information from the community and sort out the different reports on the mercury contamination before deciding on a course of action.

Some Grassy Narrows residents have suffered mercury poisoning since the Dryden Chemical Co. dumped 9,000 kilograms of it into the Wabigoon and English River systems during the 1960s. The community was told to stop eating local fish in the 1970s.

Chief Simon Fobister Sr. said Tuesday he wants the government to investigate another possible source of contamination after a former worker at the Dryden mill told the Toronto Star he had buried more than 50 barrels of mercury and salt in a pit near Grassy Narrows in 1972.

By Keith Leslie
The Canadian Press

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