OTTAWA — The chief of a northern Ontario First Nation plagued by mercury contamination will be running under the NDP banner in the fall federal election.
Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh are to make the announcement later today in Ottawa.
Turtle is being acclaimed as the NDP candidate in the federal riding of Kenora, where the party’s nomination period has closed.
The chief has been outspoken about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and has suggested his community wants to see further evidence of progress on the mercury issue, including a promised medical treatment facility.
Grassy Narrows First Nation has suffered from the health impacts of mercury contamination from a paper mill in Dryden, Ont., that dumped 9,000 kilograms of the toxin into the English-Wabigoon River system in the 1960s.
Earlier this year, Turtle publicly called for the federal government to put $88.7 million — the estimated 30-year cost for the facility — into a trust fund to ensure the project moves ahead no matter the election results.