OTTAWA, ONTARIO (June 13, 2012) – The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, issued the following statement today after the Senate passed Bill S-8, Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act:
“I am pleased that Bill S-8, Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act, introduced in the Senate on February 29, 2012, was given third reading and passed by the Senate of Canada today after thorough study and debate. The bill will now move to the House of Commons for consideration.
The proposed legislation is a crucial element of a larger action plan that the government began implementing six years ago, the objective of which is to ensure First Nations have the same health and safety protections for drinking water in their communities as other Canadians. There are currently no legally enforceable standards and protocols governing water quality on First Nation lands.
The proposed legislation, if passed, would provide a mechanism to allow the Government to develop, in partnership with First Nations, enforceable regulations to ensure access to clean and reliable drinking water; the effective treatment of wastewater; and the protection of sources of water on First Nation lands.
This milestone was achieved as a result of pragmatic, tangible and respectful collaboration with First Nations. If passed, the same level of cooperation will be key to the development of regulations. The democratic process, as much as the result, is something of which we can all be proud.”
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