No tap water, no toilets, no celebration

Imagine living in a community without running water or indoor toilets. Yikes! You’d have to collect water from a stream or a lake for cooking and washing. You’d have to poop and pee in an outhouse or in pails that you’d dump outside.

Not only would this burn up a lot of time, but it would also raise your risk of getting sick, with minor problems like diarrhea or life-threatening illnesses like H1N1 (swine flu).

This sounds like life today in a really poor African country, or maybe Canada in the 19th century. That’s why I didn’t believe it when I heard that more than 15,000 First Nations people in Canada today live on reserves in homes without tap water or toilets. It seemed impossible, in 2011, in this wonderful country with so much economic and water wealth.

But I did a bit of research, and it’s true. Thousands of houses on reserves lack running water, including the majority of homes at Pikangikum in Ontario, Kitcisakik in Quebec, St. Theresa Point, Wasagamack, Red Sucker Lake, and Garden Hill in Manitoba, and Little Buffalo in Alberta.

Living in a home without water would make it tough to ‘celebrate’ Canada Water Week (March 14-22). Clean water is more than a mere natural resource, it is a human right and an ecological imperative.

If you have clean water coming out of your taps, then celebrate your good fortune by writing to Prime Minister Harper and telling him to make it an urgent priority to deliver safe water and 21st century sanitation to all First Nations in Canada. ASAP!

Prime Minister Harper
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

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One Response to “No tap water, no toilets, no celebration”

  1. Dagna March 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Great post David. Thank you for the important reminder! Where can I read more about your research?

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