November 22, 2019
Aaniin Community Members,
Chief and Council wish to share a water update and possible new strategy for your consideration regarding a communal water system for our First Nation.
Firstly, some context to consider. To us, water is life. To Indigenous Services Canada, water is a file. Today our First Nation remains like it has for decades, one of many files seeking the necessary resources for safe, clean water.
Recently, Council was approached by a law firm to explore the possibility of bringing a class action claim against the Federal Government. You will see this information in the minutes of the November 18 Council Meeting. This claim would have been on behalf of all status members of all First Nations in Canada.
The primary reason Curve Lake First Nation was approached was because the Federal Government maintains that the water system in the Subdivision is in perfect working condition. Yet in 2017, the Province of Ontario inspected the system and said it was not operating properly. In order to
use these facts, we had to file paperwork with the Court before October 13, 2019.
Council, as per policy, approved by consensus, in closed session to file the claim in order to preserve our rights with no obligation to follow through. Preserving our rights means that the dates and facts would remain legally valid and makes for a stronger argument for Curve Lake. Our decision was also supported by an independent legal opinion. Again, we acted in a timely manner solely to preserve our rights.
Our filing is now on public record. Moving forward, it is essential that we engage with you, our community members, to see if you think a Court Action is a good solution for the water issues Curve Lake faces. Part of this discussion will be to bring to light the status of our current efforts and other options that may be in play.
This course of action does not mean that individual community members would get money from the lawsuit. The purpose of this claim would be to get an Order from the Court forcing the Federal Government to install a water treatment plant in Curve Lake.
Even though we have filed papers with the Court. if the community decision is that we should not proceed with a lawsuit. that suit can and will be abandoned. If Community feels like it is a good idea, then we can take next steps.
Please reach out to Chief and Council by email, telephone or social media and share your thoughts.
Chief Emily Whetung
on behalf of Chief and Council