Essex MPP Taras Natyshak was ejected from Queen’s Park Thursday after holding up a water sample, black with sediment, and demanding the acting minister of environment and climate change “take a drink.”
The NDP MPP began his statement by welcoming members of Water Wells First, a group of rural families from Chatham-Kent who claim the constriction of North Kent Wind, a wind turbine farm owned by Pattern Energy, has been causing dangerous sediments to seep into their water.
“Water is life, without it nothing survives, but for a long time now families in Chatham-Kent have been dealing with black water coming from their wells, jeopardizing their lives and livelihoods,” he said.
Natyshak added the fact sediments started showing up in well water as construction began on the wind turbine project was “no coincidence.”
He said the sediment is black shale, which can carry dangerous heavy metals, including arsenic.
David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation responded as acting minister of the environment and climate change and said the government has been analyzing the water to make sure it’s safe.
“Thus far the analysis has not shown a connection between water quality and the construction activity,” he said. “The company has informed the ministry that they are working with homeowners to provide and pay for licensed well contractors to inspect their wells.”
Natyshak called the answer “unbelievable” and added many families also need water to keep their livestock alive – some are even watering their animals with bottled water.
“It’s a sad day in Ontario where this is the quality of water,” he said, holding up a clear jar full of blackish liquid.
“Take a drink of this water,” he demanded. “Come over and tell me this is acceptable.”
Natyshak vows to keep fighting for water quality
The MPP was warned after the outburst and, when he spoke up again, was ejected to applause from Water Wells First members who were sitting in the gallery.
Zimmer said Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health has confirmed the water does not have a “health risk.”
Natyshak shared a video of the exchange on Facebook where he vowed to “continue to fight for these families and any others in Ontario who have no safe access to clean drinking water.”