March 9, 2016
VICTORIA— After the Christy Clark government refused to take the issue of lead in the drinking water of North Coast communities seriously, B.C. New Democrat MLA for the North Coast, Jennifer Rice, initiated water testing in three social housing units in her community.
“The results of the tests I initiated show that the drinking water in one of the social housing homes has lead concentration levels that are too high,” said Rice. “I brought this to the attention of the Minister of Health, and asked him to ensure water testing in our schools, hospitals and other public buildings occurs, but he refused.
“This neglect and indifference from the Christy Clark government towards the health of people in communities in the North Coast is disappointing, unacceptable and upsetting.”
Two years ago, the government’s own staff said that all drinking water in B.C.’s Northwest schools should be tested for lead after high lead levels were found in Kitimat schools. They also said that if lead levels were high in schools that nearby homes should also be tested. The government ignored this advice. It wasn’t until a public servant took it upon themselves to test the water in Prince Rupert schools this year that it was revealed that children and staff are being exposed to elevated lead levels. Despite this, the Christy Clark government refuses to test drinking water in other schools and public buildings such as social housing.
“I was outraged to learn that the Christy Clark government is purposefully neglecting the health of people in my community,” said Rice. “That’s why I initiated these tests. The fact that one of them came back positive is really worrying as that social housing building is home to many families with children. Even low levels of lead are harmful to children and pregnant mothers. The Christy Clark government needs to take these test results seriously and start testing all of the drinking water in public buildings, particularly where children frequent, in the North West.”
Here is a link to the report on lead levels in Kitimat schools – bit.ly/1XABAJU
Here is a link to me bringing up the issue in Question Period today –https://youtu.be/pXzSfLJFo4M