OTTAWA — A Conservative MP is walking back his comments after saying earlier this week that First Nations are burning down water treatment plants because of the federal government.
Saskatchewan MP Kevin Waugh made the assertion during a debate on the government’s First Nations water bill on Monday.
A water plant in Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation was damaged by a fire in 2019, and another in Piapot First Nation burned down in 2018, but no cause was reported for either.
Waugh’s office says he is not familiar with the specific circumstances around those plants, and he did not intend to make any implication about why the fires happened.
Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Manitoba Southern Chiefs Organization says Waugh’s comments were unacceptable and reinforce harmful negative stereotypes about Indigenous people.
Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu says there’s no place in the House of Commons for that kind of rhetoric — especially during debate on a bill that seeks to restore First Nations’ inherent rights.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2024.
The Canadian Press