Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

June 07, 2012 16:46 ET

Media Advisory: CUPE Ontario joins Grassy Narrows First Nation to create "river" to Queen's Park

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 7, 2012) - Leaders and members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario will join with the Grassy Narrows First Nation tomorrow to create a "wild river" of blue fabric rippling to Queen's Park.

The marchers will unfurl 15,000 square feet of blue fabric and flow to the provincial capital along with traditional drummers and colourful fish puppets. The group is raising awareness about chemical dumping and mercury poisoning of the English River System caused by government and corporations over several decades.

Mercury poisoning from industrial logging at the Dryden Paper Mill in the 1960s is having serious effects on adults and children in Grassy Narrows, Wabauskang and White Dog First Nations.

"For decades, we've been told these activities are essential to our economy. But they haven't benefited the First Nations communities," says Joanne Webb, CUPE Ontario's Diversity Vice-President, Aboriginal Workers. "I'm proud to stand here today with the rest of my union's Aboriginal Council and our provincial leaders to demand the justice that is so long overdue."

WHO: Grassy Narrows mothers, Chief Simon Fobister (Grassy Narrows First Nation), Joanne Webb (Diversity Vice-President, Aboriginal Workers, CUPE Ontario), Bruce Cox (Executive Director, Greenpeace Canada), Maryam Adrangi (Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner, Council of Canadians) and other speakers

WHAT: March and rally demanding justice for First Nations affected by mercury poisoning and industrial logging activity

WHEN: Begins at Grange Park (behind Art Gallery of Ontario) at noon, march arrives at Queen's Park at 1:15 p.m., Friday, June 8

CUPE Ontario is the province's largest union. It represents more than 230,000 workers in five main sectors: health care, school boards, municipalities, social services and universities.

Contact Information

  • Craig Saunders
    CUPE Communications