Tory MP in hot water as First Nation demands apology for comments he made in House

 OTTAWA — Piapot First Nation is demanding an apology from a Conservative MP after he said First Nations are burning down water treatment plants because they’re frustrated with the Liberals. Chief Mark Fox and his council say they reject Waugh’s statements as “grossly disrespectful,” and are calling for a formal apology and retraction of the [[{“value”:”

OTTAWA — Piapot First Nation is demanding an apology from a Conservative MP after he said First Nations are burning down water treatment plants because they’re frustrated with the Liberals.

Chief Mark Fox and his council say they reject Waugh’s statements as “grossly disrespectful,” and are calling for a formal apology and retraction of the “baseless claims.”

Waugh made the comments during debate on a First Nations water bill last week, leading to swift pushback from First Nations and the minister of Indigenous services.

“In my home province of Saskatchewan, I have seen reserves burn down water treatment plants because the Liberal government has done little or nothing,” Saskatchewan MP Kevin Waugh said, directing his comments toward Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu.

He added there needs to be “education provided for people on reserve to operate these water treatment plants,” and blamed the Liberals for not doing more.

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 specific cause was reported for either fire.

Waugh walked back his comments a few days later, with his office conceding he is not familiar with any specific circumstances.

“MP Waugh was pointing out that after eight years of Justin Trudeau and this Liberal government, what we have is a trail of broken promises and countless Indigenous communities that don’t have access to clean drinking water,” his office said.

It wasn’t enough for Fox.

“These statements from the MP are not only without merit, but deeply disrespectful to the people of Piapot First Nation and all First Nations committed to the stewardship of our lands and resources,” the chief said in a statement.

“They shift focus away from the actual issues we are facing regarding infrastructure and resource management, and should not be overshadowed by such ill-advised and misinformed political rhetoric.”

Waugh’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024.

Alessia Passafiume, The Canadian Press

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