TORONTO, NOVEMBER 24, 2016 — This week, more than 60 of Canada's most celebrated authors joined the growing movement to clean up mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows, a northern Ontario community. The people of Grassy Narrows First Nation have been exposed to mercury in their waterways and fish since a pulp and paper company dumped almost ten tonnes of the potent neurotoxin on their site in the 1960s. In parliament yesterday, Ontario environment minister Glen Murray promised that the province will clean up mercury from the English-Wabigoon River system.
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"While we applaud the minister for promising to act, we need an immediate commitment from the premier with a budget and timeline," David Suzuki Foundation science projects manager Rachel Plotkin said. "We applaud the authors for standing with the Grassy Narrows community, and call on the Ontario government to follow through on its long-awaited promise to make the fish safe to eat and the water safe to drink."
More than 60 celebrated Canadian authors (including Vincent Lam, Margaret Atwood, Joseph Boyden, Lawrence Hill, Yann Martell and Madeleine Thien, winner of this year's Governor General's Literary Award and Scotiabank Giller Prize) joined the growing movement calling for an immediate cleanup.
"I am deeply moved that writers in Canada stand with Grassy Narrows — to see that the right thing is done," acclaimed author and medical doctor Vincent Lam said. "It is time for this mess to be cleaned up."
To demonstrate that they stand with Grassy Narrows First Nation community members, authors began sharing photos of their feet on social media this week with the hashtag #standwithgrassy. The posts encourage others to take action by sending a letter to Ontario's premier and Canada's prime minister through the David Suzuki Foundation's website (www.davidsuzuki.org/standwithgrassy).
The authors join a diverse group of celebrities, musicians, artists and advocates, including David Suzuki, Rachel McAdams and Jane Fonda, who are also standing with Grassy to demand a cleanup.
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For more information, please visit www.davidsuzuki.org/standwithgrassy or contact:
Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation, 647-456-9752, firstname.lastname@example.org
List of #standwithgrassy writer supporters — as of November 23, 2016: Andre Alexis, Angie Abdou, Margaret Atwood, Mona Awad, Deni Ellis Béchard, Dennis Bock, Joseph Boyden, Cathy Marie Buchanan, Catherine Bush, Jowita Bydlowska, Sasha Chapman, Karen Connelly, David Cronenberg, Anthony De Sa, Esi Edugyan, Marina Endicott, Charles Foran, Will Ferguson, Douglas Gibson, Graeme Gibson, Don Gillmor, Charlotte Gray, Rawi Hage, Elizabeth Hay, Teva Harrison, Kenneth J. Harvey, Lawrence Hill, Miranda Hill, Wayne Johnston, Adrienne Kress, Alice Kuipers, Vincent Lam, Kateri Lanthier, Catherine Leroux, Linden MacIntyre, Stephen Marche, Yann Martel, Ken McGoogan, Bruce Meyer, Lisa Moore, Marina Nemat, Michael Ondaatje, Laurence Packer, Christine Pountney, Andrew Pyper, Michael Redhill, Robert Rotenberg, Elizabeth Ruth, Robert Sawyer, Sarah Selecky, Antanas Sileika, Merilyn Simonds, Johanna Skibsrud, Linda Spalding, Eva Stachniak, David Suzuki, Ania Szado, Madeleine Thien, Miriam Toews, Ayelet Tsabari, Jane Urquhart, Russell Wangersky, Zoe Whittall, Michael Winter, Alissa York.