What the fuck?

There are no better words to express what I’m about to describe. I’m sitting here just shaking my head in disbelief. Please tell me there wasn’t some kind of geographic shift that has thrown me to some far off place. I am in Canada, right? The scenery looks the same, but shit is going on that just shouldn’t happen here. Shouldn’t! No question!

I just heard that a whole bunch of people from the Kashechewan native reservation had to be evacuated to places where they could access medical treatment and clean water. Did a major natural disaster hit them that would cause a sudden breakdown in medical care and clean water? No! Apparently, they’ve been dealing with poorly-treated water that comes out of the tap looking like ginger- ale as one person described it, for some time now. In her summary of the situation, the Canada AM reporter said the citizens of the reserve had been living in third world conditions.

Ok, I say again, what the fuck? At first I flipped out because everyone started blaming the federal government right off the bat for the problem. I thought, “Maybe nobody notified them. Maybe they didn’t even know it was going on.” Think about it. How often does one go through Kashechewan? It’s not really a stop on the way to Ottawa. Before today, had anyone really heard of it? These reserves can be sort of isolated from the main drag. it would still be pretty nuts, but perhaps conceivable.

Then I read more stuff and started getting really mad. Apparently they’ve been asking for repairs on the water treatment plants for two years. Two! years! Oh it gets better. Health Canada has been testing this ginger-ale-coloured substance which I refuse to call water, recently, and has been finding nothing wrong with it…until a couple weeks ago they found some E. Coli. The water doesn’t look like water, how can it still be ok? Tell me please. Either we’re all doomed because Health Canada tests all of our water with the same testing instruments and procedures, or boy do some heads need to roll. I go for choice b…perhaps for the sake of my own sanity. I would like to think that if brown shit started coming out of my tap, I wouldn’t be forced to continue to see this shit. It would be fixed. Hell, Walkerton was a tragedy, but it didn’t go on for years!

This brings me to my second level of what the fuck. Notice I said, *seeing* this shit, not *drinking* it. Would you drink odd-looking fluid that came out of your tap just because…it came out of your tap so it must be safe? I don’t think so! Why did these people continue to drink it, so long that their were deaths and people requiring medical treatment? Is Kashechewan so isolated that they can’t get bottled water from anywhere? Could they not afford it? If the federal government couldn’t fix the water-purification plants, could the chief not have requested water to be shipped in en masse? Couldn’t someone have done Something? This just seems ridiculous! I’ve heard that natives have become helpless and powerless, I guess this is just a glaring example of it.

Now that all the rage has gone out of me, I’m feeling kind of drained, and can’t really think of a good ending for this. It would be meaningless to say “hopefully this will never happen again” because let’s face it, it will. If not in the exact same form, then something else equally appalling is bound to happen. We are pathetically slow learners. It disgusts me that it happened, and it shocks me that conditions are really that horrible. I guess all that’s left to say is, what the fuck?!?!?!

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