Liberal MP Bob Bratina’s bill on lead in water goes to committee
A private member’s bill by Hamilton EastStoney Creek MP Bob Bratina about creating a national strategy to deal with lead in drinking water is heading to a standing committee after passing a second reading in the House of Commons.
The bill will be reviewed by the Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities Committee to make recommendations.
The Liberal MP said the severe lead results that came to light in Flint, Mich. last year and regular disclosures about lead problems in Canadian communities motivated him to come forward with the bill.
Chronic exposure to lead can be dangerous to young children and pregnant women, and has been known to cause kidney damage, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder.
“A lot of communities are turning a blind eye to their lead pipe problems,” Bratina said.
“Hamilton has handled this issue very well since learning of lead exceedances in 2007. Ten years later, communities across Canada are just finding out about a problem that has serious health consequences.” Among the measures taken in Hamilton is replacing 500 to 1,000 service lines each year, handing out water filter systems to some residents, as well as establishing a loan program that allows homeowners to pay for the removal of lead connection pipes.
Bratina’s bill calls for the government to “address the growing concerns of lead pipes and water quality” in residences across the country with the help of provinces and territories, municipalities and First Nations.
It also calls for the partners to “establish possible solutions” and for a study on Ottawa’s role in lead-pipe infrastructure.
The standing committee is expected to report back to the House on the bill by Dec. 1.
Bratina served as mayor of Hamilton from 2010 to 2014 before becoming an MP.
Bratina: City handled issue