Lib­eral MP Bob Bratina’s bill on lead in wa­ter goes to com­mit­tee

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL -

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

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