Ending First Nations boil-water advisories is more than funding: Morneau

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Monday February 4, 2019 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA - Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the federal effort to end all boil-water advisories in First Nations communities isn't being held back by a shortage of money.

In response to a university student's question Thursday in Guelph, Ont., Morneau acknowledged that fulfilling the Liberals' 2015 campaign pledge has been a big challenge and won't be finished quickly.

Morneau says that beyond building new treatment systems and replacing old ones, the effort faces challenges such as technician training and ongoing maintenance.

The Liberals have vowed to see all long-term water advisories on reserves lifted by March 2021 - and it has committed about $2 billion over several years towards it.

The federal government says 78 of these advisories have been lifted since the Liberals took office in November 2015, but 62 remain in place.

In a December 2017 report, the parliamentary budget officer estimated it would cost the Liberal government at least $3.2 billion to make good on its promise to eliminate on-reserve water advisories.

Rex Edward Gill was killed in a shooting incident outside the Comfort Inn and Suites in Aberdeen on Jan. 23, 2019.
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