The Grassy Meadows disgrace features all of those hallmarks that we so love when talking caker stories. We’ve got the hideous exponents of caker business practices. There are Indigenous people left to rot as a result of critical failings of imperial governance. There are ludicrous falsification gymnastics as the cakers in charge of Ontario continue to obfuscate and hide from the fact that caker business has once again utterly shit the bed. And of course comes with that “awful ever after” ending that caps off any good caker story. For four decades now, the province of Ontario has known about the dangers of mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows – and done precisely dick all about it. Valiantly passing the buck and ignoring the very real, very disturbing effects of mercury poisoning done by Soviet-style dumping practices, the spectacular failure of the peoples of Grassy Narrows is certainly worth its place in the pantheon of caker malice.
Asubpeeschoseewagong is a community of Ojibwe people inhabiting lands in Northwestern Ontario, near the subhuman storage containment “community” of Dryden. Wabasemoong, which I immediately loved because they call themselves “independent nations”, is also in Northwestern Ontario near to the Manitoba border. Both had the misfortune of having to deal with cakers, particularly the caker businessmen who ran the Dryden Chemical Company and the Dryden Pulp and Paper Company. Because fuck caring about the environment and because especially fuck foresight, the Dryden branch of Caker Business, Inc. dumped mercury-laden waste products directly into the Wasbigoon-English River. Not only that, workers at sites in the area recall dumping barrels of mercury in plastic-lined pits. And not even government orders to stop Dryden Chemical from dumping shit into the river stopped Dryden Chemical from dumping shit into the river until 1976, when they went the way of all caker businesses and folded like a cheap lawn chair.
In and of itself, this is a Soviet mess worthy of a post. But what makes this a True Canadian Story is the horrific human cost of this nonsense. And as usual, the worst victimization is left to the Indigenous. Enter Minamata Disease, a lovely condition caused by organic mercury contamination. Among the amazing side-effects include polydactyly, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and neurological defects, because it’s just not Canada without some birth defects and brain damage! Oh, and the fish from the river aren’t edible, which is a problem given that food is fucking expensive and the local economy was based on sport fishing and is now defunct. Oh, and did I mention that there still isn’t a local treatment center for the effects of Minamata Disease at Grassy Narrows? Because there isn’t! It’s okay though – only 90% of the population suffers from Minamata.
But don’t you worry, my friends! This gets even worse! Somehow! See, here’s the thing – we’re going to start the story of government intervention (or lack thereof) in this shit shortly after Ontario “demanded” that Dryden’s toxic plants stop dumping slag into a fucking river. In order to save caker business in 1979, the Ontario government agreed to take on the costs of monitoring the toxic waste site. After letting caker business off the hook Ontario immediately led the charge against Soviet-style industrial practices by doing jackshit all for decades! As late as 2015 the Ontario Liberal Party refused to commit to cleaning up the goddamn mess. Prince Selfie also waded into the fray, doing his level best to fulfill his promises to Indigenous peoples by immediately passing the buck back to the Ontario government, which promptly leapt into action by ignoring an existing report on the matter for another year. Just for shits and giggles! It’s not like this is fixabl…oh. It is? And we’ve had to tell this to Queen’s Park more than once?
Fuck me, this country is a sluggish pile of donkey dicks slathered in PVA shit-glue.