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2601Y Proposal

A. Clermont
INDG 2601
Research Paper Proposal
The topic of interest for my research paper is drinking water in Ontario. Given the numerous
boil-water advisories for Indigenous nations across Canada, focusing on the situation within my
home province will help focus the scope of my research.
The importance of this topic stems from the fact that water is a basic human right. Growing up in
Toronto, I have spent my whole life taking clean drinking water for granted. I have spent
countless hours skating on frozen rinks spread across the city, showering, and drinking water
without ever giving a thought to where it came from, or that people within my own country, let
alone province, did not share this privilege. Growing up as a settler-Canadian, these kinds of
problems were foreign to me for the near 28-years I have spent on this earth; Meanwhile, the
Neskantaga First Nation in Northern Ontario has not had clean drinking water since 1995 (The
Narwal, 2019), nearly my entire life! So my focus for this paper is specifically aimed at
understanding what it takes to provide clean drinking water to the city of Toronto and imagining
how that could be implemented in the Indigenous Nations in Ontario that are still living without
clean water.
Data Analysis
This research will avoid being political as best it can, it will avoid analyzing the promises made
by politicians and focus more on a cost benefits analysis. Ideally, this will involve unravelling the
time and money that has gone into the system providing Toronto with its clean drinking water.
Furthermore, Balsher Singh Sindhu has discussed the global water phenomenon and identified
agriculture as a major element of humanity’s water consumption (Ted, 2018). Given the large
amount of information is available, analysis will be confined to breaking down total expenditure
and volume of water consumed by Toronto and agriculture in Ontario, and then comparing that
to an estimate of what it would take to provide clean water to just one Indigenous Nation that is
currently living without clean water.
Position In Relation to the Land/Communities
Having grown up in Toronto, I have benefited from the system I intend to investigate. I have
called southern Ontario home for all of my life while never venturing further north than Parry
Sound, so my perspective is formed as an outsider. So in a sense, my passion for this topic
comes from a western-intellectual sense, identifying a problem and seeking to understand it and
apply that understanding towards proposing a solution. However, I am passionate about this
because I think it is disingenuous for Canada as a nation to act like a leader among first world
nations while we continue to ignore the 3rd-world conditions present in our country. Hopefully,
engaging in this research as a settler may improve my understanding of my positioning as a
settler-canadian and inform my actions moving forward.
Findings and Analysis
There will be considerable evidence given by studies and municipal reports from the City of
Toronto regarding the water infrastructure. Using that information, I will cross-reference the City
against Ontario Indigenous Nations that do not have clean drinking water and make a
comparison in cost and potential benefits. Patterns in demographic and income from these
examples will be used to identify potential explanations as to why these problems persist. My
analysis will focus on how much a potential solution might cost and how that solution could
benefit Indigenous Nations across Ontario.
Ultimately, for such a problem to exist for almost my entire life without being solved seems
indicative of an imbalance in the distribution of resources to more urban, settler-dominant areas.
Personally, I look forward to developing an understanding of what may be causing this problem
to persist and how I can contribute to a potential solution as a settler-Canadian.