Premier of Ontario angers Walkerton

On the day a community began burying its dead, Ontario Premier Mike Harris came to town and wound up infuriating some people in Walkerton.

Harris offered sympathies for the deaths and suffering caused by the E. coli outbreak, but many residents took exception to other comments he made.

Standing at a podium on a crowded street, Harris denied that government cutbacks had anything to do with the outbreak.

Harris said if there was downloading of environmental testing services onto the municipalities, it happened under the previous NDP government in 1993.

Some people shouted at him to "wake up" and to "stop blaming the NDP."

Harris told reporters that he understands the loss of confidence people are experiencing, but reminded them the Walkerton water supply has always been locally owned.

One angry town resident, Veronica Davidson, interrupted the scrum with reporters and said that all the premier had to offer was platitudes.