Isolated reserve under boil-water advisory to get all-weather road

WINNIPEG - Canada's new indigenous affairs minister says an isolated reserve under one of the country's longest boil-water advisories will get a much-needed lifeline to the rest of the country.

See Full Article

Carolyn Bennett says the federal government is committed to seeing an all-weather road built to connect the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to the mainland. The reserve on the Manitoba-Ontario boundary was cut off a century ago during construction of an aqueduct which carries fresh water to Winnipeg.

Surveyors said at the time that the land was largely uninhabited "with the exception of a few Indians."

While clean water continues to flow to the Manitoba capital, the reserve of several hundred people has been under a boil-water advisory for 18 years.

The Liberal government is committed to ending that injustice, Bennett said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"This is a serious commitment and it will happen," she said.

"So many of these issues are no longer indigenous issues. These are Canadian issues about our values and principles and how we can go forward in a good way."

A formal announcement is coming "in the near future," she said.

In the summer, the First Nation depends on an aging ferry to get to the mainland, but the vessel failed government inspection this year. Residents use a treacherous ice road in the winter and people have died falling through the ice.

Health-care workers and ambulances won't risk going to the community and children have to leave the reserve to continue their education past Grade 8. A water treatment plant is prohibitively expensive without a road to transport construction equipment.

Residents have long talked about the need for a "Freedom Road," which would be both a symbolic and concrete beginning to right the wrong done a century ago.

The former Conservative government refused to commit to help fund construction of a road, despite commitments from the province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg to split the cost three ways.

Bennett suggested the road is an important part of reconciliation.

"These are examples of the kinds of steps you have to take to right the wrongs."

A design study - paid for by the federal, provincial and municipal governments - is expected to be completed in January. The reserve is hoping to begin construction shortly thereafter.

The road is expected to cost around $30 million. The Manitoba government has already introduced a bill in the legislature that would give it legal authority to help fund construction of a permanent road.

Premier Greg Selinger called the road a "key infrastructure project."

"We've been talking about it for a long time," he told a luncheon Tuesday held by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, which has been pushing for the road's construction.

"That will get built now."


Latest Canada & World News

  • Six children allegedly abducted in Calgary found near Toronto: police

    Canada News CTV News
    BOWMANVILLE, Ont. -- Police east of Toronto have found six children they say were allegedly abducted by a parent in Calgary earlier this week. Durham regional police say an officer came across the children, who are between 18 months and 11 years of age, in Bowmanville on Wednesday afternoon. Source
  • N.S. pair plead guilty to second-degree murder of young mother

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Two people have admitted killing a young Halifax mother in 2014. Jason James Johnson and Kelly Amanda MacDonald, who are both in their 30s and live in Lawrencetown, N.S., pleaded guilty this morning to second-degree murder and interfering with human remains in the death of Catie Miller. Source
  • How does Canada's health-care system compare to other universal programs around the world?

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Did Donald Trump get it right when he criticized Canada’s beloved health-care system? During the third presidential debate, Trump said the Canadian system was “catastrophic” in some ways and that its citizens are known to head south for better care. Source
  • Two-thirds of wild animals will disappear by 2020, and humans are to blame, WWF says

    World News CBC News
    Worldwide populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have plunged by almost 60 per cent since 1970 as human activities overwhelm the environment, the WWF conservation group said on Thursday. An index compiled with data from the Zoological Society of London to measure the abundance of biodiversity was down 58 per cent from 1970 to 2012 and would fall 67 per cent by 2020 on current trends, the WWF said in a report. Source
  • Abu Sayyaf got $7.3 million from kidnappings

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines -- Abu Sayyaf pocketed at least 353 million pesos ($7.3 million) from ransom kidnappings in the first six months of the year and have turned to abductions of foreign tugboat crewmen as military offensives restricted the militants' mobility, a confidential Philippine government report said. Source
  • Somalia's al-Shabaab making comeback as Ethiopian troops withdraw

    World News CTV News
    MOGADISHU, Somalia -- Somalia's Islamic extremists, al-Shabab, appear to be making a comeback, having recently seized four towns and attacked a guesthouse in neighbouring Kenya, killing 12. The resurgence of Al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida, could affect Somalia's plans to hold elections next month and further destabilize what is already one of the world's most fragile states. Source
  • UN preps for possible chemical attack in Iraq’s Mosul

    World News Toronto Sun
    BAGHDAD — The U.N.’s public health agency said Thursday it has trained 90 Iraqi medics in “mass casualty management,” with a special focus on chemical attacks, as part of its preparations for Iraq’s operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group. Source
  • Symbolic building crumbles after Italy struck with quake aftershocks

    World News CTV News
    Just two months after a powerful earthquake devastated central Italy on Aug. 24, a pair of strong aftershocks struck the same area late Wednesday. Amatrice, about 140 km east of Rome, was one of the hardest-hit towns during the original quake in August. Source
  • Teen killed in crash 'saving 45 lives' after signing donor form days earlier

    Canada News CTV News
    Next time you're renewing a piece of government-issued I.D., don't overlook the organ donation form that comes along with it. That's the message friends and family are sharing following the death of 16-year-old Tyler Klassen, who was fatally injured in a car crash two days after he filled out a donor consent form while signing up for his first driver's licence. Source
  • Massive fire tears through 5-storey NYC apartment

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Fire officials say an overnight blaze that tore through a five-storey apartment building in Manhattan has left one person dead and 12 civilians and firefighters injured. The fire was reported around 3:30 a.m. Thursday in a building on East 93rd Street in the Yorkville neighbourhood on the Upper East Side. Source