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."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Partial recanvass of Iowa caucus leaves Buttigieg with even tighter lead over Sanders

    World News CBC News
    Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign plans to ask for a partial recount of the Iowa caucus results, after the state Democratic Party released results of its recanvass late Tuesday that show the Vermont senator and Pete Buttigieg in an effective tie. Source
  • New virus cases in China fall for 2nd day, deaths top 2,000

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- New virus cases in China continued to fall Wednesday, with 1,749 new infections and 136 new deaths announced after China's leader said disease prevention and control was at "a critical time." Japan also confirmed more infections of the new coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, bringing the total to 542 people among the 3,700 crew and passengers initially on board. Source
  • 'Ethnic Fashion Doll' toys recalled due to chemical hazard: Health Canada

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- Plastic toys labelled "Ethnic Fashion Doll" and "Lovely Gal Fashion Doll" are being recalled over a chemical that could pose a hazard to young children. Health Canada said the heads of the dolls may contain unsafe levels of phthalates, a chemical that's sometimes used to soften plastics and increase their flexibility. Source
  • Man who fled Syria shot while delivering pizza in Baltimore

    World News CTV News
    BALTIMORE -- A family friend of a pizza delivery driver who was recently gunned down in Baltimore says he had fled war-torn Syria to seek a better life. The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday that the killing of Khaled Heeba remains unsolved nearly two weeks after he died. Source
  • U.S. tells remaining cruise passengers to stay out of country for 2 weeks

    World News CTV News
    The U.S. government made good on its warning to Americans who chose to remain on board a quarantined cruise ship in Japan, telling them they cannot return home for at least two weeks after they come ashore. Source
  • Trump goes on clemency blitz: sentences commuted, convicts pardoned

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has gone on a clemency blitz, commuting what he called a "ridiculous" 14-year prison sentence for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and pardoning former New York Police Department commissioner Bernie Kerik, among a long list of others. Source
  • CN Rail laying off about 450 workers after shutting down Eastern Canada network

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- CN Rail is laying off about 450 workers in its operations in Eastern Canada after cancelling more than 400 trains in the past week over a rail blockade protesting an LNG pipeline in British Columbia. Source
  • 'It looked like a murder scene': Barrie realtor attacked by dog at house showing

    Canada News CTV News
    BARRIE -- Realtor Carrie Stiles is recovering after she says she was viciously attacked by a dog after a house showing in Barrie. “The whole thing looked like a bloodbath,” she says of the incident. Source
  • Veteran finds blood dripping from bathroom ceiling after neighbour's death

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- WARNING – PHOTOS AND DETAILS IN THIS STORY MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME READERS A Winnipeg man is without a home after blood started dripping from his ceiling. Adam Hockett was getting ready to go to work Saturday evening when he went to use the bathroom and found the scene. Source
  • U.K.'s fight with Greece over ancient sculptures spills into Brexit tensions

    World News CBC News
    A long-running dispute between Britain and Greece over ancient treasures has spilled into tensions over Brexit after a demand for the return of stolen cultural artifacts was added to the draft of a European Union negotiating mandate. Source