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

  • Washington NFL team to retire nickname on Monday: reports

    World News CBC News
    The Washington Redskins plan to announce Monday that they will retire their controversial team nickname, multiple outlets reported Sunday night. One source told Sports Business Journal that the team "felt it was important to remove any doubts as to the future of the name. Source
  • 'Plate-shaming' is happening in Atlantic Canada as locals fear those from outside the 'bubble'

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Atlantic Canada’s reputation for being warm and welcoming has long been a source of pride. But instead of hospitality, the pandemic is exposing a glimpse of hostility aimed at those who are assumed to be outsiders. Source
  • WE Charity says it had to lay off workers after student grant program cancelled

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- WE Charity says it has had to lay off numerous contractors after it was involved in a series of scandals, including the cancellation of a $900-million COVID-19 student grant project with the federal government. Source
  • Dengue fever prevention efforts stifled by coronavirus pandemic

    World News CTV News
    JAKARTA, INDONESIA -- To slow the spread of the coronavirus, governments issued lockdowns to keep people at home. They curtailed activities that affected services like trash collection. They tried to shield hospitals from a surge of patients. Source
  • Exit poll show Poland's Duda leading in presidential runoff

    World News CTV News
    WARSAW, POLAND -- A late exit poll in Poland's presidential runoff Sunday showed the conservative, populist incumbent, Andrzej Duda, leading against the liberal, pro-Europe mayor of Warsaw, but with the race still too close to call. Source
  • 21 injured in fire aboard ship at Naval Base San Diego

    World News CTV News
    SAN DIEGO -- Twenty-one people suffered minor injuries in an explosion and fire Sunday on board a ship at Naval Base San Diego, military officials said. The blaze was reported shortly before 9 a.m. on USS Bonhomme Richard, said Mike Raney, a spokesman for Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet. Source
  • Quebec-Indigenous relations improved after Oka Crisis, but could be stalling under Legault

    Canada News CBC News
    Thirty years ago, as Konrad Sioui walked past the armed barricades near Oka, Que., he spotted the blood of a provincial police officer who had been killed in a shoot-out the day before. Twenty-four hours earlier, the Sûreté du Québec had tried to dislodge Kanesatake Mohawks from a sacred patch of land they were defending from a golf-course development. Source
  • 11 injured in fire aboard ship at California naval base

    World News CBC News
    Eleven people suffered minor injuries after an explosion and fire Sunday on board a ship at Naval Base San Diego, military officials said. The blaze was reported shortly before 9 a.m. local time on USS Bonhomme Richard, said Krishna Jackson, the base's public information officer. Source
  • 21 injured in fire aboard ship at California naval base

    World News CBC News
    Eleven people suffered minor injuries after an explosion and fire Sunday on board a ship at Naval Base San Diego, military officials said. The blaze was reported shortly before 9 a.m. local time on USS Bonhomme Richard, said Krishna Jackson, the base's public information officer. Source
  • Trump, Biden try to outdo each other on tough talk on China

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- China has fast become a top election issue as U.S. President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden engage in a verbal brawl over who's better at playing the tough guy against Beijing. The Trump campaign put out ads showing Biden toasting China's Xi Jinping, even though Trump did just that with Xi in Asia and hosted the Chinese leader at his Florida club. Source