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

  • Five men arrested after Vegas-bound plane diverts to Winnipeg

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- Five men were removed from a plane that was forced to divert to Winnipeg on its way from the United Kingdom to Las Vegas. A spokesman with Thomas Cook Airlines says the Airbus A330 was travelling from Manchester to Las Vegas on Saturday morning when the crew diverted to Winnipeg due to some passengers' "disruptive behaviour. Source
  • Family found dead at Mexico resort killed by toxic gas

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY -- Autopsies indicate an Iowa couple and their two children died from inhaling toxic gas at a rented condo on Mexico's Caribbean coast, but there was no sign of foul play or suicide, Mexican authorities said Saturday. Source
  • 'A historic moment': Montreal massacre survivor joins Washington rally

    Canada News CTV News
    It’s been more than 28 years since a gunman stormed Montreal’s École Polytechnique, killing 14 women in the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. Another 14 people were injured in the massacre, including Nathalie Provost, who sustained four gunshot wounds, including one to the forehead. Source
  • 'I will vote you out': Teens vow to shake up U.S. politics at gun control rallies

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Kat Schamel did not vote in the last American election, because her 18th birthday happened to fall on Nov. 9, 2016, one day after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. Source
  • Car bomb in coastal Egyptian city kills 2 police

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- A bomb placed under a nearby car exploded Saturday in the coastal city of Alexandria as the city security chief's convoy passed by, killing two policemen and wounding four others, the Interior Ministry said. Source
  • Accused Austin bomber called himself a 'psychopath': congressman

    World News CTV News
    AUSTIN, Texas - A congressman says the suspected Austin bomber left a confession calling himself a "psychopath" and saying he felt no remorse for his actions. Rep. Michael McCaul made the comments at a news conference Saturday, where he thanked law enforcement officials for stopping the deadly three-week bombing spree that terrorized the capital of Texas. Source
  • The road map and road blocks of Trump's transgender troops ban explained

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has issued an order supporting his push to ban most transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military except under "limited circumstances." But the decision is expected to be the subject of an ongoing legal fight in the months ahead. Source
  • Nigerian police: Boko Haram to free 1 more kidnapped girl

    World News CTV News
    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- Nigeria's police chief says another girl who was abducted from a school in Dapchi last month is being brought back by her kidnappers. Police Inspector General Muhammed Abubakar said Saturday that he cancelled a trip to Dapchi to avoid interfering with the release. Source
  • Quebec doctors protest their own raises, call for improved patient accessibility

    Canada News CBC News
    When Lashanda Skerritt decided to go to medical school, money was far from being the first thing on her mind — she wanted to serve the population. She is among hundreds of health care workers, patients and community groups who marched in protest of raises for doctors in the province. Source
  • New Brunswick man reaches halfway point of 3,000-kilometre dog sled trek

    Canada News CTV News
    A New Brunswick man making a 3,000-kilometre dog sled trek from Manitoba to his home province says the journey thus far has been "a mix of beauty and terror." Justin Allen and his 12 Alaskan huskies left Churchill, Man. Source