Climate change impacting winter roads for First Nations, leaders say

OTTAWA -- Wonky weather conditions are prompting aboriginal leaders to raise concerns about the impact of climate change on winter roads, which serve as lifelines for food, fuel and other necessities in several northern communities.

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Isadore Day, the Ontario regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, says winter roads in the province are integral to a number of remote reserves that bank on the network to help offset costs of moving goods by air.

Day says he is concerned the communities can no longer rely on the winter roads due to unpredictable weather conditions.

NDP indigenous affairs critic Charlie Angus, who represents a northern Ontario riding that includes a number of First Nations communities, believes money needs to be invested in sustainable infrastructure.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett says the impact of climate change is "very worrying" and there is "every evidence" Canada's Aboriginal peoples are on the front lines of climate change.

Bennett says the government is open to examining the socio-economic impacts of the issue to allow for a long-term strategy to be developed.



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