Climate change impacts vital 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.

See Full Article

Isadore Day, the Ontario regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, said the reliability of the northern winter road network is in jeopardy in his province.

"The winter roads have essentially become a way of life for the communities and now they can't rely on those winter roads," Day said, noting the network is used to offset the cost to bring essential goods to fly-in reserves by air.

The problem exemplifies why there was outcry from First Nations during the recent COP21 climate change summit in Paris, Day said.

"This is the type of issue where the rubber hits the road," he said.

"There will be no road if we don't have an opportunity to speak for ourselves on the issue of climate change and this certainly is a direct impact."

If people want access into the north, the only viable way now is to have a proper road network, Day added.

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

There has been a long-standing push for permanent roads but climate change has made the issue much more pressing, he noted.

"My message to the government is 'you're going to have to put your money where your mouth is when you make these promises,"' Angus said.

"This is the front line and this is where the action needs to be taking place now."

There is "every evidence" Canada's Aboriginal Peoples are indeed on the front lines of climate change, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"I think it is very worrying and I think that as we look not only to Ontario but to Manitoba, the proposals for the eastern road there, it is something that we are looking at and knowing that we've got to build the kind of resilient infrastructure that will deal with the changing climate."

The federal Liberal government is open to examining the impacts of the issue to allow for a long-term strategy to be developed, Bennett added.

"This will require a real collaborative effort," she said, highlighting that permanent infrastructure would help to create resource revenue in the future.

"We need to have everybody included in really assessing the need and then developing feasibility projects and proposals."

Day said First Nations leaders from Ontario plan to press the minister to bring this "essential issue" to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet table.

Solutions will also have to include all levels of government, he said.

"For what it is worth, you're going to have every government at the table to ensure these road systems are done properly and that they're done in a timely fashion," Day said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Sentencing hearing for mom who 'gambled away' son's life with holistic medicine

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY - Sentencing arguments are to be heard today for a woman who treated her son with holistic remedies before he died of a strep infection. Tamara Lovett was found guilty in January of criminal negligence causing death. Source
  • Trapped girl a symbol for Mexico's earthquake rescue efforts

    World News CBC News
    A delicate effort to reach a young girl buried in the rubble of her school stretched into a daylong vigil for Mexico, much of it broadcast across the nation as rescue workers still struggled in rain and darkness early Thursday trying to pick away unstable debris and reach her. Source
  • Trapped girl a symbol of Mexico's quake rescue efforts

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY -- A delicate effort to reach a young girl buried in the rubble of her school stretched into a daylong vigil for Mexico, much of it broadcast across the nation as rescue workers still struggled in rain and darkness early Thursday trying to pick away unstable debris and reach her. Source
  • UN mission in Congo faces reckoning over sex abuse scandal

    World News CTV News
    BUNIA, Congo - The Congolese orphan girl haunts the UN's top human rights official, even though more than a decade has passed since he heard her story. It was a big day in this town in northeastern Congo: A top UN delegation was paying a high-profile visit. Source
  • Germany jails Syrian refugee over UN observer's abduction

    World News CBC News
    A German court has convicted a Syrian refugee of being an accessory to a war crime against humanitarian operations over his participation in the 2013 kidnapping of a United Nations observer. The Stuttgart state court Wednesday sentenced the defendant, who has been identified only as Suliman Al-S. Source
  • South Korea to resume aid to North Korea, but doesn't set timeline

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - South Korea on Thursday decided to resume humanitarian aid to North Korea to help children and pregnant women, but didn't determine when to provide the $8 million worth of assistance amid tensions created by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests. Source
  • More charges, new defendant in Texas human smuggling case

    World News CTV News
    SAN ANTONIO - The driver of a semitrailer found outside a San Antonio Walmart in July packed with immigrants, including 10 who died, faces additional charges in the smuggling case and another defendant has now been charged, federal officials said Wednesday. Source
  • Hurricane Maria destroys homes, triggers flooding in Puerto Rico

    World News CBC News
    The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers Wednesday in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. Source
  • A stunned Puerto Rico seeks to rebuild after Hurricane Maria

    World News CBC News
    The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers Wednesday in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. Source
  • At UN, Myanmar tries to reassure the world over Rohingya crisis

    World News CTV News
    Myanmar tried to reassure the world Wednesday about its handling of the mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh and said it is committed to resolving sectarian tensions in the strife-hit region. The Southeast Asian nation is facing accusations of ethnic cleansing and "savagery" by its security forces. Source