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

  • Libraries in Canada hit by wave of hate, threats, as right-wing groups protest all-age drag events

    Canada News CBC News
    Family-friendly drag events across Canada, many hosted by municipal libraries, have been targeted by a deluge of hateful comments and threats during Pride month, prompting multiple police investigations and renewed concerns about the safety of the LGBTQ community. Source
  • The pandemic upset how we assess students. Experts worry that's also hampered recovery efforts

    Canada News CBC News
    Some young learners are struggling to build early reading skills while others stumble over math concepts. Repeated pandemic pivots have left students out of practice with classroom learning, impacted their mental health and distanced them from peers. Source
  • Canada can now seize, sell off Russian assets. What's next?

    Canada News CBC News
    Selling Russian-owned assets to pay for Ukraine's reconstruction may sound like a logical approach to restitution, but as the Canadian government gains new powers to begin this process, questions remain about how it will work, and whether some issues are headed to court. Source
  • Parents, caregivers face new juggling act as employers evaluate work-from-home policies

    Canada News CBC News
    There's no daily commute for Amy McQuaid-England these days. That's because she's advising clients on social media matters from her home in Brighton, Ont., without having to cross her doorstep. The communications professional said this "life-changing" style of flexible work allows her to manage the needs of her young family while also managing her business. Source
  • Zelensky expected to ask for more support in address to G7 leaders

    World News CBC News
    The ongoing war in Ukraine will move from being an distant conflict to something more tangible for the leaders of the world's seven wealthiest democracies on Monday with an address by the embattled country's president. Volodymyr Zelensky said he's going to tell G7 leaders that despite their efforts to arms his country and to isolate the regime of Russia President Vladimir Putin, more needs to be done — and fast. Source
  • Connecting Indigenous inmates to their culture: Grand Chief performs at Manitoba prison

    Canada News CTV News
    Behind prison walls, National Indigenous People’s Day was celebrated this month, with inmates at a Manitoba federal prison granted access to music, drumming and sharing circles — positive steps forward to reconnect Indigenous inmates with their culture and rehabilitate a group that is incarcerated at a disproportionate rate. Source
  • Infrastructure fixes to halt floods on Peguis First Nation sorely needed, emergency head says

    Canada News CBC News
    All levels of government need to come together to help solve flood-related infrastructure issues on Manitoba's largest First Nation, the community's director of emergency management says. "There is serious work to do," said William Sutherland in an interview Sunday, as the flood-battered community north of Winnipeg was toiling to again try and shore up structures, roads and homes on Peguis First Nation as water levels rise from recent rainfall. Source
  • Infrastructure fixes to halt floods on Peguis First Nation sorely needed, leaders say

    Canada News CBC News
    All levels of government need to come together to help solve flood-related infrastructure issues on Manitoba's largest First Nation, the community's director of emergency management says. "There is serious work to do," said William Sutherland in an interview Sunday, as the flood-battered community north of Winnipeg was toiling to again try and shore up structures, roads and homes on Peguis First Nation as water levels rise from recent rainfall. Source
  • Lawyer releases pages from Brian Laundrie's notebook in which he admits to killing Gabby Petito

    World News CTV News
    WARNING: This story contains details that may be disturbing The attorney for the family of Brian Laundrie on Friday released eight pages from Laundrie's notebook that was found near his remains in Florida in October last year, according to a news release obtained by CNN affiliate WINK. Source
  • Pride marked by celebrations, arrests and grief around the world

    Canada News CBC News
    After a pandemic hiatus, Pride events returned to many cities around the world on Sunday. Streets were once again filled with celebrations and parades, but many others were held under drastically different moods. Here's a look at how Pride was marked around the world: Source