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

  • Thousands of sexual assault cases in U.S. schools not reported: AP

    World News CTV News
    BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Chaz Wing was 12 when they cornered him in the school bathroom. The students who tormented him were children, too, entering the age of pimples and cracking voices. Eventually, he swore under oath, the boys raped him and left him bleeding, the culmination of a year of harassment. Source
  • Tornadoes, flooding kill at least 14 in parts of U.S. South, Midwest [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    CANTON, Texas — At least 11 people have been killed by tornadoes or flooding in the South and Midwest by a storm that also dumped a rare late-season blizzard in western Kansas on Sunday. Tornadoes hit several small towns in East Texas, killing four people. Source
  • 'Guys, I'm not running': Biden plays down presidential bid

    World News CTV News
    MANCHESTER, N.H. - Former U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden insists he is not making another presidential bid in 2020, despite giving a rousing speech to New Hampshire Democrats about restoring dignity to politics and winning back working class voters. Source
  • Body of missing boater recovered near Fort Chipewyan, Alta.; 3 still missing

    Canada News CBC News
    Searchers near Fort Chipewyan, Alta., have recovered the body of one of the four boaters who was reported missing last week. The body of Walter Ladouceur, 42, was recovered Sunday from the Rocher River, RCMP said. Source
  • Fears grow in Japan over North Korean missile capabilities

    World News CTV News
    FUSSA, Japan -- Residents living near U.S. military bases in Japan are facing a fresh reality: Their neighbourhoods are on the frontline of North Korea's dispute with America and if Pyongyang were to attack they would have just minutes to shelter from incoming missiles. Source
  • Tornadoes, flooding kill at least 13 in parts of U.S. South, Midwest [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    CANTON, Texas — At least 11 people have been killed by tornadoes or flooding in the South and Midwest by a storm that also dumped a rare late-season blizzard in western Kansas on Sunday. Tornadoes hit several small towns in East Texas, killing four people. Source
  • 2 dead after boat sinks off Vancouver Island

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    VICTORIA — Officials say two people are dead and three others are in stable condition after their boat went down off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Coast Guard spokesman Dan Bate says all five people were taken to shore Sunday afternoon, but health officials later confirmed that two of them had died. Source
  • 2 dead, 3 in stable condition after boat goes down off Vancouver Island

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- Two people are dead and three others are in stable condition after a fishing boat went down off the west coast of Vancouver Island. All five of the passengers were taken to shore Sunday afternoon, but health officials later confirmed that two of them had died, Coast Guard spokesman Dan Bate said in a statement. Source
  • Venezuela's president hikes minimum wage amid rising protests

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is hiking salaries and handing out free homes as he tries to counter a strengthening protest movement calling for his removal. Maduro said on his Sunday TV show that the minimum wage will rise 60 per cent starting May 1. Source
  • Biden tells New Hampshire crowd: ‘Guys, I’m not running’

    World News Toronto Sun
    MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former Vice-President Joe Biden insists he is not making another presidential bid in 2020, despite giving a rousing speech to New Hampshire Democrats about restoring dignity to politics and winning back working class voters. Source