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

  • What each province, territory is doing on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

    Canada News CTV News
    Friday is the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day. The federal government made Sept. 30 a statutory holiday for its workers and federally regulated workplaces last year. Source
  • 'We shouldn't have to push people': Most provinces have not made Sept. 30 a stat

    Canada News CTV News
    While Canada prepares to honour the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday, the majority of provinces have not followed the federal government's move to make it a statutory holiday for its workers. Source
  • Father testifies of pain inflicted by Sandy Hook deniers

    World News CTV News
    WATERBURY, Conn. - Ian Hockley testified Tuesday that he was ridiculed online as a “party boy” and an actor after posting a video of the memorial service for his 6-year-old son, who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre. Source
  • Hurricane Fiona to cause up to record $700 million in insured losses

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - DBRS Morningstar estimates hurricane Fiona will cause between $300 million and $700 million in insured losses in Atlantic Canada for a record high in the region. The credit rating agency says in a report that the amount is roughly in line with previous natural disasters in other provinces such as the flooding in B.C. Source
  • Up to 23 people taken to hospital after exposure to hydrochloric acid in St. Catharines

    Canada News CTV News
    Up to 23 people are being taken to hospital in St. Catharines following a hazardous workplace incident on Tuesday, Niagara Health confirms. St. Catharines Fire Chief, Dave Upper, told CTV News a contractor was working and accidentally hit a valve, which released five litres of hydrochloric acid. Source
  • Border-crossing asylum seekers hit six-year high in Canada

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - The number of asylum seekers entering Canada between formal border crossings has surged to the highest point since the government started tracking them in 2017, as dropped pandemic restrictions enable more travel and conflict and catastrophe displace people in many parts of the world. Source
  • Second man arrested in violent assault of Elnaz Hajtamiri in Richmond Hill, Ont.

    Canada News CTV News
    Police have arrested another man in connection to an alleged violent attack on Elnaz Hajtamiri in a Richmond Hill, Ont. parking garage just weeks before she disappeared in January. Investigators with the York Regional Police Criminal Bureau announced Harshdeep Binner, 24, of Brampton, who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, was arrested last week. Source
  • China's Xi reappears on state TV amid rumours over absence

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping reappeared on state television Tuesday after a several-day absence from public view that sparked rumours about the 69-year-old leader's political fortunes. Xi was shown visiting a display at the Beijing Exhibition Hall on the theme of "Forging Ahead into the New Era. Source
  • Appeals court stops short of declaring Donald Trump immune from rape accuser claim

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK - A federal appeals court on Tuesday stopped short of declaring Donald Trump immune from author E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit, saying it needed guidance on whether Trump was acting as U.S. president when he denied raping her. Source
  • Chess world rocked by cheating accusations made by game's leading player

    World News CBC News
    The genteel world of chess has been rocked by accusations of cheating made by the game's leading player. Magnus Carlsen, the world champion and a player widely considered one of the greatest ever, posted a statement on Twitter in which he said he believed 19-year-old American opponent Hans Niemann "has cheated more — and more recently — than he has publicly admitted. Source