With First Nations Snub, Trudeau Shows Contempt For Media

Capture_Sun

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with students, teachers, chiefs, and dignitaries at Oskayak High School in Saskatoon, Sask., Wednesday, April 27, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Matt Smith

Article By David Akin, canoe.com‎, Apr 28, 2016

AKIN: With First Nations snub, Trudeau shows contempt for media

There has been a running battle between prime ministers and the media going back to John A. Macdonald but on Thursday, Justin Trudeau took prime ministerial contempt for the country’s news organizations to new heights.

Trudeau made what is an unequivocally historic visit to a First Nations community in crisis. The people of Shoal Lake 40 have been living under a boil-water advisory for 17 years. They’ve pleaded with one federal government after another for financial help to build the infrastructure for clean drinking water.

But no Canadian news organization was permitted to document this historic encounter on the reserve that straddles Ontario and Manitoba.

The Trudeau PMO permitted only a crew from Vice Media, the New York-based company which is expanding in Canada, to record the visit.

Trudeau’s director of communications Kate Purchase said it was Vice’s idea. “This is an exclusive documentary, just as the prime minister’s one-on-one interviews with other media are exclusive to that outlet until the air date.”

Media organizations get “exclusive interviews” and good on Vice for getting this one. But it should be as plain as day that the visit of a Canadian PM to a First Nation in crisis is much, much bigger than a “one-on-one interview.” It is an event of immense public interest, deserving of broad and varied reportage.

In rejecting requests from organizations such as the Canadian Press or the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Trudeau is sending a signal that important public moments in the relationship between First Peoples and the federal government can be used as little more than a PMO image control exercise.

Postmedia Network, Global Television News, The Globe and Mail, CTV and other major news organizations immediately registered protests with Trudeau’s office.

http://cnews.canoe.com/CNEWS/Canada/2016/04/28/22628151.html

 

Campaign To Help Isolated Shoal Lake 40 First Nation Gain Clean Water Intensifies

Kavin Redsky, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation water plant operator, prepares to treat water from the lake with chlorine in one of the community's ten water treatment plants, June 25, 2015. The campaign to help an isolated reserve that has been without clean water for almost two decades is intensifying as churches and musicians join leaders of Canada's opposition parties in a call for action. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods - See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/campaign-to-help-isolated-reserve-without-clean-water-intensifies-1.1995036#sthash.zTXg2h1G.dpuf

Kavin Redsky, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation water plant operator, prepares to treat water from the lake with chlorine in one of the community’s ten water treatment plants, June 25, 2015. The campaign to help an isolated reserve that has been without clean water for almost two decades is intensifying as churches and musicians join leaders of Canada’s opposition parties in a call for action. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The Canadian Press

The campaign to help an isolated reserve that has been without clean water for almost two decades is intensifying as churches and musicians join leaders of Canada’s opposition parties in a call for action.

Shoal Lake 40 First Nation – which straddles the Ontario-Manitoba boundary – was cut off from the mainland a century ago when an aqueduct was built to supply fresh water toWinnipeg. The reserve has no all-weather road and has been under one of the longest boil-water advisories in Canada.

A multi-faith group in Winnipeg is kicking off 10 days of action in support of the reserve on Friday.

Lynda Trono, community minister with West Broadway Community Ministry, said people are appalled the federal government has refused to help fund construction of a much-needed road.

“We really are outraged by this refusal of the federal government to recognize a human right for an indigenous community,” she said. “I’m still in disbelief about how you can apologize to First Nations, go through a truth and reconciliation process and then deny a community access to fresh water with a road.”

The city of Winnipeg, government of Manitoba and the federal government are sharing the cost of a $3-million design study for a road. Winnipeg and Manitoba have also committed to funding construction of the road.

Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, the MP for the Shoal Lake 40 area, left residents in tears last month when he visited the band but refused to make the same commitment. A crowdfunding campaign is attempting to raise Ottawa’s estimated $10-million share of road construction costs.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair both criticized the federal Conservatives earlier this week for their failure to commit to Freedom Road, as it is called by residents.

A boy from the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation sits on a bridge over a channel on on Thursday, June 25, 2015. (John Woods/ THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A boy from the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation sits on a bridge over a channel on on Thursday, June 25, 2015. (John Woods/ THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Reserve residents have said that every year people risk their lives walking across the ice trying to get to their front door. Some have died. The aging ferry that residents rely on in the summer temporarily failed to pass government inspection in the spring, which prompted the reserve to declare a state of emergency.

“It’s just in-your-face awful,” Trono said.

The group is rolling out a “road-like” letter as long as a city block for people to sign. Plans are to send it to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. A large thank-you card for the reserve is also being circulated for Winnipeg residents to sign.

A website is planned where churches across Canada can upload photos of signs declaring support for the reserve. A collage of the signs is to be sent to every Canadian MP.

Canadian Christian musician Steve Bell has written a song dedicated to the First Nation and is asking fans to sign a petition to correct “a shameful situation.”

An all-weather road which ensures people can safely make it to their front door is “not too much to ask,” he said.

“If we can’t do this, we can’t do anything. There can be a lot of power in this for healing. There can be a lot of power in this for further damage.”

Emily Hillstrom, spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt, declined to comment on the campaign. She instead referred to an emailed statement sent several days ago which said a “decision on funding the road itself will be made when that design study is completed.”

Source: http://metronews.ca/shoal-lake-40-first-nation-clean-water

Freedom Road Campaign Aims To Raise $10M For Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

Rick Harp

Rick Harp has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $10 million to build an all-weather road linking the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to the mainland. The campaign is accepting donations until Aug. 29. (CBC)

CBC News

‘If the feds aren’t going to do it, somebody’s got to do it,’ says Rick Harp, who started campaign

A Winnipeg man wants to raise $10 million to build an all-weather road that would connect the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, which is on a man-made island, to the outside world.

Rick Harp says he hopes the public will do what the federal government won’t — fund construction of the road, dubbed Freedom Road by Shoal Lake 40 residents.

“If the feds aren’t going to do it, somebody’s got to do it. Let’s step forward,” Harp told CBC News in an interview.

“We just had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission release their report. [We] want to give life to that spirit of reconciliation and do right by Shoal Lake 40.”

His crowdfunding campaign, launched on Monday afternoon, has raised more than $5,000 to date. People have until Aug. 29 to donate.

The Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, which straddles the Manitoba-Ontario border, was cut off from the mainland a century ago when an aqueduct was built to supply Winnipeg with fresh water.

Under boil-water advisory for 17 years

While clean water flows down the aqueduct, murky water is diverted to the First Nation.

Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, Freedom Road

Children are comforted after the federal government refused to commit to funding a third of a road project for Shoal Lake 40 First Nation on June 25. The Winnipeg and Manitoba governments each committed to fund a third of a proposed road from Shoal Lake 40 to Highway 1 in Shoal Lake so the community can have year round access. The federal government refused to commit. (Canadian Press/John Woods)

The community has been under a boil-water advisory for 17 years and has no all-weather road connecting it to the mainland.

Building a permanent, all-weather road would cost an estimated $30 million split between three levels of government.

First Nation members sobbed on Thursday after the federal government refused to commit to help fund the construction of Freedom Road.

The City of Winnipeg and the Manitoba government have committed to fund part of the costs of building the permanent road, but Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford refused to say whether Ottawa would put up its one-third share.

Instead, Rickford reiterated the federal government’s $1-million pledge to a design study for the project.

“Something snapped in me,” said Harp.

“I just said, ‘This is not right. This can’t stand. What can I do? Even though I want my government to do something, what can I do?'”

With files from The Canadian Press

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/freedom-road-campaign-aims-to-raise-10m-for-shoal-lake-40-first-nation-1.3132735

Shoal Lake 40 Lifts State Of Emergency

Shoal Lake 40’s ferry passed Transport Canada’s inspections Wednesday, May 13, 2015 and was back in the water. SUPPLIED/FOR THE ENTERPRISE

Shoal Lake 40’s ferry passed Transport Canada’s inspections Wednesday, May 13, 2015 and was back in the water. SUPPLIED/FOR THE ENTERPRISE

By Amber McGuckin, May 13, 2015

Shoal Lake 40 called off its state of emergency as the community’s ferry has passed inspections.

“It’s really, really good news,” said Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky. “The community has really come together in dealing with this crisis and we are all very happy that our only lifeline to outside the community will be in operation shortly.”

Transport Canada gave the First Nation community restricted operation for the ferry that takes the community’s cars and residents to and from the island.

The restrictions include a three car limit on the ferry when it was previously four and now allowing 18 passengers, down from 40. The band will also closely monitor the ferry for leaks.

The ferry requires a bottom replacement, which will happen in the fall. A marine consultant will determine the extent of repairs required and the total cost won’t be known until the design is complete.

The First Nation community declared a state of emergency May 1 citing that without the ferry, community members can’t get their vehicles off the island so they don’t have access to water, groceries or medical services.

The ferry failed to pass a mandatory federal inspection earlier this month that’s required every four years.

“It was very evident when we pulled it out last fall it was leaking,” said Redsky.

Even though people in the community could take their personal boats to the mainland, with their vehicles on the island, Redsky said they’re essentially stuck on shore. “That’s our only lifeline to the outside world,” said Redsky.

The reserve was originally isolated in an effort to supply fresh water to Winnipeg and has been under a boil-water advisory for 17 years.

Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg have committed to pay $1 million each towards a feasibility study for an estimated $30-million road planned to address the problem.

http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/2015/05/13/shoal-lake-40-lifeline-ferry-passes-inspection

Shoal Lake 40 First Nation says it cannot support expanded highway when it has no road of its own

Shoal Lake First Nation Chief Erwin Redsky says a 23-kilometre road to his community would cost $30 million. (Shoal Lake First Nation/sl40.ca)

Shoal Lake First Nation Chief Erwin Redsky says a 23-kilometre road to his community would cost $30 million. (Shoal Lake First Nation/sl40.ca)

By Jody Porter | CBC News

Ontario First Nation says no to Trans-Canada Highway plan

Plans to expand the Trans-Canada Highway near Kenora, Ont. could by stalled by Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, which is seeking a road of its own.

Chief Erwin Redsky said Shoal Lake 40 cannot support the expansion of the highway until the First Nation has funding commitments for a 23-kilometre road to the isolated community

The Trans-Canada Highway runs across Shoal Lake 40 First Nation’s traditional territory, which means the proposed twinning of the route, eastward into Ontario from the Manitoba boundary, requires consultations with the community.

“I don’t think my community can support a four-lane highway when we’re continuously being bypassed,” Redsky said. “It’s very frustrating.”

David Zimmer

Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer says the province is pressing the federal government to help fund a road to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. (Twitter)

Ontario’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs met with Redsky and other members of Shoal Lake 40 in mid-February and said the province’s support of the highway expansion is contingent on consultations with the First Nation.

“Subject to provincial and federal environmental approvals and consultation with First Nation people, including Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, Ontario is committed to the twinning project,” David Zimmer said.

New road ‘a matter of survival’

Redsky called a new road a “matter of survival” for the First Nation which has been physically cut off from the mainland since an aqueduct was built 100 years ago to supply the City of Winnipeg with water from Shoal Lake.

The First Nation itself has been under a boil water advisory for more than a decade and Redsky said the lack of road access makes governments balk at the cost of fixing the problem.

“I think it’s time all governments commit to and contribute to our road as well,” said Redsky. “They’re proposing four lanes through our territory and all we’re asking for is one lane.”

Redsky said a feasibility study was done for the so-called Freedom Road in 2010. It set the price tag at $30 million, which the chief would like to see split in thirds among the City of Winnipeg, the Province of Manitoba and the federal government.

Those three levels of government are currently splitting the cost of a $3 million design project for the road.

Zimmer said Ontario is now pressing the federal government to commit money to the construction of the road.

Winnipeg-area First Nation remains under 17-year boil water advisory

Winnipeg-area First Nation remains under 17-year boil water advisory

Winnipeg-area First Nation remains under 17-year boil water advisory

Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca

As clean water once again flows from taps in the city of Winnipeg, members of a nearby First Nation community say they remain under a boil water advisory that’s been in effect for nearly two decades.

Some members of the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation were in Winnipeg earlier this week to protest their plight. Winnipeg recently lifted its three-day warning after water tests turned up negative for E.coli. But Shoal Lake residents say their water troubles have yet to be addressed.

Chief Erwin Redsky, of the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, says his people are no closer to turning on their taps now than they were when their water supply was found to be contaminated in 1996.

Residents in the Shoal Lake community have been boiling their water or importing it from other towns on a weekly basis, even as a nearby aqueduct pumps drinkable water out to Winnipeg.

“It’s very difficult,” Redsky told CTV New Channel on Sunday. He added that there has been “no progress to date” with clearing up the issue.

The Shoal Lake 40 First Nation sits on a man-made island established in the early 1900s during the construction of the Winnipeg aqueduct.

Erwin says experts have examined the Shoal Lake water problem, but it’s been deemed too expensive to fix.

“This should not be happening in (2015),” Redsky said. “All Canadians should have clean water to drink.”

Winnipeg’s boil water advisory lasted only a few days after a handful of tests showed possible traces of E.coli in the water supply. Later tests came back negative.