For Immediate Release
August 10, 2015
Response to retiring MP Smith’s Support for Funding for Freedom Road to
Shoal Lake 40 First Nation
[WINNIPEG] MaryAnn Mihychuk, Liberal Candidate for Kildonan-St. Paul, questioned the Conservative Government’s infrastructure plan and relationship with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.
Today, retiring Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, Joy Smith, announced her support for the campaign to have a road built to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, funded by the federal government. While Smith is the first Manitoba Conservative MP to support Shoal Lake, the Liberal Party of Canada announced their support to build Freedom Road in July, 2015. “It is inexcusable that Shoal Lake 40 First Nation has been cut off from the rest of Canada, with inadequate access to the most basic necessities. The situation requires an urgent response, yet for years the federal government has abandoned its responsibility to the First Nation.” said Ms. Mihychuk.
Mihychuk also stated: “It has been the federal government that has not come to the table to make Freedom Road happen. For a recent MP, just retired, to now say she’s just become aware of the situation raises the question: where has she been for the last decade? The fact is the Conservative infrastructure plan has been minimal, overcomplicated, and tied up in red tape. Shoal Lake 40 and many other communities in Manitoba – rural, northern and Aboriginal communities – are desperately in need of infrastructure investment.”
“The fact that Smith has chosen to make an announcement even though she has retired and is not a candidate in this election is questionable and extremely political. It was also interesting to see that the Conservative Candidate was not in attendance.”
Smith’s call for support for this infrastructure project was the first among Conservative MP’s, one in which went against the stance of the Conservative Party of Canada. For years, residents of Kildonan-St.Paul have heard Stephen Harper’s voice in the community, instead of being heard by the local representative.
Liberals will work with Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, as well as the provincial and local governments to resolve the access issue permanently for the well-being of the residents of the First Nation.