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Speaking Notes Greg Rickford, MP The Member of Parliament for Kenora, Ontario on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians Announcing Funding for Winter Roads Network Sioux Lookout, Ontario
January 23, 2009
Greg Rickford, MP
The Member of Parliament for Kenora, Ontario on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Announcing Funding for Winter Roads Network
Sioux Lookout, Ontario
Check against delivery
Good morning ladies and gentlemen. [Acknowledgment of dignitaries as appropriate]. I'm very pleased to be here with you today on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians.
I am here today to announce the Government of Canada's funding for the winter roads network. This is one more example of how we are moving forward and supporting communities in northern Ontario.
The winter roads network in Northern Ontario spans approximately 3,000 kilometres and connects with the Ontario highway system. During the coldest months of the year, these ice roads provide access to and from 30 remote First Nations communities and make possible the more economical transport of goods and services.
Remote First Nations, accessible only by air and water most of the year, rely on the winter roads network to obtain heavy goods like diesel fuel and construction materials at more affordable shipping costs.
It is my great pleasure to announce that our government is committing $3.7 million to improve the winter roads network for remotely located Ontario First Nations. My announcement today also includes a one-time contribution of over $1.9 million. The Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund will administer these funds for winter roads construction, operation and maintenance.
This government recognizes the vital part that the winter roads network plays in improving the quality of life in First Nations communities. Working in partnership with First Nations and provincial counterparts, our goal is to develop and maintain a sustainable winter roads network.
The success of this funding initiative depends on the support and cooperation of many partners - the Nishnawbe Aski Development Corporation, Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, and the 30 First Nations. And I want to acknowledge their important contribution to this vital initiative.
In addition, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada continues to work closely with First Nations and the Province of Ontario to support capital projects which include the realignment of existing routes to higher ground, and the construction of bridges over major water crossings.
Before closing, I would also like to say that this seasonal roads network helps to create jobs, reduces the isolation of remote First Nations communities in Ontario, and enables economic development opportunities. And those, ladies and gentlemen, are outcomes we can all be proud of.