on behalf of
the Honourable Chuck Strahl, PC, MP
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and
Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Contract Award Announcement for the Construction of a Diesel Generating Station Facility for Webequie First Nation
Webequie First Nation, Ontario
February 25, 2010
Check against delivery
(Thank you for the kind introduction.)
I am delighted to be back in northern Ontario this morning, on the Webequie First Nation, on behalf of my colleague, the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-status Indians.
Ladies and gentlemen, when I moved to this region 18 years ago, my job in the health care field took me to remote areas to work directly with First Nations people. This experience not only opened my eyes to the vast landscape of Northern Ontario and the many First Nations who live here, it also made me realize the importance of developing self-sufficient communities.
This is a common goal for our Government. And we are proud to invest in reliable sources of power that are fundamental for building strong and self-reliant First Nation communities. Improving economic opportunities for Aboriginal people is a priority for this Government.
I am proud to be here today to celebrate the successful awarding of a contract for the construction of a new 1.0 megawatt diesel generating station for the Webequie First Nation. This project is a great example of how technology is enabling the community to move forward.
With this new generating station, the Webequie First Nation is adding to their already extensive list of self-run services. These include a water treatment plant, a sewage plant and two waste disposal sites.
Our government has invested $16.4 million in this project to help meet current and future electrical needs of the Webequie First Nation, and provide lasting, sustainable benefits for this community.
There is no doubt that the logistics of any infrastructure project in a remote community are always complex. But the plans for getting this new station up and running are already underway, and the completion date is well within sight. The bulk of the construction will begin in the coming spring, and the goal is to have an operational station by early 2011.
The new diesel generating station is a concrete example of action being taken and real progress being made to improve the quality of life for First Nations in Ontario. Canada's investment in community infrastructure for First Nations is helping stimulate economic growth and support stronger, safer and healthier communities.
Thank you. Merci beaucoup.