Cat Lake Crisis Raised During Question Period

OTTAWA – Cat Lake First Nation remains under a state of emergency. The emergency was declared over issues with housing.

On the first day of sitting in the new session of parliament Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus raised the issue questioning Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan.

Here is the exchange from the Hansard:

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, we are now three weeks into the state of emergency, the deplorable humanitarian crisis in Cat Lake. Temperatures have plunged to -55°, we have hundreds of people huddled in squalid conditions, people are at risk, and yet the best the minister has been able to do after three weeks is to promise to send some bureaucrats to check on the situation. That is not going to cut it.

What steps will the minister take to meet with the leadership, to put in place an emergency response team now and to visit Cat Lake so he can see the deplorable conditions that the people of Cat Lake are living in? What will he do?

Hon. Seamus O’Regan (Minister of Indigenous Services, Lib.

Mr. Speaker, first nations communities are of utmost importance. I have spoken with Chief Keewaykapow and I have affirmed our commitment to working with Cat Lake to address the community’s housing needs. Officials will be meeting with the leadership there tomorrow to work on an action plan to help them work on the serious challenges that they confront. We will continue working in partnership with first nations communities to advance their priorities and to support community-led solutions.