Cat Lake Crisis – Calling on Governments to Step Up

Press Conference on Cat Lake Crisis

THUNDER BAY – The health and housing crisis in Cat Lake First Nation was the subject of a press conference with Sol Mamakwa, Deputy Chief Wesley, Councillor Joyce Cook, and federal MP Charlie Angus. The press conference was held at Queen’s Park on Friday, February 15, 2019.

Cat Lake First Nation says that unless help comes very soon, they are going to be declaring an evacuation emergency. There are 450 people living in Cat Lake. Of the 120 homes in the First Nation community, at least 90 are so badly infested with mould that demolishing them, having the people take only their electronics and clothing, and burying the demolished homes is being seen as one of the only solutions.

“When is help coming?” asked Councillor Joyce Cook from Cat Lake. “I don’t know why it’s taking so long for our federal government to move.”

Timmins James Bay MP Charlie Angus says, “Kids are going to die if nothing is done.” How much plainer does it need to be said? We are thirty days into the state of emergency at Cat Lake and both levels of government continue to stall and spin falsehoods to the media”.

“Two children were evacuated out this week. We have 100 other children identified with health problems from mould contamination”, adds Angus. “I was proud to be with Sol Mamakwa and Cat Lake community members as they came to Queens Park to call out the Ontario government for sitting back and doing nothing.”

Angus concludes “Canada’s indifference to the suffering of the First people of this land is beyond comprehension”.

Federal Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan issued a statement on Friday.

“Additionally, another technical meeting took place on Thursday‎ in Cat Lake in order to continue discussions and advance the work required. Among the key priorities requiring attention was the completion of the winter ice road to Cat Lake by the First Nation’s contractor, which is necessary for additional transportation to take place. Our department confirmed continued support in helping to get that work completed.

“We also reiterated and expanded upon our previous commitments to begin repairs immediately and to identify, with the community, units requiring replacement on an urgent basis.

“We will continue to work with leadership and partners, and remain focused on a collaborative relationship. We all share the same goals, which are to ensure that housing and health concerns are addressed for the wellbeing of the people of Cat Lake.”


Read more NetNewsLedger coverage on Cat Lake First Nation.