John Rafferty Seeks to Set Up Meeting

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OTTAWA – Member of Parliament John Rafferty (Thunder Bay – Rainy River) is reaching out for a fourth time in an effort to broker a meeting between the leadership of the Couchiching First Nation and federal Minister for Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl.

“This is the fourth request I’ve put in over a two week period, and it’s no secret that we are getting down to the wire now,”   Rafferty said.  “Minister Strahl has known for weeks that the leadership of the Couchiching First Nation was planning to carry out public actions related to some very specific concerns, and he has yet to make time to meet with them to discuss those concerns.” 

In submitting the letter, Rafferty said he hopes the Minister would demonstrate some leadership and meet with the Couchiching leadership before the public actions commence over the coming weekend.  “I think there is still time, but the Minister must step up to the plate and show some leadership on this matter.”

Rafferty’s letters to the Minister have brought forward the concerns of the Couchiching leadership and attempted to find a resolution prior to the commencement of public action on Friday May 21st.  

The main concern among the leadership of the Couchiching Fist Nation relates to the relocation of several families living on dioxin contaminated land, and that the federal government has refused to fund the relocation of those families despite knowing of the significant risk to their health.  Chief Chuck McPherson announced on April 28th that the Couchiching leadership would be erecting toll booths near the west end of the Noden Causeway beginning May 21st in part to collect money to assist with the relocation costs of the families in question.