New Democrat Member of Parliament John Rafferty (Thunder Bay – Rainy River) welcomed the announcement today of an agreement by the Government of Canada and the leadership of Couchiching First Nation that resolves a serious public health hazard and ends the 12 day long toll booth protest on Highway 11.
Mr. Rafferty issued the following statement;
“I was very happy to hear this morning that an agreement was reached between the Government of Canada and the leadership of the Couchiching First Nation to resolve a serious public health hazard on the reserve and end the 12 day long toll booth protest on Highway 11.
Through no fault of their own several families on the Couchiching reserve found themselves living on land that was contaminated with dioxins and other toxic substances. Though it took somewhat longer than I would have hoped, I am satisfied that the federal government has done the right thing by assisting those families with their relocation efforts.
I also welcome the responsible decision taken by the Couchiching First Nation leadership to dismantle their Highway 11 toll booth once an agreement on this issue was reached.
I’ve always believed that respectful dialogue is the most effective way to resolve long-standing issues between groups, and I sincerely hope that this agreement is the start of a new approach to dispute resolution for both the Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the leadership of the Couchiching First Nation.”