TIMMINS – “Contrary to claims by some Liberal candidates, the future of the Cree / Oji-Cree radio service Wawatay is not under political threat,” states Charlie Angus MP Timmins – James Bay.
Angus says he was surprised by recent press statement by Timmins Liberal candidate Marilyn Wood who claimed that Liberal MPs were rallying together to save the First Nation radio service. Angus says “The only problem with the claim is that the station’s funding problem had already been solved”.
Thunder Bay Superior North Liberal Candidate Yves Fricot wrote, on Friday in a Candidate’s Ledger, “This month, another important part of our Canada and Northern Ontario was almost lost. Wawatay Communications is an organization that publishes a bi-weekly community newspaper as well as a magazine for northern teens. It operates a broadcasting station, produces television shows, provides translation services and manages a multimedia website – all of which serve the needs of 60,000 northern First Nation people and the communities in which they live”.
The funding issue was resolved it appears before the Liberal candidates and MPs moved into action according to Angus.
“I want to reassure our First Nation constituents that the Chicken Little assertion from a local Liberal candidate is simply wrong. I have been working with Wawatay Radio and the Federal government to ensure the funding is flowing.”
Angus says he had been approached by Wawatay Radio about delays in getting funding approved. He made calls to the office of Minister James Moore and within a week, the situation had been resolved.
Angus says “I am scratching his head as to why the Liberal party tried to jump on the bandwagon.
“Many organizations have problems getting funding approved. My office handles issues like this on a daily basis. We addressed the issue, we worked with the bureaucrats, and we got the money flowing. I can’t for the life of me understand why three Liberal MPs (Gerard Kennedy, Pablo Rodriguez, Todd Russell) felt the need to try and create a political crisis over an issue that has already been settled.”
MP Carol Hughes (Algoma Manitoulin Kapuskasing) says the NDP caucus works hard with First Nation organizations in the north. She points to the fact that she recently helped M’Chigeeng First Nation secure an FM station that would serve First Nations on Manitoulin Island in their Objiway language.
“I am proud of our efforts to ensure Aboriginal cultural voices are heard in the north. Our office is always ready to work with our First Nation communities on new project ideas.”