OTTAWA – ATTAWAPISKAT – Leader’s Ledger – Our Government is deeply concerned with the situation in Attawapiskat First Nation. Earlier today, I spoke with departmental officials who are in the community to meet with Chief Theresa Spence and community members and investigate why conditions are as poor as they are, given the significant funding for housing, infrastructure, education, and administration provided by our government. I will be receiving updates from them daily and anticipate recommendations on the next steps to be taken very soon.
The challenges facing the community are complex. We will continue to work closely with the community to ensure measures are taken to address the most immediate housing needs. Since 2006, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) alone has provided approximately $80 million to Attawapiskat First Nation, which does not include funding the community will receive this fiscal year. Most recently, AANDC committed $500,000 to the First Nation to take immediate action for urgent housing repairs as quickly as possible.
Department officials have been in ongoing contact with the community and are working on helping them implement their existing emergency plan. My priority in the immediate short term is working with the community and provincial officials to ensure that affected residents of Attawapiskat have access to warm, dry and safe shelter.
Today’s visit represents an important step towards addressing the community’s immediate housing needs. The Government of Canada will continue to work with the community to assess future housing needs with a focus on ensuring the health, safety and well-being of the residents.
John Duncan MP
Minister of Northern Development and Aboriginal Affairs