OTTAWA – Leader’s Ledger – John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, issued the following statement today:
Our Government has prioritized the urgent health and safety needs of Attawapiskat residents. We have been working around the clock with the community and Emergency Management Ontario to ensure the residents, and especially children of Attawapiskat have access to safe and warm shelter for the coming months.
Today, I am announcing that 15 modular homes have been purchased for families in Attawapiskat First Nation. We will make sure they are delivered on the winter roads as soon as they open.
We have already provided urgent funding to renovate five homes and are working with Emergency Management Ontario and other partners to deliver necessities to the residents like composting toilets, high efficiency wood stoves, and building materials. Our Action Plan to assist Attawapiskat is underway.
In the short term, I have also offered Chief Spence two concrete solutions for families who are living in tents or shacks, while the community awaits the arrival of these units. These include: retrofitting either the healing lodge and/or the sportsplex to allow for short-term residency or accepting an offer of evacuation for those who are currently in tents and shacks, until the modular homes arrive.
It is clear that significant investments in this community have not generated the results that the people of Attawapiskat deserve, and all Canadians expect. In order to identify how money has been spent including what oversight measures have been taken over the past five years, I have ordered a comprehensive and independent audit.
Our Government is moving ahead with an action plan to address the urgent health and safety needs of the people of Attawapiskat. We are hopeful that the Chief and Council will work with us, the third party manager, and other partners to be part of the solution.
Hon. John Duncan MP
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs