Freedom Road MP Candidate Survey

Freedom Road MP Candidate Survey

For those who would like to consider the issue of Freedom Road in their decision-making for the upcoming Federal election, we surveyed the candidates for Manitoba and South-Western Ontario to ask if they would personally pledge their support for the building of a provincial grade all-weather road linking Shoal Lake 40 First Nation with the Trans-Canada Highway.  We sent two emails over the span of 3 weeks, and followed up with a phone call, to ensure each candidate had a chance to respond. Below are the results, sorted by party and then riding. This post will continue to be updated as we receive more responses.

It’s also important to note that Justin Trudeau (Liberal Party), Thomas Mulcair (NDP) and Elizabeth May (Green Party) have all indicated their party’s support for this cause.

As of yet we have been unable to locate an official response online from Mr. Harper personally, but the Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford has stated Conservative party support “in principle” without clarification of the term.  Local singer-songwriter Steve Bell also sent an open letter to Stephen Harper, Greg Rickford, and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt on August 4th, but has yet to receive a response.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY

Larry Maguire (Brandon-Souris): No response

The Honourable Steven Fletcher (Charleswood-St.James-Assiniboia-Headingley): No response

Robert Sopuck (Dauphin Swan River Neepawa): No response

Lawrence Toet (Elmwood-Transcona): “Thank you for contacting me in relation to the building of an all-weather road to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. I fully support a federal commitment of $1 million dollars to fund the design costs for the First Nations Freedom Road Project. Once completed, this design study will provide the federal government and its partners with the best possible solution to providing access for the people of Shoal Lake 40.”

The Honourable Greg Rickford (Kenora): No response 

Jim Bell (Kildonan-St. Paul): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “An all-weather road is an absolute requirement for Shoal Lake 40. This is an issue that matters to the constituents of Kildonan- St. Paul and all Manitobans. The Conservative Government has committed to fund a plan and has agreed in principle to fund an all-weather road, in partnership with the Province of Manitoba and City of Winnipeg. This is the right action and I look forward to a favourable outcome for the residents who live at Shoal Lake 40.”

Candice Bergen (Portage-Lisgar): No response

Ted Falk (Provencher): “Thank you for taking the time to send us an email on this important issue. Mr. Falk supports our government’s $1 million feasibility study, which aims at determining the best possible solution to this issue.”

James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman): No response

Francois Catellier (St.Boniface-St.Vital): No response

Moe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay-Rainy River): No response           

John P. Curley (Timmins-James Bay): No response

Allie Szarkiewicz (Winnipeg Centre): No response        

Gordon Giesbrecht (Winnipeg South): No response      

Joyce Bateman (Winnipeg South Centre): No response

GREEN PARTY

David Neufeld (Brandon-Souris): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40.

Kevin Nichols (Charleswood-St.James-Assiniboia-Headingley): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40.

Kate Storey (Dauphin Swan River Neepawa): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “I will work hard to bring equality, respect and investment to indigenous communities.”

Ember McKillop (Kenora): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “This whole situation is a travesty, and another example of how government has created a problem and refused be part of a solution. The Green Party is committed to fighting for the rights of First Nations. The following is taken directly from the “Vision Green” document: The glaring exception to everything one loves about Canada can be found in the profound inequality of life on First Nations Reserves and life for off-reserve urban Aboriginal people across Canada. Water that is too hazardous to drink; serious health problems from diabetes to tuberculosis, addiction, and suicide; unacceptably poor housing stock; high unemployment rates − all make a mockery of our progress elsewhere in maintaining our ‘social safety net.’ This too is true of the situation in Shoal Lake.”

Beverley Eert (Portage-Lisgar): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “I represent the Diocese of Brandon on Creation Matters, a working group of the Anglican Church of Canada dedicated to climate justice.”

Jeff Wheeldon (Provencher): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “The Green Party is working to build a council of Canadian governments to be better able to respond to issues like these. Such a council would include federal, provincial, municipal, and First Nations governments, where they can engage together on equal footing. This is crucial for having genuine conversation with First Nations, and it would create a formal structure for addressing issues like this and planning solutions for them. Thank you for your work! There’s something wonderfully Jesusy about people caring for outsiders; your actions glorify Christ.”

Glenn Zaretski (St.Boniface-St.Vital): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “I was just out at Shoal Lake this past weekend and I would add that half of the 16 km road that leads in off the Trans Canada Highway is the absolute worst washboard gravel mess I have ever travelled down. My car actually shook more at 10km an hour than it did at 50.”

Christy Radbourne (Thunder Bay-Rainy River): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40.  

Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior North): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Max Kennedy (Timmins-James Bay): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. I am disappointed to see that “secure” access cannot be had through a process of agreement of shared ownership as opposed to “surrender”.  One would hope that there were ways and means to secure such through co-operation but alas it seems not.  Yes I would support this option reluctantly, reluctant only in that the lack of a co-operative option denotes a failure to my mind not reluctant in that access NEEDS to be provided and indeed should have been long ago.  I will note that a great deal of what is wrong in Canada today derives from such lack of cooperation.  Disappointed but yes I would support it.”

Don Woodstock (Winnipeg Centre): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. Water is life. The quality of water is directly linked to the quality of life.  In 2007, Dr. David Suzuki was in Winnipeg, and and I declared that the Provincial government should not get anymore Equalization Payments unless they are able to have a clear plan with measurable targets, and how they would protect the water in our lakes.  I also firmly feel the the Federal Government’s responsibility to protect our lakes and rivers is crucial to the well-being of First Nation communities. So I support your effort 100% and will do everything in my powers to make sure that the Federal government responds favourably to support Shoal Lake 40.”

John Redekopp (Winnipeg North): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40.       

Adam Smith (Winnipeg South): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “That is an extremely noble and worthy goal.”

August Hastmann (Winnipeg South Centre): No response

Andrew Park (Winnipeg South Centre): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. It is astonishing that Canada, one of the richest nations in the world, has failed to provide water, one of the basic necessities of life, to any community.  In my opinion, the Federal government must step up, and step up soon, to construct a road to Shoal Lake FN, as well as providing the required water treatment and sewage treatment facilities. The same argument applies to all First Nations who are labouring under boil water advisories (Shoal Lake is not the only one!).”

LIBERAL PARTY

Jodi Wyman (Brandon-Souris): No response

Doug Eyolfson (Charleswood-St.James-Assiniboia-Headingley): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Rebecca Chartrand (Churchill-Keewatinook Aski): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Ray Piche (Dauphin Swan River Neepawa): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Andrea Richardson-Lipon (Elmwood-Transcona): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Bob Nault (Kenora): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40.        

MaryAnn Mihychuk (Kildonan-St. Paul): “Thank-you for the opportunity to respond on my position on Freedom Road for Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. On July 7, 2015, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced the Liberals would fund the federal share of the construction for year-round access to the community. As the Liberal Candidate for Kildonan-St. Paul, I also support federal funding for the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40.”

Terry Hayward (Provencher): “Thank you for your e-mail seeking my position re the construction of a long overdue all weather road to the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. Let me start by saying I support this initiative as does the Liberal Party of Canada and our Leader Justin Trudeau. Mr. Trudeau has made a public commitment to see this road built when he forms government. As you may know, the riding I am seeking office in is Provencher. As I travel the riding from north to south, I cross on a daily basis the railway line that runs parallel to the aqueduct carrying Shoal Lake water to the city of Winnipeg. Each time I cross the water line I think of the residents of Shoal Lake #40 and the fact they have had to boil water for so long. Please accept my statement of support for the building of this road and the construction of the much needed water works to service this community.”

Joanne Levy (Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Dan Vandal (St.Boniface-St.Vital): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. As you know, on July 7, the Liberal Party committed to funding for Freedom Road for Shoal Lake 40 First Nation if elected to government. As a resident of Winnipeg, I believe we have a social responsibility towards Freedom Road.”

Don Rusnak (Thunder Bay-Rainy River): “The Liberal Party policy on this point is quite clear.  In July Justin Trudeau committed to funding for building a new Road. He said: ‘It is inexcusable that Shoal Lake 40 First Nation has been cut off from the rest of Canada, with inadequate access to the most basic necessities. The situation requires an urgent response, yet for years the federal government has abandoned its responsibility to the First Nation. The current unreliable, expensive, and often dangerous access to Shoal Lake 40 cannot be allowed to continue. It is time to ensure permanent, year-round access by road to this community. A Liberal government is committed to delivering funding for the Freedom Road to Shoal Lake 40. We will work in good faith with the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, Winnipeg, and Manitoba to resolve the access issue permanently for the well-being of all residents.'”

Patty Hajdu (Thunder Bay-Superior North): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Todd Lever (Timmins-James Bay): No response

Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North): No response

Terry Duguid (Winnipeg South): “Thank you for your question. The Liberal Party and Terry Duguid completely support the funding and building of the Freedom Road for the people of Shoal Lake. This support was clearly stated by our leader Justin Trudeau on July 7, 2015.”

Jim Carr (Winnipeg South Centre): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “I am very glad to receive your request and to applaud your initiative to correct a long-standing wrong. I can tell you clearly and firmly that I am in complete support of building the Shoal Lake 40 Road and I am pleased to say that recently in Winnipeg the leader of our Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, supported this First Nation’s request and called for exactly this as well. I agree too that should be done with all the great haste that the partners can muster, to end the inequality and unfairness that this situation has created. Thank you for speaking out for this issue. Voices matter.”

NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Melissa Wastasecoot (Brandon-Souris): No response    

Stefan Jonasson (Charleswood-St.James-Assiniboia-Headingley): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “Both myself and the NDP have made a clear commitment to enthusiastically supporting the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40.  This road will allow for a safe, secure connection to the mainland and allow for the construction of a much needed water treatment facility.  By paying the Government of Canada’s share for the Shoal Lake Freedom Road, we can end the years of isolation and inaction of previous federal governments and help usher in a new era of respect with Indigenous communities.”

Niki Ashton (Churchill-Keewatinook Aski): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “We very much support the community and its request for federal partnership for an all weather road. As Tom Mulcair said at the Assembly of First Nations AGA in Montreal this summer, an NDP government will be federal partner at the table to ensure this road is made possible.”

Laverne Lewycky (Dauphin Swan River Neepawa): No response

Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona): “Tom Mulcair and the NDP has committed support for the building of an all-weather road road for Shoal Lake 40.  Daniel Blaikie feels deeply about the Shoal Lake 40 Freedom Road and was just in attendance at the Water Walk here in Winnipeg where they were raising awareness about the road.”

Howard Hampton (Kenora): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Suzanne Hrynyk (Kildonan-St. Paul): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40.  “The NDP federally and provincially support an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. I was pleased to attend the rally at the provincial legislature a few weeks back where I joined with hundreds of other Manitobans who want justice for Shoal Lake. This whole episode shows the lack of respect the Conservatives have for our Indigenous People. Stephen Harper has consistently shown his contempt for First Nations issues, including a failure to commit to Freedom Road. The 18-year boil water advisory needs to be addressed! If elected I will work with Tom Mulcair, our provincial government and the City of Winnipeg to get justice for the residents of Shoal Lake 40.”

Deborah Chief (Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman): No response

Erin Selby (St.Boniface-St.Vital):Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40.

John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River): No response           

Andrew Foulds (Thunder Bay-Superior North): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. “The New Democratic Party of Canada fully supports the joint construction proposal of Freedom Road as outlined below. In fact, NDP Leader, Tom Mulcair publicly stated as much during his visit to Thunder Bay in July.  I stand behind the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation in working to correct this long standing wrong. Let’s get it done.”

Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

Levy Abad (Winnipeg North): No response

Brianne Goertzen (Winnipeg South): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. I personally support Shoal Lake 40 Freedom Road and would be more than willing to meet with the group.

Matt Henderson (Winnipeg South Centre): Yes, I support the building of an all-weather road for Shoal Lake 40. 

2 Comments

  1. It is funny how all the parties who are not in power will promise something they can’t control.
    The lack of response fro the Conservatives leads me to believ they do not want to put their nose into a situation which has to be studied and resolved by all government not by a ward representative.
    Is the road important, YES, But politicians won’t support any program which cannot be recognized in their 4 yr term and since it hasn’t been confirmed to go through by the current government, it would be political suicide to admit they want to do it now.
    The poll above is interesting but not real.

    Reply
    • Rick,
      An election is the time to query would-be leaders about their commitments so that the voting public can vote according to what they feel are the important issues. So, the question is fair. Of course none of the candidates have the power to put this through and that is not what is being asked. Our question asks if they will be allies for a just cause should they take office. In this case, Freedom Road has been studied sufficiently, and the design far enough along that it is reasonable to ask if there will be energetic support, of which we’ve seen from every party, even if only from one Conservative.

      Reply

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