The Dryden Observer

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Hampton: Conservative failure is holding back the Northwest

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.


Howard Hampton, federal NDP candidate in the riding of Kenora says the failure of the Harper Conservatives to work in partnership with Treaty 3 and NAN First Nations is holding back important economic development opportunities that would create good jobs and a better economy in the Northwest.

“The Harper Conservatives’ refusal to cooperate with First Nations is delaying vital development projects for the Northwest,” said Hampton. “The Ring of Fire, four-laning the Trans-Canada from Manitoba to Kenora, and building a hydro transmission line to the Far North could all be a reality if the Conservatives would stop ignoring the First Nations in the region.”

Hampton noted that many mining, forestry, and pipeline companies understand the importance of working in partnership with First Nations to move their projects forward but the Harper Conservatives refuse to cooperate.

“There is a clear connection between working in partnership with Shoal Lake #40 First Nation to build the ‘Freedom Road’ and a water treatment facility and moving forward with the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway from Manitoba to Kenora,” said Hampton. “The City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba understand the connection and both are prepared to invest with Shoal Lake #40, but the Conservatives won’t cooperate.”

Hampton also pointed to the Neskantaga First Nation, situated adjacent to the Ring of Fire. It has been forced to boil its water for over 20 years but the Conservatives have completely ignored the community’s repeated requests for investment in safe, clean drinking water.

“The Ring of Fire holds billions of dollars in mineral deposits, would create thousands of good jobs and a better economy for everyone in the region,” said Hampton. “The Conservatives refusal to work in partnership with First Nations like Neskantaga is unbelievable.”

The Harper Conservatives are also to blame for delays in building an essential hydro transmission line to the Far North. One of the viable routes would be through Pikangikum First Nation territory, but the Harper Conservatives have a dismal record with Pikangikum.

“Pikangikum, with a poplulation of more than 3,000, is forced to boil its water, has inadequate and unhealthy sewage disposal, and has been waiting 15 years for hydro transmission project. Understandably, they are a very frustrated community,” said Hampton.

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