Statement made on 07 July 2010 by Senator Lillian Eva Dyck
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck:
Honourable senators, natural disasters have been ravaging First Nations reserves in the Prairie provinces, leaving many without homes and basic infrastructure.
Manitoba has been ravaged by a flood season that has torn apart First Nations reserves. In the past 15 months, at least five major floods have left Manitoba First Nations reserves in dire straits. The Peguis First Nation has seen 207 of its members evacuated, with an additional 100 to be added. Their water sources are contaminated as the floods have destroyed basic infrastructure, including their sewage system.
In Saskatchewan, a tornado hit the Kawacatoose First Nation last Friday, ripping through homes. The reserve was already dealing with housing shortages such that, on average, four families were living in a single unit. This tornado has compounded the devastation and has created an immensely tough situation for the community.
These First Nations communities have been told that it may take years to deal with the damage to their reserves. This is unacceptable.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate explain to honourable senators how her government is dealing with these crises, as concrete solutions are needed now? With all this money being spent on infrastructure in the government's touted Economic Action Plan, where is the money for disaster relief on First Nations reserves?
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