Indigenous Services explores all-season roads

Year-round roads may be needed to connect northern Indigenous communities.

Indigenous Services Canada says they are concerned about this year’s challenging season for the nation’s winter roads. Unusual weather has caused periodic and premature closures of roads which bring essential supplies to remote and Indigenous communities, including Fort Chipewyan.

Road limits have had to occasionally decrease, and temporary closures have been needed due to melting ice and snow.

“We are deeply concerned by the impacts of climate change on Indigenous communities that rely on winter roads,” said Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services.

“The shortening of the winter road seasons poses important supply problems for many remote First Nations.”

“These roads are critical to their quality of life.”

The Minister says the federal government will look into long term solutions to connect communities in the north. These solutions include the potential of building all-season roads to serve remote regions.

Hajdu’s remarks stand in contrast to those of Federal Environment Minister, Steven Guilbeault, who spoke in Montreal last week and said that the Federal Government would not be funding any new roads in Canada.

“We can very well achieve our goals of economic, social, and human development without more enlargement of the road network,” Guilbeault stated, adding that the money is “better invested into projects that will help fight climate change and adapt to its impacts.”

Meanwhile, Minister Hajdu pledges to connect northern communities so they are not reliant on supplies coming in on ice roads, “I want to be very clear, the federal government will do what it takes so that the communities that are impacted have the essential supplies they need at all times.”

Harvard Media News has reached out to the offices of Minister Hajdu and Guilbeault for comment, but has not yet received a response.

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