The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated in the transport of large jugs of drinking water and spoke to young students on Thursday, when he found the daily problems of an isolated reserve subject to a notice of boil for 19 years.
Mr. Trudeau spent seven hours on the territory occupied by the First Nation, Shoal Lake 40, along the border between Manitoba and Ontario. The reserve has been isolated by the waters a century ago during the construction of an aqueduct that carries drinking water to Winnipeg.
After the visit of the Prime Minister, the Chief Erwin Redsky said it was one day “extraordinary”, an opportunity for the Prime Minister “sees and feels the daily suffering” of the First Nation.
The visit was meant private, closed to all media except Vice Canada, shooting a documentary on the subject.
Trudeau embarked on a truck used to carry 20-liter jugs of water and delivered them to three houses, Mr. Redsky said.
The federal government, along with the Government of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg, have recently pledged to build a road suitable for all weather conditions to connect to the Trans-Canada Highway community. The reserve is not so remote – it is less than an hour drive from Kenora, Ontario – but it is isolated economically and in terms of basic services because of the absence of this link road.
The road must also make it more affordable to build water treatment infrastructure.
Mr. Redsky told not to have expected specific new promises from Mr. Trudeau, but simply a commitment to improve relations with First Nations.
The cost of a permanent road were assessed first at $ 30 million, before being revised upwards to 46 million, following further study.