August 29th, 2019
MP ASHTON CALLS ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO KEEP PROMISE TO MARCEL COLOMB FIRST NATION
Less than 40% of promised money has been delivered
The Marcel Colomb First Nation’s capital investment plan is about to reach the end of its planning, as less than half of its capital investment requirement target has been met. In the “Community Plan and 5 year Capital Plan” prepared in 2000, an estimated $43,910,000 was supposed to have been invested in the community. To date, only about $17,500,000 has been spent. With less than 40% of the promised amounts invested in the community, the underfunding has led to severe shortfalls in housing, water treatment and sewage infrastructure.
On the housing front, the situation is dire. It’s important to note that the investment shortfall included a housing shortage. No housing was built by INAC with the initial investment of $17,500, the first 15 units were built by the band with CMHC section 95 funding in 2013. The existing houses are severely over-crowded, with an average of 12 people living in a 4 bedroom bungalow. Mould is rampant. A modern water treatment facility was installed with an access road and sewage Lagoon, no street lighting was provided. The water and sewer distribution lines were never installed, which forces the community to use water and sewage cisterns that is serviced by 1 water truck and 1 septic truck that are stretched to capacity and fail to service the community needs. This has meant that the community had to invest its own resources in the water and sewage infrastructure.
Healthcare issues in the community are numerous. Whereas in comparable areas, physician visits had increased, in the Marcel Colomb First Nation, they have in fact decreased. Hospitalization rates are also increasing. Substance abuse and chronic illness need to be addressed in the community, as well as improving access to mental health services and to prenatal care.
Educational investments are also lacking. A recent visit to the community offered to provide a quick assessment of the needs in education and training. Most adults have failed to demonstrate literacy abilities, and few have graduated from school.
Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada demands that broken promises be fixed. A promise was made to the people of the Marcel Colomb First Nation and was not kept. This has led to a standard of living in the community that is not worthy of a country as rich as Canada, that is not worthy of a people that deserves respect. We demand that the department of Indigenous Services quickly corrects the course, fulfills the original Community Plan and provides the people of the Marcel Colomb First Nation the services they need to live in dignity. Therefore, I urge your Government to take immediate action to rectify this situation.
Niki Ashton, MP
Churchill – Keewatinook Aski