Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

May 07, 2013 17:22 ET

Statement Regarding Parliamentary Secretary Greg Rickford's (Kenora) Meetings With James Bay Flood Evacuees and Kapuskasing Mayor Alan Spacek

KAPUSKASING, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 7, 2013) - At the request of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Parliamentary Secretary Greg Rickford, MP for Kenora, met today with evacuees of the Kashechewan First Nation, as well as with His Worship Alan Spacek, Mayor of Kapuskasing, to discuss the government's response to flooding in Northern Ontario. The Minister issued the following statement:

"Today in Kapuskasing, Mr. Rickford reaffirmed the government's commitment to working closely with provincial emergency management organizations, the leadership of the city of Kapuskasing and the Kashechewan First Nation to ensure that the immediate health and safety needs of evacuated community members continue to be met.

Mr. Rickford had the chance to engage and interact with Kashechewan community members and he acknowledged that this is a difficult time for them, and all other communities affected by flooding this season. He confirmed that once the immediate emergency is over, the government's priority will be to work with the First Nation to expedite the recovery effort so that people can return to their communities.

He also acknowledged Paul Wesley, First Nation Liaison, for his efforts and thanked him for his leadership. Mr. Wesley said: 'Our community members are now settled in Kapuskasing. I am pleased with the response of the Town of Kapuskasing and the federal government. My priority as a First Nation liaison is that our children and youth are taken care of. We continue to keep the youth and children busy and socialize with the elders and adults.'

In his meeting with Mayor Spacek, Mr. Rickford thanked him for welcoming and supporting the evacuees during their moment of need. The Mayor said: 'Our community is always ready to help its neighbors in a time of need, but the quick, effective response to this year's flooding is the direct result of a collaborative effort. I am fully satisfied with the federal government's responsiveness and their commitment to ensuring the immediate needs of evacuees are met.'

During his visit, Mr. Rickford took the opportunity to have a discussion with Gerry Demeules, General Manager of Protective Services for the Town of Kapuskasing, and thanked him for the important work he was doing. Mr. Demeules said: 'It is a coordinated effort here in Kapuskasing to ensure that all of the evacuated members of Kashechewan are comfortable. The Town of Kapuskasing is working very well with the Federal Government, the Red Cross and the Province of Ontario to ensure the immediate needs of evacuees are met. Members of the First Nation are also taking on evacuation coordination roles throughout this process.'

In addition to his meeting with evacuees, the Mayor, the General Manager of Protective Services and the Ontario Provincial Police, Mr. Rickford also took part in an Evacuation Control Group meeting that included as well the local Friendship Centre, Emergency Management Ontario, the Red Cross and AANDC officials who determine on a daily basis the specific needs for evacuees.

Mr. Rickford reiterated that the federal government's priority remains the health and safety of community members, and the safe return of evacuees to their communities.

This statement is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

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Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Andrea Richer
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
    819-997-0002

    Media Relations
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
    819-953-1160