NDP says COVID-19 crisis distracting from northern Ontario First Nation’s flooding plight

OTTAWA — New Democrats say they are concerned COVID-19 is distracting the federal and provincial governments from helping a northern Ontario First Nation vulnerable to spring flooding.

The spring evacuation has become an annual event for the roughly 2,000 residents of Kashechewan, who have seen their community regularly flooded by water from James Bay thanks to melting winter ice and snow.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 1st COVID-19 case surfaces in northwestern Ontario Indigenous community

But the federal and Ontario NDP say they have yet to see a plan for helping the community this year, as both Ottawa and the provincial government are preoccupied with the pandemic.

NDP MP Charlie Angus, whose riding includes Kashechewan, says temporarily relocating the residents to southern communities like usual is also not an option because of COVID-19.

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Angus says residents are now being encouraged to live off the land, but that he is concerned about their safety and well-being.

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He says that is why he and Ontario NDP MPP Guy Bourgouin are asking the federal and provincial governments, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment, to act before the flooding season starts.

Liberals slam NDP for claims they’ve left Kashechewan ‘behind’

Liberals slam NDP for claims they’ve left Kashechewan ‘behind’

© 2020 The Canadian Press