Sunday, April 20, 2014
Text Size

Fines for driving on closed winter road rescinded

By Ian Graham

Thompson Citizen

Residents of Tataskweyak Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation and York Factory First Nation who were ticketed for driving on a closed winter road early last week have had those fines rescinded by the RCMP in deference to “the needs and common practices of the community.”

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), a political advocacy organization that has represented 30 Northern Manitoba First Nations since 1981, held a press conference to complain about the tickets on Jan. 24 and issued a press release later the same day.

According to MKO, 30 tickets were issued, but Tara Seel of RCMP media relations told the Nickel Belt News that the number of tickets issued for driving on the closed winter road was actually 14 and that Insp. John Duff, officer-in-charge of the Thompson RCMP detachment confirmed that these tickets should not have been issued.

“Part of being a responsible and accountable policing organization is ensuring we uphold the law while at the same time respecting the needs and common practices of the community,” wrote Seel in an e-mail. “That is why the RCMP has communicated with leaders of York Factory First Nation, and consulted with the Crown to get tickets issued on the winter road invalidated.”

RCMP officers regularly patrol winter roads as part of regular detachment duties and for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI)-funded initiatives.

“The MPI RoadWatch Program, focusing on the Winter Road Enforcement Program, is for the enforcement of traffic violations, impaired driving and liquor transport violations,” said Seel. “In this case, if there had been any impaired drivers or liquor transport violations, those tickets would have stood.”

MKO Grand Chief David Harper said the issuing of the tickets demonstrated the need for all-weather road access to remote Northern Manitoba communities.

“The time has come for Manitoba and Canada to meet with the MKO leadership to address the need for a network of all-weather roads servicing all northern First Nations in Manitoba, to ensure all communities have access to the provincial road network,” said Harper in a press release. “Recent incidents involving northern citizens being issued fines by the RCMP for travelling on a closed winter road did not sit right with the MKO leadership. This situation is an example of the complications encountered by our communities in accessing the goods and services they require. Our northern residents need a permanent year-round highway system linking all communities in Manitoba.”

Chief Louisa Constant of the York Factory First Nation said infrastructure improvements like all-weather roads are among the benefits First Nations should be receiving as compensation for developments on their traditional territories.

“As we proceed with the proposed Keeyask and Conawapa hydro development projects, the leadership of York Factory First Nation is mandated to ensure, on behalf of our people and future generations, that the promise of prosperity and economic benefits goes far beyond the project-specific training, education, business opportunities and jobs,” said Constant. “The proposed hydro projects are expected to generate economic growth and social development benefits to all Manitobans. York Factory First Nation equally wishes to receive our fair share of the benefits for the full life of the hydro dams beyond the construction phases. One of those benefits is an all-weather road that links our communities to the provincial highway network.”

Most winter roads in northern Manitoba, with the exception of Highway 800 from Flin Flon to Pukatawagan and the section of Hiighway 700 from St. Theresa Point to Garden Hill were open as of Jan. 28.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Write comment (7 Comments)

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

Write comment (2 Comments)

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...

OBIDIAH

obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

EVENTS

April 2014
S M T W T F S
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 1 2 3
Mon Mar 31 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
NICE ‘Indian’ Trust Funds
Fri Apr 04 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
THE 21ST ANNUAL ABORIGINAL MIXED CURLING BONSPIEL

John Bigface

imageimageimageimageimage
cartoonscartoonscartoonscartoonscartoons

Current Video

Indigenous Writers Festival 2014 Opening Night

Write comment (0 Comments)

Chief Arlen Dumas Confronts NC Shawn Atleo

Write comment (2 Comments)

Employment