Saturday, September 20, 2014
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First Nations poverty troubles Thunder Bay man

CBC News

A Thunder Bay man says he had to "do something" after hearing first-hand about living conditions in northern First Nations communities.

 

Cam Goodman wrote a letter to Premier Wynne asking her to address the disparity between wages and costs in the north.

Goodman recently spoke with dozens of northern residents about challenges, such as the high price of gas, while they were in Thunder Bay for training.

One of the men he spoke with said “sometimes he couldn't afford the fuel, so he walked so his family could eat. And that really woke me up."

Simply to drive to work, “it was costing them $200 in fuel … every two weeks, some of them every week, to drive 14 kilometres to get to work."

The top concern people brought up was the high cost of food, Goodman said.

Goodman recorded his conversations with people and said that, if the community members are willing, he hopes to share their stories with any government or public interest groups.

He said he wants the government to work with First Nations to come up with a solution, such as higher wages, or subsidies for people to buy food. He noted that even people with government jobs aren’t making enough to cover the cost of food.

Goodman has not yet had a response to the letter he wrote to Ontario's premier.

"We have a major issue in this country of our First Nations people living in poverty, living in Third World conditions,” he said.

“And I just want people to wake up and see it."

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