Manitoba

Justin Trudeau visiting Shoal Lake 40 for documentary filming

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to participate in a VICELAND documentary on Indigenous issues.
Shoal Lake 40 First Nation is expecting a visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday. (Andrew Friesen/DNTO )

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting Shoal Lake 40 First Nation on Thursday to participate in a VICELAND documentary on Indigenous issues.

The visit was announced in a release from VICE News, which said Trudeau will spend the day in the community, "speaking directly to members within the community and immersing himself in daily life on the reserve."

The visit was also included in the prime minister's official itinerary for Thursday, although it was marked as "Private."

Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky said he would "love" to have the sitting prime minister come to the community.

"I want the prime minister to come see, feel and hear the voices of our young people of what they go through on a daily basis — the struggles, the challenges and the hopes and dreams of the young people," Redsky said.

Shoal Lake 40 provides drinking water to the city of Winnipeg yet its own residents are forced to rely on bottled water. Building the long-awaited all-weather road to the community is the chief's focus right now. It will allow the community to repair water treatment facilities and transport waste away from the community.

It will also eliminate isolation and connect Shoal Lake 40 with the Trans-Canada.

"Driving home 365 days a year is the ultimate goal and dream here. Just the hope for the youth. The hope for the future," Redsky said.

While Shoal Lake 40 has had challenges, it could become a symbol of hope for a better future, he said.

"Shoal Lake 40 is that model of that broken relationship and Shoal Lake 40 can be that model of the new relationship, the road to reconciliation," Redsky said.

The design of Freedom Road is mostly complete and the cost is estimated at 46.5 million, he said. Redsky added the community needs a one-third commitment from all levels of government.

"The political will and commitment is there. We need that commitment in their budgets. We need that commitment on the ground, constructing," said Redsky.

"We're hoping if everything goes well we're hoping for fall/winter construction. This is an urgent, urgent crisis. This needs to be fixed now. We can't wait anymore," he said.

with files from Meagan Fiddler

now