Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Tragedy of Lake St. Martin First Nation

Well, there's been quite a bit of stir lately over the controlled breech of the Assiniboine dike, which is slowly flooding agricultural land and property in a 225 km2 area with 150 homes south of Portage la Prairie. While this is tragic, the Province has promised special compensation for lost land and income for those affected.

Yet a similar event happened on May 6. Water gradually consumed Lake St. Martin First Nation after being diverted from the Portage Diversion. It was a similar case of sacrificing the few to save the many. Yet, as late as May 9, the Province had no clear cut plans on whether they would move the community (which faces a variety of health problems, including widespread mold infestations in homes) and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada responded only once.

While it is always bad to compare the suffering of one group to another and there are the differences in how productive the flooded land was (the land south of Portage la Prairie is richly agricultural land), one must still ask "why the difference in response?"

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