The Government of Canada supports the development of the Atikamekw communities of Opitciwan and Wemotaci

LA TUQUE, QC, July 6, 2017 /CNW/ - On a visit to La Tuque, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, announced, on behalf of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, an investment of approximately 17.6 million dollars for connectivity, housing and infrastructure projects in the Atikamekw communities of Opitciwan and Wemotaci.

The fibre optic projects will connect the communities and allow them to take advantage of digital technology. The housing and infrastructure projects, once completed, will result in modern facilities for both communities, contributing to the well-being and quality of life of their residents.

Quotes

"It is essential that all Canadians have access to high quality infrastructure and housing, which contribute to the health and well-being of all, as well as to the protection of the environment. We continue to work with First Nations in a true spirit of reconciliation to make communities and Canada a better place for all of us."

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

"High-speed Internet access has become essential to day-to-day life. A faster connection to the Internet will allow Canadians to innovate and obtain the skills and training necessary to qualify for well-paying jobs. Even smaller businesses, regardless of where they are, are able to participate in the global market and expand internationally thanks to high-speed Internet. High-speed Internet can no longer be seen as a luxury."

The Honourable Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

"I am proud to see the vitality being breathed into the Atikamekw communities of Opitciwan and Wemotaci. The projects being announced today will allow more families to grow and develop in the Mauricie region. Present and future generations will be connected and be able to rely on modern, safe infrastructure and equipment."

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of International Trade and M.P. of Saint-Maurice−Champlain

"As the Grand Chief of the Atikamekw Nation, I am pleased about the money being given to the Atikamekw communities of Wemotaci and Opitciwan. This collaboration will benefit both housing and economic development. The members of these communities are receiving essential assistance today, but there is a still a long way to go to fulfill all needs. This will contribute to improving our living conditions."

Constant Awashish
Grand Chief/Chairman of the Atikamekw Nation

"On behalf of the Opitciwan community, I would like to express how pleased we are that the federal government has fulfilled its promises to fund our infrastructure. The received funding, which will benefit all members of our community, will make it possible to build and renovate several housing units, improve arena facilities, expand the youth centre, build a landfill, lay fibre optic cables and install a new fire pump. This concrete action by the government will improve our population's quality of life and contribute to the community's socio-economic development."

Christian Awashish
Chief of the Atikamekw Opitciwan community

"The Conseil des Atikamekw de Wemotaci accepts the financial assistance granted by the federal government to address part of the housing shortage affecting our community. We strive for innovation in enhancing our community's quality of life. Our vision is that of a self-reliant community that creates jobs by building new housing for generations to come."

François Néashit
Chief of the Atikamekw Wemotaci community

Quick facts

  • In Budget 2016, the Government of Canada committed 8.4 billion dollars over five years to improve the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous peoples and their communities and to bring about transformational change.
  • Opitciwan is on the north shore of the Gouin reservoir, 143 km south of Chibougamau, approximately halfway between the Lac Saint-Jean plain and the Abitibi region. The community has 2,955 members, of which 2,382 live in Opitciwan.
  • Wemotaci is on the north shore of the St. Maurice River, 100 km northwest of La Tuque. The community has 1,922 members, of which 1,446 live in Wemotaci.

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SOURCE Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

For further information: Media may contact: Sabrina Williams, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, 613-697-8316; INAC Media Relations, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160; Karl Sasseville, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, 343-291-2500; Media Relations, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 343-291-1777, ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca

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