OTTAWA _ The sting of evacuations due to spring flooding at a First Nation in northern Ontario is hitting harder this year.
Starting today, more than 2,500 members of the Kashechewan First Nation are being removed from the reserve, located north of Fort Albany, Ont., and sent to other locations across the province.
NDP MP Charlie Angus says Kashechewan has long dealt with spring flooding, but community members find the evacuations more difficult this year because they believed the federal government was finally relocating the reserve to higher ground.
Instead, the community is enduring what Angus calls the “massive trauma” of evacuations and disrupted schooling for children.
Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan’s office says flooding is an “ongoing reality” along the coasts of James Bay and Hudson Bay, and is working with Kashechewan to monitor the flooding and support the community as members are moved to other locations.
Kashechewan Chief Leo Friday has called on O’Regan to visit the First Nation so the minister can listen to community members about their hopes of relocating to higher, safer ground.