On January 19 I visited Pikangikum First Nation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Kenora MP Bob Nault and the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services. This was the first time a sitting Prime Minister had visited NAN Territory, and I was honoured to be there alongside community members and my colleagues as he fulfilled this important promise.
We had a full day in Pikangikum, first meeting with elders and Chief and Council to hear about their community. The main topics of discussion were housing and how the federal government can better work with remote communities to increase accessibility.
We then watched a demonstration of gill-net fishing by Eenchokay Birchstick School students, which was definitely a highlight of the day. The school was also kind enough to host the PM for a Q and A with some of its older students. They asked tough questions about community infrastructure, addictions, clean drinking water, and the current state of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls inquiry. Kitchi miigwetch to the youth who so bravely shared their stories and perspectives with our Prime Minister. I hope you continue to raise your voices and advocate for your community.
In closing, thank you to Pikangikum for hosting us and making this visit possible. Working together collectively, we can learn from one another and create a better future for all Canadians, including those who call Northern Ontario home. There is a long journey ahead, but I am confident that together we can accomplish many great things.