Hello again to my new friends north of 60.
Call this part two of “a southern Canadian who’s embarrassed at how the north is abused”. I can’t think of a more appropriate word to describe what’s happening to Churchill right now.
This proud community of 900 on the shore of Hudson Bay should be getting ready for a busy tourist season, and the arrival of ships from all over the world. Instead, they’re having to listen to a wall of silence, and what appear to be a series of lies about the state of the railway tracks that connect them to the world down south.
The rails and the port were sold a decade ago by Stephen Harper and friends, to a bunch of smooth-talking Yanks from Denver called Omitrax. After doing next to nothing to preserve those assets, the Denver boys are now trying to unload them to some locals in Manitoba.
Lo and behold there came a flood north of Gillam which means the trains can’t get through. Omnitrax says the water and the damage is so bad that they can’t even do a proper assessment, and they say to Churchill, prepare yourself for no train service until next spring.
Then came the ultimate irony. Two tourists riding motorcycles came up from Colorado, the home of Omnitrax, and traveled the route all the way up to Churchill on their bikes a few days ago. They say the damage is not nearly that bad.
Safe to say though that Churchill will be mostly an isolated fly-in place for quite a while, and that means just about everything – especially food – will be costing a lot more.
Until parliament recessed for the summer a few days ago, Niki Ashton, the NDP Member for Churchill was asking lots of questions, and not getting much in the way of answers.
Did you know that most northerners who live in isolated places are eligible for a subsidy to help with the high cost of groceries? Mayor Mike Spence and the other locals in Churchill say “What about us?” , and the rest is silence. Hey Justin, and Hey Brian Pallister ! Don’t you think it’s time to do a lot better?
I’m Roger Currie