Liberal leader visits North

Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau – flanked by La Ronge mayor Thomas Sierzycki, Regina Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, Lac La Ronge Indian Band chief Tammy Cook-Searson and local candidate Lawrence Joseph – tours an area affected by recent wildfires.

Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau – flanked by La Ronge mayor Thomas Sierzycki, Regina Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, Lac La Ronge Indian Band chief Tammy Cook-Searson and local candidate Lawrence Joseph – tours an area affected by recent wildfires.

by Derek Cornet

Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau broke the ice with residents of La Ronge and Meadow Lake Aug. 12 during his first campaign stop in Saskatchewan.

Trudeau – along with Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River Liberal candidate Lawrence Joseph – began his visit of La Ronge in the early afternoon with a tour of wildfire-affected areas along Highway 102. La Ronge mayor Thomas Sierzycki and Lac La Ronge Indian Band chief Tammy Cook-Searson were also present and answered questions Trudeau had about the recent fires.

Shortly afterward, the trio met briefly to discuss issues affecting residents in the riding before Trudeau opened the floor to members of the media. When asked what he could promise the people in the constituency, Trudeau answered strong representation.

“It’s so important we have strong local voices like Lawrence Joseph as our candidate,” he remarked. “Lawrence will be a strong voice in Ottawa for the communities he represents and not just be Ottawa’s voice in his community.”

Trudeau also committed to speaking with Canada’s premiers with regard to calls for a national wildfire strategy. He said, when he’s elected prime minister, he’d hold first minister conferences to not only learn from the past, but also to be equipped for the future.

Trudeau also pledged to review the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. Some aboriginal people were left out of the settlement such as those people who attended the day school in Ile-a-la Crosse.

“Canada needs to do right by the victims of residential schools and the Liberal Party is fully committed to working with all partners to make sure that happens,” he said.

While Trudeau didn’t answer whether ending the funding gap would be a pledge of his, he did say the Liberals would also offer more in terms of First Nations education in the coming days.

Meanwhile, First Nations issues were also at the forefront when Trudeau met with voters at the Alliance Church in Meadow Lake later that evening. Armand Fiddler of Waterhen Lake First Nation stressed to the Liberal leader his desire to see something both new and different to replace the centuries-old Indian Act.

Trudeau also spoke about the importance of community and answered questions regarding issues affecting residents in this part of the country.

Area rancher John Rutz raised concerns about agriculture, fuel prices and gun control. Trudeau again said certain issues take time to be resolved, but also guaranteed the Liberals have no plans to reintroduce the long gun registry.

With files from Phil Ambroziak

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