NDP Calls on Pallister Government to Ensure Churchill and Any Communities Isolated by Floods Receive Critical Food and Medical Supplies by Air

The NDP is calling on the Pallister government to ensure the Town of Churchill and any other remote communities cut off by flooding receive critical food and medical supplies by air until the train can reach them once again.

“The provincial government has a responsibility to all Manitobans wherever they live to ensure they have food security and access to medical care,” said Tom Lindsey, the NDP MLA for Flin Flon. “We call on the province to live up to that duty and immediately organize flights of food and medical supplies to isolated communities.”

Churchill and other remote communities have not been getting their normal supplies since May 31 when the train service from Thompson was suspended after overland flooding closed the rail line. Omnitrax, which owns the rail line, is reported to have said it will take at least a month and perhaps longer to repair and reopen the line.

“With tourist season about to start, Churchill will be hit yet again by the closure of the rail line,” Lindsey said. “The province must work with Omnitrax and other levels of government to get the line open as quickly as possible.”

Lindsey noted that this year’s flooding and isolation of Churchill worsens the town’s already precarious economic situation since Omnitrax cut back the number of regularly scheduled freight trains last year.

“Churchill needs help in the short run but the Pallister government must enact a long-term strategic plan to end the economic uncertainty and supply shortages. We urge the province to work with the federal government to nationalize this rail line,” Lindsey said. “The time for half measures is over. Not only are there strong strategic reasons for the government to own and run that rail line, ensuring its future is the right thing to do for the people who live and work in the North.”