Solving a Home Grown Refugee Crisis – Kashechewan Letter to the Editor MARCH 23, 2016



Dear Editor,


For several years, “Keeshechewan” residents have been coming to the Cornwall and  “Ahkwesáhsne” communities to escape the springtime flood waters of the Albany River.


It’s a hardship for the families for sure, but our communities strive to make it work, and we’ve developed something of a rapport along the way. Unfortunately, the uprooting of homes and families from Kashechewan is followed repeatedly by a return home to the same problem, and worse.


But now, with new interest and the generous resources offered by the Canadian Government, now may be the time to stop this stupidly grim cycle. We have the opportunity to go beyond rapport and to build a partnership that profits our northern and southern communities.


We are squandering the opportunity to resolve the housing, water and flood catastrophes that devastate Kashechewan and its families every year, and the tragic health consequences.


It’s time to develop a training and resource plan between Federal, Provincial and First Nation(s) governments to correct those housing, infrastructure and site shortfalls that uproot this northern community every year — A plan that can begin here, to give our First Nations neighbours a hand-up and not the usual government hand-out.


There is little work, limited training opportunity, and a very real need to improve the living environment for residents of the Kashechewan and nearby communities. Cornwall can be a host for change, if the people of these communities take up the challenge.


The Government of Canada is offering billions of dollars for aboriginal programming including; education; water infrastructure; housing; and child and family services. And all of the elements are in place…

– The Akwesasne Iohahi:io Education & Training Centre and Iethinisten:ha/ Te Hot to nion ha kie Family Wellness and Outreach Programs

– The Nav Canada Centre; a long time facilitator of education and student accommodation

– St. Lawrence College; proven for delivery of training in Construction, Carpentry and associated Building Trades.

– St. Lawrence College; a training centre of excellence for the Nursing profession, and Emergency Services and  Personal Support workers.

– The Eastern Ontario Training Board and expertise to bring together the relevant authorities, the finance, the curriculum, the facilities and affected First Nations.


Cornwall and Akwesasne can be more than a bandage solution… We simply need to DO IT!


Yours hopefully,

James Marshall

Cornwall, ON


  1. We sure do have huge problems here in Canada as you see in the picture of this little girl with terrible rashes on her face, bad water, bad housing, bad schools, etc. etc. etc. that is third world and even fourth world in a country that is supposed to be first world. We go around the world killing people for the “banksters as in gangsters” some world we live in and I want no part of it.

  2. So the natives want self government and independence from government and legal control. However they want taxpayers to foot the bill indefinitely. Obviously an unsustainable situation. Throwing 8.5 billion dollars at the problem will be a short term solution that will not end well. This welfare hand out is only fueling a greater problem and further eroding the dignity of a once proud people.

  3. Cornwall, until recently was a training centre for butchers for the North West Company.

    First Nations students from across the north came to the Seaway Valley Meat Cutting School to train and live in our community, and went home with a well paying trade.

    If a successful Canadian business like the North West Company can find value in training in Cornwall, surely our governments could do the same.

  4. Unless permanent funding is put in place all these band-aid solutions will have the same result as before – failure. Time for all levels of government to step up and fix this.

  5. Go on Rideau Street here in Ottawa and you will find many Native people drunk and drugged and begging for money as well as other streets downtown. These people are off the reserve and cannot live the white man’s way of life. The Natives are very bad to work with at Indian and Northern Affairs here in Ottawa.

  6. Why permanent funding (welfare)? Why not self sufficiency? Are natives not capable of providing for themselves? Do they have no self worth or respect? They are resourceful or at least once were. After all, they survived prior to the arrival and intervention of the white man.

  7. The natives of this continent did indeed survive, even thrive, before the “whiteman”, who; brought disease (decimating their population); hunted some for bounties; rounded up or pushed the rest onto the undesirable land they didn’t steal; took native children to be culturally cleansed; set up discriminatory laws; and really… enough to knock resourcefulness and respect out of even a “whiteman”.

  8. For the love of God!

    Look at the picture accompanying the article. Think about the land and opportunities relegated to these people. Look at the thoughtless comments, and think for a moment — What if you had been born into that environment?

    There but for fortune friends, go you and I.

  9. I never said anything, or implied anything about welfare. A permanent solution has to be found without band-aid solutions that disappear or fail.

  10. What causes that horrible rash on that little girl’s face is the mighty dirty water and living in squalid conditions. There could also be skin diseases among these people caused by lice and other things. These people lack doctors like all of us here in Canada – doctors get their education and training for very little compared to the US and then take off for the US wanting to make a fortune.

  11. You have to make a real study of the Natives and what is going on. Dirty water and this is a skin disease that is really bad and who knows what they are in contact with. Mold causes many lung diseases and many of these people have tuberculosis. These people live in terrible squallor. Something has to be done and Justine was supposed to help them – what a joke that he has pulled on all of you.

  12. Let’s see the new government has planned before we condemn them all like some commenters here do.

  13. Government – HUH! that is a laugh. Hugger gave me a good laugh for the day. Government is what got the Native people in this situation in the first place and continued on for hundreds of years. Native people taken off their reservations and teaching them the white man’s way of life that destroyed them and their language and culture, etc. Natives survived because they lived off the land.

  14. Ten years of Harper a IA can’t e undone in four months. And yes I realize this goes further back than that.

  15. Trump wants to make America great again. Some people just don’t like his definition of “great.”

  16. I agree with Trump and so does my family. My husband told me a few minutes ago that there is a Catholic Chuch in Istanbul Turkey that is under guard because of ISIS and Beirut Lebanon was attacked as well but you won’t hear it in western papers and I read that you only hear what happens in Europe, N. America and such places and other places don’t count. This is why so many are brain dead.

  17. There are around 2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon alone not counting the millions in Jordan and Turkey and a lot of them are ISIS members. Lebanon doesn’t want them nor the other countries. Can you picture what Justine is letting into Canada. We are going to have plenty of problems here in Canada. Nobody wants these people at all. Look at Europe – what a mess.

  18. Just because someone agrees with Trump still doesn’t make him right.

  19. I don’t know where people get this misconception about taxes going to reservations. Not one single penny goes to reservations, look it up ! Reserves get their money from a trust fund set up to share in all the profits of selling of natural resources, etc.Every community in Canada gets a certain amount of “permanent funding”, except reservation, which get 30 percent less. Where is the fairness?

  20. Canada should get off this; “Keep the Indians on the verge of starvation until they do what we want !” ..

  21. Hugger Trump is right. Just this evening I heard about ISIS wanting to kill Jewish students in kindergarden and up in Turkey. Turkey is a Muslim country but there are Jews who live there as well as in Iran and other countries. ISIS is all over the place and I am 100% behind Trump and he is right on in what he says.

  22. I sure hope that if he gets to be 97 years old that he will be a healthy old 97 year old to pay all that back – it is completely insane. I don’t know how the government came up with that amount of back taxes but this sure did throw me as well. I would have gone directly to those nutcases as Revenue and raise a big stink and through the papers. The biggest thieves are the governments all thieves

Leave a Reply