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Premier not available to discuss ferry concerns: Nunatsiavut

The provincial government has still not made a decision on whether to clear the vegetation from the Muskrat Falls reservoir and soon it will be a moot point. The Nunatsiavut government has asked the province to follow through on the recommendation from the Independent Expert Advisory Committee, which will mitigate the potential for methylmercury entering the food supply in Labrador, but Nunatsiavut president Johannes Lampe said they have gotten no response from government.
Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe said they tried to meet with Premier Dwight Ball over concerns with the Labrador north coast ferry and were told he wouldn't be available.- SaltWire File Photo

NG says people are concerned Kamutik W won’t be able to handle weather on Labrador coast

HOPEDALE, N.L. —

The Nunatsiavut government wants to meet Premier Dwight Ball to discuss the issues with the ferry on the north coast of Labrador and was told he isn’t available to meet with them.

Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe said in a release they are ‘extremely disappointed that, once again, the Premier is turning a blind eye to the real and legitimate concerns of Labrador Inuit and our communities.’

“We had asked for a meeting, and were told that it was ‘not doable’,” Lampe said. “We were not offered any reason, or given any indication when the Premier would be available. The fact that he is unable to find time to meet with us on such an important issue speaks volumes about his commitment and willingness to reconciling differences between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the province’s Indigenous population.”

Concerns with the ferry, the Kamutik W, have been brought up since before it went online earlier this year, with many questioning its ability to handle the weather.

The Nunatsiavut Assembly passed a unanimous motion last week to send a delegation to St. John’s to meet with the premier, who is also the Minister responsible for Labrador and Indigenous Affairs, and Transportation and Works Minister Steve Crocker.

When they tried to set up the meeting they were told the Premier would not be available.

Lampe said there is a lot of fear that many of the goods people depend on for the winter won’t make it to the communities on the coast in time.

“The Kamutik W, which services our communities, is frequently delayed because it is unable to operate during adverse weather and sea conditions. Many are questioning whether or not the vessel is suitable to operate in our region, as we have not experienced the same level of concerns in the past.”

Lampe pointed out that the Premier was available earlier this month to travel to Labrador to deal with a matter involving comments made by MHA Perry Trimper towards the Innu.

“When there are other issues that are concerning and troubling to an entire region, he is not as eager to accommodate,” Lampe said. “Surely, an issue as serious as the state of marine services to our communities is no less important to the Premier than doing damage control to protect a member of his caucus.”

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