News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

June 10, 2019

PROVINCE REIGNITES TALKS WITH FIRST NATIONS ON OWNERSHIP OF NORTHERN AIRPORTS



The Province of Manitoba announced today that discussions with First Nations regarding the transfer of ownership of northern airports have resumed with the intent of establishing a First Nations led Northern Airport Authority, ensuring northern communities will have independence in relation to their air services and be in control of critical transportation services.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to work in a collaborative manner to facilitate these critical assets to First Nation communities that depend on them on a daily basis,” Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke said today.  “This is a critical step toward furthering true reconciliation in Manitoba.  We want to build on the success of the transfer of Grace Lake to create something larger and unique to Manitoba – a First Nations controlled and operated Northern Airport Authority.”

The airports for all remote and isolated First Nation communities are a lifeline to access goods and services that other Manitobans and Canadians enjoy, and must be maintained to ensure these communities are not left behind, the minister noted.  Local ownership of community airports also provides significant economic opportunities and benefits that will help strengthen northern Manitoba, she added.

“This is a step that shows Manitoba is respecting the spirit and intent of the treaties,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.  “We have much work to do, but these discussions are a good step toward acknowledging and supporting our rights as First Nations people.”

The minister noted discussions related to establishing a First Nations-led Northern Airport Authority have been ongoing, but following the recent successful and mutually beneficial transfer of the Grace Lake Airport to Missinippi Airways, the scope of discussions have now been officially expanded.  A dedicated project team has been assigned, and the province will continue to provide support throughout these discussions.

“The Manitoba government will continue to support the establishment of Indigenous-led partnerships and ventures that will increase Indigenous participation and economic benefits to Indigenous communities, and to Manitoba’s economy as whole,” said Clarke.

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