Friday December 16, 2022 - The PC Government offers to support an Indigenous-led working group to look at the feasibility of recovery of victims at the Prairie Green landfill facility.
Premier Heather Stefanson made the commitment following a meeting held with Grand Chief Cathy Merrick of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Chief Kyra Wilson of Long Plain First Nation as well as Families Minister Rochelle Squires.
“We must be mindful of the integrity of the justice process, but we must also ensure a respectful and appropriate examination of the feasibility of whether these bodies can be recovered. It is honourable and appropriate that the leadership of the Indigenous community take the lead on this work,” Stefanson said. “As a mother and a parent I know too well the lengths I would go for my children. So, to the families and from my heart — I am so sorry for your loss.”
The Manitoba government will provide financial assistance, technical resources and assign provincial staff to the working group.
“I want to thank the premier, Minister Squires and senior provincial staff for meeting with Chief Kyra Wilson, Long Plain First Nation and myself today. Obtaining provincial support in the First Nation-led efforts to bring home Marcedes Myron, Morgan Harris and Buffalo Woman was very important. It is important because this is not just a First Nation issue and crisis that we need to deal with on our own. This is an issue for all Manitobans and Canadians. We need to work collectively to address the many issues that lead to these tragedies,” said Grand Chief Merrick.
The commitment comes after Premier Stefanson spoke to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier in the day, who offered financial support for the feasibility study and other assistance as needed.
“I want thank the prime minister and his ministers for their commitment on behalf of all Manitobans. I have also spoken to Mayor Scott Gillingham and we continue our work together on this tragic event. I want to thank him for his leadership during these difficult days,” Stefanson said.
Provincial officials have been in regular contact with Waste Connections of Canada — the operators of the Prairie Green landfill — who have agreed to indefinitely pause work in the area in question at the site.
Stefanson said the company has acted as “honourable corporate citizens and more importantly as caring citizens, through this tragedy.”
The company has agreed to assist with the feasibility study. The Indigenous-led committee will have representation from the Winnipeg Police Service.