Churchill-Keewatinook Aski NDP MP Niki Ashton has been named her party’s public ownership and transport critic, as well as its deputy critic for women and gender equality.
“Northerners have been seeing services they rely on cut and privatized and I’m proud to lead the charge in defending what should belong to people,” said Ashton in a Nov. 28 press release announcing her appointment. “Transportation is often a major challenge in our region. From the need for all-weather roads and road investments to the treatment by airlines, we need a federal government that is part of the solution. I will be calling on the minister of transport to act on key priorities for our region.”
A member of Parliament since 2008, Ashton has previously served as the party’s critic for jobs, employment and workforce development, Aboriginal affairs and status of women.
In one of her first official statements as transport critic, Ashton said in a Dec. 3 press release that the United Nations conference on climate change being held in Madrid, Spain must include a focus on the impact of climate change on Indigenous people and those in the north.
“In Manitoba, for example, 21 communities rely on ice roads,” Ashton said. “The ice road season is getting shorter and shorter, meaning that a lifeline for so many Indigenous communities is disappearing.”
She said the government should recognize that impact by investing money to help those affected adapt to the changing climate.
“Our infrastructure, including transportation infrastructure, is wholly inadequate to deal with the catastrophic effects of climate change,” Ashton said. “We need a federal government that will listen to Indigenous communities and work with them in making the investments needed, such as all-weather roads and much needed airports in isolated communities like Wasagamack and Pauingassi. It is a matter of justice.”