Flor Marcelino's statement on East Side Road Authority

As the AG points out, the East Side Road is not a typical infrastructure project. This was designed to connect 13 isolated First Nations communities while developing training and creating good jobs.

This work is a massive undertaking, and we agree with the AG’s recommendations that improvements were needed in the processes.

The AG also points out that the majority of the project was being done through tendered contracts, and that as of September 30, 2014, about $245 million worth of bridges, culverts, and roads had been built, including $86 million for Community Corporation contracts. Another $93 million worth of roads and bridges were under construction.

The Pallister government has ground this project to a halt without consultation with the First Nations communities. Of great concern is that the premier says he is ready to tear up community benefit agreements for partisan reasons. There is no commitment to building the entire road and there is no commitment to the people who live on the East Side.

It is clear from Pallister’s words today that the only jobs for these 13 First Nations communities will be low-skilled jobs, and that the high-skilled jobs will go to outside companies.