Pikangikum Letter

Much like the situation in Shoal Lake, this has been a disaster for the community of Pikangikum for many years.

A joint letter on the situation in Pikangikum

In an open letter, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald encourage Anglicans and Lutherans to write letters to the federal government expressing solidarity with the northern community of Pikangikum, Ont.

September 24, 2015

Dear Friends in Christ,

We wish to share with you our concerns regarding the water situation in Pikangikum and invite you to consider writing a letter to the Federal Government.

Through the 2016 National Youth Project, Lutheran and Anglican youth have been lifting up the Right to Water and walking in solidarity with the people of Pikangikum through our partnership with the Primate’s World Relief Development Fund (PWRDF) and the Pimatisiwin Nipi (Living Water) group. This has included raising funds to support providing potable water to homes in the community.

Writing letters to elected representatives is one way to express solidarity. It is also an opportunity to deepen understanding of our democratic processes. The government is elected to represent the people and hearing from one’s constituency is an essential element of decision making and democracy.

We have included a sample letter you may use as basis for crafting your own letter to your government officials. You may wish to write to the Honorable Bernard Valcourt, MP, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and/or to your own MP. (And a full list of list of Members of Parliament can be found at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members.)

Additional things to consider when you write your letter:

  1. Think about who should receive your letter. Writing to the minister responsible for an issue can be as effective as writing to the Prime Minister. Writing to your local Member of Parliament is always appropriate, as they are your direct representative.
  2. Focus on one issue—you can always write another letter in support of something else.
  3. Include relevant information.
  4. Tell elected leaders what action you think should be taken.
  5. Ask for a response
  6. Make sure to sign your name.
  7. Postage to Members of Parliament is free.

Don’t worry if you aren’t an expert. What matters is that you let them know this is something you care about and that you want to see them do something about it.

The mission of striving for justice and peace in all the earth is a life-long calling that we receive in our Baptism. We are inspired by the leadership in promoting the Right to Water that is being offered by youth through the National Youth Project. It is an important expression of the Full Communion partnership between Lutherans and Anglicans and a valuable contribution to the witness of the church.

Yours in Christ,

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Primate
Anglican Church of Canada

Rev. Susan C. Johnson,
National Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Bishop
Anglican Church of Canada

Download this letter in PDF format.

Shoal Lake 40 Freedom Road

Shoal Lake is located in Eastern Manitoba and the Kenora area of Northwest Ontario. It is best known to most Winnipeggers as the source of our drinking water. It is also home to Shaol Lake 40 First Nation. Shoal Lake 40 First Nation is an Ojibwa or Ontario Saulteaux First Nation located in the Eastman Region of Manitoba and the Kenora District of Ontario.

While we in Winnipeg enjoy fresh, clean water thanks to Shoal Lake, the people of Shoal Lake 40 have been living under a boil water advisory for over 18 years, and have been without a road to their land for over 100. As far as the boil water advisory goes, just think of how frustrated we were when we had a few days of it in Winnipeg, now multiply that by about 1,000 times.

Shoal Lake Freedom Road
St. Philip’s Sign with a message of support for the Shoal Lake 40 Freedom Road project.

The project would cost $30 million with the city of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba each having promised $10 million so far. Continue reading