Shoal Lake, MB - Glen Murray
Hi my name is Glen Murray I am Ontario's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
My watermark is a place called Shoal Lake. For me, it is a powerful symbol of how we struggled with water in Canada in the past century. It is here in my province of Ontario and I have responsibilities as a minister of protecting it. But it is also the water supply for the city of Winnipeg for which I was the mayor. It was one of the great public works projects of the beginning of the 20th century, when one of the largest aqueducts in the world was built. Making Shoal Lake, a 100 miles away from the city of Winnipeg, the water supply for a city that could have been over a million people, I always thought that the grand build out was quite remarkable. It represents the absolute limitless nature by which we men think we can build things to solve problems. It is also in the history of struggle for Band Council 39, and 40 who for that same 100 years have been trying to get a simple bridge built in their communities. After many promises broken, that bridge still hasn’t been built. Hopefully now the government of Manitoba is building it.
It speaks to the impoverishment of those communities who live by that lake and their inability to be heard. That’s still a very symbolic struggle. Also the watershed. Winnipeg, when I was mayor and Dave Canfield was mayor of Kenora, agreed to take all the garbage out of Kenora and put it into a landfill in Winnipeg. The Canadian shield is not a good place for garbage because it leaches. So we started taking the garbage from around Shoal Lake and putting it into a landfill. That was later cancelled, as is often the case, by people and politicians who came after David and I. So it represents the victories and the losses in protecting our watershed. So for me, Shoal Lake, and maybe because it is such a political place, is a powerful symbol of the last 100 years of trying to protect water and protect lakes.