Manitoba flood evacuees to lose 'the only home they have'
Published Tuesday, July 16, 2013 10:56PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 16, 2013 11:52PM EDT
For two years, Edee O’Meara and her family have been living in limbo, moving in and out of as many as 20 hotels ever since their home in a Manitoba First Nations community was flooded.
They eventually found refuge at the Misty Lake Lodge in Gimli, which took in about 65 aboriginal people displaced by the 2011 flood.
But the cost of housing the evacuees has ballooned to $3 million and the lodge owner says unpaid bills are forcing him to close the place in September.
Mike Bruneau said he has not received any money from the federal government or the provincial organization tasked with helping the flood-stricken residents.
“I’ve got to stop. It just doesn’t make any sense. I’m getting short of money,” he told CTV News.
For O’Meara, that means she’ll have to find yet another temporary home – her 21st.
“Our young people have the feeling that Canada does not care about them,” she said.
Misty Lodge general manager Retha Dykes said that for many evacuees, “this is the only home they have.”
The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters was given millions to care for the evacuees, but Bruneau said the group hasn't paid him since he accused it publicly of squandering money.
The association did not respond to CTV News’ request for an interview.
Bruneau said Ottawa hasn’t paid him either, despite repeated phone calls.
A federal Aboriginal Affairs spokesman told The Canadian Press this week that the department is working on a response.
Manitoba’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson said he hopes the federal government and “other responsible bodies” will come through and resolve the situation.
With a report from CTV’s Jill Macyshon