Criminal property funds to go toward northern Manitoba internet connections, province says

Grand Chief Garrison Settee, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The province is hoping to improve efficiency and accessibility in northern Manitoba when it comes to the justice system and the courts.

Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced Tuesday that $100,000 from the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund is earmarked for a project connecting remote First Nations communities with high-speed internet.

The project — a collaboration between Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police — is set to connect communities including Misipawistik Cree Nation, Chemawawin Cree Nation, Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, Mosakahiken Cree Nation, Bunibonibee Cree Nation, Northlands Denesuline First Nation, Shamattawa First Nation and Tataskweyak Cree Nation with Starlink technology.

MKO’s Youth Healing Lodge will also receive the upgrade.

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“Through CPF funding, we are able to connect remote MKO residents to virtual court appearances, victims’ services, crisis responders, MMIWG teams and other community supports,” Goertzen said in a statement.

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“We are also able to provide the broader community with accessibility and connectivity to education, training and programming that is essential to building long-term approaches to reducing crime and promoting public safety.”

The technology will allow for virtual court appearances and for local police agencies to connect and share information with each other.

“There has always been a huge need in our northern First Nations for reliable and adequate internet access,” MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee said.

“This is a true step in the direction of working together and addressing recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. The exciting thing about this initiative is that the setup time to provide an active link and put it in service isn’t long.

“We can see the benefits in days, not years.”

Click to play video: 'Manitoba announces rural and northern broadband internet service to help business, make life safer'
Manitoba announces rural and northern broadband internet service to help business, make life safer

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