Trail Talking

The Safety of Manitoba Drinking Water

  • Bob Lagassé, Author
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly, Dawson Trail

As your MLA and a member of the elected provincial government, it is my duty to be open and transparent, as well as ensure that my constituents are kept up-to-date on local issues. Recently, a statement by the Manitoba Liberal Party made some bold assumptions about a proposed silica sand project that were not based in fact. I understand that there are concerns with the local aquifer – as there should be – but I can assure you that our government would never approve a project that would pose a threat to public health and safety.

The safety of Manitoba drinking water is paramount. The proposed silica sands extraction project in the RM of Springfield is being thoroughly researched by experts before a submission is made. CanWhite has submitted an Environment Proposal for a sand processing facility in full accordance with the legislated Environment Act. An Environment Act proposal for the sand extraction project will be fully inclusive of all elements, including but not limited to an assessment of threats to the nearby aquifer and water supply.

Our Government, and the department of Conservation and Climate, emphasize that if the Environment Act Approval Process reveals there are insurmountable environmental impacts that would threaten the health of Manitobans or the environment, a licence will not be granted. The process also includes a public review component and CanWhite has been working closely with the community despite the pandemic, via virtual methods when necessary.

CanWhite is submitting two separate proposals for review, each for different aspects of the silica sand extraction process. Since this sand extraction process is unique, initiating two separate proposals allows for additional community input, and it demonstrates goodwill to ensure the licensing process is extensive, methodical, and deliberate. We can assure members of the public that CanWhite is aware that an approval of one licence does not guarantee their second licence without another extensive review and approval process as outlined in the Environment Act. Our government stands by the approval processes of the Environment Act.

If successful, this proposal for silica sand extraction in the RM of Springfield would allow Manitoba to use resources from our own backyard to help contribute to an environmentally and economically sustainable future. Silica sand can be used in a wide array of applications including cell phones, glassmaking, energy extraction, construction, technology, and even water filtration. My constituents and all Manitobans can be reassured that our government is working closely with CanWhite and the whole community to ensure a safe and sustainable future for us all.

When looking at our future, it’s also important to reflect on our past. Nov. 11th marks another Remembrance Day. While this year’s observance of Remembrance Day may look different than previous years, it’s important that we don’t overlook the importance of it. We may not be able to attend local ceremonies, but I encourage everyone to take the time to remember and honour the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country and our freedom. You can also visit online resources, such as the virtual Wall of Honour at, watch ceremonies that are televised or placed on the web, or participate in Veterans Week educational activities.