#Saskatchewan; #FirstNation; #TorontoUraniumCompany
Saskatchewan/Canadian-Media: A road was blockaded and a cease and desist order was issued by a northern Saskatchewan First Nation against a Toronto uranium company's Baselode Energy workers started surveying the band's traditional territory without consent, Birch Narrows Dene Nation officials said.
Image: Barricade. Image credit: Pixaby
"It was very disrespectful, totally uncalled for," Birch Narrows Chief Jonathon Sylvester said. "This is not being done properly."
The case raises a host of legal, environmental and economic issues.
Baselode board chair Stephen Stewart said in an interview that he meant no disrespect and added that Birch Narrows was given ample time to voice any concerns.
The lawyer and University of Saskatchewan lecturer Benjamin Ralston said,
"Certain behaviors or ways of doing business that might have worked in the past no longer work, based on a more robust understanding of how treaty rights and aboriginal rights need to be reconciled," CBC News reported.
The area sits on the edge of the Athabasca Basin. It's home to some of the world's richest uranium deposits, but also to endangered woodland caribou, lynx and other wildlife.
"At the end of the day, Aboriginal and treaty rights are constitutionally entrenched. So if the process by which those permits were issued is in breach of the Crown's obligations, then a court could invalidate those," Ralston said,
The blockade is no longer up, but Birch Narrows members are patrolling the area regularly.
Trapper Ron Desjardin said they're still willing to talk, but only if the government and Baselode treat them with respect.
"We were caught off guard, and we don't want that to happen again. We don't want people just moving in without a proper consultation process," Desjardin said.
#LibraryOfCongress; #AndrewWMellonFoundation; #NewInitiative; #PeopleWideningPath
Washington/Canadian-Media: Supported by a $15 million investment from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Library of Congress (LoC) today announced a new multiyear initiative, 'Of the People: Widening the Path' to connect more deeply with Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and other minority communities by expanding its collections, using technology to enable storytelling and offering more internship and fellowship opportunities, LoC reports said.
Library of Congress. Image credit: Twitter handle
Representing the largest grant from a private foundation in the Library’s history, as well as among the largest grants that the foundation awarded in its 2020 cycle, this new initiative would lead to new opportunities for new generations to participate in creating, preserving and sharing the nation’s cultural treasures and preserve more underrepresented perspectives and experiences.
"The Library of Congress is the people’s public library, and we are delighted that it will engage diverse and inclusive public participation in expanding our country’s historical and creative records,” said Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander.
Weaving a more inclusive American story would reflect in the historical record's diverse experiences as well as inform how we use those materials to understand our past.
Three programs through which these initiatives will be accomplished included are community-based documentarians to expand the Library’s collections with new perspectives; funding paid internships and fellowships to benefit from the wisdom of students and engage the next generation of diverse librarians; and connecting with underserved communities and institutions by creating a range of digital engagements.
Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress also said that this grant will enhance the Library’s efforts in empowering relationships with those who are too often left out of the American story and added,
“By inviting communities of color and other underrepresented groups to partner on a wider, more inclusive path for connection to the Library of Congress, we invest in an enduring legacy of the multifaceted American story that truly is ‘Of the People.”
#ON; #IndigenousLearners; #OSAP; #PostSecondaryInstitutes
Ottawa/Canada: The Ontario government's expansion of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) for eligible programs at Indigenous Institutes starting in the 2020-21 academic year was announced on Jan 22 by Greg Rickford, Ontario's Minister of Indigenous Affairs on behalf of Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities.
Centre for Indigenous students. Image credit: Facebook page
"For the first time in Ontario's history, students will be able to access culturally supportive, OSAP eligible programs that are independently delivered at Indigenous Institutes," said Minister Rickford in a news release. "Indigenous Institutes are an integral part of Ontario's postsecondary education system and this financial assistance will help Indigenous learners get the skills they need to succeed."
Indigenous learners could have access to a culturally responsive and high-quality postsecondary education, through this financial assistance, that will prepare them to meet local labor market needs.
Previously, OSAP was only accessible to students attending Indigenous Institutes if the program was delivered in partnership with an Ontario college or university.
Beginning this year, Ontario's approval of Indigenous Institutes for OSAP would not only allow eligible students to apply for assistance, it would also encourage Indigenous Institutes to start offering their own independently delivered, quality-assured OSAP eligible programs with approval from the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council.
Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities said that this would bridge the attainment gap in postsecondary education between Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners and added,
"There is widespread agreement by Indigenous leaders, communities and education professionals that investing in culturally responsive postsecondary education opportunities for Indigenous learners will have tremendous benefits and reduce this gap."
Appreciating the Government of Ontario's ongoing collaboration and support for Indigenous postsecondary Institutes, Suzanne Brant, President of First Nations Technical Institute said,
"It is a demonstration of the Government's commitment to Indigenous students achieving their full potential in Ontario."
#Canada; #WesternCanada; #FirstNations; #Covid19Pandemic; #Covid19Vaccine
Canada/Canadian-Media: The rising curve of COVID-19 outbreaks in people of First Nations in Western Canada, contributing up to half the number of hospitalizations in some provinces, alarmed the Canadian federal officials.
Marc Miller. Image credit: Twitter handle
The federal officials urged the provinces during a press conference in Ottawa yesterday to continue prioritizing Indigenous populations as they roll out vaccines.
"So what we're saying to Canadians, to Indigenous Peoples, is now is not the time to let down your guard," Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said. "This is not the time to ease public health restrictions."
5,571 active cases on reserves, most of them in Prairie provinces, were reported by Indigenous Services Canada as of Jan. 19, 3,873 confirmed COVID-19 cases on reserves since last March, and more than 90 per cent are in Western Canada:
"We believe alcohol in the bars is a contributing factor," said The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in Saskatchewan Vice Chief David Pratt, who recently recovered from COVID-19 and is calling on the province to close bars and liquor establishments.
"When you're on alcohol, you're more likely to lose your inhibitions, share drinks and not keep those social distance practices in practices and in check."
First Nation leaders and health experts said that overcrowding, gatherings, people letting their guard down, relaxed restrictions are some of the causes for the rising curve.
"I always worry about our elders," said Dr. Shannon McDonald, acting chief medical officer for the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia. "Our elders are our knowledge-keepers, our language holders and they are the human libraries, culturally. So communities are very sensitive to that, but individuals who are choosing not to adhere to public health advice are putting those individuals at risk and I really worry about that," CBC New reported.
#FirstNations; #ResidentialSchools; #CanadianHeritage; #TruthAndReconciliation
Ottawa, Sep 30 (Canadian-Media): Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced Sep 30 support for 200 projects which aim to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools.
Residential schools. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Committed to reconciliation and ensuring that the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools is never forgotten, the government is continuing its work towards the implementation of the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
A legislation to establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Call to Action #80) was introduced Sep 29 by the government of Canada and is committed to implementing Call to Action #81, which calls for the installation of a Residential Schools National Monument in the City of Ottawa.
With an aim to provide an opportunity to Canadian youth to learn first-hand from residential school survivors, elders, knowledge keepers, artists and leaders from nations and cultures across the country, a national virtual gathering is being hosted by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation for students across the country to coincide with Orange Shirt Day on September 30.
#Ottawa, #Canada; #COVID19Pandemic; #FirstNations; #BoilWaterWarning
Ottawa, Sep 29 (Canadian-Media): Some of the Liberal government's key deadlines of its reconciliation agenda including a promise to end all long-term boil-water advisories on First Nations by next March have been jeopardized due to COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
First Nations Boiling water watch. Image credit: Unsplash
The most common boil water advisory for First Nations communities being advised to use boiled water for at least one minute before drinking, brushing their teeth, or cooking and that they shouldn’t use tap water to bathe infants, toddlers, or the elderly.
Last week's throne speech did not mention of the 2021 deadline of the long-term boil-water advisories on First Nations, which was clearly stated in the previous throne speech in 2019, which raises questions if the Liberals, hard-hit with COVID-19, would be able to comply with March 2021 target date they set during the 2015 election.
In addition to the federal government of Canada's concern of short construction season for communities that rely on ice road transport for heavy equipment and resupply, some communities have resorted to refuse outside contractors in their communities to protect themselves from COVID-19, which can likely push construction deadlines back even further.
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller told CBC News Sep 28 that despite the challenges, he is hoping that the spring 2021 target would be met by the government by spending more funds this fall to make it happen.
"That deadline is very much one that we are working aggressively to meet," Miller said. "This isn't a question of funds, this is a question of planning."
Cathy McLeod, the Conservative critic for Crown-Indigenous relations, however, was skeptical, and said, "All of a sudden, they've taken out time frames — it's a real problem. "I can understand the disappointment of communities, of Indigenous communities across this country," reported by CBC News.
#Gatineu; #Quebec; #IndigenousLanguageAct; #IndigenousLanguageSymposium; #VirtualConsultations
Gatineau (Quebec), Sep 28 (Canadian-Media): Steven Guilbeault, Federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced Sep 28 that the Government of Canada is taking essential steps to advance the implementation of the Indigenous Language Act (ILA) -- developed in consultation with Indigenous Peoples and received Royal Assent June 21, 2019 -- by hosting close to 40 virtual consultations directly with Indigenous people using video conferencing and teleconferencing technology.
Steven Guilbeault. Image credit: Facebook page
These virtual consultations would discuss the appointment of a Commissioner of Indigenous Languages (CIL) and up to three directors who will form the Office of CIL, and to seek input on the use of the Indigenous Language funding model to best meet the needs of First Nations for the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance, and strengthening of Indigenous languages.
In the spirit of reconciliation, the selection committee will also include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation representatives.
The availability of an online questionnaire would ensure the minister hears from all interested parties, including Indigenous elders, youth, persons with disabilities, women, men, two-spirit, and LGBTQ persons.
In early 2021, a virtual IL Symposium would be hosted by the government of Canada to bring together a wide range of national and international experts to share their knowledge and best practices on the revitalization of Indigenous languages.
2019 budget announced an investment of $333.7 million over five years, starting in 2019-2020, with $115.7 million ongoing, to support the implementation of the act.
#Canada; #CatherineMcKenna; #COVID19ResilienceStream; #Investing
Ottawa, Aug 14 (Canadian-Media): Speech by Catherine McKenna Canada's Minister of Infrastructure and Communities at the COVID-19 Resilience Stream/Investing in Canada plan flexibilities announcement.
Catherine McKenna. Image credit: Official
"It’s a pleasure to be here today with Stephen Bekta, the chair of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa and Owen Charters, President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.
I would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People. We are grateful to have the opportunity to be present in this territory.
It is so great to be back here at the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa speaking to you in person. I know we’ve all missed having in-person gatherings like this, and it’s especially fitting for today’s announcement – which in many ways is all about bringing people together.
People are faced with such different challenges today than only a few months ago. The pandemic has brought losses - human suffering and economic costs - and we’ve learned some vital, if painful, lessons.
We know how to reduce the impact of the pandemic, to protect more lives, and to rebuild businesses and create jobs.
We’re painfully aware of the need to improve safety for older people who are living in long-term care facilities.
We know the importance of school for children, and we know that parents are struggling with what is the best thing for their child this fall.
Immediate and different investments in public infrastructure are needed now to Build Up, to address the health risks, create jobs, and make healthy, resilient communities.
That’s why I am announcing today that we’re adapting our infrastructure program to make it easier to invest in making schools safer for children and long-term care facilities safer for aging people. We also need ways for people to exercise and appreciate nature without putting themselves at risk.
We’re speeding up project approvals, opening up the kind of projects eligible for funding, and offering a bigger federal cost share.
Under the new COVID-19 Resilience funding stream, the federal government will pay 80 per cent of the cost for projects that have a value of less than $10 million and can be completed by the end of 2021. Projects in the Territories are eligible for 100 per cent federal funding, and have an extra year to be completed.
We’re also making some changes to the eligibility criteria in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, for projects that can start in the near term.
For example, mobile phone and cellular projects are now eligible for funding, as are inter-city transit projects.
The health and well-being of Canadians has been—and will continue to be—the top priority of our government. But this pandemic has affected more than our personal health. It has also affected our economy.
Which is why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the $19-billion Safe Restart Agreement on July 16. It includes $2 billion for cities and towns across Canada to support front line workers and critical municipal services, which will be cost-matched by the provinces and territories.
The Government of Canada will also cost-match more than $1.8 billion to support any additional provincial/territorial contributions made for public transit. Here in Ontario, the federal contribution to transit operations is $1 billion.
We are in a time of transition and adaptation. The whole world is.
Every dollar we invest should do triple duty – creating jobs and economic stability, making communities more resilient, especially given the changing climate, and making communities equitable so that everyone has a fair shot to succeed.
I want to leave you with this thought: the trauma of this pandemic will pass, but in its wake the world will be a different place, and Canada will be too.
We have the chance to think carefully about the Canada we need and the Canada we want in the future.
To make the choices that ensure we are that country that lives its values -- of compassion, equality, optimism, concern for the planet.
The post-pandemic world will be full of new opportunities, and I want to help our people take advantage of those opportunities.
#Hamilton; #Ontario; #LGBTQ; #RedeemerUniversity; #BiblicalIntentions; #Christianity
Hamilton (Ontario), Aug 4 (Canadian-Media): Redeemer University, a private Christian school in the Hamilton area, is facing criticism its anti-LGBTQ policies from LGBTQ alumni who said that fear among LGBTQ attendees prevails, media reports said.
Redeemer University. Image credit: Twitter handle
Redeemer University based its school policy on the theory of "biblical intentions," and said disciplinary actions would be taken against the students who were found to engage in any sexual behaviour that occurs outside a heterosexual marriage.
"This covers a broad range of sexual behaviour by students when it falls outside biblical intentions and/or explicit guidelines. These include sexual intimacies which occur outside of a heterosexual marriage, including any type of intercourse or sexual relations or involvement with pornographic material," the policy says, reported by CBC News.
When asked by CBC News from a number of Redeemer students, past and present, some refused to speak for fear of retaliation from the university or as they had not publicly revealed their sexual orientation.
But all of them expressed concerns about the school's discriminatory policy against LGBTQ students.
The school justifies its policy and says it is part of the Reformed Christian tradition and does not discriminate.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Canada in 2005.
Human rights experts said that Redeemer's policy could lead to lawsuits and human rights complaints.
"They're not discriminating against [students] because they're Christian, they're discriminating against them because they're LGBTQ by this code of conduct," Susan Ursel, the Toronto lawyer who represented the Canadian Bar Association against Trinity Western, told CBC.
"You can discriminate on the basis of only wanting Christians, sure, but once you're inside your Christian community, you don't get to pick and choose whether you like people who are gay or straight. You take your community the way you find it and you serve it."
Personal accounts from students and alumni, many of whom identify within the LGBTQ community is contained in the the Rainbow Report, a 45-page document submitted to the university in 2019.
Many students said they did not feel safe on campus and some left school before graduation.
"The question for decision makers in our courts is, 'Can religion do anything it wants? Or in a decent, multicultural, diverse society, are there even limits on what religion can do?" Ursel said, reported by CBC.
#BC; #VancouverPride; #VirtualParade
British Columbia (B.C.), Aug 2 (Canadian-Media): B.C. Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement to mark Vancouver Pride, media reports said.
Vancouver Pride. Image credit: Twitter handle
“Pride began as a protest. And that work continues, as many LGBTQ2S+ people around the world still fight for basic rights that many people take for granted: equal marriage, access to adoption, legal protections for gender expression and gender identity.
“This time last year, Vancouver was getting ready to welcome over 650,000 people on its streets marching in support of the annual Pride parade. This year, Vancouver Pride Week has looked a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know that losing the opportunity to come together in person in recognition, celebration and solidarity has been incredibly difficult.
“Many people continue to be targeted with harassment and discrimination because of their gender or sexuality. Our government has taken some first steps to making our province more inclusive for LGBTQ and two-spirit people, including teaching sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive education, re-establishing the human rights commission and implementing a gender-X option for provincial identification.
“As we mark the Vancouver Pride parade virtually this year, I hope everyone takes this opportunity to learn more about LGTBQ2S+ history, celebrate how far we’ve come and recognize how far we have to go.
“Pride cannot be cancelled.
“Together, we will build a province where everyone can live without fear of violence or discrimination, where everyone can take pride in who they are.”