Statcan chief Agency cant back down from push for new data sources

first_imgOTTAWA — Canada’s chief statistician says his agency needs to do a better job of telling the country why it needs information and how it protects data after blowback from a proposal to collect banking information from 500,000 Canadians.Statistics Canada has pressed pause on the pilot project until the end of a review by the federal privacy watchdog.Anil Arora says the agency will look for other ways to feed growing data needs, but adds the agency can’t back away from efforts to modernize how it collects data.Pushes to collect data from new sources will only move as quickly as Canadians deem comfortable, Arora says.Statistics published by the agency are used to set interest rates on loans and mortgages, help local planners decide where to place new schools or hospitals, and set the value of federal seniors benefits like old age security.Arora’s comments come after a morning speech at a conference marking the agency’s centenary where he said Statistics Canada was not immune to a global decline in citizens’ trust in institutions and experts.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Homeowners falling behind growing threat of climaterelated catastrophe study

first_imgA coast-to-coast study finds Canadians aren’t keeping up with the need to protect their homes against catastrophic events made more common by climate change.The study from the University of Waterloo points out that insurance claims from weather-driven problems like floods have more than quadrupled over the last decade — even after taking rising real estate prices into account.The study from the university’s climate adaptation centre adds that the number of homes that are uninsurable for flood risk is also beginning to grow.It says there are a range of easy, inexpensive measures people can take to keep their homes dry.They can be as simple as ensuring rainspouts drain far enough away or installing a sump pump with a backup power supply.The study found that less than 10 per cent of eligible homeowners take advantage of municipal flood-proofing grants.    The Canadian Presslast_img read more

75 years later legacy of Canadas role in DDay landing still lingers

first_imgOTTAWA — When he jumped out of his landing craft into knee-deep water off the coast of Normandy on June 6, 1944, Jack Commerford wasn’t contemplating the role he was about to play in what would become one of the most pivotal events in history.The 20-year-old from Newfoundland and Labrador, who had joined the army three years earlier to shoot down German bombers, was too busy doing his job — and trying to stay alive — during the long-awaited Allied assault to free Europe from the Nazis.“I was just thinking of my duties at the moment,” recalls Commerford, now 95. “Go where I was sent and do what I was told, that was primarily what I was interested in. I’m not sure how much I thought of the overall war.”The invasion of Normandy is widely considered one of the turning points in the Second World War, as the allies smashed through Hitler’s supposedly impregnable Atlantic Wall and began the westward march to Berlin to meet the Soviets coming from the east.But in Canada, which had come into its own in the wake of Vimy Ridge and the First World War, D-Day and the conflagration that spawned it gave the country the chance to find its feet and establish its standing in the world.“D-Day makes us winners,” says retired major Michael Boire, an expert on Canadian military history at the Royal Military College of Canada. “It makes us winners in our own eyes. And that’s tremendously important.”That wasn’t always the plan.At the start of the war in 1939, then-prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, fearing another conscription crisis, wanted to keep his country from becoming too deeply involved. Conscription, introduced in 1917, nearly tore Canada apart during the First World War as many Canadians, particularly in Quebec, railed against being forced to fight in Europe.Mackenzie King adopted a policy of “limited liability,” in which Canada’s main contributions were small contingents of troops to help defend England and the provision of food, equipment and training to assist the allies.“But the war doesn’t go the way anybody expects,” says author and historian Jack Granatstein, former head of the Canadian War Museum.“The Germans in 1940 sweep everything away and all of a sudden Canada is Britain’s major ally. From being a limited liability participant, suddenly we are the major ally of Great Britain. And so all the stops are pulled on the war effort in Canada.”That included retooling Canada’s fledgling industrial base to start mass producing weapons, aircraft, warships and tanks, which in turn laid the groundwork for the future innovation and economic prosperity that Canadians know today.“We go from being a poor country in a very real sense to being a rich country at the same time as we’re fighting the war,” says Granatstein, who notes Canada’s gross domestic product doubled between 1939 and 1945.In 1931, Canadians became masters of their own affairs with the Statute of Westminster, a British law that effectively made Canada a sovereign nation. With D-Day and the war, the country was soon basking in a newfound self-confidence matched only by its desire for peace.That manifested itself in Canada’s role as a founder of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, established primarily to check Soviet aggression in Russia, and its strong support for international institutions such as the United Nations to push for a rules-based international order.“It was clear Canada had entered the international scene, it was a player at the table,” said Boire. “And Canadian public opinion is all about getting involved in every single international organization that’s around and … participating in the avoidance of war.”Sitting at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre in Ottawa, with his military medals pinned proudly to his chest, Commerford echoes that assessment.“It shaped Canada into being a wonderful, peace-loving country,” he says.“I see Canada and its leaders as continually doing things that will encourage or help maintain peace, not only in Canada but also elsewhere. And I think D-Day and the Second World War contributed to that strong desire for peace.”Canada started the war with a regular army of 4,200. Eventually, around 1.1 million Canadians would serve in uniform. They were everywhere, be it bombing German cities, escorting naval convoys across the Atlantic or fighting house to house in Italy.But D-Day was the big one, the attack everyone had been waiting for. And while two of the Normandy landing beaches were assigned to the Americans and two to the British, the fifth — an eight-kilometre stretch code-named Juno — was all Canadian.“One of the five beaches is ours,” says Canadian War Museum historian Tim Cook. “We must take it. And one of the challenges for D-Day is if one beach fails, they’re likely all to fail.”Years of preparation and training following the hard lessons of Dieppe — the disastrous raid two years earlier in which 900 Canadians were killed and nearly 2,000 captured — were put to the test when the first landing craft hit the beach at 7:45 a.m.The casualties in that initial wave were heavy as the Canadians advanced into a maelstrom of German fire; by the end of the day, 340 would be killed — more than twice the number who died during Canada’s entire 13-year war in Afghanistan. Another 574 were wounded.Yet the assault was a success. The Canadians advanced farther than anyone else on that first day while Canadian pilots guarded the skies and more than 100 Royal Canadian Navy ships manned by 10,000 Canadian sailors guarded the English Channel or ferried troops and equipment to shore.One of those was Alex Polowin, who served aboard HMCS Huron and compares the feeling of battle to how a boxer feels as he prepares to fight an opponent.“Most of our battles were at night and we’d come out there and all of a sudden starshells fly over your ship. Starshells light up the sky to bring out your silhouette,” says Polowin, now 94.“You’ve got fear in you, you’ve got to hate that person. You get that adrenaline rush forced on you in boxing. But this was natural.”The war would grind on for nearly another year. Some of the hardest fighting would happen after D-Day, as the allies pushed out of the beaches and into the rest of western Europe. By the end, 45,000 Canadians in uniform had lost their lives in the war.But D-Day has tended to overshadow those Canadian efforts, which includes the Battle of the Scheldt, the Battle of the Atlantic and the liberation of Italy. In 1999, D-Day was selected the Canadian news event of the century in a survey by The Canadian Press.“Canada is fundamentally changed by the Second World War,” says Cook. “To pick an isolated event is too simplistic, but D-Day becomes a symbol.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Music Stars To China Free Jailed Tibetan Singers‏

first_imgAccording to an April 2013 US State Department report, China has implemented “severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing [Tibetans’] civil rights”. Other “serious human rights abuses included extrajudicial killings, torture [and] arbitrary arrests”. Media, international human rights NGOs and UN human rights institutions are banned from Tibet. International think tank Freedom House has given Tibet a “worst-of-the-worst” freedom rating of 7.0 while the chair of the US Senate’s foreign relations committee has described it as “one of the most repressed and closed societies in the world”. More than 120 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest against Chinese rule since 2011.Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said: “Music is a vital part of Tibet’s resistance. Singers such as Lolo not only keep alive a culture that China is trying to erase from the world, but their songs articulate the aspirations, fears and courage of a people who remain proud and defiant after 60 years of occupation.“Last year, the world community responded with justified outrage to the treatment of Pussy Riot but musicians in Tibet have no platform or profile. Their protests consist of singing songs and seeking to have their music heard; their arrests, trials and sentencing take place where no media are permitted to go. China may be able to silence these musicians for now but it cannot silence the voices of people outside Tibet calling for their release.” Peter Gabriel, Thom Yorke and Ed O’Brien (Radiohead), Serj Tankian (System of a Down) and Tjinder Singh (Cornershop) are the first signatures on a petition launched today by Free Tibet calling on China to release eight singers jailed in Tibet for songs celebrating Tibetan culture and calling for freedom.Lolo, Chakdor, Pema Trinley, Kalsang Yarphel and Shawo Tashi were arrested or sentenced this year. Ugyen Tashi, Achok Phulsung and Choksal were jailed last year. Lolo faces six years in jail, the longest of the sentences. A further two singers – Trinley Tsekar and Gongpo Tenzin – were arrested in November and further information is being sought about their circumstances.China has occupied Tibet since 1950 and imposes severe punishments on Tibetans convicted of crimes intended to “dismember the State”. The national flag and images of Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, are prohibited. Tibetans can be punished simply for having “nationalistic” songs on their phones.The petition signed by the musicians calls on China’s minister of justice to release the eight and says: “Singing songs in your own language about the issues of concern to your own people is not a crime. China claims to protect Tibetan culture but by imprisoning these musicians it is suppressing that culture, as well as violating the human rights of these individuals . . . I urge you to ensure that all artists in Tibet and all Tibetans are free to express themselves without fear of arrest, imprisonment or any other form of punishment.”The jailed singers (all male) are:· Lolo, 30: sentenced in 2013 to 6 years after calling for Tibet’s independence, unity of the Tibetan people and the return of the Dalai Lama through songs.· Shawo Tashi, 40: sentenced in 2013 to five years after taking part in anti-China protests, distributing photos and notes of Tibetan self-immolators, singing national pride songs.· Pema Tinley, 22: sentenced to two years in 2013 after songs praising the Dalai Lama and Tibetans who have self-immolated in protest against China’s occupation.· Chakdor, 32: Pema Tinley’s musical partner, sentenced in 2013 to two years after songs praising the Dalai Lama and Tibetans who have self-immolated in protest against China’s occupation· Kalsang Yarphel, 38: arrested in 2013 after organising concerts and singing political and Tibetan national pride songs. Still in detention, not yet tried or sentenced.· Ugyen Tashi, 25: arrested February 2012, sentenced to two years after singing songs dedicated to the Dalai Lama.· Choksal, age unknown: arrested July 2012, sentenced to two years after singing politically-sensitive songs· Achok Phulsung, 33: arrested 2012, current status unknown.last_img read more

TJMaxx Partners With Debra Messing to Encourage Women to Embrace Their Individuality

first_imgT.J.Maxx is creating a community that encourages women to embrace their individuality – together.Despite the fact that every woman has something that makes her special, new research shows that over half of women filter their individuality just to succeed in society. But there’s good news: 75% of women say that when they see others being true to who they are, they’re inspired to do the same. In other words, individuality isn’t a solo sport: when a woman is true to herself, it isn’t just good for her – it’s also good for the women around her.In its second year, The Maxx You Project will host a series of workshops and an online community to connect women with one another and surround them with a ‘shecosystem’ to inspire and co-create solutions — and allow women to tap into the momentum of others to accelerate their own journeys.The program kicks off with actress and advocate Debra Messing, who attributes her ability to embrace her own individuality, personally and professionally, to the women she’s met along the way. “I’m really lucky to have so many women in my life who live as their true, authentic selves,” said Messing. “From pursuing my career to starting a family, I’ve looked to those inspiring women as part of my own community. They didn’t get to where they are alone, and neither have I. I want to pass it on.”This year, The Maxx You Project was inspired by insightful research the brand commissioned in partnership with Dr. Serena Chen, Professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley, who studies how identities are formed. The research didn’t only reveal how much women are holding back who they truly are, but highlighted that individuality is contagious.“Research shows that many women celebrate individuality in others – but not in themselves,” said Dr. Chen. “When women are true to themselves, they report stronger, more satisfying relationships. They were happier (96%), more successful (87%) and less stressed (89%) when they embraced who they are as individuals.”The Maxx You Project Workshops:The Maxx You Project Workshops will be one-day workshops designed to inspire and support women as they learn how to embrace their individuality. Each participant will be invited to come to the workshop, which includes intimate talks from keynote speakers, networking opportunities and more.Saturday, July 28: Los AngelesHosted by Maxx You Project veteran Laila Ali, World-class Athlete, TV Host, Best-selling Author, Wife & MomSubmissions close: Sunday, July 8Saturday, August 25: AtlantaHosted by Mattie James, Blogger & InfluencerSubmissions close: Sunday, August 5Thursday, September 20: New York CitySpecial celebrity host to be announced later this summerSubmissions close: Sunday, August 26The Maxx You Project Group on Facebook:As part of its mission to expand its commitment to women’s individuality through the power of community, T.J.Maxx is launching The Maxx You Project Group on Facebook, making it easy to connect, collaborate and embrace your individuality. The group will offer women a digital space that will inspire her with online resources, connections and the support she needs to embrace her individuality.“T.J.Maxx believes in the power of individuality. No two T.J.Maxx stores are the same, just like no two women are the same, which is why we offer a selection of merchandise as unique as she is,” said Jillian Rugani, Manager of Marketing, T.J.Maxx. “We’re proud to continue our mission to help women, at every age and every life stage, embrace their individuality with The Maxx You Project.”To apply to attend one of our workshops in Los Angeles, Atlanta or New York, and learn more about The Maxx You Project, go to www.maxxyouproject.com. Find your community with The Maxx You Project Group on Facebook.last_img read more

Natalie Portman Honors Legacy of Vegetarian Nobel PrizeWinning Author

first_imgNatalie Portman, who was nominated for an Oscar for her insightful portrayal of Jackie Kennedy, stars in a new PETA video spotlighting the legacy of maverick animal advocate Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902–1991), who won the Nobel Prize in Literature 40 years ago this autumn.Video: Natalie Portman Wants Everyone to Treat Animals With Kindness“Isaac Singer grew up in the same part of Poland as my family,” says Portman in the video. “And like them, he fled the horrors of the Holocaust. But the cruelties he witnessed made Singer one of the most powerful writers of the 20th century.” The heroes in his bestsellers championed women’s issues and gay rights (for example, in “Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy”) and especially animal rights. “I did not become a vegetarian for my health,” Singer once declared flatly. “I did it for the health of the chickens.”In his autobiographical novel Shosha, the Jewish icon famously wrote, “We do to God’s creatures what the Nazis did to us.” In The Slaughterer, which he wrote for The New Yorker, he tells the story of a young man who loves animals but is appointed his town’s ritual slaughterer. Tormented by the cruelty of his actions, the slaughterer ponders the roots of violence. Singer wrote, “As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.”“Nowadays, many of us speak up for animals, but it wasn’t always like this,” says Portman, whose PETA video aims to make a new generation aware of Singer’s legacy. “Decades ago, one man articulated the plight of animals so boldly that the modern world couldn’t ignore him.”Moby provided music for the video, which was directed by filmmaker Jesse Dylan, whose father, Bob Dylan, was inspired by Singer in the 1960s.last_img read more

Torontos Best Dressed Stylist Jessica Tjeng

first_img Login/Register With: Twitter Jessica Tjeng spends her days at photo shoots with some of the biggest names in fashion—Burberry, Versace and Adidas, to name a few. Here, she explains why her personal fashion philosophy is to keep it simple.My style guru is…’90s Helmut Lang. He invented casual chic.I’d break the bank for…Nothing. I’m too practical! But I did just splurge on a $900 pair of Alexander Wang boots. Advertisement Advertisementcenter_img Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebooklast_img

Canadas Melanie Papalia on her role alongside Chris Pine and Ben Foster

first_imgWhen you’re an actor, it’s amazing how quickly your life can change.Take Melanie Papalia. The Vancouver born and bred talent has a small but poignant part opposite Chris Pine in this month’s modern-day Western Hell or High Water — and it came virtually out of the blue.“It was a Sunday night and I was lying in my apartment watching “Chopped”, I was watching like a “Chopped” marathon, and I got a call from my manager seeing if, last minute, I would go to this audition Monday morning,” she recalls over the phone from Vancouver where she’s visiting family and getting ready for a role in the upcoming TV show “Travelers”. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Facebook At 9 p.m. she turned off the T.V. and started prepping for the part of Emily, a Texas hooker who meets Pine’s character Toby, a bank robber, and his brother Tanner (Ben Foster) in a rundown Texas casino.She got the part.“You go and do one audition and a couple weeks later you’re literally sandwiched between Chris Pine and Ben Foster,” she says. “I just think that life is pretty crazy like that, you know?”While her character wasn’t particularly fleshed out on the page, Papalia says that once on set they worked hard to make her as relatable as possible. “She’s a lonely girl and I think that she really recognizes that in Chris Pine’s character, Toby,” she says. “She recognized a loneliness in Toby and he recognized a loneliness in her, which is why they could have these scenes and this moment. Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

Michael Bublé Michael J Fox Martin Short get Governor Generals Performing Arts

first_imgThe recipients received their awards and gave speeches Wednesday at the Rideau Hall ceremony and will be feted again on Thursday with a gala at the National Arts Centre, which will include performances and tributes.Awards turn 25 this yearThe awards, which turn 25 this year, recognize Canadian artists from a host of disciplines, including classical and popular music, theatre, dance, film and broadcasting.The ceremony also celebrates arts volunteers and philanthropists with a special prize named after former governor general Ramon John Hnatyshyn, who founded the annual awards in 1992. Advertisement Actors Michael J. Fox, Martin Short and theatre director Brigitte Haentjens were honoured at Rideau Hall Wednesday night with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.Filmmaker Jean Beaudin, philanthropist William Loewen and theatre artist Yves Sioui Durand were also among this year’s honourees who were toasted in Ottawa.Joining them was singer Michael Bublé, who was named in 2016, but was unable to receive the honour because of family commitments. It marked a return to the spotlight for Bublé, who stepped away to take care of his son, Noah, who is battling cancer. Advertisement Jean Beaudin and Yves Sioui Durand were also recipients of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. (Denis McCready/Benoit Aquin)A newer addition, the award foundation’s mentorship program, matches a past lifetime achievement winner with a promising protégé. This year’s pair are former prima ballerina and National Ballet of Canada artistic director Karen Kain and Toronto choreographer and dancer Robert Binet.CBC will live stream the gala Thursday at 8 p.m. ET and broadcast a condensed hour-long special Friday at 9 p.m. ET on TV and online.SOURCE:  CBC Login/Register With:center_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter Facebook Advertisementlast_img read more

After Anne Megan Follows talks about directing Heartland playing grandmothers and the

first_imgAdvertisement There is no delicate way to ask an actress this question: So, how do you feel about playing a grandma?But when talking to Megan Follows these days, it is an unavoidable topic.Yes, the actress adored by Canadian audiences as the perky and youthful Anne of Green Gables is playing a grandmother in not one but two Calgary-shot series. Facebook Advertisement Login/Register With: In Heartland, the recurring character of Lily Borden became a grandmother when her son Ty (Graham Wardle) became a father at the end of Season 10. His wife, and the show’s protagonist, Amy Fleming (Amber Marshall) gave birth to Lyndy Marion Borden-Fleming, which has brought the once neglectful Lily back into their lives on a relatively happy note in the season premiere. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitterlast_img read more

Native Womens Association felt betrayed by Conservative government

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA-The Native Women’s Association of Canada felt “betrayed” by the Conservative government’s announcement on missing and murdered Aboriginal women, APTN National News has been told.Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose made the $10 million announcement on a national strategy to deal with the issue on Oct. 29 in Vancouver.Almost half of the money, $4 million, is going to the RCMP’s Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children which will create a branch focused on missing persons and unidentified remains with no special emphasis on Aboriginal women.The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) was not informed ahead of time about the contents of the announcement. The association was “shocked” by the amount of money that was going to police for something that “has nothing to do” with Aboriginal women.They expected some of the money would go toward its vaunted Sisters in Spirit project which developed a database specifically to track cases involving Aboriginal women.Instead, Status of Women Canada officials have told the organization it can’t use any government funding for projects using the name Sisters in Spirit or for upkeep of their database, which has verified almost 600 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.The Conservative government also used the announcement to unveil changes to the Criminal Code giving police more powers on wiretaps and accessing warrants.NWAC says its Sisters in Spirit project will continue with or without government money.NWAC, which held a board meeting over the weekend, is expected to speak Tuesday about their position.The Conservatives set aside $10 million in the last federal budget for a national strategy on murdered and missing women. The government also confirmed their intentions to unveil the strategy in the Speech from the Throne.The government has repeatedly shielded themselves from criticism on their recent announcement by claiming NWAC support.More to comelast_img read more

Harper playing politics with First Nations issues Martin

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe last big attempt to reconcile First Nations and the federal government came in 2005.That’s when former prime minister Paul Martin put together a series of meetings that came to be called the Kelowna Accord.Those gatherings resulted in a commitment of billions of dollars to help pull First Nations out of poverty.Unfortunately those efforts came to nothing.APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler spoke with Martin. He was in Washington, D.C.last_img

Man 23 arrested after entering Iqaluit hospital with rifle

first_imgAPTN National NewsIQALUIT–A 23 year-old man has been arrested after entering the lobby of the Iqaluit hospital Thursday afternoon armed with a rifle, according to the RCMP.The RCMP issued a statement saying the man was arrested without incident with the help of a police negotiator.“With the help of an RCMP negotiator, the 23 year-old man who was armed with a rifle has been arrested without incident,” said the statement.Mayor Madeleine Redfern Tweeted at 2:48 p.m. ET that the individual had been arrested by police.“Individual involved in Qikiqtani General Hospital incident has now been taken into custody,” said Redfern.The incident trigggered an evacuation of patients and staff.All non-critical medical cases are currently being directed to the local health centre. The Qikiqtani General Hospital’s emergency room had been previously secured and is able to take in critical cases, RCMP said.The RCMP would only say the man entered the hospital demanding information at about 1 p.m. local time.Patients had been moved to safety to other parts of the hospital building. Some of the evacuated hospital staff have been moved to a medical boarding home across the street, while others have been sent home.The RCMP said no patients or staff were injured during the incident.last_img read more

Ontario opposition pounces on allegations against CN Rail

first_imgAPTN National NewsOntario’s opposition party is looking for more information about an internal audit into how CN Rail billed GO Transit.Last week, APTN reported that a former CN employee is alleging the rail company improperly billed provincially-owned GO Transit for millions of dollars.CN has strongly denied the allegations.But now the province’s opposition politicians want to get to the bottom of it.APTN’s Delaney Windigo files this report.last_img

Dozens in Labrador defy court order block entrance to MuskratFalls construction site

first_img(People against the flooding for the Muskrat Falls dam block the construction site entrance. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)Tom FennarioAPTN National NewsMUSKRAT FALLS, N.L — Dozens of protectors of the land who are trying to stop the  progress of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project defied a court order and blocked the entrance to the dam’s construction site forcing workers to stay long after their shift had ended and prevented the next shift from starting for two hours.“You know, sometimes everybody has to suffer and that’s the situation we’re in right now,” said Inuk protestor irk Lethbridge. “We’re standing up for ourselves, we’re no longer willing to lay down.”The group is concerned that the scheduled flooding expected to start this fall will release toxins into the water and carry downstream to where they hunt and fish.See related stories here: Muskrat FallsWednesday night’s action comes on the heels of the Newfoundland and Labrador’s Environment minister announcement that it ordered Nalcor, the province’s energy agency, to clear vegetation away from the flood zone.What isn’t clear is how much will be removed.“We’re not going to make any deals for a few trees to be cut,” said Lethbridge. “We want the entire area cleared of vegetation so there will be no Methylmercury.”“We’re standing up for ourselves, we’re no longer willing to lay down.” Kirk Lethbridge. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTNAccording to a study by Harvard University, methylmercury, a naturally occurring neurotoxin, will seep from the vegetation if the planned flooding of an area along the Churchill river goes ahead poisoning Inuit and Innu country food, such as fish and other wildlife.“Nalcor has been indicating they have no other choice other than to create this flood to protect their investment.” Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Minister Perry Trimper told APTN National News. “They’ve got $7 billion spent on infrastructure now and they are asserting that they need to do this flood,”Trimper emphasized that Nalcor has been told to clear as much vegetation as possible before the flooding and that letters inviting the three Labrador Indigenous groups to take part in an independent advisory council have been sent.“But it’s clear that a lot of people today are clearly not happy because I’ve not stopped the project,” said Trimper.”That’s what so many people are hoping for. But that’s not my responsibility.”People vow to increase action on the ground to force the province to completely clear the flood zone of vegetation. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTNSeeing some compromise on the government’s part has energized people on the Muskrat Falls line.“We have the government of Newfoundland on the run,” said Lethbridge. “And we’re not going to back down from that.”Wednesday’s work stoppage follows a blockade of the site Sunday that lead to a court injunction against people on the line and an early morning raid by the RCMP that resulted in nine arrests.Three people have also joined Inuk artist Billy Gauthier in a hunger strike. They say they will not eat unless the province clears the vegetation and top soil in the flood zone.“I think as this carries on, you will see more Innu taking part in this action,” said David Nuke, as he watches a group of Innu woman set up a tent at the protest camp across the road from the Muskrat Falls gate.For Lethbridge, it was a welcome sight.“We have no fear, the circle is complete, the Innu are with us now. There’s nothing that can stop the people of Labrador now, we’re no longer willing to live in a box,” he said.— with files from Trina Roachetfennario@aptn.ca troache@aptn.calast_img read more

It will validate the treaty Why 21 Ontario First Nations are challenging

first_imgThe treaties state that if the territory is ceded, then the government could “increase the annuity hereby secured to them, then and in that case the same shall be augmented from time to time.”However, this depended on resource extraction.“If resource revenues went up, then so too would the annuity payments,” wrote researcher James Morrison, in a 1996 report for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.The position of the Ontario and federal governments is that once the annuities reached $4 per person, the ability for the treaty to ensure the Anishinabek received a “fair and equitable share of the proceeds of the land was wholly exhausted.”The plaintiffs are seeking clarity on the treaty’s intention and argue the court must choose the meaning that “best reconciles the First Nation interests and those of the Crown.”While those 30,000 beneficiaries could stand to financially benefit from an increase in annuities, Wikwemikong Chief Duke Peltier said a court win could also ensure the Crown abides by the original principles of the treaty.“The understanding of our people was that the nation-to-nation relationship that was entered into in September 9 of 1850 was that there would be mutual respect, that there would be mutual benefits and the sharing of the territory as was requested of the Anishinabek peoples that live here,” he said.A ruling will follow the closing arguments. If a settlement is not reached, then the process will move on to a second phase beginning in the spring of 2019.Restoule said many people perceive treaties as dead historical documents. He hopes this court case changes that.“Our position is that this is a living document.”lscholey@aptn.ca (From left to right: Wikwemikong Chief Duke Peltier, Wasauksing Chief Warren Tabobondung, Shawanaga Chief Wayne Pamajewon, Batchewana Chief Dean Sayers, outside of the teepee on June 4, 2018, the start of the final arguments in the Robinson Huron Treaty Annuities court case. Contributed photo)Lucy ScholeyAPTN NewsWhen Commissioner William Benjamin Robinson’s treaties were signed in 1850, the average Indigenous person living in one of the Lake Superior or Lake Huron bands should have received an annuity payment of about $1.60.Back then, that could have easily afforded a bushel of corn, a pound each of pork and plug tobacco at the Hudson’s Bay Company.Today, under the terms of that same treaty, those band members receive just $4 in annuities – a dollar figure that has not budged since 1874.Now lawyers representing 21 Anishinabek Nations are in court this week for the final arguments in a landmark case that aims to clarify the interpretation of an “augmentation” clause in the Robinson-Huron Treaty and Robinson Superior Treaty.“If we’re successful in the courts, it will validate the treaty itself,” said Mike Restoule, chair of the Robinson-Huron Treaty Litigation committee, who has been helping work on this case for 26 years.In September 2017, the case finally landed in court – first in Thunder Bay and then on to courtrooms throughout the territory over months of testimony.The closing arguments started in Sudbury on Monday and are expected to last until June 22.The plaintiffs, who represent 30,000 First Nations people in the Anishinabek territories north of Lake Huron and Lake Superior, argue that the federal and provincial governments have failed to uphold their end of the treaties.In 1850, after years of negotiations, those First Nations signed on to Commissioner William Benjamin Robinson’s treaties. Their members each received lump payments and were set to receive annuities thereafter.Mike Restoule, chair of the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation committee.last_img read more

Cree man in Saskatchewan ordered to pay 1000 fine for selling three

first_imgFile photo of fish (APTN)Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsA Canoe Lake Cree Nation man was fined $900 Thursday after being caught selling $90 worth of fish to an undercover Saskatchewan conservation officer.Defence lawyer Dwayne Stonechild said he requested a conditional discharge while Crown attorney Matthew Miazga wanted Donald Iron fined $3,000 per sale.Iron was convicted in January of selling three bags of fish he caught in Canoe Lake west of Saskatoon.In the end, Judge Miguel Martinez ordered Iron to pay a fine of $300 on each of the three counts for a total in the $1,100-range after surcharges were applied, Stonechild said in a telephone interview.“He can’t afford to pay it,” the lawyer added. “[He] gets $300 a month in social assistance payments from the band.”Iron was found guilty after a multi-month undercover operation by the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment.But details of the so-called sting are protected by a court-imposed publication ban.Canoe Lake Chief Francis Iron said he is not happy with what went down on his territory without the band’s knowledge or permission.He said he turned to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which advocates for land and treaty rights, for support.“We may appeal,” he said Thursday. “Donald doesn’t even have a phone.”FSIN issued a release after the conviction became public reiterating that fishing is a “fundamental treaty and inherent right First Nations people have.”It also expressed concerns the “harassment of First Nations traditional land users” could escalate, especially in light of the fact conservation officers in the province are expected to soon be armed with semi-automatic carbine rifles.Stonechild said his client had trouble following what was happening in court.“He has a grade 4 or grade 5 education,” the lawyer said in a telephone interview.But he said Iron got the message, nevertheless, exclaiming after the sentencing, “It will not happen again.”Meanwhile, some media outlets plan to fight the publication ban on the sting details in court. kmartens@aptn.ca@katmartelast_img read more

APTN nominated for several Canadian Association of Journalists awards

first_imgAPTN NewsAPTN National News and APTN Investigates are again nominated for top honours by the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ).The annual list was released Tuesday and includes the names of seven APTN staffers.The award winners for stories broadcast or published in 2018 will be announced at the CAJ gala and conference in Winnipeg on May 4.APTN was recognized in six categories:1) Journalist Trina Roache, who is based in Halifax, was nominated for two stories she produced for APTN Investigates History Decolonized (in the Open Media category) and The Law of the Land (in Open Broadcast Feature).2) Journalist Willow Fiddler, who helms the network’s Thunder Bay bureau, received the nod for It’s Going to Reopen Again (Open Broadcast News).3) Laurie Hamelin, with APTN Vancouver, and Kathleen Martens, of aptnnews.ca, were nominated for their coverage of the Unist’ot’en protest camp in northern B.C.4) Tamara Pimentel, of the Calgary bureau, and Lucy Scholey, now with Amnesty International, are recognized for their Travelling the Pipeline stories.5) Veteran Rob Smith, with APTN Investigates in Vancouver, is a finalist in the Journalists for Human Rights (JHR)/CAJ Award for Human Rights Reporting for his documentary Justice for Colten.6) Pimentel, originally from Winnipeg, is also up for the JHR/CAJ Emerging Indigenous Journalist Award.last_img read more