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Health Authority apologizes for coerced sterilizations PDF Print E-mail
Written by mbcnews   
Thursday, 27 July 2017 17:07


file photo

The Saskatoon Health Region says it is sorry that some Indigenous women were forced into having tubal ligation after delivering a baby. Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which a woman's fallopian tubes are clamped or severed and is considered a permanent method of birth control.

This comes on the heels of a 56 page external report where Indigenous women were concerned they had been coerced into having the procedure. The report was authored by Dr. Yvonne Boyer, a lawyer and Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Health and Wellness at Brandon University, and Dr. Judy Bartlett, a physician and former professor with the College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba.

Sixteen women called and spoke to the reviewers. Of those women, seven were able to participate and shared their stories. The report stated the women felt “invisible, profiled and powerless” while interacting with health care workers immediately before, during and after delivery of a child. Most of the women interviewed told reviewers they had repeatedly said no to staff who were pressuring them into the procedure.

The independent review had initially been expected to be completed by spring. However, the reviewers extended the process until the end of June to ensure every effort was made to reach out to women who delivered their baby in Saskatoon.  This included a session with community and health leaders where the group reviewed information which was had gathered through interviews in order to develop themes which then formed the basis of the reviewers’ calls to action.

The report contains ten calls to action which include cultural competency education for health region staff, policy revision in regard to tubal ligation and consent and an advisory council made up of First Nation women with to work with representative of women affected by the Saskatoon Health Region tubal ligation policies.

The Saskatoon Health Region supports the calls to action.  “On behalf of Saskatoon Health Region, we are deeply sorry for what these women experienced, and for any other women in our community who had similar experiences, but were unable to come forward,” says Jackie Mann, vice-president Integrated Health Services, Saskatoon Health Region. “The report states that racism exists within our health care system and we, as leaders, acknowledge this. This report provides us with clear direction on how we must move forward to truly start the healing that needs to occur,” she added.

Leanne Smith is the director of Maternal Health Services for the Saskatoon Health Region.  She says it is clear there is a lot to change.  She said “while our policies haves changed, we need to revisit these using a more collaborative approach involving those most impacted.”  She says that all women, regardless of race or social circumstance, should feel safe in the care of the health region. “This report serves as motivation to improve our services and this will include a more robust Advisory Council with the voices of grandmothers, women and First Nations and Métis leaders,” she added.

Mann says that over the coming weeks, the Health Region will be sharing the report and discussing the calls to action with government agencies and other partners with the hope that together we can begin to address the root causes of these inequalities and discrimination. She says she has not discussed the report with the Ministry of Health but they have a copy of it.  She says she hasn’t had a discussed the calls to action or details of the report with the province but says has some meetings lined up with Ministry officials.

Happy Charles’s mother: Police turning missing woman investigation ‘to a murder investigation’ PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Thursday, 27 July 2017 15:47

Stillshot of surveillance video of Happy Charles on April 3. Provided by Prince Albert Police.

The mother of Happy Charles says her daughter's disappearance is now being treated as a homicide.

Charles’ mother Regina Poitras from La Ronge says a detective contacted her last week with the update on 42-year-old Charles, a mother of three who went missing in April after travelling to Prince Albert to do some banking.

“They’re changing the investigation to a murder investigation,” Poitras told MBC on Thursday.

Poitras says as difficult as it’s been to deal with, her family's own exhaustive search efforts and public pleas for help have turned up tips leading them to suspect this was coming.

“With the way things have been going it wasn’t too much of a shock,” she said.

Even in the midst of the grieving process, Poitras is at the Assembly of First Nations assembly in Regina this week, seeking better coordination for when Indigenous people in northern Saskatchewan go missing.

The plea is meant to improve supports “so they won’t have to go through the hardships that we did. So there’s something there to start off. Like they wouldn’t have to start off like we did, having to borrow vests, having to get everything in place for ourselves because we had zero to start with,” she said.

She said she wants attention and money up north to help people.

MBC has put in an information request with Prince Albert police, which has not yet confirmed the status of Happy Charles investigation.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 July 2017 15:53
Cameco’s northern summer shutdowns factor into quarterly report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Thursday, 27 July 2017 13:19

Photo courtesy Cameco.ca

As Cameco reports its second-quarter financials today, two of its largest operations are at a standstill.

A six-week summer shutdown is in place at Key Lake and McArthur River, all as part of cost-saving measures that CEO Tim Gitzel says will show long-term benefits. As for the next quarter, he expects production costs per unit to rise because of the two-week maintenance period that will take place in mid-August after the four-week mandatory summer holiday period.

“It’s something we haven’t tried recently, and we go into things like that a bit tentative because there’s a lot of organization that goes into it,” Gitzel told MBC during its second-quarter conference call.

After a visit up north last week, he said things are off to a good start.

“Very quiet on the site. We’ve got a skeleton crew as we call it, just looking after things. Weather’s been very good up there so we’re hoping people get some good vacation and good rest… because we’re going to need them to work hard when they come back in August,”

The uranium mining giant has a net loss of $2 million this quarter. During the conference, Gitzel announced that Cameco has officially settled an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) dispute in the United States that dates back between 2009 and 2012 in which the company stood to lose $122 million as a proposed tax expense. Instead, Cameco has to pay only a fraction of that, at $122,000.

However, Gitzel is hesitant to say how this relates to the Canada Revenue Agency tax battle that's before the courts right now. He did say “it’s possible at any time to come to a settlement” with the CRA dispute, which will go to final arguments in court in September.

Cameco is also congratulating 34-year employee and former senior vice-president and Chief Operating Officer Bob Stein for his retirement and welcoming new COO Brian Reilly who took over at the start of June.

The mining giant initiated a number of cost-saving measures in the past eight months, all meant to weather tough times in the uranium market. Earlier this year, Cameco wound down its Rabbit Lake mine, cut its workforce by 10 per cent, and ended its American operations.


Last Updated on Thursday, 27 July 2017 13:27
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