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Aaron Peck wins 12-dog Canadian Challenge Race PDF Print E-mail
Written by Braden Malsbury   
Thursday, 23 February 2017 16:51

Aaron Peck holds one of his dogs after the race. Photo courtesy of Braden Malsbury.

Aaron Peck of Grande Prairie, Alberta is the winner of the 2017 Canadian Challenge 12-dog Sled Dog Race.

He crossed the finish line shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday in La Ronge, meaning he'll be taking home the $5,500 purse. Peck also won the Canadian Challenge back in 2011.

"We set a pretty aggressive schedule to ensure that we were near the front, so that came with challenges as we tried to maintain that position," said Peck. "Just through the night last night was a difficult run -- just holding everything together and keeping the dogs motivated, but they came out on top, it was good."

The race started on Tuesday at Elk Ridge Resort north of Prince Albert. Despite unseasonably warm temperatures in northern Saskatchewan, officials were pleased with how things went this year.

"We were lucky enough to get a little bit of snow right the day before the race started, before that it was pretty icy," said race president Gill Gracie. "The trail has been remarkably good given the conditions. The racers are actually just happy to be here because a lot of them are from Alberta where there is no snow."

Marcel Marin of Yellowknife/Saint James captured first in the eight-dog event.

Marcel Marin. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Meantime, Gracie said this was her last year as president because she is stepping down.

"I've been involved for 13 years, and I'm not getting any younger," said Gracie. "I think it's time for some new blood -- fresh ideas and a new take on the race."

This was the 20th edition of the Canadian Challenge. Last year's event had to be cancelled due to warm weather.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 February 2017 17:38
La Loche mayor speaks after visit from provincial cabinet ministers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Thursday, 23 February 2017 12:29

Ministers Bronwyn Eyre, Donna Harpauer, Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Jim Reiter, Don Morgan, Gordon Wyant, and La Loche Mayor Robert St. Pierre. Photo courtesy Village of La Loche, Facebook.

High-level provincial representatives returned to La Loche this week, meeting with local leadership for the first time since the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting that took four lives.

Earlier this year, the high school's acting principal was among those criticizing the government's lack of follow-through on their promises in the year since the shooting.

Deputy Premier Don Morgan and Northern Affairs Minister Donna Harpauer were among the six provincial cabinet ministers visiting the northern community on Wednesday.

“I’d like to believe that their visit was to reassure that we have not been forgotten and the promises that were made were still trying to be fulfilled,” said Mayor Robert St. Pierre.

“For me it shows that they still care and they still want to move us forward.”

The ministers met with mayor and council and then went to meet with teachers, he said.

Wednesday was a first-time meeting between the visiting ministers, some of whom are new to their positions, and La Loche’s mayor and council, which switched over in October.

St. Pierre said he believes they built some rapport with the ministers.

“They’re the leaders, they’re the decision-makers… so having that openness and being able to have that dialogue at that level and have them understand our perspective and try to help us move ourselves forward is important,” he said.

But, does that sense of optimism extend to everyone in the community?

“It’s hard to say because things of that nature – especially when you’re talking about healing – takes time. So we won’t really see anything really substantial I the course of day to day,” he said.

Cabinet ministers have a lot of food for thought after receiving updates on the La Loche subcommittees on housing, education, health, and infrastructure.

St. Pierre said they voiced a lot of concerns, including getting more housing to staff services like healthcare and education, where there’s a great need to fill positions.

“You want to get more people into the health centre to provide those services, but they have no housing to come to. We can’t staff,” he said.

He said he's confident issues like this will be addressed by the province.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 February 2017 12:45
Marking a 10-year fight for First Nations children PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Thursday, 23 February 2017 10:09

AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde and Cindy Blackstock. Photo courtesy of AFN.

The Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society have launched a new push to get the federal government to comply with a Human Rights Tribunal ruling on the care of on-reserve First Nations children.

During a joint news conference in Ottawa this morning, AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde and the executive director of the Caring Society, Cindy Blackstock, reflected on the 10-year fight for equal child welfare services for on-reserve children.

"I was shocked we had to file this complaint in the first place to get the Government of Canada to quit discriminating against little kids." she said. Blackstock added she is tired of hearing apologies, condolences and promises. She says what is needed is action because children’s lives are on the line.

The complaint was filed in 2007, but years of legal wrangling followed. In January 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled the complaint was valid and ordered the federal government to take immediate action to comply.

AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde says the entire child welfare system needs to be overhauled.

"We need to do more in the immediate term while the longer term of  reform is worked out," he said. "Reform has to include keeping children with their families whenever possible. It is simply not acceptable that so many children are taken from their homes because of poverty."

Since the ruling was issued more than a year ago, two non-compliance orders have been filed with the Human Rights Tribunal, claiming the federal government is not fulfilling its obligations to correct the discrimination.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 February 2017 10:19
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