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Saskatoon Tribal Council and Ministry of Social Services heading to court over jurisdiction of children in care PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Monday, 27 June 2016 14:01

A Regina judge will hear a case tomorrow over who has jurisdiction over children under the care of the Saskatoon Tribal Council.

It is a long-simmering dispute that escalated recently with the Ministry of Social Services moving to take over the files of about 70 children currently under care of the tribal council.

Attempts to get the files on the children earlier this month failed when the tribal council refused, saying the province would have to take them to court.

A judge is now reviewing the province's application and will hear the case Tuesday morning in Regina.

At issue is reporting procedures.

The tribal council is required to provide monthly reports to Social Services, but it has refused.

It maintains the province does not have jurisdiction over children on reserves.  Last week, Tribal Chief Felix Thomas accused the province of using bullying tactics.

Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer maintains her ministry is not asking the council to do anything that is not being done by 16 other band councils in the province that have similar child welfare agreements.

She says her ministry is responsible for ensuring both on-reserve and off-reserve children receiving child protection are properly cared for and protected.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 June 2016 14:53
Government unveils emergency app PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnk   
Monday, 27 June 2016 11:35

Emergency Management and Fire Commissioner Duane McKay beside Government Relations Minister Jim Reiter speaking on the new app in Regina Monday morning.

Dealing with disasters and providing up-to-date information to Saskatchewan residents just got a little easier with the launch of a new smart phone app and website.

The “SaskAlert” app can be tailored to your own personal needs and it's free.

Government Relations Minister Jim Reiter and the province's Director of Emergency Management, Duane McKay, gave reporters a run-through on how the system works and why people should hook up during a demonstration at the legislative building today.

Reiter is encouraging everyone to download the app so people can take immediate action to protect themselves and their families.

“Public safety is one of the highest priorities of our government, “ Reiter said. “In the last couple of years alone, we have seen some extreme examples of that.  Last summer, of course, we are all familiar with the wildifire situation -- and the year before there was an extreme amount of flooding generally on the east side of the province.”

McKay says last year’s wildfire crisis demonstrated the need for one source of information that could be relied upon and trusted.

“It’s just something we noticed last year during all the wildfires, there were a lot of rumours swirling around,“ he said. “So we really needed to come up with a way to say this is the real information.  So this site will give you verified information and trusted information.”

About a third of the communities in the province have signed up for the app -- including several First Nations. They will use the service to provide emergency alerts on behalf of their residents.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 June 2016 15:32
UPDATE: Black Lake First Nation elects first female chief in its history; former chief weighs in PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Monday, 27 June 2016 10:33

For the first time in its history, the Black Lake First Nation will be led by a woman.

The band held its chief and council elections on Friday and chose Coreen Sayazie among three candidates as its new chief.

Band members also elected seven people to the band council -- with only one incumbent being re-elected.

Joining John Toutsaint on council, is Trevor Boneleye, Darlene Fern, Delbert Bouvier, George Catholic, Pauline Thatcher and Joe Renie.

MBC spoke with former chief Ricky Robillard to get his thoughts on the election.

“I am very pleased to find out that Black Lake elected their first woman Chief in its history,” said Robillard. “I am very confident with her leadership and the council that has been electec and I trust they will continue the economic development that is happening in Black Lake.”

The former chief played a vital role in partnering with SaskPower to bring the Tazi Twe Hydroelectric Project to the community.

Last year, the band voted in favour of the project, which would be the first ever hydro project in Saskatchewan to be situated entirely on reserve land. The project would divert water from the Fond du Lac River and is expected to be complete by 2020.

The facility is expected to bring over $1 billion in benefits to Black Lake during its 90 year life-span.

While Robillard doesn't believe this project had any affect on Friday's election, he does hope Black Lake's new leadership will invest in similar economic projects in the future.

His hope going forward is that the members of the Black Lake First Nation remain confident in this leadership and not be afraid of change.

“This whole national realm of First Nations governance is changing so rapidly that we have to change with them,” said Robillard. “People remain scared of change and that is something we have always struggled with.”

Now that his time serving as chief has come to an end, Robillard says he plans to spend more time with his family.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 June 2016 15:46
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