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Make Your Choice - Tuesday April 28th, 2015

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Northern Couple Wins Benefits Appeal PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 13:25

A northern Saskatchewan couple who were injured in a 2009 accident, but had some benefits denied by SGI, will see the matter go back to court.

Stanley and Shirley Ballantyne were struck by a truck while crossing the street and both were injured.

SGI had refused the Ballantyne’s income replacement benefits on the basis their injuries did not prevent them from returning to work, a decision that was upheld by the Automobile Injury Appeals Commission.

Recently, the Ballantynes took their matter before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

An appeals judge found that their case had merit and has order new hearings to take place.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 April 2015 13:26
More Aboriginal Reaction To Federal Budget PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 13:18

Several First Nation groups and organizations are offering their input into yesterday’s federal budget.

The National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples says the budget is a “disappointment” for off-reserve Aboriginal people.

Chief Betty Ann Lavalleee says the budget did include language to address the economic needs of Aboriginal people, but she says there is little there in the way of actual help.

“I’m disappointed to see there is no new money for housing or for missing and murdered Aboriginal women,” said Lavallee.  “There is so much that could have been done to help our people, but unfortunately it’s not going to happen.”

Lavallee says there is not enough funding in this year’s budget to actually change the economic disadvantages faced by Aboriginal people across Canada.

“As we all know more than a third of Aboriginal people living off-reserve are living in poverty and right now with this budget we are looking at less than $70 per year for Aboriginal people off-reserve and that is not going to help lift people out of property.”

According to their calculations, the $341.8 million invested in programs for off-reserve Aboriginal people over the next five years, will give a total of less than $70 a year per person.

A couple other First Nations organizations are responding more positively to the budget.

The First Nations Financial Management Board says they were glad to see the feds include amendments to the First Nations Financial Management Act.  They say these changes will lead to an increase in economic opportunities for First Nations on-reserve.

The amendments will see increased participation in the Fiscal Management Act as well as a reduction of administrative burdens for participating First Nations.

The Indigenous led charity Indspire also says they welcome the $12 million dollars in funding coming their way.

The funding will be spread out over 3 years and will be used for scholarships and bursaries for First Nations and Inuit Students.

Indspire says the primary barrier keeping Indigenous students from competing schooling is a lack of finances.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 April 2015 13:23
Feds Release Balanced Budget, AFN Chief Says "Missed Opportunity" PDF Print E-mail
Written by mbcnews   
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 16:35

Finance Minister Joe Oliver delivered his maiden budget with a careful balance of targeted pre-election measures _ and just enough room to keep the federal books above water.

Oliver is projecting a surplus of 1.4-billion dollars this year, increasing to 4.8 billion by 2019-20 -- but the government had to dip into its rainy-day fund, take cash out of the Employment Insurance program and sell off assets to get there.

That's mainly because it lost about six-billion dollars in revenues as a result of drastically lower oil prices.

The budget also includes a drop in the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to nine per cent by 2019.  An additional 11.8-billion dollars is earmarked for the Canadian military over a 10-year period, starting in 2017.  Ottawa is also changing the rules governing registered retirement income funds, to allow seniors to preserve their retirement nest eggs for longer.

The Assembly of First Nations National Chief Says the 2015 federal budget is a “Missed Opportunity” for First Nations.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde says today’s budget failed to deliver on investments needed to improve the lives of First Nations.  He says there was no plan in the budget to close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canadians.

“First Nations people are treated like second class citizens living in third world conditions,” said Bellegarde in a media release.  “The cost of First Nations poverty is too high and everyone is paying for it when we should be investing in our shared future.”

Chief Bellegarde says the AFN is calling for investment and collaboration on a real strategy for change

(With files from the Canadian Press)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 16:40
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