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Metis local presidents argue in favour of injunction to halt upcoming Metis Nation meetings PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Tuesday, 14 February 2017 15:36

A number of Metis people and local presidents joined Bryan Lee, Kelvin Roy, and Louis Gardiner at Prince Albert's Court of Queen's Bench. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

The fate of an upcoming Metis Nation meeting in Saskatoon was argued at Prince Albert Court of Queen’s Bench on Tuesday, with the final decision set to be delivered in writing within the next two days.

Metis Nation-Saskatchewan representatives Bryan Lee, Kelvin Roy and Louis Gardiner filed an injunction in late January to cancel the Feb. 18 and 19 Metis Nation Legislative Assembly (MNLA) and General Assembly.

The Provincial Metis Council (PMC) set the meeting, but Lee, Roy and Gardiner say the PMC did not have the authority to do so because their terms have expired.

Lee, who identified himself as the Fish Lake Local Metis president, spoke on behalf of the applicants before the Prince Albert chambers judge.

Lee said it's a "fiasco" to proceed as planned, and that his greatest concern is fairness of the upcoming MNLA.

The PMC’s lawyer Jay Watson acknowledges that circumstances and delays within the MN-S led to the expiry of the PMC’s term.

However, Watson says the only option is to proceed with the weekend meeting, which was meant to schedule an MN-S election date in May, or grind to a halt and wait for the feds to step in.

Considering that new elections are needed to continue Metis governance in order to retain funding that has been on the rocks since late 2014, the chambers judge tried to walk through the options of “where do we go from here?”

In response, Lee said he wants a meeting with Metis local representatives and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada so they can build their governance system back up.

Lee and Roy aired a number of grievances with the way the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan is being run, saying the voices of Metis local presidents like themselves are being silenced by the actions of the select few. Specifically, Roy said the PMC is interfering with the rights of Metis locals. None of those allegations have been proven in court.

The chambers judge said if the applicants want a remedy because they feel their constitutional rights are being denied, they need to find a different avenue and likely seek help from legal counsel.

A written ruling on the injunction to stop the meeting is expected within the next two days.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 16:54
 
Jurors start deliberations in Prince Albert murder trial of Clayton James Bear PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Tuesday, 14 February 2017 15:00

Prince Albert Court of Queen's Bench. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

Jurors in a Prince Albert murder trial received their final instructions before heading into deliberations on Tuesday.

Jordan Herron and Orren Johnson are on the stand, accused of killing Clayton James Bear. He was 17 years old at the time of his death in April of 2014.

Queen’s Bench Justice J.D. Kalmakoff provided a lengthy jury charge, taking several hours to explain to jurors that they are the “judges of fact,” and to guide them through the elements necessary for a finding of guilt for Herron and/or Johnson.

Credibility and reliability was a large issue at trial, with a number of witnesses providing inconsistent evidence.

Kalmakoff provided a number of warnings specific to this case.

He told jurors it is “dangerous” to rely solely on evidence from witness Miranda Soderberg, Herron’s then-girlfriend. Her three previous sworn statements to police “varied considerably,” Kalmakoff said, and while on the stand Soderberg admitted she had lied to police.

Kalmakoff urged jurors to use the “greatest care and caution” and to consider whether other evidence supports what Soderberg said before relying on her evidence.

He made no ruling on the credibility of witnesses, saying it’s up to jurors to make the assessment of whether they accept some or all of the evidence provided by each witness.

Kalmakoff told jurors that eyewitness testimony is an important issue in this case, because it is not always reliable and has resulted in wrongful convictions in past criminal cases.

Two witnesses who spent much of the night with Johnson and Herron have placed them at the scene of the Prince Albert house party where Bear died.

The credibility of those witnesses – Danielle Josie and Soderberg - was called into question multiple times throughout the trial. Both women were intoxicated at the time.

Three people who witnesses say were present around the time Bear was shot did not take the stand at trial. Those three people – Derek Laliberte, Scott Dzik, and Chanese Umpherville – were mentioned so much by defence that Kalmakoff said he needed to address them. He said two of those people were subpoena’d and failed to attend court, and one was not.

It is unknown how long deliberations will take.

MBC's story on the trial's closing arguments can be accessed here.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 15:47
 
Yorkton Tribal Council builds new partnership PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Tuesday, 14 February 2017 11:38

Photo courtesy of yorktontribalcouncil.org

A dozen high school students from six reserves in the Yorkton Tribal Council are getting paid to learn about the construction industry, and at the same time, fill a housing need on reserves.

The Tribal Council and a First Nations home builder called "Your Choice Homes Incorporated" have partnered on the first of what could be many housing projects.

It is a pilot project right now, but a spokesman for Your Choice Homes, Jay Noel, says it could really take off. He says the company has met with First Nations around the province, and there is a real need for this type of housing.

"Band offices and housing coordinators have a hard time juggling people," he said. "So sometimes a Kookum is in a five-bedroom by herself, or a single guy is in a three-bedroom. So there is a need for the bands, and it is a nice little project you can do in a short period of time."

Noel says the program teaches high school students about the trades and encourages them to stay in school. He says not only will they get credits for the build, they will also get paid 500 dollars, and get some hands on experience.

"Most First Nations high schools don’t have a shop program anymore -- it’s closed down. So we’re finding it’s just an opening for us to come in and work with high school students," he said.

The students will work on the home for 12 weekends.

Noel is hoping the program will expand to other First Nation schools in the province and expects it could eventually become a semester program, rather than a work experience program.

The students will be doing framing work this weekend. Last weekend, they took safety training through the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology.

The FSIN is also participating in the program providing lunches and free iPads to the students.  DeWalt is providing the tools, while Mark's is supplying the safety gear.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:51
 
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