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FSIN calls shooting of Red Pheasant First Nation man a hate crime; expresses disappointment in RCMP and media coverage PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick, Chelsea Laskowski   
Friday, 12 August 2016 16:16

A photo of Colten Boushie.  Courtesy Facebook.

A vice-chief with the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations says the death of a 22 year-old from Red Pheasant First Nation should be treated as a hate crime.

According to the RCMP Colten Boushie and a few friends drove into a property in the RM of Glendale earlier this week where an altercation took place between them and the property owner.

After words were exchanged Boushie was shot and killed and 54 year-old Gerald Stanley is now charged with second-degree murder.

FSIN Vice-Chief Kimberly Jonathan says she believes the alleged crime was race related.

“We have to ask people if those youth were white would they have been shot at,” said the Vice-Chief while speaking with MBC, adding that "our kids are not bounty."

In the initial RCMP report there was mention of a theft investigation, but family and friends of Boushie say he and his friends were at the property because their vehicle had a flat tire.

The 3 other occupants of the vehicle have since been released from custody. According to the latest RCMP release on Thursday, police were still considering charges pending further investigation.

The case has sparked heated debate online to the point where the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations has called on people to stop the racist comments.

"A young man is gone and our thoughts should be with his loved ones and family," said National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  "to see racist, derogatory comments about this young man and about First Nations people online and on social media in response to this tragedy is profoundly disturbing."

In an FSIN media release they say they are disappointed in how the RCMP presented the shooting.

“The news release the RCMP issued the following day provided just enough prejudicial information for the average reader to draw their own conclusions that the shooting was somehow justified,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron in the release. “The messaging in an RCMP news release should not fuel racial tensions.”

"The media's initial potrayal of the event made the incident sound like a crime was about to be committed by the passengers in the car," said Chief Clint Wuttunee of Red Pheasant First Nation in the same release.  "The media based their reports on the RCMP's news release."

The FSIN is calling for a review of the RCMP's communication policies and writing guidelines.

The RCMP is expected to respond to these claims later on Friday.

Vice-Chief Kimberley Jonathan says they are speaking out because she says Colten's family deserves justice.

“Anything less is unacceptable,” said Jonathan. “What would happen if there was not punishment to the highest degree it would allow open season on First Nations people and that is not ok.”

None of the claims against either the group in the vehicle or Gerald Stanley have been proven in court.

Friends and family of Colten Boushie have spent the past few days taking to social media to honour him. He has been called hard-working and kindhearted.

A GoFundMe page has also been put up to raise money for Colten's family.

The page entitled 'Justice for Colten' had raised nearly $7,000 of its $10,000 goal as of Friday evening.

Last Updated on Friday, 12 August 2016 17:47
Funnel clouds seen in La Ronge during weather advisory PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Friday, 12 August 2016 16:15

The funnel cloud was see-through.  Photo courtesy Facebook, La Ronge.

Funnel clouds have been viewed in the La Ronge area this afternoon.

This comes after Environment Canada issued a weather advisory about possible thunderstorms and a low pressure system that could create funnel clouds. The advisory covered La Ronge, Prince Albert National Park, Montreal Lake, and much of central and south-east Saskatchewan.

They expected any of those clouds to have a weak rotation, and could create landspout tornado that could be strong enough to do a bit of damage - but it wasn't likely.

Chief Tammy Cook-Searson took a photo of the funnel cloud from another angle.  Photo courtesy Tammy Cook-Searson, Facebook.

This seems to be the case from photos that have surfaced online. Unlike tornados in the south, this one was see through, but had the tell-tale spout of a funnel cloud.

The weather advisory was still in place by late afternoon on Friday, after heavy rain hit the Waskesiu area and other parts of the province.

Last Updated on Friday, 12 August 2016 16:30
Two provincial cabinet ministers not returning to their post PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Friday, 12 August 2016 14:00

Brad Wall speaks to media at Elk Ridge on Friday, as Herb Cox stands beside him. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski

Saskatchewan government's annual caucus retreat at Elk Ridge Resort has been bittersweet for two cabinet ministers who will soon be replaced.

Environment Minister Herb Cox and Economy Minister Bill Boyd are both stepping down, of their own accord.

The public didn't know until now, but Cox has been undergoing chemotherapy since Christmas time and will be undergoing stem cell transplants by the end of the month.

This is his second time undergoing the process, as he had cancer in 2011 as well. This time around Cox said he has more energy because the harvesting of his stem cells was already done in 2011.

He's optimistic about recovery and plans to stay on as MLA.

"I don't see that this will affect me at all. I look at it, it's no different than somebody who had an operation or maybe was in a car accident or whatever and was laid up for a period of time," Cox said.

Despite his health concerns, Cox will be holding another news conference next week regarding the Husky Energy oil spill.

Premier Brad Wall commends both ministers for their performances in tough positions. He pointed to Cox's work during the wildfires in northern Saskatchewan last year, and his leadership since the Husky Energy oil spill in recent weeks.

Boyd has been in cabinet since 2007 and said he wants to open up space for other Sask. Party members to take on the role.

Bill Boyd speaks to media, Herb Cox stands to the side. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski

"You see that we have a very, very high quality team now and as a result of that I think it's time for some of us to think about the future a little more carefully and give opportunity for some other people to serve," he said.

Wall said Boundary Dam 3 is a part of Boyd's legacy as Minister of the Economy, but also spoke of Boyd's role in the Sask. Party beyond just as minister.

Boyd is one the eight founders of the Sask. Party. He was the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party 19 years ago, when the PCs merged with the Liberals to create the Sask. Party.

"The Saskatchewan Party would not be here if it were not for Bill," Wall said.

He said in the years since, Boyd has been held in high esteem by all his colleagues. That made the conversation in which Boyd told Wall he wanted to step down from caucus, a bittersweet one.

"I remember having a discussion when I was considering running for the leadership in the first place. One of the first people I called for advice and counsel and hopefully support was Bill. So now to have this conversation all these years later was a little bittersweet."

Those glowing words gave way to some reflection on economic situations, like the Global Transportation Hub land deal and SaskPower Smart Metres, that the government has struggled with.

The GTH deal was subject to an auditor's report that cleared Boyd of allegations of misconduct.

"I think the report showed that government has to get things better in terms of communications, on expropriating of land," Wall said.

Boyd, too, acknowledges his role has not always been easy.

"You do what you think is the right thing all the way along. If I were to look back on it we probably would have made the decision to pull the Smart Metres out a little bit earlier. However you kind of deal with the hand that you're dealt with at the time," he said.

Just last week, Minister of Liquor and Gaming Don McMorris resigned after being charged with impaired driving.

In spite of all these recent developments - including widespread criticism of announcements related to reducing benefits for those on social assistance - Wall said the retreat was "truly one of the best meetings we've ever had,” and focused more on “transformational change” than on the people in government who are driving it.

With these three cabinet vacancies, Wall has some big decisions to make.

"Sure, this changes some things and there are certain spaces now perhaps ... are open now in cabinet that weren't open just a few months ago," he said.

A cabinet shuffle is coming in the next few weeks.

Last Updated on Friday, 12 August 2016 17:40
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