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National Report Says Child Poverty In Sask May Be High As 25 Per Cent PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Monday, 24 November 2014 13:46

A new national report on child poverty echoes the findings of a recent Saskatchewan report.

The Campaign 2000 Annual Child Poverty Report entitled Child Poverty 25 years Later: We Can Fix This states that federal and provincial governments need to take leadership to end child poverty.

This year marks 25 years since the House of Commons passed a resolution to end child poverty by the year 2000.

The Upstream Institute also recently released a report entitled Poverty Costs Saskatchewan: A New Approach to Poverty Reduction which says child poverty has declined but it is far from being eliminated.

Using taxfiler data, Campaign 2000 estimates the overall child poverty rate in Saskatchewan may be above 25 per cent.

“This is particularly concerning as children living in poverty face greater difficulties with respect to social, cognitive and health outcomes,” Upstream policy director and author of Policy Costs Saskatchewan Charles Plante says. “In addition to these social impacts, poverty costs Saskatchewan an estimated $3.8 billion every year in increased service use and missed economic opportunities.”

Child Poverty 25 years Later: We Can Fix This can be found at www.campaign2000.ca. Poverty Costs Saskatchewan: A New Approach to Poverty Reduction is available at www.pocertcosts.ca/resources.

 
Academics Debate Ramifications Of Tsilhqot'in Decision PDF Print E-mail
Written by mbcnews   
Monday, 24 November 2014 13:44

Tough legal questions over Aboriginal rights and land claims were discussed over the weekend at a conference in Winnipeg.

Dozens of scholars and legal representatives, some of whom were from Saskatchewan, attended the two-day affair at the University of Manitoba.

A portion of the conference focused on the Tsilhqot'in First Nation’s challenge of Aboriginal title in British Columbia.

In a case spanning several years and 339 days in various courtrooms, the case wound its way to the Supreme Court where the nation’s highest court recognized Aboriginal title in Tsilhqot'in territory that semi-nomadic Indigenous nations could claim a land ownership rights or something akin to it through this concept of Aboriginal title.

Experts differ over what impact the ruling has outside of B.C., which has no numbered treaties.

However, many believe it will affect the understanding of Canadian Aboriginal law.

One paragraph in the Supreme Court’s written ruling on the Tsilhqot'in case has the potential to “haunt” First Nations, according to legal expert Peter Hutchins.

“The court said throughout the east of Canada the Crown entered into treaties whereby the Indigenous peoples gave up their claims to land in exchange for reservations and other promises,” he says. “That is not how the First Nations across the Prairies understood their treaties. I just don’t think it’s appropriate for the Supreme Court to make a statement like that which can be used by government against First Nations.”

The interpretation of each case is also a matter of debate according to Aimee Craft, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba.

“Some people think these cases are wins, others don’t agree, others think these decisions are holding us back,” she says, noting the logging rights case involving the Grassy Narrows First Nation as an example.

This case pitted the Ontario government’s assertion it had the right to issue a license for logging operations in parts of Treaty 3 territory, known more commonly as the Keewatin portion.

In the end the court partially affirmed this stance.

“The ruling was it (Ontario government) can; it has that ability to take up land but has to do in a way that is justified and through a process of consultation and accommodation,” Craft says.

Hutchins says despite all the victories Aboriginal communities have made against the government, it still feels like they are forced to start from the beginning whenever they enter the courtroom.

One audience member attending the conference told organizers he thought governments and corporations were all on different levels when it came to dealing with honour and good faith.

“They have different understandings of what those terms mean,” he says.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 November 2014 21:30
 
Northern Trappers Make Good On Promise To Erect Highway Roadblock PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kelly Provost, Fraser Needham   
Monday, 24 November 2014 11:27

A group of trappers have set up a blockade on Highway 955, near La Loche, slowing down industrial traffic heading to local mineral and oil exploration sites.

 

They are representatives of Metis Local 130 in Descharme Lake and the N-19 fur block.

The blockade is located about eight kilometres north of La Loche.

The trappers accuse the companies of restricting them from traditional land use activities and damaging the local environment.

Northern Trappers’ Alliance spokesperson Candyce Paul says the trappers and other locals want to see forms of development in the area that don’t cause serious disruption to the local environment.

“They want to be involved in choosing a direction to develop and a direction that isn’t going to destroy their lands and their waters and their lifestyles,” she says.

Calgary-based Cenovus Energy is one of the companies that have economic interests in the area.

Company spokesperson Reg Curran says Cenovus is not currently conducing any exploration activities in the area and they are reclaiming and improving the local environment rather than damaging it.

“We’ve done a lot of tree planting, a lot of seed collection, in fact, we’ve collected millions of seeds for future re-vegetation and in the past year or so planted nearly 100,000 trees,” he says.

Curran says some of the sites the company is working in do have to be restricted due to equipment security and for safety reasons.

He says about 15 local people are employed by Cenovus in the area.

Saskatchewan Deputy Minister of Justice Kevin Fenwick says as far as the government is aware, the blockade has been peaceful so far and the trappers are only delaying industrial traffic but not preventing vehicles from entering work sites.

He says the government would only seek a court injunction to take down the blockade as a last resort and they have put out a request to meet with the trappers to better understand their demands.

“What we’re doing, actually, is trying to reach out to those who are involved in the demonstration to find out exactly what their specific areas of concern are but to our knowledge, and certainly to my knowledge, the individuals involved have not taken up that offer to meet,” he says.

Other companies that have interests in the area include Purepoint Uranium Group and NexGen Energy.

There are about eight trappers on the blockade.

Monday was the third day of the blockade.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 24 November 2014 18:10
 
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