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FSIN demands funding for youth suicide prevention PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Wednesday, 26 October 2016 14:16

FSIN Fall Legislation Assembly in Yorkton. Photo by Joel Willick

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations is demanding immediate funding from the federal government to support initiatives to prevent youth suicides.

The FSIN passed a resolution at its fall assembly Wednesday afternoon that included several initiatives on youth suicide.

The resolution entitled the "Chief Beatty Youth Procedural Resolution," includes a Youth Suicide Prevention Conference and the development of a youth mental health facility. Both of which they are demanding to be endorsed and funded by the federal government.

The resolution was passed with a vote of 53 in favour and no one opposed or abstaining.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron spoke about the positives of these initiatives, but says any changes that will happen go beyond funding.

"Chief and council -- we need to show our young people they are loved," Chief Cameron told the assembly. "Go to your schools and encourage them. I love you, have a good day, anything that it takes to brighten our children's day."

Several other chiefs echoed Cameron's comments, saying the changes will come from community-driven initiatives.

Prince Albert Grand Council Chief Ron Michel says the resolution is about everyone working together.

"We at the grand council are ready to bring in our educators, our social workers, our elders to one place to sit down because it is not just suicide," says Chief Michel.  "It is a lot of social problems, drugs and other things and it will take the community to deal with this."

The resolution comes in response to multiple First Nations youth who have taken their own lives in the past month.

The FSIN Fall Legislative Assembly is currently taking place in Yorkton and will wrap up on Thursday.

Several other resolutions are also on the agenda, including a review of the Gaming Framework Agreement, a proposed five-year crime reduction strategy and a First Nations HIV/AIDS strategy.

On Wednesday morning, the assembly also passed a resolution establishing a joint task force to develop a regional funding mechanism for First Nations education.

Witchekan Lake First Nation was named as the host of the 2018 First Nation Winter Games to be played in Saskatoon.

Also, Incoming Children's Advocate, Corey O'Soup from Key First Nation, was honoured by the chiefs in assembly.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 October 2016 14:25
Federal Court judge rules to reinstate Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation urban councillor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Wednesday, 26 October 2016 13:11

Warren McCallum (centre) speaks to his lawyer after leaving court on Oct. 12. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski

The urban councillor position for Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation has sat empty for more than 10 months, but a federal court decision changes that.

The Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Elder's Council decision to remove Urban Councillor Warren McCallum from office - made Dec. 10, 2015 - has been set aside by a Federal Court Justice St-Louis.

McCallum has been reinstated effective October 19 and he has been back in the office since then.

This comes after McCallum sought a judicial review to determine if the Elder’s Council decision breached procedural fairness and natural law, whether the Elder’s Council had power and authority to remove him, and whether the decision was reasonable or not. Arguments were delivered on Oct. 12.

Last fall, hundreds of people from PBCN signed a petition saying that McCallum, as the elected urban councillor, had not abided by the PBCN Election Code 2014’s Standards of Conduct.

This petition - and how many signatures were on it - are critical to what followed.

The petition was handed to the Elder's Council by Chief Peter Beatty in November. The Elders were tasked with finding whether the petition met the band's custom laws, which require a threshold of 25 per cent of electors in the affected community to sign the petition in order for action to be taken.

In calculating the percentage, the Elder’s Council used the number of urban area members who voted in the 2015 election, instead of the total numbers of electors in the urban area.

In Justice St-Louis’ ruling, she says the Elders justified this by saying that the number of electors was not available and unknown. This justification, St-Louis writes, is “unacceptable given the gravity of the consequence.”

She writes that the band’s Election Code is “unequivocally clear” in its need to meet the 25 per cent threshold for the petition. Justice St-Louis has ruled there is no evidence that 25 per cent of electors signed the petition, and this flaw is "fatal to the removal process."

Justice St-Louis’ ruling does not weigh in on McCallum’s contention that the Elder’s Council did not have the power and authority to remove him. His claim was that “the role of the Council of Elders is essentially to mentor and guide the Chief and Council and not to remove Chief and Council from office, unless addiction issues are raised.”

She also does not weigh in on McCallum’s opposition to the issues raised in the petition.

The court will not grant McCallum’s request for costs “to compensate damages resulting from his removal from office.”

Many outspoken urban members have been unsatisfied throughout the process, and it’s unlikely this federal court decision will settle that unrest.

There’s no word yet on whether this ruling will be appealed.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 October 2016 13:14
Tisdale woman takes home $1.5 M from Smoke Signals jackpot at Gold Eagle Casino PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Wednesday, 26 October 2016 10:56

Doreen and Barry Reid at the Smoke Signals machine where they won $1.5 million. Photo courtesy SIGA

The Gold Eagle Casino in North Battleford had a lot of excitement on Sunday, with a visitor winning $1.5 million.

Tisdale’s Doreen Reid was playing the Smoke Signals game, a SIGA-wide progressive slot machine that starts at $1 million and maxes out at $2 million.

The last big Smoke Signals win came in May.

To date, Smoke Signals has paid out a total of $8.55 million.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 October 2016 10:58
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