The Speech from the Throne says the government will issue an apology to those impacted by the Sixties Scoop.
“This session, my government will apologize to those in our province impacted by the Sixties Scoop.” “The practice occurred across Canada and involved taking Indigenous children from their families and communities for adoption or placement in foster homes. My government is working closely with the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan to prepare an apology.”
The Society has until the end of November to submit its final report of stories shared during six sharing circles taking place in October and November. That report is to be given to the Premier’s office as information to assist an apology from the province. Premier Scott Moe says a day is not set for the apology, but adding it will come after the completion of the sharing circles.
For the North, the Throne Speech touches on increased funding for northern school divisions of $14 million and also recognizes the work of the Sandy Bay Family Resource Centre, “which provides young families with free activities, advice and supports and has seen nearly 4,000 visits in 2017-18, the equivalent of every member of the community visiting five times.”
Moe says investments in northern education will create more local opportunities. “We need to work with those very same communities on ensuring that they can receive an education in their community or close to their community. We have over 20 percent of our adult basic education, which will be highlighted in the days ahead, is being provided in First Nations communities, on First Nations land,” said Moe.
As well, Sandy Bay has been selected for a new pilot program to engage youth in mental health promotion, to begin this winter.
The government is promoting of Remote Presence Technology, which enables health care providers to preform real-time assessments, diagnostics and patient management. This technology is being used in Stony Rapids, La Loche, Pelican Narrows, English River Dene Nation, Fond-Du-Lac, Clearwater River Dene Nation and Hatchet Lake.
The northern economy had little prominence in the Throne Speech. Uranium was briefly mentioned, commenting on the unwillingness of Canada to expand trade of the resource to China.
“We need to continue to advocate on behalf of the industries that are doing business in the north, so that we have the opportunity for those Aboriginal people to have a job in their community and remain in their community,” Moe said.
Yet the opposition NDP was quick to point out what isn’t in the Throne Speech for the north.
Cumberland MLA Doyle Vermette says there is a lack of vision. He calls on the government to consult with northern leadership to help find solutions to make life easier for residents.
Athabasca MLA Buckley Belanger says if the government was committed to improving the north, investment dollars would be there. “As much as people would think that the Premier has good intentions, well let me tell you, they are broke. It’s time for the Premier to put the money where his mouth is when it comes to the north and stop saying nice things and being friendly. Show me the cash to get things done. To date they have not shown one red-cent of commitment to the north.”
(Photo: Lieutenant Governor W. Thomas Molloy delivering the Speech from the Throne. Credit: Dan Jones)