Blog 2 - The Turtle Island News
Breaking News

BC Civil Liberties Association revokes award granted to Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond

VANCOUVER -Another award has been stripped from Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the former judge, law professor and British Columbia representative for children and youth, whose claims of Indigenous ancestry have been discredited. The BC Civil Liberties Association issued a statement Thursday saying it has rescinded the Reg Robson Award given to her as part of its 2020 Liberty Awards. Board members believed Turpel-Lafond’s representations about her professional accomplishments and Cree heritage when the association granted the award recognizing substantial contributions to civil liberties in B.C. and Canada, it said. Indeed, they believed her ancestry “played an essential role in informing her professional roles, her position in the community, and her work to advance human rights on behalf of Indigenous Peoples and advocacy organizations,” it said. But information came to light demonstrating

Federal environment minister says Alberta silence over oilsands spill ‘worrisome’

By Bob Weber THE CANADIAN PRESS Alberta’s nine-month silence over two releases of toxic oilsands tailings water is “worrisome,” said federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault. “It is very worrisome that for over half a year, the Alberta regulator did not communicate with (Environment Canada), nor did they communicate with the Indigenous nations,” Guilbeault said Thursday in Ottawa. Alberta has an agreement with Ottawa that all such events must be reported promptly to the federal department, which has enforcement responsibilities over water. “We have to be notified within 24 hours,” Guilbeault said. He said Ottawa can’t fulfil its duties around environmental enforcement if provinces keep it in the dark about problems. Imperial Oil reported brown sludge outside one of its tailings ponds at its Kearl mine about 70 kilometres north of

Alberta agency to conduct independent probe of B.C. RCMP Prince George detachment

VICTORIA- The British Columbia government says the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team will lead a probe into allegations of historic misconduct by members of the Prince George RCMP detachment, and the failure of the force to act on the complaints. A statement from the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, says the allegations are disturbing and are being taken very seriously. The independent commission that ensures the impartial examination of complaints about the RCMP already issued an interim report to the RCMP commissioner about the matter and Farnworth’s office says the commissioner agreed with the report’s findings and recommendations. The minister’s statement says he spoke with his federal counterpart minister Marco Mendicino about the case and B.C.’s director of police services has now ordered an independent investigation

Federal environment minister says Alberta silence over oilsands spill ‘worrisome’

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says Alberta’s nine-month silence over two releases of toxic oil sands tailings water is worrisome. He says Alberta is supposed to notify the federal government over such releases within 24 hours. In this case, Alberta government agencies seem to have known about seepage from Imperial Oil’s Kearl oilsand tailings pond for nine months before making a public statement on it. Environmental incidents in Alberta are normally first reported to a government call centre run by Alberta Transportation, which then notifies the provincial regulator. Environment Canada, in a timeline released Wednesday, says it had to learn about the seepage and a second, 5.3-million-litre spill from area First Nations, who themselves were kept in the dark about the extent and nature of the seepage. Alberta Premier Danielle

Woods facing legal clash with ex girlfriend as Masters nears

 By Doug Ferguson THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Tiger Woods’ former girlfriend wants to nullify a nondisclosure agreement she signed with golf’s biggest star in a legal dispute that involves allegations of an abrupt breakup after six years together. The court documents have come to light a month before Woods, whose comeback from injuries has restored his popularity, returns to Augusta National to play in the Masters. Attorneys for Woods’ ex-girlfriend, Erica Herman, are asking for clarity on what she can and cannot say, according to documents filed in Martin County Circuit Court in south Florida. Woods lives in Hobe Sound in Martin County, north of West Palm Beach, and the complaint said Woods and Herman had been living together. According to the complaint, a trust controlled by Woods is trying to

U of L makes history by signing Buffalo Treaty

By Ryan Clarke  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The University of Lethbridge made history Wednesday by being one of the first post-secondary institutions in Canada to sign on to the Buffalo Treaty as a supporter. During  Indigenous Awareness Week on campus, the university signed on to  perpetuate all aspects of Indigenous cultures related to buffalo,  including customs, practices, beliefs, and ceremonies. The City of  Lethbridge was also present at the ceremony, adding to the signatures as  supporters, too. “Today  is a fantastic historic day for the signing of the treaty. The  University of Lethbridge has played a very important role, in fact, the  drafting of the Buffalo Treaty happened right here at the University of  Lethbridge,” said Leroy Little Bear, Vice-Provost for Indigenous  Relations at the University. “The university is named

Report says long COVID could impact economy and be ‘mass disabling event’ in Canada

 By Camille Bains THE CANADIAN PRESS A report released Thursday by Canada’s chief science adviser says she considers COVID-19 the “head” of the pandemic but long COVID its “tail” as the illness inflicts significant harm on individuals, their families and potentially the country’s economy. Dr. Mona Nemer said about 10 to 20 per cent of people with COVID-19 develop long COVID after they have recovered from infection and struggle with a variety of symptoms ranging from high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat to medically undefined symptoms such as chronic fatigue, brain fog, muscle pain and blurred vision. “Some patients have not recovered two to three years after the initial infection and it is uncertain whether a proportion may ever fully recover,” Nemer said of the condition that lacks consensus

Columbia Basin Trust supports 22 projects for more sustainable operations

 By Chadd Cawson  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter With the ongoing impacts of climate change, finding sustainability for the future is key. The Columbia Basin Trust is providing financial support of over $2 million to First Nations and non-profit organizations across the Columbia Basin with 22 new projects. These projects will involve activities like purchasing new electric vehicles, or replacing fossil fuel vehicles with electric ones, installing charging stations or doing energy retrofits and repairs on community-use buildings. Through this initiative and the support of The Trust, Akisqnuk First Nation and Shuswap Band will also be obtaining two new electric vehicles and charging stations. “We’re pleased to help even more non-profits and First Nations increase the energy efficiency of their buildings and electrify their transportation,” said Ulli Mueller, senior manager, Delivery

AFNQL joins chorus of Indigenous voices denouncing NAQ

 By Marc Lalonde  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador joined the chorus of voices criticizing the Native Alliance of Quebec, saying the organization is illegitimate and that using federal funding earmarked for Indigenous spending amounts to fraud. The AFNQL blasted the NAQ’s use of federal-government funding for its Rendez-Vous des Nations event held earlier this month in Gatineau. The event, held from March 1 to 4, which featured a number of different exhibitions, was blasted by the AFNQL and its chief, Ghislain Picard. “It is nothing new that non-Indigenous people or groups call themselves Indigenous, the point being that it is clearly an identity fraud. These groups of non-indigenous people are accessing government funding meant for Indigenous people, who are already underfunded in

UN special rapporteur on Indigenous people to present findings tomorrow in Ottawa

By Marc Lalonde  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples will wrap up his first official visit to Canada with a press conference highlighting his findings in Ottawa tomorrow morning. The 10-day visit from Jose Francisco Cali Tzay is the first such visit since he was appointed to the role in 2020. He will present his preliminary findings and recommendations will be shared in a press conference tomorrow in Ottawa. Kahnawake’s Kenneth Deer, a member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy External Relations Committee, said he expects Cali Tzay to point out what many Indigenous people and observers already know: that the federal government talks a good game, but that concrete action toward reconciliation comes at a glacial pace in this country. “Canada has this

CAP looking for solutions on housing crisis

By Marc Lalonde  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter A lobby group advocating for the urban Indigenous population in Canada’s cities is looking to tackle the housing crisis faced by many in the margins of society and solutions must be found now, said the organization’s national vice-chief. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is determined to find concrete solutions to the national Indigenous housing crisis at the 2023 National Housing Engagement Session held Monday and Tuesday in Vancouver. The phenomenon of urban Indigenous populations living on the street and in tenuous housing situations is only getting worse, the organization said. “At any given time more than 37,000 Indigenous people find themselves homeless, and tens of thousands of households are in dire need of repair,” said CAP National Chief Elmer St. Pierre. “Those realities

Albertans exploring 2030 Commonwealth Games bid in communities across the province

By Colette Derworiz THE CANADIAN PRESS CALGARY- A group of Albertans has started to explore whether communities across the province could host the 2030 Commonwealth Games. The group includes athletes, business and sports leaders, the chief of Tsuut’ina Nation, as well as the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton. “We’ve been working for well over three years very actively to try to explore this possibility,” Roger Jackson, who’s serving as president and CEO of the Alberta 2030 Commonwealth Games Corp., said Wednesday. “We have been supported by private donations for all of our work up to this point in time and thousands of volunteer hours. “Today, we are very excited to enter a new phase, a bid exploration.” Jackson, who was involved in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, said the

Port Edward announces new CAO

By Kaitlyn Bailey  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Edward council officially appointed Robert Grodecki as the district’s new chief administrative officer during their regular meeting on Feb. 28. Grodecki is a seasoned North Coaster. “Having been born and raised in Prince Rupert provides me with a wealth of background knowledge,” he wrote in a press release from the District of Port Edward on Jan. 26. “I am a strategic thinker and problem solver who wants to support the district’s strategic priorities.” Some residents may recognize his name from his time as executive director of the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society, a position he has held for the last 10 years. Alternatively, residents of Port Edward might remember him from the four years he served as corporate administrator for the

Feds, Equinor push back in court clash over Bay du Nord 

By Cloe Logan  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Lawyers representing Equinor and the federal government on Thursday pushed back against arguments that Canada’s first deepwater offshore oil project was unlawfully approved. In April 2022, Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault approved Bay du Nord, stating it was environmentally sound. He determined the project, about 500 kilometres east of St. John’s in Newfoundland, “is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.” Opponents were quick to condemn the approval, noting the significant emissions that would come from the project and the risk it poses to marine life. In Ottawa on Wednesday, lawyers on behalf of Sierra Club Canada, Equiterre and Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Incorporated (MTI), a group representing eight Mi’gmaq communities in New Brunswick, said Guilbeault didn’t have the full picture when

Movement rekindled to rename N.B. university connected to ‘torturer’ of Acadians

 By Marisela Amador THE CANADIAN PRESS MONTREAL- A movement has been rekindled in New Brunswick to shed a francophone university’s connection to Robert Monckton, a British military figure who played an active role in the imprisonment and deportation of thousands of Acadians. More than 1,000 people from Canada’s Acadian community, including dignitaries, academics and artists, have signed a petition to rename Universite de Moncton, the country’s largest French-language university outside Quebec. “We have mobilized and are creating an irreversible movement,” Acadian activist Jean-Marie Nadeau said in an interview Tuesday. “There has never been such a large and popular mobilization (on this issue) like the one we have.” The university was founded in 1966 and took the name of the City of Moncton, the location of one of its three campuses and

Indigenous leaders meet with UN

By Miranda Leybourne  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is calling on area residents to share their thoughts on truth and reconciliation with the federal government. On March 1, Grand Chief Elmer St. Pierre and other leadership from the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), a national group representing Metis, status and non-status Indians and southern Inuit living off-reserve, met with Francisco Cali Tazy, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, in Ottawa. Cali Tazy has been on a tour of Canada, and St. Pierre said he was able to have fruitful conversations with him about Indigenous people living off reserve. Support from international bodies like the United Nations is important to CAP, St. Pierre said, adding that urban Indigenous people and the issues

Canada seeks to update Interpretation Act to protect Indigenous rights, but draft fails to include UNDRIP

 By Shari Narine  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter A constitutional law professor doesn’t believe the Liberal government is going far enough with proposed amendments to the federal Interpretation Act. Justice Canada is soliciting feedback from Indigenous partners on draft legislation which includes a non-derogation clause associated with upholding section 35 Aboriginal and treaty rights, which would apply to all federal laws. The proposed clause reads, “Every enactment is to be construed as upholding the Aboriginal and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and not as abrogating or derogating from them.” A non-derogation clause (NDC) is a statement in a law or piece of legislation that indicates the law should be interpreted to uphold, and not diminish, other existing rights. The federal

Closing arguments heard in Winnipeg trial of priest charged with indecent assault

WINNIPEG- A two-day trial in Winnipeg has wrapped up for a retired priest accused of assaulting a First Nations woman when she attended a former residential school more than 50 years ago. Arthur Masse, who is now 93, is charged with one count of indecent assault from when the woman was a 10-year-old student at the Fort Alexander Residential school north of Winnipeg. A Manitoba Court of King’s Bench justice has heard closing remarks from the Crown and the priest’s defence lawyer. Masse’s lawyer argues the woman’s testimony was inconsistent and unreliable due to the passage of time. The Crown says the accuser never wavered in her recollection of what happened to her. Justice Candace Grammond reserved her decision for the end of the month.   This report by The

Canada adds indecency, abortion offences to list of ‘unjust’ historic convictions 

By David Fraser THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA- People who have been convicted of a number of indecency and anti-abortion offences that are no longer on the books can now have those convictions expunged. The list of “historically unjust offences” is being expanded to include a raft of charges that date back as far as 1892 and were largely directed at the LGBTQ community and women. Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said at a Tuesday news conference that the offences led to the stigmatization and marginalization of people and deprived them of a sense of belonging because of their sexual orientation or their gender. “That is wrong,” he said. The government says police historically used certain indecency aspects of bawdy-house laws to target and raid bathhouses, LGBTQ nightclubs and swingers clubs.

‘I was terrified:’ Woman testifies in trial for former residential school priest 

By Brittany Hobson THE CANADIAN PRESS WINNIPEG- A First Nations woman told a courtroom she was left scared and sick to her stomach after a priest allegedly assaulted her at a residential school more than 50 years ago, accusations the now-retired cleric has denied. Arthur Masse, 93, is charged with one count of indecent assault from when the woman was a 10-year-old student at the Fort Alexander Residential School, north of Winnipeg. RCMP charged Masse last summer following a criminal investigation that started in 2011. The tall, slender man with thinning hair and glasses quietly entered his plea of not guilty as his trial began Tuesday. He was wearing all black and a priest’s collar. Victoria McIntosh was the first to testify at the two-day, judge-alone trial overseen by Court

error: Content is protected !!