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Sweetgrass and CFWE news - April 26, 2016

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Dene Tha First Nation looks to join Dene Nation

April 26, 2016. Dene Tha First Nation wants to become the second Alberta First Nation to join the Northwest Territories-centred Dene Nation, claiming the in-Canada borders are artificial. "We do have traditional boundaries that overlap into Northwest Territories," said Chief Joe Pastion, "and our Elders, through our oral history, they do paint the picture that the majority of our area... back in the nomadic days, a lot of Dene people travel the land. A lot of settlements were not too far in the Northwest Territories." Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation joined the Dene Nation in 2011. The Dene Nation currently represents 34 different First Nations, bands and councils. The only other outside-NWT council that is part of the Dene Nation is the Arctic Athabaskan Council, headquartered in Whitehorse.



Liberals funding expands Trade Winds at NAIT


April 25, 2016. Randy Boissonnault, Liberal MP for Edmonton Centre, announced Monday that the federal government plans to spend more than $1 million on a program designed to help get Indigenous young people into the trades. Trade Winds, run through NAIT, offers 14- to 16-week pre-apprenticeship training to Indigenous students for almost every trade. By completing the program the students receive their safety tickets and become apprenticeship-ready. The additional funding and additional partners will see the program’s capacity increase from 135 to 400 students, as well as renovate training spaces, launch new marketing plans and create a new outreach business model for Bonnyville. Since the program began in 2005, more than 1,000 students have graduated. 



Government funding needed to deal with root causes of addictions


April 25, 2016. CAMP Clinics, a Calgary-based non-profit health provider, is calling for more funding from the province to get to the root causes of addiction. “Making naloxone kits more widely available is a vital tool to respond to an accidental overdose and save lives,” said Paul Lackan of CAMP Clinics. “However, naloxone and detox beds only treat the symptoms of opiate overdose or addiction, not the underlying issues that caused the addiction in the first place.” CAMP Clinics provides counseling, psychiatric care and life skills coaching for those struggling to overcome opiate dependency. It is currently serving more than 300 clients but has 200 more clients on its waiting list. Lackan said more government funding is needed for education-based prevention, early intervention, and treatment programs.



New workforce lodging and services created


April 25, 2016. Dene Koe Workforce Lodging & Services is the new joint venture for Fort McKay First Nation and Noralta Lodge. “Having our Nation’s culture reflected in the company serves as a reminder that, Yes, we are a First Nations community and that we are also a forward thinking business-minded community,” Chief Jim Boucher in a statement. Dene Koe provides open lodging service for oilsands workers at Noralta Lodge’s existing Fort McMurray Village, which offers 3,500 rooms north of Fort McMurray. Dene Koe will also provide facilities management services to oil producers in the region, which involves managing the operations of producer-owned workforce lodging facilities, as well as other related services such as workforce transportation within the region.



Notley stresses need for pipeline approvals with Liberals


April 25, 2016. Premier Rachel Notley met Monday with Liberal cabinet ministers at a retreat in Kananaskis and emphasized the urgency of the federal government approving proposed pipelines in order to build confidence for the industry and access to international pricing for Alberta. Federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said Notley was “very effective” at making her case. “She has an argument and a story to tell and ministers were very keen to hear it,” he said. The Alberta government argues that the lack of access to international markets has forced the province to accept a steep discount on its crude.



Another downgrade in credit rating for Alberta


April 25, 2016. Moody’s downgraded Alberta’s AAA credit rating on Monday. Finance Minister Joe Ceci called the move “a disappointment.” Ceci said his government made the decision to put jobs first in its most recent budget. “The bottom line is that we had a choice. We could have raised taxes, fired teachers and nurses, and made reckless cuts to social services. We could have cancelled our entire job creation and stimulus plan as some would like. But Albertans need jobs,” he said in a statement. Wildrose Shadow Finance Minister Derek Fildebrandt said the credit downgrade is not surprising. “Minister Ceci did have a choice this budget. He could have put Alberta on a sustainable path back to balanced budgets. Instead his NDP government put together a fiscal plan that puts Alberta’s future at risk,” said Fildebrandt in a statement. “Until the NDP government presents a credible plan to get expenses in line with revenues, Albertans should expect to see these downgrades continue.”


Woman wanted in armed robbery


April 25, 2016. The RCMP are asking for assistance in locating Natasha Irene Hebel of Frog Lake. Hebel, 20, is described as Aboriginal, 5’11”, skinny build with long hair. She may be in Edmonton or Frog Lake. RCMP say she should not be approached. A warrant has been issued for her arrest in relation to an armed robbery, which occurred April 19 in the parking lot of Boston Pizza on Wye Road in Sherwood Park. It is alleged she and Colton Albert Buck approached a woman in her vehicle, Buck displayed a handgun and forced the woman from her vehicle. Hebel and Buck took off in the woman’s vehicle. Buck has been charged with possession of stolen property, various firearm offences and forgery. He is to appear in Sherwood Park Provincial Court on Wednesday. Anyone with information regarding Hebel’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Strathcona County RCMP at 780-467-7741 or phone Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).



Overwhelming endorsement for May’s leadership


April 25, 2016. Members of the Green Party of Canada have approved Elizabeth May as leader in a review that saw her garner 93.6 per cent support. The party’s constitution stipulates that a leadership review be held within six months of a federal general election, and that the leader must receive at least 60 per cent support from members. The online leadership review vote was open for 30 days to all members in good standing. The review period closed on April 15, with an all-time high participation rate in the vote. “I will continue to pursue critical issues that are so important to our members: from climate action to restoring legitimacy in the environmental review process, from ending subsidies for fossil fuels to becoming a world leader in the 21st century, renewable energy economy,” said May in a statement. May was re-elected in 2015 and is the only member of her party in Parliament. The Green Party had one Indigenous candidate in Alberta in the last federal election, with Ralph McLean, a Metis, running in Edmonton Mill Woods.