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Sweetgrass and CFWE news - April 27, 2016

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Health disparities topic of weekend forum

April 27, 2016. The School of Public Health at the University of Alberta will be hosting an international conference entitled Transforming Health Care in Remote Communities, on Friday and Saturday, in Edmonton. Among the topics to be discussed is the health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations as well as the challenges faced by health care in Canada’s North, other circumpolar regions such as Alaska, Greenland, the Nordic countries, and Arctic Russia. Speakers from the School of Public Health include Dean Kue Young, Professor Stephanie Montesanti and Professor Arto Ohinmaa. In addition, the conference will host speakers from across Canada. Minister of Health in the Northwest Territories Glen Abernethy will offer the greeting.



Notley promotes Climate Leadership Plan in the U.S.


April 27, 2016. Premier Rachel Notley will be pushing environmental responsibility and diversification across sectors when she is in Washington Wednesday and Thursday. Notley will draw attention to Alberta’s progress on the Climate Leadership Plan and how it will create opportunities to advance clean technologies and renewables for global markets. She will also address the measures government has taken to support the economy through the economic downturn. Notley will meet with U.S. government officials, elected representatives and public policy think tanks.  



Marked increase in gonorrhea rates for young Indigenous females


April 26, 2016. Sexually transmitted infections have reached outbreak levels in Alberta and social media hook-ups are largely to blame. Cases of gonorrhea in 2015 are up 80 per cent from 2014, with nearly half of all cases among young Indigenous females. Infectious syphilis in 2015 doubled from 2014, with the increase most notably in men who have sex with men (MSM). “New social media tools enable people to communicate quickly to arrange anonymous sexual encounters, resulting in increased difficulty in tracking STIs. When people don’t know their sexual partners’ identities, it makes it difficult to contact partners for follow-up testing and treatment,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karen Grimsrud. Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services are working together to raise awareness of the outbreak, the risks of anonymous sexual encounters, the importance of testing, and safe sex practices. AHS has expanded STI clinic hours in Edmonton and Calgary, increased outreach testing in Edmonton in collaboration with agencies serving Indigenous and MSM populations, and reached out to physicians to increase STI testing for clients that are sexually active. AHS will also continue with its social media campaign to raise awareness and encourage STI testing. STIs are a significant health issue for Albertans, resulting in health, social, emotional, and economic costs. Some of these issues can be long-term.



Fort McKay First Nation begins legal action to stop development encroachment into Moose Lake


April 26, 2016. Fort McKay First Nation has filed a law suit against the province following the decision by the Alberta Consultation Office that an application by Prosper Petroleum Ltd. to develop an oil sands lease on the border of Fort McKay’s Moose Lake Reserve can be processed for approval by the Alberta Energy Regulator. “One department of government is barreling ahead with development while Minister (Shannon) Phillips (Environment and Parks and responsible for the Climate Change Office) and other government officials are working with us to protect the same area from development,” said Chief Jim Boucher, in a news release. Boucher said that former Premier Jim Prentice had promised a plan to control intensive oil sands development on the borders of the Moose Lake Reserve, and that plan was adopted by the new government. The plan would protect the ecology and natural features of the area enough to enable traditional activities, including hunting and trapping, to continue, but would also permit the oil sands resource to be extracted over time with controls on the pace, proximity and density of projects. The plan, however, has not been completed. Prosper Petroleum’s project, with its first phase to extend within 2 km of the Moose Lake Reserve, is before the Alberta Energy Regulator, which has no jurisdiction to consider Aboriginal or treaty rights or the capacity to delay approval of the Prosper project until a plan is in place to protect the environment and Fort McKay’s rights, said Boucher.