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Sweetgrass and CFWE news - May 10, 2016

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Indigenous lawyer should be next appointee to the Supreme Court

May 10, 2016. Alberta lawyer Koren Lightning-Earle, president of the Indigenous Bar Association, has joined the call for the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy to be filled by the first Indigenous judge. She says the “the time is right” given the importance of implementing the recent recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the important cases the top court and lower courts are regularly confronting that affect Indigenous rights and all Canadians — whether in the areas of land claims, child welfare, resource development, or criminal law. Among the names being mentioned are Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the TRC, and Jean Teillet, who is well-known for her work on Metis issues, including representing the Metis Nation of Alberta. Nova Scotia’s Thomas Cromwell is set to retire from the Supreme Court on Sept. 1.



Rheaume begins Alberta leg of tour


May 10, 2016. Aboriginal Juno nominee from 2014 Amanda Rheaume will begin the Alberta portion of her Canadian tour with a performance in Calgary May 12. Other stops include Edmonton (May 13), Red Deer (May 14), Twin Butte (May 19), Nanton (May 20) and Jasper (May 21). Rheaume released her latest album Holding Patterns on May 6. Her first single from the album, “Red Dress,” in which she is joined by 2014 Juno Humanitarian Award winner Chantal Kreviazuk, is a powerful statement about the role of intergenerational trauma and oppression in the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women. “Red Dress,” written in a single evening, was inspired by the Cindy Gladue verdict. Gladue, a sex trade worker, was killed in an Edmonton hotel room. The jury acquitted the man she was with, who had been charged with her murder.  The Crown appealed the decision. Holding Patterns is a benefit for the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Safety and Violence Prevention Program.



Rotary charitable foundation to help with Fort McMurray rebuild


May 9, 2016. The Rotary District 5370 Charitable Foundation has announced the establishment of the Fort McMurray Fire Relief Fund to assist in re-building the city following the wild fire. The charitable foundation is now accepting donations, for which tax receipts will be issued. The foundation will rely on an independent committee of Fort McMurray stakeholders (including the Rotary clubs and municipalities) for advice on disbursal of the funds. Approximately 2,400 structures were burned by the wildfire, which forced the mandatory evacuation of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo on May 3. However, the majority of critical infrastructure, including operating schools, the hospital and municipal buildings, were not impacted. The province announced it will take two weeks to release a re-entry plan to the community. Rotary District 5370 is a part of the global network of Rotary International.



Nenshi recognizes work done by FCSS programs


May 9, 2016. As Calgary celebrated 50 years of Family and Community Support Services programming, Mayor Naheed Nenshi acknowledged FCSS-funded agencies that are assisting people impacted by the wildfires in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. “Many of you have been working with our evacuees and ensuring we are able to look after the people who have found themselves here in Calgary. This is what we do,” said Nenshi. “We look after one another in times of good and bad and we create community. Thank you for helping, and know we will be calling on you in the coming days and weeks to continue that important role.” Calgary has set up two reception centres in the city for evacuees from the Wood Buffalo wild fire. There are about a dozen reception centres in the province, with Calgary being the furthest south. Over 42,000 households of evacuees have registered with Red Cross.



Province gives go-ahead for AER in Frontier oil sands mine project


May 6, 2016. A provincial Order in Council under the Responsible Energy Act approves the Alberta Energy Regulator entering into an agreement with the federal government to establish a joint review panel for the Frontier oil sands mine project. Late last week, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency allocated an additional $730,386.75 to 14 recipients, including First Nations and Metis associations, to assist them in reviewing and commenting on documents submitted by Teck Resources Ltd. for its proposed Frontier oil sands mine project, and preparing for and participating in the public hearing. The proposal is for a new 260,000 barrel per day oil sands mining operation located approximately 110 km north of Fort McMurray. The project is a truck and shovel mine which includes an open pit, ore preparation plant, bitumen processing plant, tailings facilities, cogeneration facilities, support utilities, disposal and storage areas, river water intake, fish habitat compensation lake, bridge, roads, airfield and camp. The proposed project would operate for 41 years.