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Sweetgrass and CFWE news - May 16, 2016

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Compiled by Shari Narine







MNA to host second response centre

May 16, 2016. Métis evacuees from Fort McMurray can meet with a physician and registered nurse at the Métis Nation of Alberta provincial office in Edmonton Monday afternoon. Métis resource workers will also be available on site to assist with housing inquiries and insurance brokers will be able to provide insurance support. MNA also has a stock of basic care needs available for pick up and will be providing a light lunch. This is the second time that the MNA provincial office has offered services to Métis evacuees. On May 7, a steady stream of evacuees made their way through the MNA provincial office for supports. There are about 5,000 Métis evacuees, and that does not include those from the voluntary Fort McKay evacuation.



One-stop services offered to the homeless in Edmonton


May 15, 2016. The 16th Homeless Connect Edmonton was held Sunday. About 70 service providers were at the Shaw Conference Centre to offer health care, counselling, legal services, employment and training information, housing resources and more. Homeless Connect Edmonton is a semi-annual collaboration between Edmonton Economic Development, Homeward Trust Edmonton, and the Shaw Conference Centre. The mission of Homeless Connect Edmonton is to provide services that will create paths out of homelessness, build lasting partnerships, raise public awareness of homelessness in the community, and provide a vehicle for community involvement in addressing the issue. In October of 2015, Homeless Connect helped more than 2,500 of Edmonton’s most vulnerable residents.



NDP to select new federal leader in fall 2017


May 15, 2016. Federal NDP supporters will choose a new leader in the fall of 2017. The Federal Council of the New Democratic Party of Canada met in Ottawa on Sunday and set Sept. 17 to Oct. 31, 2017, as the election period for Tom Mulcair’s replacement. Mulcair lost the leadership endorsement at a convention in Edmonton last April. "Council has given potential candidates a time frame that will allow for a fair and competitive race, while giving enough time for the new leader to prepare for the general election,” said Party President Marit Stiles. The nomination period will begin on July 2, 2016. In order to run, candidates will be required to provide a registration fee of $30,000. The spending limit has been set at $1.5 million.



Backburning to prevent further spread of wildfires in Fort McMurray area

May 15, 2016. In order to reduce fuel buildup and prevent the spread of further wildfires in the Fort McMurray area, fire operations are back burning along the west side of Highway 63, about 50 kilometres north of Mariana Lake to the Highway 881/63 junction. Chad Morrison, senior manager with Alberta wildfire prevention, said that much of the vegetation around Fort McMurray had already been consumed by the fire which will act as a natural fireguard. “Throughout the summer it should be relatively safe once we have things contained there,” said Morrison. The Fort McMurray wildfire still remains out of control, having covered an estimated 251,000 hectares. ATCO has about 300 workers in Fort McMurray, including teams of water specialists working with the municipality’s water experts to assess damage. Fort McMurray, Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation remain under a mandatory evacuation order. Fort McKay First Nation is under a recommended evacuation order.




Satellite maps provide survey of wildfire damage


May 14, 2016. A high-level satellite overview of the status of Fort McMurray following the wildfires is available but government officials are cautioning residents to be aware that structures that appear to be standing should not be considered undamaged and these images are not meant to be used for official damage assessments. Higher-resolution imagery will be released in the days ahead, said the province, and that set of images will provide enough detail to assist property owners with insurance claims, recovery eligibility funding and other recovery actions. “Having been through a devastating fire and evacuation myself, I know firsthand how stressful it is to wait for updates on which homes have been lost. We are committed to providing information to residents as soon as we can, and these images will help us begin to answer the questions people have about the state of their homes and community,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee. Larivee is from Slave Lave, which experienced major fire damage in 2011.



Swann says province unprepared for mental health impact of Fort McMurray fire


May 13, 2016. Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann says Alberta is unprepared to meet the complex and ongoing mental health needs of Fort McMurray residents and first responders.

“Alberta is facing an unprecedented crisis in mental health. More than 80,000 people have been forced to flee a disaster which devastated their community. If only a fraction of these individuals require help, our already teetering mental health system could collapse,” Swann said in a statement to the Alberta Legislature. Swann indicated that the government needs to educate the public, and in particular evacuees and first responders, about mental health; provide early access to publicly funded psychologists and other trauma experts thereby freeing psychologists to work with critical trauma cases; and, provide patient navigators to guide those in need through a complicated and sometimes overwhelming health system. “To do nothing or to make half-measures merely moves the problem forward in time and exponentially increases both cost and suffering,” said Swann.



Traffic stop nets drugs, cash


May 11, 2016. A traffic stop on the Blood Reserve resulted in three occupants of the vehicle being charged with drug trafficking. The Crime Reduction Unit of the Blood Tribe Police Service located in the vehicle $2,055 in Canadian currency, 22 Fentanyl pills worth $1,100 street value, and 4.2 grams of suspected crack cocaine worth $400 on the street in Standoff. Charged with drug-trafficking offences were Isabelle Demeitri Dawn Spear Chief, 21, and Jeanine Joy Blood, 28, both of Standoff; and Ton Hoa Duong, 33, of Calgary. All three were released on a

Promise to Appear/Undertaking to attend Cardston Provincial Court on June 20. Duong had the further condition not to return to the Blood Reserve.