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Archive for November, 2018

November 14th, 2018 by admin

‘It was always to get revenge’: Confessed Calgary killer soon eligible for parole

CALGARY – There’s nothing glamourous about life in a jail cell, and for a Calgary man now considered a rat, prison truly means losing all of his freedom. “I come out half hour every two days…I’m locked in my room the whole time,” said confessed killer Michael Roberto in a videotaped interview with Calgary police. […]

November 14th, 2018 by admin

Searchers find baby’s body in South Carolina creek, mother said she put girl in water

SOCASTEE, S.C. – Searchers found the body of a baby in a swollen, murky South Carolina creek on Thursday, two days after a mother said she put the 5-month-old girl into the water, according to police.

Divers found the body about 3:45 p.m., Horry County police Chief Saundra Rhodes said at a news conference. Later, more than a dozen rescuers gathered in a circle, praying. Some of them wiped their eyes.

“All of us have a sense of peace knowing we can lay her to rest properly,” Rhodes said.

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On Tuesday, the girl’s mother, Sarah Lane Toney, went to a home about 500 yards across the creek and swamp from her house near Myrtle Beach and told a woman she had put her baby into the creek, police said.

Toney was taken into custody and charged with unlawful conduct toward a child. A judge denied bond Thursday before the body was found.

Toney asked officers at her bond hearing whether her baby had been found, then told the judge she should be released from jail because she didn’t plan to leave the area and needed to take care of her older daughter, who was turned over to her father after she reported her baby disappeared in the water.

“I went into the water with her, and I was unable to hold on to her,” Toney said at her bond hearing. “I didn’t intentionally put her in any danger. I was going with her, and I wasn’t able to hold on to her when the water sucked me in.”

The baby was found less than 75 yards from her home, Rhodes said. The removal of a large tree helped divers find the body, the police chief said. An autopsy has been ordered to determine how the girl died.

WATCH ABOVE: Searchers found the body of a baby in a swollen, murky South Carolina creek on Thursday, two days after a mother said she put the 5-month-old girl into the water, according to police.

Rhodes said her officers will consult with prosecutors, but she expects Toney to face charges in her daughter’s death.

Toney, who also has gone by the last name of Carlson, has an arrest record in South Carolina that dates back to 2008, according to records obtained Wednesday from the State Law Enforcement Division. They included two arrests on criminal domestic violence charges.

The search for the baby, named Grace, could only go on in daylight because the current is so swift and the murky, brown water in the swamp and creek are full of reeds, trees and other vegetation, Horry County Police spokesman Lt. Raul Denis said. Searchers used special sonar equipment, along with boats, canoes and personal watercraft to look in the 6- to 8-foot depths.

Neighbours said Toney kept mostly to herself. Kayle White said she saw Toney pushing the baby around the neighbourhood in a stroller, but they never spoke.

“She’d walk up and down the street, but I’ve never seen that baby up close,” White said.

©2015

November 14th, 2018 by admin

Alberta government moves to expand sunshine list

EDMONTON — Doctors and university professors are on the newest list of people who could find their salaries are public knowledge.

The Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act, introduced on Thursday, expands the province’s sunshine list, to require disclosure of salaries for all employees of public sector bodies, including Alberta Health Services and post-secondary institutions.

ChangSha Night Net

Related

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  • Salaries of top Alberta government earners made public

Bill 5 also requires disclosure of payments to doctors and other health service providers.

Board members of the province’s agencies, board, and commissions will also see their compensation made public, no how matter how much or how little they are paid.

The information will be made public once a year, with the first disclosure scheduled to happen on or before June 30, 2016.

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley says the government has not heard any objections so far to the expanded disclosure rules.

“Public sector workers, they don’t want their privacy unfairly invaded, but they also understand that this government has a commitment to transparency, particularly when we’re dealing with…over $125,000, so it’s, sort of, higher salary range people.”

Here’s how the new legislation affects each group:

Employees of Public Sector Bodies

Who: Everyone who works for an agency, board or commission governed by the Alberta Public Agencies Act. This includes, but is not limited to, Alberta Health Services, post-secondary institutions, the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Alberta Utilities Commission, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, and Alberta Treasury Branches. Covenant Health will also be included, as well as independent offices of the Legislature, like the Ombudsman and Auditor General.

Threshold: Anyone who makes more than $125,000 per year. That includes base salary, overtime pay, and any other remuneration, with the exception of pension contributions.

What: If the threshold is met, the employee’s full compensation will be released, including pay, employer pension contributions, and any severance paid.

Board members

Who: Members of governing boards of agencies, boards and commissions, as well as board members of Alberta Health Services, Convenant Health, and post-secondary institutions.

Threshold: None. All names and compensation will be disclosed, regardless of the amount.

What: All compensation, including employer pension contributions and any severance paid.

Physicians and other health service providers

Who: Anyone who is paid by the province on a fee-for-service basis, including doctors, optometrists, and dentists.

Threshold: Undecided. If a threshold is set, it will be done as a regulation and not included in the Act itself.

What: Fee-for-service payments, and any other payments made to health service providers by the provincial government, Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, and the Alberta Medical Association.

Government of Alberta employees

Who: All employees of the provincial government, who are currently covered by disclosure rules introduced by the previous PC government in 2013.

What’s new: Disclosure for government employees is currently required by a Treasury Board Directive. The same employees, and the same rules, will now be part of the new Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act.

Threshold: Originally introduced at $100,000 base salary or severance, the amount increases each year based on inflation. The current threshold is $104,754.

What: All compensation, including employer pension contributions and any severance paid.

The number of people affected is difficult to determine. More than 150,000 people work for government sector agencies, and the government expects several thousand of them will see their salaries disclosed. Figures obtained by the Wildrose party last December showed 9,786 employees of Alberta Health Services alone made more than $100,000 a year in 2013.

Wildrose MLA Jason Nixon says his party is still studying the bill, but he suggests all publicly-paid workers should meet the same standard.

“To us, $104,000 is already a pretty high salary, period. And I think anybody making above $100,000 in the public sector, it’s reasonable for Albertans to know where those salaries are happening.”

The Minister of Justice could also allow some exemptions. The salaries of crown prosecutors, for example, are not released because of concerns about their safety.

Under the existing rules, 3,556 provincial employees saw their pay information released last year. The full list can be found on the Alberta Government website here.

©2015

November 14th, 2018 by admin

Toronto woman charged with spraying boy, 3, with ‘acidic substance’ appears in court

TORONTO —; A 53-year-old Toronto woman accused of spraying a three-year-old boy with an “acidic substance” at a west-end movie theatre made her first appearance in court today to face the charges against her.

Toronto Police said the boy was allegedly assaulted while waiting in line with his father at the Humber Cinemas Theatre at 2442 Bloor St. W. at about 3:15 p.m. on Saturday.

ChangSha Night Net

The woman allegedly sprayed the child on his ears and neck with the substance, before immediately leaving the area. The unknown chemical burned holes in the boy’s clothing and in the carpet of the theatre.

READ MORE: Toronto woman charged after boy, 3, sprayed with ‘acidic substance’ in movie theatre

Alverna Maria Lawrence was arrested and charged on Wednesday after initially being identified as a person of interest in connection with the alleged attack.

After several delays, Lawrence appeared in a Toronto court Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. wearing a thin purple dress and standing barefoot.

Lawrence had initially been charged with assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, weapons dangerous, carrying a concealed weapon and administering a noxious substance. Police added three more charges on Thursday including common nuisance and two counts of property damage.

The accused identified herself as “Maria Lawrence” and had one relative in court with her, a woman who identified herself as Lawrence’s cousin. 

The evidence presented in court today and the name of the alleged victim are both protected by publication bans.

Lawrence’s lawyers asked the court for more time to review the charges against her, so her hearing has been adjourned till Monday. The crown said it is looking to have her remanded into custody.

READ MORE: Suspect sought after boy, 3, sprayed with ‘burning substance’ at movie theatre

Const. Jennifer Sidhu said Lawrence is known to police as someone who has had mental health issues in the past, but added that she has never done anything like this before.

The boy was taken to hospital with minor burns and Sidhu said the substance was identified as “acidic” and is being investigated by a forensics team.

Det. Shawn Elliott said the child is recovering well from the incident and his burns are healing.

He added that the boy’s father works in the construction industry and “stayed calm” when the incident happened, as he had previously taken a course on chemical injuries.

Elliott said the boy’s father conducted first aid, applied water and washed off the chemical substance, preventing further injury to the child.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto police or Crime Stoppers.

With files from Mark Carcasole

©2015

November 14th, 2018 by admin

Sask. gov’t defends carbon capture sales pitch

REGINA – More questions are being raised about the economic case for SaskPower’s $1.5-billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility.

On Thursday, the Opposition NDP cited an internal SaskPower memo leaked to the party, which suggested the project would be experimental.

Dated May 24, 2012, the briefing note said offsetting environmental impacts of coal power would require “vast advancement of existing CCS technology, the economics of which are unclear.”

The CCS plant near Estevan has been criticized in recent weeks because of poor performance and statements from the Sask. Party government and SaskPower officials that led people to believe the CCS project was “exceeding expectations.”

READ MORE: Chart shows capture performance not improving

Bill Boyd, the minister responsible for SaskPower, says despite the early challenges, he expects the project to pay off through sales of carbon dioxide (CO2) and reducing CO2 emissions from the coal-fired power plant the facility is attached to.

ChangSha Night Net

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“Do we proceed with coal, which we have some approximately 200 to 300 year supply of coal in Saskatchewan, or do we shut it down? We made the decision to go forward.”

Tougher federal standards for emissions would have forced Saskatchewan to make changes to coal power generation by 2019.

On Tuesday, University of Regina environmental economist Samuel Gamtessa told Global News it may be difficult to sell the world on the expertise being gained at Boundary Dam, because other countries and power utilities would simply “learn from our failures.”

“You wouldn’t consider this technology because it’s profitable,” he said. “The consideration is an environmental requirement.”

“If by accident or by luck, we make profit, that’s good.”

Boyd argued that more than 200 companies and organizations have come forward, expressing interest in what SaskPower has learned so far – including the flaws.

“These are experiences SaskPower has now that they didn’t have before,” he said. “That’s very valuable information and I think companies would agree.”

Follow @mikemckinnon

©2015

November 14th, 2018 by admin

WATCH: Reporter left speechless as boyfriend proposes live on the air

A North Dakota man brought his girlfriend to tears with an incredibly romantic wedding proposal Thursday morning while she was at work.

Of course, when the woman in question is reporter Kristi Larson, “at work” means he had to get down on one knee while she was on live television.

Larson is a reporter and on-air personality for Valley News Live, an NBC affiliate in Fargo, N.D.

ChangSha Night Net

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She had just wrapped up a live tease for her next segment when her boyfriend, Jaron Conner, strode onto the set, much to her confusion.

“What are you doing?” she asked as Conner approached her, even as the overjoyed face of the anchor makes it clear this is no accident.

WATCH: Carrie Brownstein officiates random wedding on book tour stop, Amy Poehler on piano

“I have something to tell you,” Conner said as Larson starts sobbing. “I’ve loved you since I first met you. You’re my best friend, my soul mate, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“Will you marry me?” Conner asked.

Luckily, she said yes.

“This made my day so much better,” Larson joked shortly after saying yes. “I woke up late for work today!”

Later, the newly-betrothed took to Facebook to share the news, and thanked her colleagues for keeping it a secret.

“Over the moon happy right now,” Larson wrote. “So many people were a part of this to keep it secret, and it really surprised me!”

©2015

November 14th, 2018 by admin

Act of kindness from B.C. man almost 50 years ago still shared worldwide

What started as an act of kindness between a B.C. man and a hitchhiker in the Bahamas almost 50 years ago has now been shared around the world.

Cedric Steele, who now lives on Vancouver Island, was working as a realtor in Vancouver in 1968 and decided to vacation that year in the Bahamas.

ChangSha Night Net

When he was driving from the airport he saw a young man on the side of the road hitchhiking. “I stopped and picked him up and had a few bits of words for him, a little discussion, and it looked like he was struggling a little bit,” said Steele. “He was dressed a bit like a hippie.”

That “hippie” was a man named Iain Reddish.

He was travelling on a scholarship around North America and decided to go to the Bahamas for the day. However, after he arrived, his wallet was stolen. He was hitchhiking to get to Nassau when Steele picked him up.

“He picked me up, I was a 22-year-old, long-haired student, of that ilk. He took me into Nassau and as I was getting out of the car, he put $50 U.S. in my hand.”

“I thought ‘I can’t accept this. He said ‘look, I know you’re broke, it’s alright I’ve got money’.”

WATCH ABOVE: Victoria man Cedric Steele catches up with a hitchhiker he picked up back in 1968 named Iain Reddish, who now lives in Amsterdam.

Reddish said Steele told him he doesn’t owe him anything. “[But he said] ‘when you’re established and grown-up as it were, it’s up to you to pay it back to anyone you can help out to anyone down on their luck. That way we’ll survive in this world’.”

Steele said he never thought about the encounter again, but that message stuck with Reddish. Since 1968 he has helped dozens and dozens of people around the world who are down on their luck and he always tells them about what Steele said to him.

“It wasn’t so much what [Steele] said, but the way he said it. It was said in such a warm and caring way,” Reddish said.

The story comes full circle

In a surprise twist, Reddish has repeated the story so often to others, but he never thought anyone would tell him they have heard the story before.

Reddish, who is now 70 and has worked as a political scientist and for Greenpeace, was in his Amsterdam home last week when he saw a “bedraggled character” outside his window.

“I went down to see what his problem was, who he was and what he was doing there in front of my house, sitting on my bench,” Reddish said. The man turned out to be a Croatian refugee who had no money and nowhere to go. Reddish brought him inside his house and gave him some money and some clothes.

“He said ‘you’re such a good person’, and I said ‘I’m not a good person, it’s Cedric Steele who’s a good person.”

Reddish told the man to pay forward this act of kindness when he got back on his feet and he told him the story about Steele.

“Then to my amazement he said ‘you were in the Bahamas when this happened weren’t you?’ I said ‘what?’ I said ‘that’s extraordinary, but yes I was actually’.”

It turns out the Croatian man’s cousin had been hitchhiking in Namibia in Africa and had been picked up by a guy who gave him a meal and told him Reddish’s story.

“It’s clear that dear old Cedric had become an urban myth in his own lifetime.”

This encounter spurred Reddish to try and contact Steele and after about “14 seconds” of searching online, he found Steele on Vancouver Island. Reddish then called him.

“He was flabbergasted as you can imagine,” said Reddish. “Cedric said he was almost in tears and so was I. It’s just very very humbling when you realize you’ve done something worthwhile and helped humanity along its path.”

Steele said he feels a little embarrassed by the whole thing.

“I thought it was just a natural thing to do, to help somebody at that time,” he said. “I didn’t even remember the event, so for [Reddish] to have called me and remember my name and the circumstance. He’s a generous man.”

“It just shows you how the odd bit of kindness can multiply,” added Reddish.

The two hope to finally meet up again in Europe next year and Steele said he’s going to give Reddish a €50 note so he can keep passing on the acts of kindness.

©2015

November 14th, 2018 by admin

TPP letters show Canada cutting side deals with member countries

OTTAWA — Canada has signed almost two dozen side letters with its trading partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, including an agreement with the United States to combat illicit trade.

Canada also signed a side agreement with Japan that appears to protect the exports of British Columbia logs, a key sticking point between those countries in the multi-layered negotiations.

The letters were released as the text of the broader TPP agreement, finalized Oct. 5 between a dozen Pacific Rim countries, was also publicly released Thursday.

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The complex deal contains hundreds of pages of provisions covering the trade of a vast range of goods, including cars, cheese and wine.

MORE: Latest coverage —; Trans-Pacific Partnership

Canada also released a series of side letters that cover a range of bilateral issues with specific countries spanning several sectors.

Canada and the U.S. traded a letter on border enforcement and information sharing, to “address illicit trade in counterfeit trademark and pirated copyright goods.”

The letter says Canada and the U.S. are committed to “using appropriate risk management, as determined by each government, to address the challenges that this illicit trade poses at their respective borders.”

They pledge to share information between their respective customs agencies on goods that infringe copyright and trademarks in an attempt to target the “organizations engaged in this illicit activity” and “target future illicit shipments and to investigate trade in counterfeit trademark and pirated copyright goods.”

Lumber deal

Another letter between Canada and Japan appears to confirm that the current Canadian regime on the export of B.C. logs remains in place.

The export of logs is heavily controlled by the federal and provincial governments, which drives up their cost to foreign buyers. That is similar to the protections afforded to Canada’s dairy farmers under the supply management system.

Timber had become a sticking point between Canada and Japan. Canadian government documents said Japan was pushing Canada to eliminate or modify the controls it imposes on B.C. log exports.

“For greater certainty, Japan and Canada confirm that nothing in this letter shall have any other implications with respect to Canada’s existing practices and procedures relating to its existing measures concerning the export of logs of all species,” the new side letter states.

“In respect of the export of logs, Japan and Canada maintain their rights and obligations under the WTO Agreement, and any dispute regarding a matter relating to the export of logs shall be settled under the WTO.”

The letter between Canada and Japan also formalizes the creation of a bilateral forestry committee on forest products to help settle disagreements.

“Either Japan or Canada may raise a matter relating to the understandings set out in this letter to the committee, and the committee shall seek to resolve that matter,” the letter states.

The Japan letter is one of 10 dealing with market access for goods. Other side letters were signed Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the United States.

Canada also signed a letter with its North American Free Trade Agreement partners, the U.S. and Mexico on government procurement rules.

Canada also signed other letters with various TPP countries covering intellectual property and government procurement.

November 14th, 2018 by admin

Rona Ambrose chosen as new interim leader of Conservatives

OTTAWA – Alberta MP Rona Ambrose stepped into Stephen Harper’s leadership shoes Thursday – albeit on an interim basis – as the Conservatives gathered for the first time since last month’s election demoted them to the official Opposition.

Ambrose, who served as health minister in the last Parliament, had campaigned on a promise to bring a respectful and civil tone to debate in the House of Commons.

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“I’m excited that we are going to be moving forward with a strong opposition with confidence and optimism,” she said, flanked by fellow Conservative caucus members chanting her name in support.

“I am extremely proud to be the new leader of the Opposition.”

Ambrose, 46, was first elected to the House of Commons in 2004 and went on to serve in several cabinet posts under Harper.

READ MORE: Tory MPs unusually talkative as post-Harper era begins

Harper addressed the start of the meeting Thursday, speaking for about 10 minutes and expressing regret at the party’s loss but also talking hopefully about its future. He then left for the remainder of the discussion.

The mood in the room was civil and positive throughout, several current and former MPs said, with Harper receiving several standing ovations.

“Everybody credits Stephen Harper with having given our country tremendous leadership through difficult times in the past decade and people are very proud to have served with him and to have campaigned with him,” said Peter Van Loan, the former government House leader.

“And I think he is going to go down in Canadian political history as one of our best prime ministers ever.”

Harper, who will continue to serve as an MP for the riding of Calgary Heritage, was set to return to his hometown of Calgary, Alta., on Thursday night and is expected to largely take a back seat in his caucus going forward.

WATCH: The search for a new Conservative leader

There were eight candidates in total vying to replace him. The job comes with an $80,100 bump in salary, a car and driver and the residence of the official leader of the Opposition – Stornoway.

Other contenders included Alberta MP Mike Lake; Diane Finley, Rob Nicholson and Erin O’Toole from Ontario; and Manitoba’s Candice Bergen. Calgary MP Michelle Rempel and Quebec’s Denis Lebel ran on a joint ticket.

None spoke to the media after the meeting and while Ambrose was lauded by caucus colleagues for her communication skills, she only took a handful of questions.

One personal challenge she faces is her ability to speak French – while she does speak some, she is not fluent. On Thursday, she deferred to caucus colleague Steven Blaney, although she did attempt to answer one question in French.

But the major political task ahead of Ambrose will be to rebuild the party heading into the eventual formal leadership race, likely still a long way off.

The Conservatives saw their support collapse in last month’s election, losing every seat they held in Atlantic Canada, a lone outpost in the north, dozens of ridings in Ontario and even a few in their stronghold of Alberta.

READ MORE: Military police watchdog to investigate alleged abuse of Afghan detainees

They now have 99 members in their House of Commons caucus and 47 in the Senate; members of the upper chamber were given the chance to vote on leadership.

Ambrose said she’s confident the party can enter a new era with a new tone and a new attitude, with their sights set on the next election in 2019.

“My colleagues chose me and they put their trust in me,” she said. “We feel very optimistic about our chances in the next election.”

Ambrose’s cabinet career beginning with a controversial stint in Environment, where she was in charge of overhauling the Conservative government’s approach to that file, starting with an announcement Canada wouldn’t be meeting its emissions reductions targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

She also served as minister for the status of women, where she was criticized for voting in a favour of a motion that would have seen the House of Commons study the question of when a fetus becomes a person – a motion interpreted by pro-choice activists as a means for the party to re-open the abortion debate.

She has also been active in the promotion of women in leadership positions, and in that portfolio struck a committee to examine how to get more women involved in the highest echelons of the corporate sector.

©2015

November 14th, 2018 by admin

Bacteria, parasites and toxins – water quality ‘negligence’ at Shoal Lake 40

Ainsley and Trina Redsky have never turned on a tap in their home and had a glass of water, because it could make them sick. All they know is bottled water.

“It’s kinda hard,” Trina said quietly.

The sisters live on Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, a reserve on the Manitoba-Ontario border. For close to two decades there has been a boil water advisory – one of the longest in Canadian history. With no water treatment plant, large plastic jugs full of safe drinking water are brought in.

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Turning on a tap and having a glass of water is now just a memory.

“A lot of children don’t know how nice it must be to drink out of the tap,” grandfather Stewart Redsky said.

READ MORE: How an old recessionary plan may be keeping Canada’s First Nations in ‘third world’ conditions

Since 1982, professor Eva Pip, from the biology department at the University of Winnipeg has been studying water quality in Shoal Lake and the surrounding rivers and bays. She has taken hundreds of measurements and samples of what is in the water at Shoal Lake 40.

“We have seen the tremendous, tremendous change in the quality of the water during that time,” professor Pip told Global News.

The water quality can fluctuate but professor Pip said her tests have shown:

Cryptosporidium parasitesGiardia parasitesColiform bacteriaToxins (when an algal bloom is present)

Health Canada confirms a boil water advisory for Shoal Lake 40.  According to the agency, boil water advisories are “recommended when disease-causing bacteria, viruses or parasites are found in the drinking water system.”

Biology professor Eva Pip, from the University of Winnipeg, has studied water quality in Shoal Lake for decades.

Drinking the untreated water can potentially lead to “digestive tract illnesses, things like diarrhea, especially for very young children, vomiting, flu-like illnesses. And this is caused of course by different things depending on what the time of year it is,” Pip said.

According to Pip, toxins are the most serious health risks, they can be produced during an algal bloom, with blue-green algae, “you can actually die from those toxins if they are at a high enough concentration.”

According to Health Canada, “blue-green algae have been known to cause animal and human poisoning in lakes, ponds and dugouts in various parts of the world for over 100 years.”  Although the agency said it is unaware of any human deaths in Canada due to blue-green algae.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states “some algae produce toxins and release them into the water. During a bloom, the amount of toxin present in the water can poison people, wild animals, and pets that go near the water, consume the water, or swim in the water. Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms and other algal blooms produce toxins that may be harmful to human and animal health.”

READ MORE: Many First Nations communities without access to clean drinking water

The problems for Shoal Lake 40 started when a canal structure was built 100 years ago  – isolating Shoal Lake 40 essentially on an island and sending clean water down into an aqueduct bound for Winnipeg’s water treatment plant and diverting dirty water into the reserve, according to chief Erwin Redsky.

“We still live with the consequences” said chief Redsky, “our septic fields are leaking into the water system that actually goes back into the houses.”

In addition, Pip said, to answer the question of who is responsible for the water quality at Shoal Lake and Shoal Lake 40 is confusing —; enforcement and monitoring of different activities fall to various governments, including Manitoba, Ontario, the federal government and an international commission. Over the years, according to Pip, the water has been impacted by raw sewage from neighbouring cottages as well as mining, garbage, logging and farming in the larger community.

“It’s very sad, you know, how it’s not just complacency. It’s actual negligence and ignorance,” said Pip.

The City of Winnipeg’s Tim Shanks, manager of water services, vehemently disagrees with Pip’s assessment that “the water quality in Shoal Lake has deteriorated due to mining/development on its shores, and that this is due to “negligence” in protecting the water quality.” Shanks provided Global News a statement that read, “this is completely incorrect. The Shoal Lake Watershed has significant legislative regulation and development agreements that protect water quality. Shoal Lake #40 First Nation limits all harmful development in the local watershed as part of its obligations under the Shoal Lake Tripartite Agreement. Additionally, the multi-government Shoal Lake Watershed Management Plan further regulates development in the larger watershed.”

Global’s 16×9 reached out to Health Canada to find out what is in the water at Shoal Lake 40, the agency confirmed its boil water advisory, and said “for additional details please contact the community directly.”

Shoal Lake 40 is also isolated so getting bottled water to the residents, and travelling to the reserve means dangerous ice roads and an unreliable ferry.  To make things right, the chief and community are trying to build an all-weather access road, connecting Shoal Lake 40 direclty to the Trans Canada highway – no more ferry or treacherous ice roads.  They are calling it Freedom Road.  It would lead to independence and eventually a water treatment plant.

“The greatest threat to life is not water in Shoal Lake 40, the greatest threat to life is just getting home, that you have to cross water at very dangerous times of year,” Cuyler Cotton, spokesman for Shoal Lake 40, told Global News. “There are no alternatives to getting on and off the man-made island,” said Cotton.

So as Shoal Lake 40 continues to fight for its road, the water quality is not improving. “This is such a heart-wrenching situation. And over the years, we’ve made it more and more and more irreparable, said Pip. “And it’s very, very sad because this is, I think, a prime example of all the things that we should not have done.”

With files from Hannah James and Megan Rowney, 16×9 

16×9’s “As Long as the Waters Flow” airs Saturday, November 7th at 7pm.

©2015