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Archive for March, 2019

March 15th, 2019 by admin

Sask. First Nations say indigenous cabinet representation ‘historic’

SASKATOON  – Meet Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet: many of its members are young and others are seasoned. Half of them are women and two ministers are indigenous.

In Trudeau’s own words, a cabinet that “looks like Canada.”

When asked about his new half-female cabinet, Trudeau responded with, “Because it’s 2015.”

Hunter Tootoo is the new minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. An Inuit leader who’s no rookie, he’s been in the legislative assembly for 14 years.

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Related

  • Canada’s parliament will reconvene in December

  • A look at 5 high-profile members of Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet

  • Justin Trudeau sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister

Another key aboriginal player is Jody Wilson-Raybould. She’s the new minister of justice and attorney general of Canada. Formerly a regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, Wilson-Raybould  is no stranger to aboriginal issues.

“This is precedent setting. We have a woman, First Nation and a very able politician in her own right coming to the table,” said political analyst Greg Poelzer.

READ MORE: New justice minister brings unique perspective to First Nations issues

Carolyn Bennett is the new minister of indigenous and northern affairs, and the FSIN says it’s welcoming her with open arms.

“It’s a historic event and it’s going to set precedents. It’s going to set the foundation for that inherent and treaty relationship with the crown,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron.

But does this new representation mean a new era of politics?

Both the FSIN and Saskatoon Tribal Council say it’s time to wait and watch, adding they’re thrilled to see more opportunity for aboriginal voices, but still holding expectations high.

“As First Nations, we want to see some of the basic things that all Canadians take for granted. Safe water, safe homes and quality education,” said STC Chief Felix Thomas.

Cameron added that housing is a priority that’s been long outstanding, urging that the housing wait lists in each First Nations community needs to be addressed.

“Prime Minister Trudeau, we have our work cut out and now it’s just time to get those commitments in writing,” said Thomas.

©2015

March 15th, 2019 by admin

Dam bursts in southeastern Brazil; unknown number dead, missing

RIO DE JANEIRO – A dam burst at a mining operation in southeastern Brazil on Thursday, submerging nearby homes and vehicles. Authorities said there are dead and missing but have not yet given any figures.

Rescue teams were searching for survivors or bodies, and residents living in an area downhill from the dam were told to evacuate to higher ground.

The Civil Defence agency of Minas Gerais state confirmed there were dead and missing from the dam burst – but said it could not yet give a number.

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Images from Globo TV showed the area of the operation overrun with water and clay-red mud, and large vehicles tossed on their sides.

A small cluster of homes and about 400 people live in the small town of Bento Rodrigues, about 7 kilometres (just over 4 miles) beneath the dam that burst. Images showed the town overrun with mud and water.

Authorities said the dam was built to hold back water and residue from mining operations, a mixture that can often be toxic.

The Samarco mining company said in a statement on its website that it was making “every effort to prioritize care to people and mitigate damage to the environment.”

“It is not possible at this moment to confirm a cause … nor if there are victims,” it added.

Police, firefighters and city officials also said they could not confirm any victims.

A statement from the city hall of Mariana, a city of about 40,000 people 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro, said the dam ruptured at 4:20 p.m. in an area roughly 20 kilometres (over 12 miles) from the city centre.

©2015

March 15th, 2019 by admin

Men’s homeless shelter in Scarborough could move to a renovated hotel

TORONTO —; As many as 60 homeless men over the age of 55 currently living at the Birchmount Residence in Scarborough may soon find a new place to stay.

The City of Toronto has plans to buy the Comfort Inn along the motel strip on Kingston Road and renovate it. It would then be able to house and support as many as 120 seniors.

“We have been looking at the last few years on different opportunities,” City Councillor Gary Crawford said.

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“The opportunity to purchase this particular hotel came up and we think it’s going to be a good fit for the men, for the staff and for the community as well.”

According to the local councillor, the property next door would be part of any deal. The unsightly East Side motel is still open for business but a “source of contention” for those living in the near community.

“It’s the right move. However, a comprehensive plan also needs to be in place,” Scarborough Community Renewal Campaign spokesman Dave Hardey said. “Kingston Road needs to be thought of as a living space.”

Residents in the neighbourhood looking for renewal welcome re purposing the properties that exist there now, but aren’t sure about a shelter moving in.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Devi Palaniappan said. “It’s not fair already. We have three motels and we have a lot of trouble at night.”

Alwan Ibrhaim owns a townhouse backing onto another hotel along the same stretch of road.

“When you were talking with the private residents in here they don’t want to live in a place where there is social housing,” he said.

The Birchmount Residence where the seniors now stay is a site that the city leases and has slowly been falling into disrepair since it opened in 1999.

A community meeting is scheduled for Nov. 17 to provide more information to those in the area.

More details, including a proposed budget for the purchase, will be discussed by City Hall’s Executive Committee on Dec. 1.

©2015

March 15th, 2019 by admin

Family fights back against OHIP’s refusal to pay for son’s surgery in the U.S.

TORONTO —; An Ontario family is standing up to OHIP in the first day of their appeal, after it denied funding for their seven-year-old son to get a surgery in the U.S. they say could be life changing.

Alesandro Ciampa has cerebral palsy and is scheduled for Selective dorsal rhizotomy surgery in St. Louis, surgery that’s expected to allow him to walk without a walker.

“I want to get stronger and I want to walk by myself,” he said.

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OHIP is refusing to pay for the costly surgery because an Ontario specialist hasn’t signed off on it.

READ MORE: Families fighting for OHIP funding for U.S. surgery redouble their efforts

“I’m feeling nervous,” said Alesandro’s mother, Shana Ciampa, before the hearing in which she represented herself.

Ciampa argued that they, and at least a half dozen other parents, can’t get a specialist to even see their children, let alone sign the forms.

OHIP denies that and their witness said they’ve just changed the process for patients.

“We have to streamline procedures so we can see them effectively,” testified Dr. Sheila Singh, a pediatric neurosurgeon at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

That contradicted what she sent in an email to Ciampa in July.

READ MORE: Families fighting for childrens’ surgery rejected by OHIP

Singh wrote that they no longer feel SDR is a “reasonable option” and that families should “seek other available treatment options.”

“I absolutely do not think I would have an objective assessment of my child,” said Ciampa.

Another parent appealing OHIP testified they are in the same situation.

“You are caught in this perpetual loop, OHIP needs a specialist but no specialist will sign off on it, and they all seem to be working together,” said Chad Mitchell.

READ MORE: Outpouring of support after Global News story about boy who needs surgery

The Health Services and Appeal Review Board also heard that just last week OHIP approved a child for SDR without a specialist’s signature.

In that case, the parents provided physician notes indicating their son was a good candidate.

The notes were written by one of the doctors who refused to sign the OHIP form and odds are against winning an appeal.

Global News researched decisions of the Health Services and Appeal Review Board over the last five years.

READ MORE: Doctors and health minister at odds over cerebral palsy surgery, families not getting funding

On average 87 per cent of appeals were denied. To date in 2015, 90 per cent have been denied.

“It’s unfair, inequitable. The appellants are self represented, not represented by lawyers, OHIP is represented by lawyers,” said Perry Brodkin, a former OHIP lawyer.

Ciampa said she’s fighting OHIP on principal.

“I’m doing it because its unfair and it’s unfair to other kids in the same situation,” she said.

READ MORE: Ontario family raising $100,000 for surgery so 3-year-old boy can walk

The family has fundraised tens of thousands of dollars but needs well over $100,000 to cover everything.

It could take weeks for the family to get a decision.

The surgery is scheduled for Dec. 2 and Alesandro said he doesn’t want to wait any longer.

“I want to be like the other kids on the climbers, stuff like that,” he said.

©2015

March 15th, 2019 by admin

Kapyong the perfect temporary home for refugees: Military expert

WINNIPEG —; The Kapyong Barracks is the perfect place to house up to 2,000 Syrian refugees according to a Winnipeg military expert.

Gary Solar is a retired Colonel and chief of operations at the Centre for Crime and Terrorism Studies in the United States.

He says the Barracks is a self-contained “village” with the buildings, living quarters and security measures already in place to make it an ideal temporary home for refugees.

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RELATED: Tuxedo residents, First Nations leader discuss Kapyong Barracks

However the structures have sat vacant for 11 years, meaning they’d be in need of major restorative work before they’d be suitable to live in.

But Solar still thinks the plan could work, “In some of the halls they could put people up in temporary accommodation while they worked to make the other buildings safe.”

Complicating things is the status of the Kapyong Barracks lands, with a potential deal for the property between Treaty 1 First Nations and the federal government on the horizon.

RELATED: Kapyong Barracks case sees Federal Court of Appeal siding with First Nations

Regardless of whether or not Kapyong ultimately works as a temporary home for refugees Winnipeg could soon be looking for places to house hundreds or possibly thousands from Syria.

The Canadian government has promised to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada before next year.

“We will work with whatever administration is necessary, whether it’s opening up local gyms, whether it’s Kapyong Barracks or whether it’s private accommodation,” says executive director of Welcome Place Rita Chahal.

She says they will be ready for the challenge of welcoming the potential surge of people coming Winnipeg. She has even issued a no time-off rule for her employees over the holidays in case they need to help people as they arrive.

©2015