Lieutenant Governor and Arm Forces press releases ...
Northward Ho! First Convoy of Books Departs Queen's Park for Isolated Native Communities
TORONTO, Feb. 16 - The Honourable James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will host a large outdoor event on Sunday, February 18, to officially send-off the first shipment of books collected from his current book drive. The collection phase of the Lieutenant Governor's 2007 Book Drive, which ended on January 31st, exceeded all expectations with more than 700,000 books gathered.
Escorted by Military, OPP and Toronto Police Cruisers, military trucks packed with 100,000 books will be given a ceremonial send off. Together with representatives from the Canadian Forces, the Ontario Provincial Police, Toronto Police Services, and a performance by the Morningstar River Group, the Lieutenant Governor will be joined by children from the First Nation School in Toronto to pack the last boxes of books on to the trucks and to wave goodbye to military personnel who will be delivering the first shipment of books to 15 fly-in First Nation communities in the far north.
The childrens' books have, once again, poured in from generous and enthusiastic Ontarians from all walks of life. The Canadian Forces will be rushing the books into the north to access winter ice roads that occur only at this time of year.
Media and the public are encouraged to join this celebration, to greet some key participants, to partake in ceremonial native drumming and an aboriginal blessing. Photo and interview opportunities will be available.
What: The Launch of the Military Convoy to Deliver Books from the 2007 Book Drive
Where: Queen's Park, Legislative Building, South parking lot
When: Sunday, February 18, 2007, at 12:00 p.m.
For further information: Nanda Casucci-Byrne, Office of the Lieutenant Governor, (416) 909-7552
Military Convoy Carries Books North for Aboriginal Children
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Feb. 16, 2007) - A Canadian Forces convoy will leave Queen's Park on Sunday carrying 100,000 books from the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario's Book Drive to deliver them to Aboriginal children in Ontario's Far North.
The Lieutenant-Governor's Book Drive has collected more than 500,000 "gently used" books donated by Ontarians for Aboriginal children living in isolated communities in Ontario, Quebec, Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
The Canadian Forces, which provided Moss Park Armoury as a central collection and sorting facility, have volunteered to deliver the books to remote communities in Ontario's Far North as part of a military re-supply mission.
The media are invited to witness the convoy's departure as it heads north with an escort of Military Police, Toronto Police and Ontario Provincial Police cruisers.
Lieutenant-Governor James Bartleman will speak to the convoy crews. Aboriginal drummers will sing an honour song for them and an Aboriginal elder will offer a prayer for a safe journey.
A group of children will deliver a last few boxes of books to be taken to the Aboriginal children of Northern Ontario.
The trucks will carry the books as part of Operation Wawatay Express, in which military supplies are taken over winter ice roads to Canadian Ranger patrols in 15 First Nation communities. Wawatay is the Cree word for the Northern Lights. Canadian Rangers are part-time reserve soldiers.
Some of the trucks will travel more than 6,000 kilometres, driving in challenging conditions over frozen tundra, rivers and lakes. Blizzards can block roads and temperatures can plunge to -50C. All crews must have completed winter survival training.
The departure will provide excellent photo opportunies for both still and video photographers. The Lieutenant-Governor, convoy crews and Brigadier-General Guy Thibault, commander of Land Force Central Area, the army in Ontario, will be available for interviews.
Representatives from the Toronto Police and Ontario Provincial Police, who provided police stations and detachments as drop-off points for the books, will also be present.
The event begins at noon on Sunday, February 18, in front of the main entrance to the Legislature at Queen's Park.
Military and police escort vehicles will occupy the area in front of the Legislature. Media parking will be available at the east side of the building.
Land Force Central Area
Lieutenant (Navy) Joe Frey
(416) 633-6200 extension 5501
Cell: (647) 221-3373
Sergeant Peter Moon
AFN press release ...
AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine announces Chief of Staff Bob Watts will become Executive Director of Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Roger Augustine appointed new Chief of Staff
OTTAWA, Feb. 16 /CNW/ - "I am very pleased to announce that my Chief of Staff, Bob Watts, has accepted a position as Interim Executive Director of the Truth and Reconciliation. Bob played a key role in the negotiation of the historic Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement," said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine. "An important element in the settlement will be the opportunity for survivors to tell their stories to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission."
"The fact that Bob has been chosen for this pivotal role speaks highly of the government's commitment to ensuring that this Commission fulfills the needs envisioned by its creation," said the National Chief. "I have asked that Roger Augustine assume the new role in my office as Chief of Staff. Roger is currently a senior advisor in my office, and brings sixteen years of experience as a former Chief of Eel Ground First Nation in New Brunswick, and as a former Indian Claims Commissioner.
"Please join me in congratulating Bob on his important posting, and in welcoming Roger as he carries out his new responsibilities."
These changes will take effect on Monday, February 19, 2007. Bob Watts can now be reached at 613-947-6556.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
/For further information: Bryan Hendry, A/Director of Communications, (613) 241-6789 ext 229, (613) 293-6106, firstname.lastname@example.org; Nancy Pine, Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789 ext 243, (613) 298-6382, email@example.com
Truth and Reconciliation Commission - by Tehaliwaskenhas - Bob Kennedy, Oneida - February 18, 2007
"An important element in the settlement will be the opportunity for survivors to tell their stories. . ." Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
The first national Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canadian history is being created this year, as part of the comprehensive Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
What will it do?
"Promote public education and awareness about the Indian Residential School system and its legacy."
On Friday, AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine announced that his chief of staff, Robert Watts will be the Interim Executive Director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was a key AFN player in the negotiations that led to the settlement agreement.
A Truth and Reconciliation will have a budget of $60 million over five years.
Former students, their families and communities will be able to (if they wish - this is a volunary process) share their Indian Residential School experiences "in a safe and culturally-appropriate environment".
Short term - the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will undertake a series of national and community events.
Long term - it will establish a research centre for ongoing access to the records collected throughout the work of the Commission.
In December, the leader of the AFN issued a statement after Canadian courts said the settlement agreement is fair and reasonable.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission will ensure that all Canadians will understand the significance of the serious harm done to our people. First Nations are determined to send the message to the world that ‘Never Again’ will such a racist agenda be tolerated in Canada.”
For more information about the residential school visit http://www.turtleisland.org/resources/resources001.htm
AFN and Quebec Chiefs press releases ...
National Chief responds to Aboriginal Affairs Committee's report on post-secondary education
OTTAWA, Feb. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - There is an urgent need to increase financial support for both First Nations' students and First Nations controlled institutions in Canada, according to a report released this week by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development entitled "No Higher Priority - Aboriginal Post-secondary Education in Canada".
"I am very pleased that this Parliamentary committee calls for the removal of the 2 % cap for post-secondary education, and recognizes the importance for First Nations controlled post-secondary institutions," said National Chief Phil Fontaine. "The federal government must provide necessary financial support and ensure recognition of First Nations' institutions."
The report recommends that the federal government take immediate action to provide adequate funding to every eligible student based on actual costs and acknowledged "a failure to invest in the future of First Nations and Inuit learners now would also undoubtedly entail immeasurable long-term costs".
The Assembly of First Nations applauds the timely release of this report, in advance of the federal budget, because the AFN has for many years clearly articulated the urgent needs for First Nations students and First Nations controlled institutions to no avail.
"We have a young and growing population who need full access to all levels of education," said the National Chief. "We want our children to be able to have the opportunity to make significant contributions to their communities, and to Canada."
The report concludes that "the successes of Aboriginal-controlled institutions should be acknowledged by government, supported and built upon.
In our view, government's objective should be to put in place measures that strengthen and promote the long-term viability of these key institutions for the future of Aboriginal post-secondary education".
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
/For further information: Bryan Hendry, A/Director of Communications, (613) 241-6789 ext. 229 or cell.: (613) 293-6106; Nancy Pine, Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789 ext. 243 or (613) 298-6382, firstname.lastname@example.org
Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education Calls for a Non-Partisan, Practical, Forward-Looking Approach says Report of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
QUEBEC, Feb. 16 - The First Nations Education Council (FNEC) and the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) have reacted positively to the report of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development entitled, "No Higher Priority: Aboriginal Post-secondary Education in Canada".
The report puts forward 10 key recommendations, which need to be implemented in the short and long term by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) in collaboration with First Nations.
Ms. Lise Bastien, Director of the FNEC located in Wendake, Quebec, stated, "We are pleased to see that the Parliamentary Committee has confirmed and recognizes the problems connected with post-secondary education among First Nations. The elimination of the 2% annual cap and the assurance of admissibility for First Nations students to post-secondary education are urgent measures to put in place.
"Another major priority is the availability of basic funding and support for the creation of First Nations post-secondary education institutions. These institutions are an obvious solution for the improvement of academic success among our students. This measure should be considered immediately," she added.
The Parliamentary Committee also recommends that INAC rectify the anomaly of vocational training affecting the First Nations of Quebec, who have raised this question for years now.
"It is completely unjustified and unacceptable that the Government of Canada still demands to this day more studies and analyses in order to demonstrate what the Committee has stated in its report. A number of previous studies and reports already confirmed the Committee's conclusions and if the government ignores these recommendations, it will have to assume full responsibility for and accept the consequences of the First Nations social and economic situation," stated Mr. Ghislain Picard, Regional Chief of the AFNQL.
"The new Government of Canada has the responsibility to act in an honourable manner and to collaborate with First Nations in order to implement these recommendations immediately," he affirmed.
The FNEC has represented 22 communities throughout Quebec for over twenty years now. Its principal mission is to defend the interests of First Nations communities in order to improve the educational services that are offered to all First Nations students.
The APNQL is the regional organization which represents the Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador.
For further information: Lise Bastien, Director, First Nations Education Council, (418) 842-7672, email@example.com.
The Centre of Excellence for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs is holding a two day workshop on Thursday and Friday, March 22nd & 23rd from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay. Visit www.lcnorth.ca for full details.
“The focus of this workshop came from a community needs survey distributed throughout Northwestern Ontario, participants identified Behaviour and Early Intervention as areas where more information and training was needed,” says Jodi Kurzhals the workshop organizer. “To meet this need, we have chosen to bring together 25 presenters providing 18 unique sessions.”
The event will also feature some talented local youth. The Children’s Aid Society Black Light Theatre group will perform at noon on March 22nd and the Churchill High School Jazz Band on March 23rd at noon.
The workshop will feature two days of sessions highlighting a variety of topics. Among the presentations on Behaviour are: Teens who Hurt: An Examination of Violence and Interventions; On the Cutting Edge: Working with People Who Self Injure; Tough Kids and Substance Abuse; Classroom Strategies for Disruptive Behaviours in Students; Tapping Hidden Strengths - Planning For Students Who are Alcohol-Affected; The Family Help Program and Distance Treatment; and Enhancing Academic and Social Learning Opportunities for Developmentally At-Risk Children.
The sessions with a focus on Early Intervention include: Resilient Thinking: A Tool for Prevention and Intervention with Special Needs Children and Adolescents which is a 1 ½ day comprehensive session; Facilitating Communication and Participation for Children with Special Needs; The Importance of Early Intervention for Special Needs Infants and Toddlers; The Autism Spectrum Disorder School Support Program – Meeting the Needs of the North; Towards Nutrition Screening in Ontario Preschoolers- Tool Development around best practices and implementation across the province; and Promising Practices for Service Delivery in Speech-Language Pathology Using Videoconferencing
The two day workshop will provide practical information for participants to take away and put to immediate use.
Full presenter information, session details and registration forms are available at www.lcnorth.ca or by phoning 807-343-8196.
The cost is $100 per day or $175 for both days. Scholarships may be available for caregivers and students to attend.
The workshop is organized by the Centre of Excellence for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs at Lakehead University. Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the centre focuses on the distinct challenges faced by children and adolescents with special needs in northern Canada.
Contact: Jodi Kurzhals, Site Coordinator, 807-343-8196
Greenstone press release ...
Greenstone Community Portal launch helps communities get online
Greenstone, ON: The Greenstone Community Portal, a community-focused web portal, was officially launched today at www.greenstone.ca. Pioneered by the Municipality of Greenstone and its partners, Geraldton District Hospital and Geraldton Community Forest, the Greenstone Community Portal is strategically designed to connect and build capacity for Greenstone residents, non-profit organizations and businesses online.
Using advanced wireless and web technologies to meet the needs of communities in Northern Ontario, the Greenstone Community Portal provides an interactive experience that will enhance communication, offer access to new economic opportunities, improve professional recruitment and dramatically increase cooperation between individuals, businesses and organizations, both within Greenstone and across the world.
The community owned and operated web portal was primarily funded by the McGuinty Liberal government's Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Rural Economic Development (RED) program in the amount of $747,444.
The Greenstone Community Portal is user-friendly and has been specifically developed to allow the Greenstone communities at large to take full advantage of the Internet,” said Michael Power, Mayor of the Municipality of Greenstone. “It will act as an evolving resource for community information and services, event listings, tourism information, directories and e-commerce business solutions. All of the portal content will be created and developed by local residents, organizations and businesses who want to benefit from exposure on the World Wide Web.”
In addition to providing a diverse range of content, a key objective of the Greenstone Community Portal is to increase awareness and usage of web-based technology by local residents to support the emergence of a more diversified economy in Greenstone.
During today’s Greenstone Community Portal go-live event at the Geraldton Curling Club, it was also announced that a series of training workshops will be held in Greenstone, commencing March 2007. In addition, residents are being offered free access to internet tools such as web hosting and E-commerce shopping capabilities for one year.
“We want to ensure that residents have the skills they need to gain the most benefit from the portal,” continued Mayor Michael Power. “By providing workshops and developing training partnerships within the region, our residents will have the opportunity to learn how to use new technology and most importantly, how to leverage the portal to develop new economic growth initiatives for our region.”
“This initiative will open new windows of opportunity for the residents of Greenstone and provide an effective gateway for communication between government, the public, industry and business,” said Mayor Michael Power. “This entire Greenstone Community Portal project culminates in the realization of our aims to build a global communications channel to connect Greenstone residents with the world through www.greenstone.ca," concluded Mayor Michael Power.
For more information visit: www.greenstone.ca
For further information: Contact: Stephanie Ash, Firedog Communications Tel: (807) 767-4443; Cell: (807) 472-5276; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org