The AFN press release and the CTV.ca new item below highlights how the current government is creating a crisis using First Nation people in an attempt (and hope) to favourably position themselves for voters and mainstream society. Then on April 2, the Minister of Defence assured Canadians that the final version will not contain any reference to Aboriginal Canadians (see Globe and Mail story below).
Assembly of First Nations National Chief demands that Federal Government Immediately Repudiate and Remove Reference to First Nations from Military's Terror Manual List
OTTAWA, April 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine today demanded that the federal government immediately remove any reference to First Nations in a Department of National Defense draft counter-insurgency manual listing international terrorist threats. According to a report by The Globe and Mail, radical Native American organizations such as the Mohawk Warriors Society are listed in the training manual as insurgents, alongside other insurgent groups.
"Any reference to First Nations people as possible insurgents or terrorists is a direct attack on us - it demonizes us, it threatens our safety and security and attempts to criminalize our legitimate right to live our lives like all other Canadians do. Just being referenced in such a document compromises our freedom to travel across borders, have unimpeded telephone and internet communications, raise money, and protest against injustices to our people," stated AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine.
"I am calling upon Prime Minister Stephen Harper to immediately and without reservation, reject and remove any references to First Nations from all versions of the training manual."
"It is shocking and outrageous to learn that the Canadian military would consider First Nations people as insurgents or equate us to Hezbollah or Hamas. Not only is there not a shred of evidence to make this link, First Nations have always served Canada well by their contributions to the Canadian services. Such absurd allegations only serve to undermine respect for the military and lead us to believe we will not be able to rely on their protection the way other Canadians do."
Moreover, the federal government has also recently threatened that it would aggressively audit and possibly cut off funding provided to First Nations organizations who participate in, or support a peaceful National Day of Action on June 29th. This, taken with the report that we are included in the list of insurgent organisations in the military's manual, raises serious questions about the federal government's respect for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly for First Nations people. It appears that they want to silence us.
"The proposed June 29th National Day of Action is intended to bring focus to and generate awareness of the deplorable social - economic status of First Nations peoples in this country. Too often, First Nations poverty and the injustices suffered by our communities are not well understood. We aim to begin changing that by reaching out to Canadians and by putting our issues and our solutions front and center. First Nations people are people of integrity and we will abide by the rule of law while exercising our right to free speech," said the National Chief.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
/For further information: Bryan Hendry, A/Communications Director, (613) 241-6789, ext. 229, cell: (613) 293-6106, email@example.com; Nancy Pine, Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789, ext. 243, cell: (613) 298-6382, firstname.lastname@example.org/
Army manual lumps radical natives with Hezbollah
Updated Sat. Mar. 31 2007 - CTV.ca News Staff
Radical natives are included on the same list as the Tamil Tigers and Hezbollah in a new counterinsurgency manual being prepared for the Canadian army.
The manual is in the final stages of preparation, but The Globe and Mail has obtained an early version of the document.
The draft outlines tactics, including ambush, deception and killing, which the military could use both at home and abroad against military opponents.
The document was put together in September 2005, under an access-to-information request.
A cover letter stated that although the manual was considered a draft version, it had been circulated for immediate use as a training manual until the final version was completed.
The final copy is expected to be released to the military within months, The Globe reports.
The draft is specific in listing some natives as potential enemy combatants.
"The rise of radical Native American organizations, such as the Mohawk Warrior Society, can be viewed as insurgencies with specific and limited aims," the manual states.
"Although they do not seek complete control of the federal government, they do seek particular political concessions in their relationship with national governments and control (either overt or covert) of political affairs at a local/reserve ('First Nation') level, through the threat of, or use of, violence."
The Mohawk Warrior Society played a role in Quebec's Oka crisis of 1990 that led to a 78-day standoff with police and left an officer dead.
The draft manual surfaces at a time when many feel the recent federal budget ignored many of the issues faced by natives, and as a months-old dispute between natives occupying a housing development near Caledonia, Ont. and residents, drags on.
Stewart Phillip, the Grand Chief of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said he is "absolutely outraged" by the manual.
"It's a complete attack on our political rights," he told The Globe.
"What we're seeing is the deliberate criminalization of the efforts of aboriginal people to march, demonstrate and rally to draw public attention to the crushing poverty that is the reality within our communities."
Phillip recently said he expects "a summer of aboriginal protest" against the government.
Many natives and the federal government are at odds over the $5 billion Kelowna Accord, a document negotiated by former prime minister Paul Martin to address native issues but never tabled by the Conservatives, and the plight of the residents of Kashechewan.
The reserve in northern Ontario has faced water contamination, sickness and flooding, but Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice says the government can't afford the $474 million price tag estimated to move the embattled Kashechewan reserve, as requested by the residents.
Prentice has warned the government will impose financial penalties against native groups that use federal money to plan summer protests against Ottawa on issues such as land claims and poverty.
"Working together to find common solutions is a much more constructive way of dealing with issues than planning blockades," he wrote to The Globe.
According to the manual, an insurgency is "the actions of a minority group within a state who are intent on forcing political change by means of a mixture of subversion, propaganda and military pressure, aiming to persuade or intimidate the broad mass of people to accept such a change."
The response to that, the manual states, can go beyond military response to include psychological tactics to defeat the enemy.
The manual seems to focus on the Canadian military serving in places where governments have lost control and factions are fighting for power.
The Canadian Forces has not yet commented on the manual and it is not clear whether native groups have been previously listed as a potential opponent.
Final version of terror report will not refer to natives, O'Connor says
BILL CURRY - POSTED ON 02/04/07
OTTAWA -- References to radical natives in the Canadian army's counterinsurgency manual will not appear in the final version of the document, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor has announced.
The use of "radical Native American organizations" as an example of insurgents in a draft version of the manual has incensed native leaders, who viewed the wording as a threat to their political rights to protest.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine said yesterday the inclusion of natives in the manual could threaten the ability of Canadian natives to travel internationally.
But in a written statement, Mr. O'Connor explained that the document was simply making reference to past examples of insurgencies and was not meant to suggest that natives in Canada are a potential military target.
"The draft counterinsurgency manual was produced in September, 2005, under the previous government. The draft manual is not a final document, and continues to evolve and be updated," the statement from the minister said.
"The final version will not contain references to any current aboriginal organizations. The draft manual does not make comparisons between aboriginal groups and any insurgent groups," he stated.
"The draft manual does not state that any other particular group is a potential target of the Canadian military . . . What the draft document does do is use examples of past insurgencies from Canada and abroad to illustrate how some groups have resorted to violence or the threat of violence in the past in order to gain political influence or concessions."
The minister's office said the draft manual has been used to train Canadian soldiers for the mission in Afghanistan. The reference to natives will be removed because the manual is only for use in relation to that mission, a spokeswoman said.
The Globe published a report on the manual on Saturday. The report noted that the Mohawk Warrior Society was involved in the 1990 Oka crisis in Quebec, which spawned a 78-day confrontation with police and the military that left a police officer dead.
The draft manual's 164 pages outline a wide range of measures that could be used to assess, manage and defeat an insurgency.
On the 11th page, under the heading "Overview of insurgencies and counter-insurgencies," a paragraph is highlighted, which states: "The rise of radical Native American organizations, such as the Mohawk Warrior Society, can be viewed as insurgencies with specific and limited aims. Although they do not seek complete control of the federal government, they do seek particular political concessions in their relationship with national governments and control (either overt or covert) of political affairs at a local/reserve ("First Nation") level, through the threat of, or use of, violence."
There is no other mention of natives in the manual, nor does the manual add further context as to why that paragraph is included.
Five pages later, the manual gives other examples of insurgents, listing Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and the Tamil Tigers.
Mr. Fontaine issued a statement yesterday describing the mention of radical natives as "shocking."
The following two stories documents document the struggle that the people of Kashechewan are having with the Conservative government ...
Prentice: $474M move for Kashechewan too costly
Updated Fri. Mar. 30 2007 - CTV.ca News Staff
Canada's Indian Affairs minister says the federal government can't afford the $474 million price tag estimated to move the embattled Kashechewan reserve.
Jim Prentice said it would be more feasible to spend $200 million on repairs rather than completely move the 1,800 people in the northern Ontario community.
"It's not realistic and frankly to move 30 kilometres up the river, ... there's no economy there, there's no jobs there, there's no economic future there," he told CTV News.
The report, commissioned by Indian Affairs, was prepared by engineering firm Neegan Burnside. The firm estimated it would cost $263,000 for each man, woman and child to move north.
The document does not stipulate the cost to move Kashechewan 450 kilometres south to Timmins, Ont. -- a move recommended by a special adviser appointed by Prentice but rejected by the residents of the reserve.
"It's a community of 50-60,000 people. It has modern schools hospitals, colleges all of the things that young people would take advantage of," Prentice said.
However, opposition parties are siding with the people of Kashechewan.
"When you move a whole community that has lived for thousands of years in Canada's north and put them as a little suburb to a big urban area, you're essentially condemning that community to ultimately being absorbed," said NDP leader Jack Layton.
The Mushkegowuk Council, which is responsible for the Kashechewan reserve, maintains they would rather move their residents north to their traditional hunting grounds.
"The majority of them said that they would rather re-locate to safer, higher ground," said Chief Jonathon Solomon.
The repairs to flood-plagued reserve near Albany River would include extensive work to a failing protective flood wall, housing, along with repairs to the school and buildings.
The Cree hunters were forcibly relocated to the flood plain in 1957 by the federal government.
Liberal MP and former Indian Affairs Minister Andy Scott was forced to deal with a barrage of criticism in 2004 as the reserve made headlines for an E. coli water crisis.
On Oct. 27, 2005, Scott signed an agreement worth $500 million to rebuild the entire Kashechewan community on higher ground north of the reserve.
"It was approved and booked,'' by former finance minister Ralph Goodale, Scott said.
However, the Conservative government has since reneged on the funding, saying the Liberals never officially committed to the deal.
"If Andy Scott can show us where the $500 million was booked, we'd be glad to see it because we sure can't find it anywhere,'' Prentice spokesman Bill Rodgers said.
The minister said it would not be practical to maintain the current reserve through another flood season while a new one was being built.
The entire town of Kashechewan has had to be evacuated three times since 2004 because of flooding and water supply contamination on the low-lying site.
With a report by CTV's Rosemary Thompson and files from The Canadian Press
Prentice turns down Kashechewan move request
Last Updated: Friday, March 30, 2007 - CBC News
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice has turned down a request by the embattled Kashechewan reserve in northern Ontario to relocate within its traditional hunting grounds, reserve officials say.
Stan Louttit, grand chief for the Mushkegowuk Council, which is responsible for the Kashechewan reserve, told CBC News Friday that Prentice rejected the option of relocation as too costly and offered $200 million to redevelop the community at the current location.
"Disappointment" was how Louttit described his reaction, as he said relocation was the preferred option of the vast majority of the community's 1,700 residents.
In an interview Friday with the Canadian Press, Prentice said a new engineering report estimates it would cost about $474 million to move the reserve to higher ground — an option he called "prohibitively" expensive.
"If the situation is that the community wishes to stay in their traditional territory, then the most prudent option is the current Kashechewan site, where there's probably $150 million to $200 million of infrastructure in place already," Prentice said.
Louttit said the next step is for Kashechewan Chief Jonathan Solomon to go back to the community with this offer and decide how they will respond.
Earlier this month, Solomon said Prentice had balked at a report saying the community preferred to be relocated 30 kilometres upstream, within their traditional lands.
The report found a majority of residents wanted to move off the flood plain of the Albany River, where their homes have been repeatedly swamped during spring thaws.
It contradicted an earlier federal report recommending community members be moved to the city of Timmins, about 480 kilometres to the south.
Three evacuations since 2004
The federal report, prepared for Indian Affairs by former Ontario provincial government cabinet minister Alan Pope and released last November, recommended moving the reserve to the outskirts of Timmins to give community members access to hospitals, schools and employment.
Solomon has called on the Tories to honour a 2005 deal worth $500 million reached with the previous Liberal government to build a new community within their traditional hunting grounds in 10 years.
"It was approved and booked" by former finance minister Ralph Goodale, Liberal MP and former Indian Affairs minister Andy Scott told the Canadian Press Friday.
Prentice had repeatedly said the people could choose to relocate, but following the release of the survey earlier this month, a spokesperson for Indian Affairs told CBC News the cost projections had forced the ministry to take a second look.
Ottawa moved the community, against the residents' will, to the low-lying land in 1957.
Flooding and tainted water have prompted three evacuations since 2004.
The evacuations came as the community struggled with squalid housing, domestic violence, addiction and a number of reported suicide attempts.
Prentice himself has called conditions on the reserve "deplorable."
Aboriginal actor annoyed - They don't need to involve whites in telling their stories, Adam Beach says
Alex Strachan, CanWest News Service - March 30, 2007
Adam Beach is irked.
He is irked that many filmmakers continue to tell stories about aboriginal issues from a white, anglicized point of view, often through the eyes of a white lead character.
If this weekend's National Aboriginal Achievement Awards do anything, he says, it will be to show the outside world -- and aboriginal people themselves -- that the first nations, Inuit and Metis culture is a thriving, vibrant community that deserves to tell its own stories in its own ways.
"There seems to be this idea that if you're going to do an Indian movie, you have to have white people involved so it will sell the film," Beach said. "When I hear that, you're saying to me that our people aren't interesting enough to sell a film on their own. I see it time and time again. They'll show a white person come to a reservation, be introduced to the culture and then help the Indian person become more aware of their culture through a white perspective."
The Aboriginal Achievement Awards prove that doesn't have to be the case, Beach says. Casual viewers watching it for the first time will be surprised, amazed even, by what they see.
Jennifer Podemski, creative producer of this year's ceremony and a colleague of Beach's from several stage and TV roles, asked him to host this year's ceremony. Podemski wanted a more youthful energy in the program, and she thought Beach would appeal to a younger audience.
Beach agreed, even though it meant taking time out of his busy schedule taping Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which he recently joined as a regular character. He plays a Brooklyn detective opposite rapper/actor Ice-T.
The NAAA ceremony was taped March 16 in Edmonton. It will be televised Saturday on Global and the APTN specialty channel.
"I felt very honoured," Beach said, "because it's an opportunity to show the successes of our people. We're only honouring a select few recipients, but there are many more people like that in the country. It's important that we show that, because right now we need more role models for our younger generation of aboriginal people. We need to put them on that pedestal, to show that there are people who are making a difference in the world. We need to show our young people that if you succeed, we'll be there to support them."
Viewers can expect to see performances by the Juno-nominated Leela Gilday, accompanied by the Awasisak Nikamowak children's choir from the Prince Charles School in Edmonton, and Gemini nominee and former Aboriginal Achievement Awards host Andrea Menard.
"My best memory of that evening was seeing so many people who were friends of mine I hadn't seen in a while," Beach said. "I really enjoyed being around them because I'm pretty busy with my work and I rarely get to see anybody."
His favourite part of the show itself was a contemporary interpretative dance performance with aboriginal singer Fara Palmer.
"I thought it was really beautiful," Beach said. "It just showed that we have a lot of artists -- actors, singers, dancers, musicians -- who have done a lot with their lives. We just need more of our own people to become more involved and say, 'Yes, we can accomplish our dreams in these types of occupations.'"
Beach is no stranger to a hardscrabble upbringing. He was born of Saulteaux descent in Ashern, Man., and raised with his two brothers on the Dog Creek First Nations reserve. His mother was killed by a drunk driver when he was just eight years old. She was eight months pregnant at the time.
His father died shortly afterwards, in a boating accident. Beach and his two brothers grew up with his aunt and uncle in Winnipeg.
Beach fell into acting after he signed onto a drama class in high school. He thought drama would be a cool place to "goof off" with his friends. Instead, it became his passion.
A lead role with the Manitoba Theatre for Young People, guest-staring roles in TV shows like Walker, Texas Ranger and Touched by An Angel, and starring roles in North of 60, The Rez and Law & Order: SVU soon followed.
Beach's dream role is playing the iconic comic-book hero Turoq, one of the gods of the Arctic, in a live-action version of the '70s comic and present-day series of video games. Beach has just recorded the voice of Turoq for an animated TV version.
"I've always dreamt of doing a live-action movie," he said, laughing. "I'm in talks right now. Who knows? A lot has been coming true for me in the past year -- it's amazing. I've been living a dream."
The 2007 National Aboriginal Achievement Awards airs Saturday, on Global and APTN. Check local listings for times.
Press Release ...
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice Smears and Threatens First Nations
March 29, 2007, Ottawa - Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice must immediately apologize to Canada's First Nations people and withdraw threats to audit the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs if they dare to protest against the Conservative government, Liberal Indian Affairs Critic Anita Neville said.
"It is shocking and appalling the Minister would resort to threats to quash the democratic voices of those who may choose to show their disapproval with the Conservatives' recent budget, which contained almost nothing for Aboriginal Canadians," said Ms. Neville.
In a March 29, 2007, letter to the Winnipeg Free Press, Mr. Prentice threatened to undertake forensic audits of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs if they participate in a national protest against the Conservative government. In a March 28, 2007, letter to the Globe and Mail, he also insinuated - without justification - that the Assembly of First Nations plans on using federal funds for the protest.
In his letter to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Mr. Prentice says: "I am prepared to order forensic audits of every organization that participates in blockades and civil disobedience to ensure that monies intended for children were not used to plan these activities."
"This is the act of a bully," Ms. Neville said. "It is a threat against freedom of speech, freedom of association and against democracy itself. It is unacceptable and cannot be justified.
"The Minister has no evidence whatsoever that any federal funds would be used to organize a protest, but in publishing his letters he has insinuated that is the case - again, without any justification.
"This is a tactic that is not uncommon with the Conservative Party. We see it with the Wheat Board and with women's groups funded by Status of Women Canada. But it must end.
Both Manitoba Grand Chief Ron Evans and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine have declared June 29 as a national day of action to protest the government's lack of accountability when it comes to addressing the needs of Aboriginals.
The government's 2007 budget did nothing to replace the Kelowna Accord which was reached with First Nations and the previous Liberal government and which the current government has scrapped.
Minister trying to silence aboriginal critics, MP says
Fri Mar 30 2007
WINNIPEG -- The federal Liberal critic in charge of First Nations issues is calling on Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice to apologize for letters he wrote to two newspapers.
Winnipeg MP Anita Neville said in a release that some of Prentice's comments in the letters are "shocking and appalling".
Prentice wrote to the Winnipeg Free Press on Thursday, saying he was "surprised" by threats made by Grand Chief Ron Evans of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to block development projects.
Chiefs from across Canada have warned native blockades may rise because young people are frustrated by the virtual exclusion of First Nations from the recent federal Tory budget.
But in the letter, Prentice said the budget contains $1 billion in new spending that targets housing, children and families, education and economic opportunities, areas of concern mentioned by Evans.
Prentice said that he hopes $50.8 million in taxpayer grants and contributions to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs isn't used "in planning illegal and disruptive blockades."
"I am prepared to order forensic audits of every organization that participates in blockades and civil disobedience to ensure that monies intended for children were not used to plan these activities," he wrote.
Neville accused Prentice of making threats to "quash the democratic voices" of aboriginals who wish to show their disapproval of the budget.
"This is the act of a bully," Neville said. "It is a threat against freedom of speech, freedom of association and against democracy itself."
She said Prentice "insinuates" in both letters that federal funds would be used to organize a protest.
Prentice also wrote to the Globe and Mail on Wednesday to comment on a column which refers to calls by Phil Fontaine, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, for a national day of action June 29.
The column says the day will be used to disrupt road, rail and port service across Canada to protest the lack of action on aboriginal issues.
Prentice wrote: "I hope none of the $27 million in grants and contributions received annually by the AFN will be used in planning illegal blockades," but does not threaten an audit.
He wrote he's committed to finding solutions to difficult issues and that progress has been made. "We look forward to that progress continuing, but not under threats of blockades and disruptions."
-- Canadian Press
Ontario First Nations Governance team members Robert Houle, Regional Manager, Geraldine King, Public Education and Communications Officer and Don Jones, First Nation Liaison met with KO Chiefs and staff on Thursday. The meeting took place at the KO Research Institute in Thunder Bay. Deer Lake's Chief Royle Meekis and North Spirit Lake's Chief Sally Kakegamic along with K-Net staff joined the meeting by video conference.
During the meeting Mr. Houle made the commitment to open an office in northern Ontario. As well, the team spoke about the possibilities of working with K-Net to utilize the network connections and video conferencing to support First Nations.
Contact information for the Ontario First Nations Governance office is:
Ontario Regional Office & Central Operations
1 Nicholas Street,
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
The immediate priority of NCFNG staff is to strengthen, build and maintain relationships with and amongst First Nation citizens of Canada. This is being done through direct interaction with First Nations through NCFNG’s five regional offices. Staff has already begun the ground work by getting the word out about the Centre, its service lines and opportunities for First Nation citizens to become a part of NCFNG’s growth and development which is essentially the growth and development of all First Nations and their right to self-govern.
The mandate of the Centre is to support and enhance First Nation’s ability to make operational the function of governing. All services offered through the Centre are under the control and direction of First Nations and at their request. These programs and services will be culturally enriched and empowered by First Nation traditions, customs, laws and inherent governing powers. The work of the Centre is all about ensuring First Nations have all the tools they need to build sustainable governing structures.
The operations and administration of the four key business lines are conducive with the activities of the President’s Office, based in Coast Salish Territory on the Squamish Reserve in West VancouverBritish Columbia.
“This is about the freedom of our people: freedom of our minds,” says Satsan, (Herb George) NCFNG President.
Recognition of the inherent right to self govern was a process that took years to accomplish. And now that is legally recognized, the time has come to live the right: the reality.
“We have the right to govern ourselves. That might not happen right away, but right now we can lay a foundation” states Satsan. And that, he says, will be accomplished through the collective working partnership between NCFNG and First Nations.
For Satsan, it is all about the future: a future that we all own and have a responsibility to strengthen for our children.
“We need to put a new memory in the minds of our children”.
We are now officially open for business ready to assist First Nation communities. We offer our services to you to help enhance your inherent right of self-governance. This is what will begin a new era of story-telling, filled with hope, promise and opportunity; opportunity to know our selves and our cultures; opportunity in the economies for personal wealth generation and opportunity in creating the governance structures that meet our needs. In all of this we must keep in mind the obligation of our present generation: to provide for the needs of our seventh generation. Please feel free to contact a Regional Manager in your area
The two following press releases highlight the challenges facing First Nations as they cope with poor housing, poverty, poor nutritional food ...
AFN press release
National Chief says Poverty and Lack of Access to Affordable, Healthy Foods the Main Reason for First Nations Childhood Obesity Epidemic
OTTAWA, March 29 - Tuesday's release of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health's report on childhood obesity, "Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids", has recognized the underlying and confounding causes of poverty that have a direct outcome in terms of prevalence for obesity for First Nations children.
"The Committee's careful consideration of the evidence showing the alarming trend that more than half of First Nations children are either overweight or obese is a validation of our position that the federal government needs to honour its responsibilities to First Nations children, their families and communities," said National Chief Phil Fontaine.
"Childhood obesity among First Nations children is directly linked to overcrowding, poor access to healthy foods and lack of opportunities to be physically active in First Nations communities," said National Chief Fontaine. "Poverty among 1 in 4 First Nations children compared to 1 in 6 Canadian children is the greatest social justice issue facing this country, and is at the heart of this health crisis."
"Last week's federal budget did nothing to prevent the further impacts of health and socioeconomic disparities faced by First Nations children," commented National Chief Fontaine. "First Nations governments face the most impoverished health, social and education budgets in years. Their ability to halt escalating crises or innovate the system to create efficiencies will be more than ever stifled by this significant fiscal imbalance."
"Without a comprehensive, sustainable and long-term intervention on the part of all governments, including First Nations governments, this alarming trend will lead our children into a future of adult obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It should be noted that AFN had recommended childhood obesity as a specific measure for the success of the 2005 Kelowna Accord.
"First Nations require improved access to a safe and inexpensive food supply, including traditional foods," added the National Chief. "They also require more opportunities for access to low cost physical activity, and supportive school environments."
Only half of First Nations schools have gym facilities. First Nations communities were excluded from the pan-Canadian Healthy Living Initiative. There is no program dealing with food security or recreation in First Nations communities.
Expansion of the Aboriginal Head Start program to all First Nations communities and investment in its nutrition and physical activity component would be a starting point proposed in the AFN Submission to the Standing Committee on Health report. To access the submission in its entirety, please visit the Health webpage at www.afn.ca. Data on First Nations childhood obesity and related conditions can be found at www.rhs-ers.ca.
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, Cell: (613) 293-6106, email@example.com.
INAC press release ...
Government is committed to improving Aboriginal housing: Report notes previous Government's inaction
OTTAWA, March 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's New Government thanks the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development for its report on Aboriginal housing.
The committee's report concludes in part that "the federal government's housing programs to date have failed and are failing to keep pace with the actual needs of Aboriginal Canadians for adequate, suitable, and affordable housing."
The Hon. Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, notes however the Committee's acknowledgement of the positive steps taken in Budget 2006 to address the shortfall in off-reserve and Northern housing.
"Considerable work remains to be done to fix a system that has been broken for years", said Minister Prentice. "The Committee's conclusion concerning the housing crisis is a sad testament to the systemic inaction and gross neglect of the previous Liberal government."
In Budget 2007, Canada's New Government acted to begin addressing the need to remedy the significant disparities in the quantity and quality of housing available to Aboriginal people.
"In addition, Canada's New Government has earmarked $300 million to be dedicated to the development of a housing market in First Nations communities", said the Minister.
Unlike previous governments, this government is setting realistic, measurable targets and getting things done for First Nation Canadians on- and off-reserve and Inuit.
/For further information: please contact: Deirdra McCracken, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Jim Prentice, (819) 997-0002/
New NAAF Dates! New NAAF Times!
Stay tuned and don't leave that NAAF Channel!
Painting a Brighter Future through our Education Program
(Toronto, ON) - The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation is proud to announce the new Annual deadlines of May 1st for Fine Arts and Cultural Projects and June 1st for Health Careers and Post-Secondary Education.
"We are always looking at new ways to offer innovative programming and new initiatives that can best help propel our Aboriginal youth into whatever career field they have chosen." stated NAAF CEO, Roberta Jamieson. "After careful deliberation, the new deadlines of May 1st and June 1st were selected to meet the needs of the students and potential recipients or our scholarship programs."
The Scholarship programs that the Foundation offers:
The Fine Arts Scholarship Program - Fine arts and performing arts studies including visual, performing, media, graphic, and literary arts. Through this program, funding is also provided for the Cultural Projects; this enables Aboriginal organizations, groups, or accredited individual programs to access funds to promote Aboriginal arts, cultures, and languages, particularly those aimed at youth. The objective of the Cultural Projects Program is to assist in providing a hands-on arts or cultural experience to community members, especially youth, and to promote the retention of Aboriginal languages. NAAF supports programs that encourage an appreciation of art, culture and language as a source of personal enrichment.
New Deadline is May 1st
The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) offers financial assistance to Aboriginal students through our Education Program's bursaries and scholarships. Providing upwards of $2.8 million, annually. NAAF prides itself by investing in the future of First Nation, Métis and Inuit youth, to excel in their educational and career goals. The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) provides Aboriginal Youth with additional opportunities in the following areas:
Post-secondary Education Bursary Awards Program – study in business, science, law, engineering, technical studies, computer science, education, social work and social sciences. New Deadline June 1st
Aboriginal Health Careers Bursary and Scholarship Program – studies in medicine, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy, pharmacy, lab research, lab technology, dietetics, nutrition, health, administration, public health policy and other health fields.
New Deadline June 1st
Scholarship and bursary applications can be accessed on the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation website at www.naaf.ca under the Education Programs link.
For more information regarding The Education Program contact:
Education Analyst: Rachel Hill 1 -800- 329-9780 ext: or firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) is a nationally registered non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to deliver programs that provide the tools necessary for Aboriginal youth to realize their potential. NAAF is a financially accountable organization that has been providing invaluable support to Aboriginal Peoples across Canada for over 22 years. The Foundation has grown rapidly over the years due to the demands and needs of Aboriginal youth
CIBC, Air Canada, Alliance Pipelines, APTN, BP Canada Energy Company, Casino Rama, Diavik Diamond Mines, Enbridge, Encana, First Air, Fort McKay, Global Television, IBM, Nexen Inc., Shell Canada Ltd., Suncor Energy Foundation, Syncrude
Government of Canada
Canadian Heritage, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Health Canada, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Industry Canada/Aboriginal Business Canada, Canadian Forces, Government of the Northwest Territories, Province of Alberta, City of Edmonton
For further information, please contact:
Billie Jo Tabobondung,
NAAF Communications Coordinator
Here is a story that should make everyone take notice about the strategies of the Conservative government in relaxing foreign ownership rules for telecom firms. This is particularly disturbing given the second story that shows that Canada still has a lot of work to do to support adequate and appropriate broadband infrastructure across the country.
BCE shares surge on report of takeover
March 29, 2007 - CBC News
Shares of communications conglomerate BCE Inc., the parent firm of Bell Canada, opened with a gain of 11 per cent on the TSX Thursday after reports that U.S. private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is weighing a bid to take the company private.
The stock of BCE opened at $33.50, up $3.37 from the previous close.
Based on Wednesday's closing price of $30.13 a share, BCE's total market capitalization is about $24.33 billion. Factoring in a takeover premium of 15 to 20 per cent, a takeover bid from KKR could be worth as much as $30 billion.
The Globe and Mail reported Thursday that KKR has had at least two meetings with top officials at BCE, including CEO Michael Sabia.
Neither BCE nor KKR has offered comment on the takeover speculation.
A bid from New York-based KKR would face numerous regulatory hurdles, including the foreign ownership rules that prevent non-Canadians from owning more than 46 per cent of the voting stake of a telecom firm.
The Globe and Mail reported that KKR is looking for Canadian partners, such as the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which is already BCE's largest shareholder, with a five per cent stake.
If the KKR offer does proceed, it could be the biggest acquisition in Canadian corporate history and one of the biggest leveraged buyouts in the world. Leveraged buyouts rely heavily on debt to finance share purchases.
KKR, Teachers' and BCE already have a business history. In 2002, KKR and Teachers' teamed up to buy BCE's Bell Canada directories business for $3 billion. The Yellow Pages directory business was spun off in 2004 as a publicly traded income trust.
Over the years, KKR also invested in other Canadian companies, including Shoppers Drug Mart in 2000 and Masonite International in 2005.
Canada tumbles in global tech study
March 28, 2007 - CBC News
Some European countries and Singapore outrank Canada and the United States in their ability to best exploit information and communication technology, according to a new survey.
The World Economic Forum's "networked readiness index" measures the range of factors that affect a country's ability to harness information technologies for economic competitiveness and development. Canada slipped from sixth place in 2004-2005 to 11th place in the 2005-2006 study, which was released Wednesday.
The United States, which topped the previous rankings, slipped to seventh, according to the World Economic Forum. It had the same score as the Netherlands, but the forum ranked Holland one spot ahead of the U.S.
Networked Readiness Score by country
The initial release of material from the report did not provide details of the reasons for Canada's tumble in the rankings. For the U.S., it cited the low rate of mobile telephone usage, a lack of government leadership in information technology and the low quality of math and science education.
But Thierry Geiger, one of the forum's economists responsible for the 361-page report, said the U.S. market environment remains the best in the world in terms of how easy it is to set up a business, get loans and have access to market capital.
Nordic countries — traditionally strong in all surveys conducted by the Geneva-based forum — dominated the top of the rankings. Denmark edged Sweden for the top spot, while Finland was fourth.
Singapore was the top Asian nation in third.
The report covered 122 countries, with Chad, Burundi, Angola, Ethiopia and Bangladesh at the bottom.
Troubled reserve may be on the move
JORGE BARRERA, NATIONAL BUREAU - Thu, March 29, 2007
The Kashechewan tragedy could be closer to a palatable ending after Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice indicated a willingness yesterday to consider a request from the Cree First Nation to relocate 30 km from their flood-beleaguered community.
The First Nation of about 1,700 is once again bracing for breakup on the Albany River and possible spring floods.
Kashechewan burst into the national psyche through grim images of scabbed skin and sickly brown water in 2005. The community, which sits on a flood plain, has been evacuated three times since 2004.
Prentice initially balked at the request which had a $500-million price tag that is now being questioned because Indian Affairs has yet to survey the site.
Now the minister says he is open to the request but is awaiting a departmental analysis before committing. Prentice is expected to present his position to Kashechewan Chief Jonathon Solomon tomorrow by phone.
"I indicated to them that I would get a briefing from the department and get back to them," said Prentice.
Solomon said he was on the site two days ago with an engineering firm hired by the department to prepare a cost analysis.
Kashechewan leaders renew call for government action
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - CBC News
With the prospect of spring flooding weeks away, leaders of the Kashechewan First Nation have renewed their call for government help for the troubled northern Ontario community.
"My people today are very edgy because of the spring flood that's just around the corner," Chief Johnathon Solomon said during a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa.
Earlier this month, Solomon said Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice had balked at a report saying the community preferred to be relocated 30 kilometres upstream within their traditional lands. The move could cost as much as $500 million.
The band report contradicts an earlier federal report recommending community members be moved to the city of Timmins, about 480 kilometres to the south.
Kashechewan lies on the flood plain of the Albany River, and many of its buildings are susceptible to flooding.
Solomon said Prentice has committed to officially respond to the community report.
"I'm just waiting for that commitment, and I have every confidence the minister will get back to me," he said.
Solomon said the phones in the band council office have been "ringing off the hook" with people asking if they are going to be moved out before the expected flooding.
He called on the Conservative government to honour a 2005 deal, reached with the previous Liberal government, to build a new community within their traditional hunting grounds in 10 years.
Last November, a report prepared for Indian Affairs by former Ontario cabinet minister Alan Pope recommended moving the reserve to the outskirts of Timmins, giving community members access to hospitals, schools and employment.
Prentice had repeatedly said the people could choose whether to relocate, but following the release of the survey, a spokesperson for Indian Affairs told CBC News the cost projections had forced the ministry to take a second look.
Ottawa first moved the community, against its will, to the low-lying land in 1957.
Flooding and tainted water have prompted three evacuations since 2004.
The evacuations came as the community grappled with squalid housing, domestic violence, addiction and a number of reported suicide attempts.
Prentice himself has called conditions on the reserve "deplorable."