The following press release describes the grant that will presented to KO today at 1 pm CDT via video conferencing. The web cast of this event can be watched by visiting http://webcast.knet.ca/events
KORI press release ...
GRAVELLE ANNOUNCES SAFER AND VITAL COMMUNITIES GRANT FOR THUNDER BAY – SUPERIOR NORTH ORGANIZATION
Thunder Bay, June 19, 2007 - Michael Gravelle, MPP for Thunder Bay – Superior North, was pleased to announce today that the McGuinty government under its Safer and Vital Communities Grant program is awarding $19,500 to the Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO), a tribal council serving First Nations in Northwestern Ontario.
“Working together with police services and community groups, our goal is to help make a real difference in making our Northwestern Ontario communities safer,” said Gravelle. “We need to support activities such as KO in order build safe communities for our children, our youth and our seniors. We will continue to support community organizations in their efforts to prevent crime.”
The Keewaytinook Okimakanak Research Institute (KORI), a department within Keewaytinook Okimakanak, located in Thunder Bay, will adminnister the grant by seeking to facilitate eight online workshops to promote public safety awareness in Nishnawbe-Aski Nation First Nations communities. The workshops will be broadcast via IP videoconference and streaming video. Each workshop will be archived on the project website. Topics will include: creating job opportunities on-reserve for youth; helping teachers, parents and youth in their response to youth gangs and violence; and developing skills in mentoring and leadership among youth. The workshops will run for one to two hours with a presentation, followed by a question and answer and discussion period. The objective is to engage youth in public safety awareness and have them supported by parents, elders, teachers and community.
Geordi Kakepetum, Executive Director of Keewaytinook Okimakanak, is pleased with the announcement. “KO is the leader in First Nations connectivity, telecommunications and community-based applications. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to promote discussion and dialogue among First Nations community members on community safety through the use of IP videoconferencing,” he said.
Funding was provided as part of the Safer and Vital Communities Grant program that supports the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services goal of working with partners to promote a safer Ontario. The program provides $792,800 province-wide to fund local crime prevention projects in areas such as youth crime, seniors’ safety, and protecting young Ontarians from Internet luring and child pornography. The grant program was made available to not-for-profit organizations and First Nations Band Councils.
Michael Gravelle, the Member of Provincial Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North will present Keewaytinook Okimakanak with the cheque on Wednesday, June 19th at 2 pm Eastern Standard Time at 216 Algoma Street south in Thunder Bay. Media is invited. RSVP email@example.com
Chiefs of Ontario press release ...
Ontario First Nations Reject Settlement Offer To A Share Of Provincial Gaming Revenues
TORONTO, June 18 - The First Nations in Ontario today rejected a settlement offer from the Province that would have involved the payment to First Nations of a share of provincial gaming revenues in order to settle disputes related to Casino Rama based on the Province collecting a 20% tax on the Casino Rama gross revenues in breach of promises made at the time Casino Rama was established.
The Province's settlement offer involved the payment of 1.6% of provincial gaming revenues to First Nations that could have amounted to $125 million per year for 20 years. This would amount to an average of less than $1 million annually per First Nation. However, it also involved:
The First Nations and the Province had signed a non binding Agreement-in-Principle in March 2006 outlining the proposal. However, the proposal that the Province finally presented to the First Nations contained significant provisions and restrictions that were not referred to in the Agreement-in-Principle.
Angus Toulouse, the Ontario Regional Chief, said "We are all extremely disappointed that the Province's proposal was so one-sided and contained provisions that the First Nations could not accept, particularly when these provisions had not been raised at the Agreement-in-Principle stage. As everyone knows, many of our Nations are in dire need of funding to break the cycle of dependence and poverty that plagues them. This seemed like a promising way in which a portion of the needed funding could be provided. However, the province cannot expect the First Nations to agree to unreasonable terms and conditions attached to the receipt of that funding. While the proposal involved a lot of money, there is more at issue than money."
A formal response will be forwarded to the Province that suggests positive next steps and a willingness to reach a suitable and reasonable agreement.
For further information: Pam Hunter, Policy Advisor, (416) 597-1266 Office, (613) 203-3233 Mobile
From the National Post .... (another example of biase headlines)
Ont. Natives fold on proposal to share gaming revenues
CanWest News Service - June 18, 2007
TORONTO -- The First Nations in Ontario on Monday rejected an offer from the province to share provincial gaming revenues.
The province had offered to pay 1.6% of its gaming revenues - an amount estimated to have been worth $125-million per year for 20 years.
But when divided among Ontario's 133 aboriginal communities, that would have resulted in an annual payment of less than $1-million per First Nation, the native group said Monday.
Chiefs, who were expected to ratify the proposal on Monday claimed in a prepared statement the deal would only compromise:"First Nations jurisdiction and sovereignty for generations to come.
"We are all extremely disappointed that the province's proposal was so one-sided and contained provisions that the First Nations could not accept, particularly when these provisions had not been raised at the agreement-in-principle stage, " said Angus Toulouse, the Ontario Regional Chief.
The proposed revenue-sharing deal with provincial lotteries and casinos would have doubled the communities' yearly revenue share by providing a percentage of gross revenues from all provincial gaming operations. Native groups currently receive gaming money from the operations of Casino Rama, in Orillia, Ont.
The deal also called for the First Nations to give up their interest in Casino Rama - a proposal they opposed.
The new agreement would have settled a series of lawsuits against the Ontario government that stem from the funding generated by the Orillia casino. A group of Ontario chiefs have challenged a 1996 decision by the former Conservative government that directed a cut of Casino Rama's profits into provincial coffers.
The Casino Rama operation was originally set up so that all revenues went to First Nations.