NEWS FLASH — $5,000 cash prize to the winner of the new
RBC Financial Group award supporting small business skills development.
Visit http://www.conferenceboard.ca/education/awards/ for program updates.
From the February 24 issue of the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal - http://chroniclejournal.com/story.shtml?id=25938
FedNor budget skyrockets
By Carl Clutchey - The Chronicle-Journal
February 24, 2005
The federal agency that helps Northern Ontario feel less like Ontario’s poor cousin got a huge boost in Wednesday’s budget.
Liberal MP Joe Comuzzi, the minister who oversees FedNor, could barely contain himself as the agency’s annual allotment officially skyrocketed.
“We’re talking about a base budget of $20 million going up to $52 million,” Comuzzi (Thunder Bay-Superior North) enthused minutes after listening to Finance Minister Ralph Goodale present the budget speech.
FedNor is divided into two parts. The main Northern Ontario Development Program is the beneficiary of the enhanced $52-million budget.
The other part of FedNor is a collection of 61 Community Futures Development Corporations across Ontario.
That program received an increase of $14.2 million over five years. Prior to the budget, each CFDC had received $250,000 to cover operating costs and replenish loan funds.
CFDCs provide business loans up to $125,000 in rural parts of the province. Twenty-four of the 61 are in Northern Ontario.
High on FedNor’s agenda, Comuzzi said, is to spend about $10 million of its expanded base budget on new telecommunications infrastructure.
That will bring high-speed Internet capability to the approximately 30 per cent of Northwestern Ontario communities still without what’s now considered an essential service.
The money, to be spent over two years, will pay for high-speed equipment and modern telecommunication lines at First Nations and other remote communities that lack the customer base to convince Internet providers to make those investments on their own.
Comuzzi said the high-speed capability will be a boon to doctors and other medical professionals in remote areas who currently can’t access services such as digital images.
Meanwhile, Comuzzi and fellow Northwest Liberal MP Ken Boshcoff (Thunder Bay-Rainy River) noted the $300 million earmarked for the development of an east-west power grid to allow cheap, Manitoba-based electricity to flow into Ontario.
Comuzzi said that project will be significant for Northwestern Ontario wood mills and mines currently facing some of the highest electricity costs in North America.
Boshcoff, a former Thunder Bay mayor, said he was pleased to see Goodale retain the GST exemption for Canadian municipalities, which saves his home city about $1.5 million annually.
Boshcoff also noted the $85 million the budget allotted for the disabled.
Parts of the budget are to be put to a vote in the House of Commons over the next few weeks.
Comuzzi said he isn’t worried that the Liberals, currently heading a minority government, will lose their hold on power in a non-confidence vote linked to the budget.
Don Burnstick visit to Red Lake on March 10 & 11, 2005, is going to be a busy one. Here is some information that may be of some interest to you...check it out if you want.
On Thursday, March 10, 2005 - The Evolution of a Teenager for Teens, Educators and Caregivers workshop will be held for pre-registered youth at no charge. This workshop is from 9:30 to 2:30 pm at the Red Lake Indian Friendship Centre.
On Friday, March 11, 2005 the second event is an "I am Alcohol Play" and lunch with Don Burnstick at the Royal Canadian Legion from 11:30 am -2:00 pm. This play is a vivid portrayal of a man's painful journey as he battles his loneliness and fear with alcohol. This powerful and strong message that everyone needs to see. This workshop is open and free to the public. however, we will be selling Soup and Sandwiches at the play to assist with off setting the costs involved of bringing Don Burnstick into our community. Donations are also welcome.
Friday, March 11, 2005 will also have the evening of laughter with Comedian Don Burnstick at the Royal Canadian Legion. Tickets for sale at $15.00 each. Doors open at 5:30 - local entertainment at 6:00 - Main Event at 7:00 pm
For more information call Shelley Mc Kenzieat the Red Lake Indian Friendship Centre at 727-2847 extension 39.
Equay-wuk (Women's Group) Parent Support Program, funded by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, is completing it's third and final year of the Program. It officially ends March 31, 2005.
Equay-wuk (Women's Group) staff would like to thank all communities and individuals for supporting and participating in the Program, by allowing us to visit and promote healing among our families.
May the healing continue.......Meegwetch.
The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed partnership with Aboriginal people and has initiated a Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable process that will be completed later this year.
Budget 2005 invests $735 million over the next five years, in addition to the $700 million over five years for Aboriginal health programs announced in September 2004, to address urgent needs, with a focus on children, youth and their families, including:
$345 million over the next five years for First Nations early learning and child care, special education, and child and family services.
$340 million over the next five years for First Nations housing on reserves, Aboriginal languages and culture, and the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
Strengthening Aboriginal Communities
The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed partnership with Aboriginal people. The most recent Speech from the Throne noted that more must be done to ensure that the country's prosperity is shared by Canada's Aboriginal people and communities. The Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable, launched in April 2004, provides an historic opportunity to innovate, move forward, strengthen partnerships and set a new direction for the future.
Federal Ministers, in partnership with Aboriginal leaders and in cooperation with provincial and territorial governments, have been holding follow-up sessions on health, lifelong learning, housing, economic opportunities, negotiations and accounting for results. The conclusions from these sessions will be the focus of a policy retreat in the spring of 2005, followed by a First Ministers' Meeting in the fall of 2005. The Government looks forward to the conclusions of the Roundtable process and will take action, in partnership with Aboriginal people and provinces and territories, to close the gap in life chances for Aboriginal people.
While awaiting the completion of the Roundtable process, Budget 2005 provides investments of $735 million over the next five years, with a focus on children and youth and their families.
Aboriginal Children and Youth
The Aboriginal population is young and dynamic-a full third are under the age of 14 years. This young population is poised to make a significant contribution to Canada's society and economic growth, but must have the education and skills needed to succeed. Reflecting this priority, Budget 2005 provides new investments totalling $345 million over the next five years for:
First Nations Early Learning and Child Care
The Government's commitment to a national system of early learning and child care includes First Nations children and families on reserve and builds on recent budgets' commitments to strengthen programs on reserve for First Nations children, which have included:
$320 million over five years ($65 million a year ongoing) for early childhood development programming for First Nations and other Aboriginal children. A total of $45 million over three years ($14 million a year ongoing) for early learning and child care for First Nations children living on reserve. Budget 2005 commits an additional $100 million over the next five years, from the $5 billion provided for the five-year plan for a national initiative (see Chapter 4), to enhance early learning and child care opportunities for First Nations children and families on reserves. This will ensure that First Nations children share in the national commitment to the best possible start in life for Canada's children. Implementation of these funds will draw on the outcomes of community consultations, upcoming assessments of programs and how they are delivered, and the Aboriginal roundtable discussions.
First Nations Special Education
Investments in primary and secondary education have long-term benefits for both children and Canada as a whole. Some children, however, face special learning challenges in school. These can include fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and mild to severe physical or behavioural challenges. These children require extra resources, such as specialized teachers and equipment that can help them to overcome their challenges and tap into their full potential.
Budget 2001 provided $60 million over two years and $35 million annually thereafter for the Special Education Program for First Nations children living on reserve. Budget 2005 builds on that investment by providing an additional $120 million over five years. Combined with funding from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, this will bring funding for the Special Education Program to $125 million per year by 2007-08. The incremental funding provided in this budget will enhance the ability of First Nations to provide the additional resources (including teachers, specialized programs, assistive technology and modifications to physical surroundings) required to meet the demands on the program.
First Nations Child and Family Services
The health, safety and well-being of children are everyone's responsibility. One of the most difficult issues facing many Aboriginal communities and families is the high rate of placement of Aboriginal children in care outside their parental homes. There are about 100 First Nations child and family service agencies that are currently mandated and monitored by provincial governments and funded by the Government of Canada to provide essential child protection and family support services to First Nations communities.
A comprehensive strategy is being developed to help ensure that more First Nations children and parents get the help they need to prevent the types of crises that lead to intervention and family breakdown. In the interim, Budget 2005 provides an investment of $25 million a year to address immediate cost pressures.
Strengthening Aboriginal Social Foundations
Children and their families also need the basic foundations of healthy communities. Budget 2005 provides new investments totalling $340 million over five years on:
First Nations Housing On Reserves
Adequate housing is one of the basics of life, an essential support for developing one's potential. Yet there is a critical and growing shortage on First Nations reserves. The Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable identified housing as one of its top priorities and the most recent Speech from the Throne stated that "these are the intolerable consequences of the yawning gaps that separate so many Aboriginal people from other Canadians," including unacceptable gaps in basics like housing.
Since then the Government of Canada, Aboriginal organizations, provinces and territories, and housing experts have launched in-depth discussions about what transformative changes are required to improve housing conditions for Aboriginal people. But while these discussions are ongoing, there is an opportunity to take immediate action to start addressing the housing shortage.
Budget 2005 provides an investment of $295 million over five years, of which $200 million will be for the next two years, for housing construction and renovation on reserves. The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will build on their current programs to stabilize the housing situation on reserve by constructing 6,400 new units and renovating 1,500 existing units-enough to stem the growing shortage of housing units and begin to eliminate it. Capital contributions will be limited to new construction or renovations, and rents will be paid on these units. The Government will consider further proposals, including a First Nations Housing Authority, after the Roundtable process is completed.
Support for Languages and Cultures
Aboriginal languages and cultures are an integral part of Canada's cultural heritage and an important source of pride and identity for Aboriginal peoples. The Government of Canada and a number of provincial and territorial governments support and promote Aboriginal languages and cultures both directly and indirectly, often by assisting communities to take the steps they believe are needed to preserve and revitalize their languages and cultural practices. Yet more is needed to ensure that Aboriginal languages and cultures remain a vital part of the diverse and vibrant Canadian heritage.
In December 2002, the Government announced $172.5 million to support the creation of a new Aboriginal Languages and Cultures Centre. Recommendations from an Aboriginal advisory task force regarding the activities and operations of this centre are anticipated shortly. Budget 2005 provides funding of $5 million to extend the Aboriginal Languages Initiative, which supports community-based Aboriginal languages projects, for one more year until the centre becomes operational.
Aboriginal Healing Foundation
The Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF) was established in 1998 with a $350- million endowment and a mandate to support community-based projects that would address the legacy of the physical and sexual abuses that occurred in the Indian residential school system. Consistent with its mandate, the foundation has now committed all its funds and is winding down its affairs.
The AHF has helped many thousands of individuals and hundreds of communities begin their healing journeys and has contributed to a deeper understanding of the legacy of the residential school era. However, individuals and communities are at different stages in their healing work. While the Government takes stock and considers how best to move forward with regard to this important work in the context of the Aboriginal Roundtable process, Budget 2005 will provide an additional $40 million in 2004-05 for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation to continue supporting healing projects and to promote public awareness and understanding of healing issues. The $40 million will enable the Foundation to fund projects over the next two years.
The Government will continue to work with residential school claimants and their representatives, Aboriginal healers and leaders, and the churches to find ways to expedite the resolution of claims of physical and sexual abuse in Indian residential schools.
Canada's Relationship With the Métis Community
In the 2003 Powley decision, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the Métis Aboriginal right to harvest for food in the Sault Ste. Marie area of Northern Ontario, and allowed for the possibility that such rights might exist elsewhere in Canada.
In response to this decision, Budget 2004 set aside $20.5 million in 2004-05 to work with Métis leadership, provinces and territories to address Métis Aboriginal harvesting issues. Over the last year, the Government of Canada has been working with stakeholders to assess the broader implications of the decision, develop possible approaches to implementation, and facilitate responsible harvesting while ensuring public safety. But more work needs to be done.
To that end, Budget 2005 provides an additional $30 million over the next two years to continue work with provincial and territorial governments, Métis organizations and other stakeholders to fully assess the implications of the decision for Métis communities and ensure effective implementation of the Supreme Court decision.
Post-Secondary Scholarships for Aboriginal Canadians
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the educational aspirations of Aboriginal Canadians. In 2003, the Government established a new post-secondary scholarship program for Aboriginal students with a one-time $12- million endowment, to be administered by the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation.
To further support and encourage the achievement of higher levels of education among Aboriginal students, Budget 2005 commits an additional $10 million in 2005-06 for the Post-Secondary Education Program administered by the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation.
Inuit organizations have long argued that their unique issues, needs and priorities have not received adequate attention from the Government of Canada. In response, at the April 2004 Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced the creation of an Inuit Secretariat, to reside within Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The Secretariat will bring a strategic policy focus to discussions and decisions that impact on the policies, programs and services that shape the federal government's relationship with the Inuit. Budget 2005 provides $10 million over the next five years to establish and operate the Inuit Secretariat.
This morning, Jesse Terry wrote the following message from his six month placement with the Elba program in Finland ...
"spring will be coming around the same time as it does back home or just a little later. The sea ice leaves in April, just like home. The Elba has canoes and does canoe programs which I will be a big part of. So, am really looking forward to that. As well, in the spring and summer, they have international camps, ranging from leadership to adventure activities, which I'll be working on. Those I am really looking forward too!
So, glad you like the pics. And, yes, its nice to be able to use a computer at work...
Jesse uses his web site at myknet.org to share his stories and experiences with his family and friends. Check it out at http://jesseterry.myknet.org. For more information about the international program that is sponsoring Jesse's work in Finland visit http://www.ghostriverrediscovery.com/ypi.htm
The family connections are maintained even at a distance with most members posting pictures and stories on their personal homepages. Carol Terry, Jesse's mother who is the Health Director at the Independent First Nations Alliance in Sioux Lookout, loves to use her site to share special pictures about family gatherings and adventures (http://carolterry.myknet.org). Cal Kenny, Jesse's older brother who works with Keewaytinook Okimakanak, produces some wonderful videos and stories that makes everyone want to return to this special place in the north (http://calkenny.myknet.org). Kanina, Jesse's sister who is living and working in Toronto, also maintains an "interesting" personal web site at http://kainaterry.myknet.org. Tom, Jesse's father, keeps talking about setting up a web site but always has something else to do with the folks in the north.
This is just one family's way of staying in touch using the internet. The MyKnet.org server had over 70 million hits in January alone, with an average of over 20 thousand VISITS DAILY in January. So we do know that youth and their families are on-line and using these communication tools!!
Libraries across Ontario are celebrating "First Nations Public Library Week" starting today. The theme, "Proud Past, Proud Future @ your library" celebrates the First Nation public library's key roles, that being, respectful keeper of the history of its community and the First Nation peoples, and vital contributor to the successful growth and development of individuals and the community overall. The winter timing for First Nations Public Library Week observes the traditional time for storytelling.
Some resources obtained from the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal to help celebrate this occasion include:
3rd Annual Northern Housing Conference
Assembly of First Nations National Chief States Expected Outcomes from the Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable Follow-up Discussions
OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - January 26th marked the close of the final follow-up session to the Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable. The Roundtable, convened by Prime Minister Paul Martin on April 19, 2004, was an opportunity for the Assembly of First Nations and other Aboriginal organizations to engage directly on a new agenda and a new relationship with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. In follow-up, six "sectoral sessions" were held over the past months to deal with priority issues that emerged from the Roundtable: Health, Lifelong Learning (Education), Housing, Economic Opportunities, Negotiations and Accountability (which wrapped-up yesterday).
Click here to read the entire AFN press release
Click here to read the AFN background and position papers for each of the roundtable discussion forums
SUMMARY OF AFN'S RECOMMENDATIONS AND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE SIX CANADA-ABORIGINAL PEOPLES ROUNDTABLE SECTORAL SESSIONS
At the Health session, First Nations called for a clear commitment to facilitate sustainable, accountable and culturally sensitive First Nation health systems. Specific recommendations included the implementation of commitments made at 2004 First Ministers Meeting on Health with Aboriginal leaders:
- critical investments upstream in key areas such as diabetes; and
- a reasonable rate of growth based on real cost drivers to ensure the sustainability of all First Nation health programming.
In addition, AFN brought forward the need for First Nations public health infrastructure to promote prevention and supportive programming as an integral aspect of transforming health outcomes of First Nation peoples.
In Lifelong Learning, First Nations participants carried the message that First Nation control of universal, holistic and sustainable First Nation learning systems is required. Specific targeted outcomes are expected in several areas including:
- Ensuring comparability with the general population in all aspects of K-12 education for First Nation students
- Developing First Nation education authorities to provide critical supportive infrastructure
- Addressing gaps and needs as they relate to early childhood education and child welfare
AFN also recommended a thorough review of federal and provincial skills training programming to ensure that the young First Nation population is equipped to take their rightful place in the Canadian economy.
In Housing, the AFN advocated for:
- urgent action to eliminate the backlog of housing and shelter needs confronting First Nations people;
- the longer term goal of implementing First Nations control of housing through new entities that will govern, maintain and manage First Nations housing systems in a sustainable, secure manner.
In Economic Opportunities, the AFN advocated:
- the need to position First Nations as integral players in the Canadian economy through recognizing First Nations' rightful place in resource development, environmental stewardship, job training and business development.
An initial concrete action in this regard would be updating Canada's Aboriginal Economic Development strategy to ensure it is serving the economic interests and requirements of First Nations.
In the Negotiations session, National Chief Fontaine stated he was particularly pleased with the dialogue that converged with focused recommendations, including the Minister of Indian Affairs' public instructions to his departmental negotiators to be flexible and creative in their discussions with First Nations. The AFN stated that:
- a new approach is required for First Nation negotiations which reflects court rulings over the last decade and is inclusive of self-government, land claims and treaty implementation;
- reconciliation must become the common goal of negotiations, which can be achieved through new, multi-dimensional, multi-jurisdictional approaches.
At the Accountability session that wrapped up this week, First Nations challenged the government to:
- commit to reciprocal accountability from the federal government to First Nations and not simply more reporting by First Nations to the federal government, based on principles of a government-to-government relationship
- a broad First Nation accountability framework that will provide meaningful assessments, equipping First Nations and the Governments of Canada to track real progress in addressing the shameful conditions facing the majority of First Nations communities;
- ensuring accountability to First Nation citizens first and foremost; and
- developing supportive institutions such as a First Nations Auditor-General.