All topics impacting the indigenous population.

Aquaculture ban challenged in court

Two B.C. First Nations and a Norwegian-owned salmon farming company are challenging the legality of a federal government refusal to renew their aquaculture open-net licences off north Vancouver Island. The government’s decision was predicated on concerns that farmed fish pose a parasitic threat to wild salmon. Neighbouring Washington state banned open-net farms in state waters last year. [node:read-more:link]

New LNG terminal for B.C.

A $3.2-billion liquefied natural gas export terminal near the northern coastal city of Kitimat has received environmental approval from the B.C. government. The floating Cedar LNG project is majority-owned by the local Haisla Nation in partnership with the Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corp. [node:read-more:link]

Residential schools deal approved

A $2.8-billion settlement agreement between the federal government and plaintiffs representing 325 First Nations whose members went to residential schools has been approved by Federal Court of Canada. Justice Ann Marie McDonald said in her March 9 ruling (Docket No. T-1542-12) that the settlement does not release the government from similar future lawsuits. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP watchdog probing protests

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission which handles public grievances against the RCMP has opened an inquiry into the force’s Community-Industry Response Group which was set up in 2017 to deal with protests against resource extraction in B.C. Terms of reference posted today include whether the CIRG’s operations are consistent with legislation and the findings of the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. [node:read-more:link]

Legal win for indigenous women

A Federal Court of Canada has restored the right of women to vote at an Alberta First Nation. In his 69-page ruling (Docket Nos. T-800-21 and T-808-21), Justice Paul Favel not only struck down a ban on members in common-law relationships from candidacy but also one which disenfranchised women whose mother, grandmother or great-grandmother had married a non-status man. [node:read-more:link]

Study tracks police killings

A project led by Alexander McClelland, a criminology professor at Carleton University in Ottawa shows that 704 persons have died in incidents involving police use of force in Canada since 2000 and that the annual average has gradually risen. “We're hoping that this data sparks conversations and gets people looking further into why there has been a potential increase, what that means, and brings more scrutiny to the issue,” McClellan says. [node:read-more:link]

Teacher fired for stating facts

After four decades if teaching high school in B.C., Jim McMurtry has been fired for departing from the school board’s official stance on the deaths of children at church residential schools. When a student said priests had murdered and tortured the children, he said most had died from disease, mainly tuberculosis, a long-documented epidemiology. One complaint to the board resulted in McMurtry being escorted out of the school in Abbotsford. [node:read-more:link]

G-G facing on-line abuse

Governor General Mary Simon’s office said today it is turning off the comments sections on its social media accounts due to increasing “abusive, misogynistic and racist engagement on social media and online platforms, including a greater number of violent threats.” Appointed in July 2021, the former civil servant, broadcaster and diplomat is the first indigenous holder of the vice-regal office. [node:read-more:link]

Marine protected area approved

The federal and B.C. governments, in cooperation with 15 coastal First Nations, have officially endorsed a planned network of marine protected areas along the Pacific Coast. Announced February 5, the agreement would protect the waters from the north end of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP officers charged in B.C.

Two RCMP officers in Prince George, B.C., are charged with manslaughter in the 2017 death of an indigenous man in their custody, prosecutors announced February 1. Three others are charged with attempting to obstruct justice. Four of the officers remain on active duty while the other is on administrative leave for unrelated reasons. [node:read-more:link]

$2.8-billion class action payout

The federal government has agreed to pay $2.8 billion to settle a 2012 class-action lawsuit by 325 First Nations seeking compensation for the loss of language and culture caused by its residential school system. Subject to final discussions and court approval, the money will be paid to an independent non-profit trust. [node:read-more:link]

Six arrested in Ontario weapons cases

Two police operations in eastern Ontario across the St. Lawrence River from New York state have resulted in the arrests of six persons on firearms charges. In one case, the investigation leading to four arrests involved provincial, local and indigenous police services as well as the Canada Border Services Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. [node:read-more:link]

Indigenous justice gets boost

Federal justice Minister David Lametti has announced funding for an indigenous legal program he says will enable it to flourish alongside the established justice system. “When justice is part of a community tradition or a nation's tradition, it will work better,” he said in announcing $1.5 million for a Métis-run program. Despite making up only about five per cent of the population, First Nations, Inuit and Métis account for 28 per cent of all federally-sentenced individuals and 32 per cent of the prison population. [node:read-more:link]

Indigenous conservation effort funded

The federal government will spend up to $800 million to support four major indigenous-led conservation projects covering nearly a million square kilometres in the North and along the B.C. coast. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement alongside Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault and indigenous as a UN conference on biodiversity began in Montreal. [node:read-more:link]

Provincial “sovereignty” plans worry First Nations

Sovereignty proposals by the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments have prompted First Nations in both provinces to call for the withdrawal of draft legislation they consider inherently undemocratic, unconstitutional and and infringes on indigenous rights. The Assembly of First Nations is being asked by the chiefs to formally reject the measures they see as a harmful precedent. [node:read-more:link]


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