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Metis Nation ready for talks on Alaska to Alberta railway

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive permit last month allowing a $22-billion international railway to be built between Alaska and Alberta.

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A Northern Alberta Indigenous band says they are willing to open talks on a potential Alaska to Alberta freight train running through their land.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive permit last month allowing a $22-billion international railway to be built between Alaska and Alberta. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has also thrown his support behind the proposal.

Now the Fort McKay Metis Nation says they are ready and willing to talk about the deal.

“Localised community negotiations are the key to getting projects like this built,” Nation president Ron Quintal told CTV news..

“A2A needs to be ready to step up to the plate because there is going to be huge discussion surrounding this project with Indigenous communities.”

Quintal said preliminary discussions with A2A officials had focussed on environmental and economic sustainability for the community.

“The community has made it very clear that they will stand up for Mother Earth but the fact of the matter is our community, at this point, relies very heavily on oilsands development,” said Quintal to CTV.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned train backers that it still has to go through a rigorous environment assessment as mandated under Bill C-69.

“Whether there is a potential for a project, before the procurement goes too far down the round and invests too much money in it, in something that is unlikely to pass,” said Trudeau.

In Canada, major infrastructure projects, such as the building of an interprovincial pipeline, a nuclear energy facility or large-scale mine are subject to federal review.

A2A Rail vice chair Mead Treadwell said the so-called ‘A2A Railway’ will succeed where others have failed, because markets are hungry for resources that Canada produces, but can’t export quickly enough to meet demand.

The company will start by constructing rail from North Pole, near Fairbanks, where the Alaska Railroad ends today. From there the railway will move south and east through Alaska, across into Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and into Alberta.

“It is approximately 1,600 miles, with roughly 200 miles of new track in Alaska, and the remaining 1,400 miles in western and northern Canada. We estimate our investment to be $15 billion CAD in Canada and another $7 billion CAD in Alaska,” said the company’s website.

“The port capacity and sometimes the rail capacity at other places in Canada are just so choked that there’s a potential market for a new port and a new method to get to Asian markets,” Treadwell said in an interview in August with KUAC.

“The Alaska Railroad right now runs 512 miles from Seward to North Pole we’re going to take that track and extend it 1500 miles to connect up with rail lines in Alberta,” Treadwell said.

Treadwell said the the system will transport bitumen, potash, sulfur and grains.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Penticton joins list of cities cancelling Canada Day celebtations

The mayor reached out to Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, to ask how council could support the local First Nations community following the Kamloops discovery.

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The city of Penticton has become the second municipality in BC to cancel Canada Day festivites.

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

“When we heard what happened in Kamloops and they found the 215 unmarked graves of those children, we thought it was appropriate to hold back and wait to see what the federal government was going to announce,” Mayor John Vassilaki told CBC.

The mayor reached out to Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, to ask how council could support the local First Nations community following the Kamloops discovery.

“The Chief also made a note that if we were to cool down the celebrations this year, it would be greatly appreciated by the Penticton Indian Band,” said Vassilaki. 

“And we wanted to show respect and reconciliation with what happened in Kamloops.”

St. Albert this weekend became the first city in Alberta to cancel celebrations.

“In respect of our community members who have experienced and continue to experience the effects of intergenerational trauma due to the residential school system, the City of St. Albert will not be hosting its annual Canada Day fireworks display this year,” it said in a tweet.

The city of Victoria was the first out of the block when they cancelled their Canada Day programing last week.

“As First Nations mourn and in light of the challenging moment we are in as a Canadian nation following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Kamloops Residential School, Council has decided to take the time to explore new possibilities, instead of the previously planned virtual Canada Day broadcast,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a media statement.

City council, who voted unanimously to change its plans for July 1, noted everyone will celebrate Canada Day in their own way.

“The City of Victoria aims to take leadership and provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian in light of recent events and what we already know from our past,” says the City of Victoria in a release.

Helps also made headlines in 2018 when she had a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald – one of the central figures involved in bringing residential schools into Canada – removed from the front of Victoria City Hall.

An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools between the 1860s and 1996, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Kamloops Industrial School (later known as the Kamloops Indian Residential School) was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890 before growing into the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system.

While several Catholic bishops across Canada have apologized and requested the release of documents in response to the discovery in Kamloops, the Vatican has yet to issue an apology or release documents.

As for the Canadian government, 15 tons of paper documents related to the residential school system between 1936 and 1944, including 200,000 Indian Affairs files, were destroyed by Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

St. Albert cancels Canada Day fireworks

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

mm

Published

on

The city of St. Albert has become the first municipality in Alberta to cancel some Canada Day celebrations.

“In respect of our community members who have experienced and continue to experience the effects of intergenerational trauma due to the residential school system, the City of St. Albert will not be hosting its annual Canada Day fireworks display this year,” it said in a tweet.

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

The city of Victoria was the first out of the block when they cancelled their Canada Day programing last week.

“As First Nations mourn and in light of the challenging moment we are in as a Canadian nation following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Kamloops Residential School, Council has decided to take the time to explore new possibilities, instead of the previously planned virtual Canada Day broadcast,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a media statement.

City council, who voted unanimously to change its plans for July 1, noted everyone will celebrate Canada Day in their own way.

“The City of Victoria aims to take leadership and provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian in light of recent events and what we already know from our past,” says the City of Victoria in a release.

Helps also made headlines in 2018 when she had a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald – one of the central figures involved in bringing residential schools into Canada – removed from the front of Victoria City Hall.

An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools between the 1860s and 1996, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Kamloops Industrial School (later known as the Kamloops Indian Residential School) was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890 before growing into the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system.

While several Catholic bishops across Canada have apologized and requested the release of documents in response to the discovery in Kamloops, the Vatican has yet to issue an apology or release documents.

As for the Canadian government, 15 tons of paper documents related to the residential school system between 1936 and 1944, including 200,000 Indian Affairs files, were destroyed by Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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BREAKING: Alberta to drop all COVID restrictions on Canada Day

Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday the province has reached the targets to launch Stage 3 which was a vaccination rate of 70.2% in the province.

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It’s all systems go for Alberta to launch into Stage 3 of its COVID-19 recovery plan.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday the province has reached the targets to launch Stage 3, which included a vaccination rate of 70.2% in the province.

He said Alberta will drop all COVID-19 regulations on July 1 and “our lives will get back to normal.”

That means:

  • All restrictions lifted, including ban on indoor social gatherings
  • Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings remain

“This is a great day for Alberta! Thanks to the diligence of Albertans and the decision of 2.7 million folks to get vaccinated, we are now just two weeks away from getting our lives back to normal,” said Kenney at a Friday press conference.

“This is an important milestone and a great achievement, but we will not stop here. We will keep administering first and second doses as quickly as possible so we’re not just open for summer, but open for good.”

Kenney said the general indoor provincial mask mandate will be lifted, but masking may still be required in limited and specific settings.

And the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton have said they may continue with their municipal mask bylaws.

“With more than 70% of eligible Albertans now vaccinated with a first dose and more receiving second doses every day, the end of this pandemic is near,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

“Thank you to the Albertans who have rolled up their sleeves to get protected. For those who are still thinking about getting a shot, you have only one week to get your shot before we draw for $1 million and other great prizes.”

Anyone in Alberta aged 18 and over can still enter the first Open for Summer Lottery draw for a chance to win $1 million. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 24 and proof of vaccination will be required to claim the prize. The winner will be announced on July 1.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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