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Piikani Nation slams NDP MLAs for attending protest on their land

On Thursday, a review panel for the Alberta Energy Regulator denied the provincial application for the Grassy Mountain coal project in the coal-rich Crowsnest Pass.

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The people of Southern Alberta’s Piikani Nation are furious with the NDP after two of their MLAs ignored their request and entered their land to join a weekend protest against a proposed coal mine.

“The Piikani Ncuion Chief and Council were appalled to observe the conduct of MLA Shannon Phillips· West, Lethbridge MLA, and the MLA Marlin Schmidt, of Edmonton Gold Bar MLA, when they attended the protest rally against the Grassy Mountain and other mining initiatives in the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains,” said a statement from Chief Stanley Grier.

“This gathering was in direct contravention of the Piikani Nation Chief and Council directive for non-Piikani Nation Members onto the Piikani Nation. This directive was implemented due to our decision to mitigate and minimize the COVID-19 pandemic on the Piikani Nation. 

“The gathering was captured on news cameras wherein both MLA’s were seen amongst a small group of our Piikani Nation Members and other non-Piikani Nation persons who were not practicing proper social distancing. Their conduct was in direct contravention of former Premier Rachel Notley’s comments relative to large gatherings, vis-a-vis the Calgary Stampede, and lifting COVlD-19 restrictions throughout the province of Alberta.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Piikani Nation has taken stringent measures in full compliance of the government of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures, to protect the Piikani Nation from the COVID -19 pandemic.”

In a tweet, Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson blasted the pair for going on Piikani lands.

“Disappointed to see NDP MLAs Phillips and Schmidt violating Covid-19 protocols on Piikani Nation. I stand with the strong condemnation of these actions, as stated here by Chief Grier and Council,” he wrote.

In a series of tweets, Phillips denied any wrongdoing.

On Thursday, a review panel for the Alberta Energy Regulator denied the provincial application for the Grassy Mountain coal project in the coal-rich Crowsnest Pass.

“The panel’s decision reflects the AER’s commitment to making evidence-based and risk-informed decisions in the public interest,” said Laurie Pushor, president and CEO of the Alberta Energy Regulator, in a release.

 Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon said they respected the panel’s recommendation.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
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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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Claudette Leece

    June 19, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    Can always count on NDP to use anything to further their cause, even if no one wanted them

  2. Steven Ruthven

    June 19, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    Will the media shame and blame? Will former Premier Notley take action to discipline these wayward two? Could the First Nation’s charge these two MLA’s for trespassing? What would have been very embarrassing for Phillips and Schmidt would be the RCMP attending and escorting the unwelcomed off the Nation. News worth, I think so.

    MLA Shannon Phillips· West, Lethbridge MLA, and the MLA Marlin Schmidt, of Edmonton Gold Bar MLA

  3. Left Coast

    June 18, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    In the old days you would have found the two NDP trespassers lyin on the plain, their wagon burned, looking like a porcupine.

  4. Greg Porter

    June 18, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    So when do we see the cops arrest these MLAs? Or is it just Ministers and political opponents that get arrested?

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SLOBODIAN: Decade long investigation into Manitoba residential school involves nearly 100 officers and 700 interviews

The First Nation recently undertook a search of the site using ground-penetrating radar technology but has not released the results.

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A “large and complex” decade-long investigation by RCMP has been underway into allegations of sexual abuse at a former residential school in Manitoba’s Sagkeeng First Nation.


The Fort Alexander Residential School opened in 1905 on Sagkeeng First Nation, located 120-km north of Winnipeg. In 1970 it was converted to a day school that operated for several years.


Manitoba RCMP issued a press release Tuesday confirming the major crimes unit began looking into allegations of abuse in February 2010, then launched a formal criminal investigation the following year.


RCMP began by gathering information, including reviewing archival records in both Ottawa and Manitoba. They went through thousands of documents such as student and employee lists and quarterly returns.


This involved more than 80 officers who interacted with more than 700 people across North America in an effort to find possible victims and witnesses.


“After compiling and collating all this data, investigators developed an investigative plan that began with the canvassing of people whose names had been identified in the documents as well as a door-to-door canvas in the Powerview/Fort Alexander area, where the school had been located,” said the statement.


The criminal investigation launched in 2011 involved 75 formal witnesses and victim statements.
Recently, Sagkeeng Chief Derrick Henderson said elders and survivors have long spoken about abuse at the school and children that went missing.


The First Nation recently undertook a search of the site using ground-penetrating radar technology but has not released the results.


“Violation of the privacy rights of those involved in this investigation will not only cause further trauma to everyone involved, but also potentially compromise this highly sensitive investigation,” said Henderson. “We ask that the trauma our community has experienced and continues to live every day is respected and that those affected are afforded their privacy at this time.”

RCMP are working closely with First Nations leaders and no other criminal investigations into former residential schools are underway in Manitoba, said RCMP.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard  lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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BC increases vaccine efforts amid slowing rates, including ‘vax vans’

“Over the next two weeks, BC will push hard to vaccinate as many eligible people as possible.”

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BC health officials want more people rolling up their sleeves for the COVID-19 shot, and say they will be increasing efforts in the coming weeks to do just that.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Dr. Penny Ballem addressed BC’s vaccine roll-out plan during a Tuesday morning news conference.

Among their announced efforts are “walk-in Wednesday” which will take place August 4 when 20,000 jabs will be made available with no need to book in advance.

Walk-in Wednesday is part of the “Vax for BC” campaign.

“I’d like to begin by thanking each and every one of the millions of British Columbian’s, like me, who have stepped up to be vaccinated,” said Henry.

“Because of this small act, we have been able to re-open our province.

“While we have made tremendous progress with our immunization plan, there is of course more work to do. We know that some people still struggle to find a convenient time in their day to get immunized, and others may still have questions, and be hesitant about the vaccine.

“So starting today, we are making it even easier for people to get vaccines. To help protect themselves, and their loved ones against COVID-19.”

Henry said the province will be introducing “custom vax vans” so people will be able to get vaccinated on their lunch break or “while cooling off at a lake.”

The province is also reducing the wait time between first and second doses from eight weeks to seven weeks.

There are currently 906,772 eligible people who have not received a dose, roughly 19.6% of the population older than 12, according to data from July 23.

Interior health has an un-vaccinated population of 26.2% while Northern health has 32.5% without a first shot.

On Monday, the Surrey Board of Trade wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Health Minister of Canada Patty Hajdu, BC Premier John Horgan, and Minister of Health Adrian Dix urging them to “implement a proof-of-immunization model.”

“We support a centralized, Canada-wide approach to COVID-19 proof-of immunization that could be easily used to confirm vaccination status for international and domestic use,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

“Without inter-provincial harmonization, Canada risks a piecemeal approach, making life more difficult and unpredictable for individuals and employers during an already uncertain time.”

Last week, YVR airport implemented separate lines for vaccinated and un-vaccinated individuals prior to reaching customs.

The separation of lines – which was put in place as a federal policy – has since been removed following extensive public push-back.

As for enforcing proof-of-immunization policies at concerts, night clubs, and sporting events – an increasing number of British Columbian’s are cozying up to this idea.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com

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Feds silent on $120M loan to company not ‘worthy of taxpayers’ largesse”

Both CMHC and the Department of Social Development declined to respond to questions.

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Federal agencies yesterday remained mum about a $120 million housing loan to one of Canada’s wealthiest developers, after Cabinet earlier defended the loan as critical, said Blacklock’s Reporter.

“This project will help over 300 local families find rental housing units,” Ahmed Hussen, minister responsible for housing, told reporters. “That’s why the government is taking action to increase the supply of rental housing through projects like the one we’re announcing.”

Cabinet on July 19 announced the $120 million loan to build 302 apartments in Brampton, Ont. The developer is Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. The company’s CEO was paid $3 million in salary and benefits last year, according to corporate filings.

“This project will help over 300 local families find rental housing units,” Hussen’s department said in a statement. “A solid and reliable supply of rental housing is critical to ensuring more Canadians have access to housing that is affordable.”

Choice Properties is owned by George Weston Ltd. The developer’s 2020 net income totaled $451 million. The loan was approved through a federal program, the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, that extends 10-year, easy-term credit “for certainty during the most risky periods of development,” according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Both CMHC and the Department of Social Development declined to respond to questions. The news website Press Progress cited data from Canada Mortgage and Housing that of 302 apartments in the Brampton project, as few as 61 would rent at below-market rates. The building is scheduled for completion by 2023.

“We know that finding an affordable place to live is a challenge for many Canadians in communities across the country,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the time. “Today’s announcement is great news for families in Brampton. The Government of Canada will continue to invest to increase affordable housing options.”

George Weston Ltd. reported net earnings of $1.6 billion last year. It also operates the Loblaw Companies Ltd. supermarket chain that in 2019 received a $12 million federal grant to install new freezers. “Canadians might wonder why the Liberals handed over $12 million to Loblaw’s, one of Canada’s richest companies,” Conservative MP Mark Strahl (Chilliwack-Hope, B.C.) earlier told the Commons.

The freezer grant was paid under a Low Carbon Economy Fund. A now-disbanded ecoEnergy program similarly paid grants to large corporations in the name of energy efficiency.

Sobeys Inc. received $1.48 million in ecoEnergy grants in the period from 2006 to 2013. Loblaw Companies received $801,000. A total $207,968 was paid to McDonald’s Restaurants and $153,960 to Sears Canada.

“These companies are flush,” Liberal MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, Ont.) said in an interview at the time. “Companies, given their financial statements, don’t seem to be worthy recipients of taxpayers’ largesse.”

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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