New Delhi: The Centre has earmarked Rs 7,255.5 crore under the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) scheme for undertaking initiatives to strengthen panchayati raj institutions in the country, Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said Tuesday.Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, he said the RGSA aims at strengthening governance capabilities of PRIs to deliver on sustainable development goals under which financial support is provided to states and Union Territories. “…The government has launched the centrally sponsored scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, which is being implemented for four years from 2018-19 to 2021-22 with total outlay of Rs 7255.50 crore,” the minister said in his written reply. The ministry has been providing programmatic support for strengthening of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and capacity building of elected representatives and functionaries of PRIs to improve their functioning and effectiveness and make them self-reliant, he said. The activities undertaken under RGSA include capacity building and training, human resource and training infrastructure support, strengthening of Gram Sabha, distance learning support, technical support, economic development and income enhancement, the minister added.
United Nations: In a highly significant diplomatic win for India and testament to its global stature, India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat at the powerful UN Security Council for a two-year term has been unanimously endorsed by the Asia-Pacific group at the world body.Elections for five non-permanent members of the 15-nation Council for the 2021-22 term will be held around June next year. “A unanimous step. Asia-Pacific Group @UN unanimously endorses India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat of the Security Council for 2 year term in 2021/22. Thanks to all 55 members for their support,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeted Tuesday. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in HaryanaA video message accompanying Akbaruddi’s tweet said “Asia-Pacific Group endorses India for Non-Permanent Seat of United Nations Security Council. 55 countries, 1 nominee – India for non-permanent seat of UN Security Council Term 2021-2022.” The video message thanked all the countries in the Asia Pacific group for endorsing India’s candidature. Among the 55 countries supporting India’s candidature are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, UAE and Vietnam. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: ShahEach year the 193-member General Assembly elects five non-permanent members for a two-year term at the UN high-table. The five permanent members of the Council are China, France, Russia, UK and the US. The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis : five for African and Asian States; one for Eastern European States; two for the Latin American and Caribbean States; and two for Western European and other States. Previously, India has been elected as a non-permanent member for the years 1950 1951, 1967 1968, 1972 1973, 1977 1978, 1984 1985, 1991 1992 and most recently in 2011 2012 under the leadership of former Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri. PTI
Patna: Bihar Assembly’s monsoon session began on Friday with the Opposition protesting outside the Vidhan Sabha over the death of more than 175 children due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the state and demanded the resignation of state Health Minister Mangal Pandey. The Opposition MLAs also protested against the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. MLAs from the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) gathered outside the Vidhan Sabha since morning holding huge posters and placards. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislator Bhai Virendra demanded Pandey’s resignation saying he was insensitive to the criticality of the situation. CPI-ML protesters said the Health Minister was more keen to find out the cricket score of the India-Pakistan match than acting to prevent the spread of AES.
Kolkata: A Nigerian national has been arrested by the Cyber Crime police station of Kolkata Police, for allegedly duping a person to the tune of Rs 9 lakh. According to police, the accused person identified as Echezona Emmanuel Onyendi alias Tony Kevin, had promised the complainant a job and demanded money for the same. After the complainant submitted Rs 9 lakh in the bank account number provided by the Nigerian, all contacts were cut off from his end. Later, the victim lodged a complaint with the Cyber Crime police station. During investigation, sleuths found the mobile number’s location in Bengaluru which was used to dupe the victim. A team then went to Bengaluru and arrested him.
Los Angeles: “Supergirl” star Melissa Benoist is set to make her directorial debut with the 17th episode of season five. The 30-year-old actor, who has been essaying the titular character in the CBS/CW DC Comics based superhero drama series since 2015, said she always wanted to direct an episode in the show, but things could not materialise due to “scheduling conflicts”. “I’ve been wanting to direct since season 3, but couldn’t last year because of scheduling conflicts, so David Harewood did it first, Benoist told Entertainment Weekly. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knot “I just felt really drawn to it for a couple of seasons now, just because you know the show so well, and you get to know the character, and the world, and the tone of the show so well that you can’t help but envision certain scenes in a certain way. I want to play with that,” she added. Even though the episode directed by her will not air until next year, she has already started preparing for it. “I’m literally trying to be a sponge, and I will learn something new every single day I’m shadowing. It’s just a matter of talking to actors, making sure everyone feels creative and collaborative even though we have these massive constraints with budget and special effects. “It’s like a chess game, I’ve realised. You move your pawn one way, and then someone knocks your rook down because you can’t do a certain stunt you wanted to do. It’s all about compromising and trying to be as creative as you can within those boundaries, which is a cool challenge,” she said. “Supergirl” season five will start airing on The CW from October 6.
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation has officially taken over the Deoria shelter home case, registering two FIRs in the matter and booking both Girija Tripathi, the Director of the NGO that was accused of drugging young girls and forcing them into prostitution for powerful and wealthy clients, and here daughter, Kanchan Lata Tripathi, a Superintendent of the NGO.The CBI was asked to take over the investigation in this case by the Uttar Pradesh Government last August, after news of a 13-year-old girl, running away from the shelter came in the public domain. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The girl had gotten in touch with someone from the 181 helpline number for women and made a statement about what used to happen at Maa Vindhyavashini Mahila Prashikshan Sansthan, the infamous NGO. Major concern swept over the case after it was revealed that police authorities and district administrators had failed to perform their duties as they kept sending troubled women and young girls to the shelter home, even after it was de-recognised by the government after an earlier CBI probe had flagged it for financial irregularities. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KWhile taking the call to finally hand over the shelter home case to the central probe agency, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had acknowledged the negligence of district administration officials and also said that the District Magistrate of the area, who was then suspended, would also face charges in the charge-sheet. According to the escaped girl, women and girls at the shelter home were often subjected various forms of sexual harassment and assault and that Girija Tripathi would often threaten to kill the older women if they thought of disclosing the details of what happened in the shelter home to the police. The CBI has registered two FIRs in the case, one based on the complaint of the escaped 13-year-old girl and the other based on the complaint of the then-District Probationary Officer, who when had gone to the shelter home to rescue the women and children was subjected to a slew of vulgarities by Girija Tripathi’s daughter, Kanchan Lata. Both these cases were first registered by the UP Police, and have been taken over by the CBI, as is, according to the procedure. In fact, local police officials have said that they continued to send rescued girls and women to the shelter home even after it was de-recognised, because there were no other premises to serve that purpose around that area. Horrific details had come forward after the case first came to light, including the fact that Girija Tripathi was a prominent feature of government programmes even after her shelter home was de-recognised. At one such mass marriage event organised by the social welfare department of the UP Government, a then Cabinet minister of the state government was also present.
New Delhi: It was an overcast, sultry Wednesday morning in the city with the minimum temperature settling at 26.8 degrees Celsius, three notches above the average in the season. The MeT department has forecast light to moderate rains for the day. The maximum temperature is expected to hover around 33 degrees Celsius. Relative humidity was 84 per cent at 8.30 AM, said a MeT official.
Highlights from the news file for Friday, April 28———FORCES SEEK TO OUST 77 OVER SEX CASES: Military officials say they have moved this year to force out 77 service members found guilty of sexual misconduct. Many of the cases are older and none of the members have been released yet, as their files go through what the military says is due process. But the figure is touted as a solid step toward defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance’s promise of eradicating sexual misconduct in the Forces. Officials also say military police plan to review more than 150 old cases of sexual misconduct reported between 2010 and 2016 but deemed unfounded.———FORMER SALVATION ARMY EXECUTIVE GUILTY OF FRAUD: A Toronto court has ruled a former Salvation Army executive diverted truckloads of donations made to the organization to a wholesaler as part of scheme to make money. David Rennie was found guilty this week of six charges related to the setup, including fraud, theft and trafficking in stolen goods, though he was cleared of a conspiracy charge after a judge found his co-accused not guilty. Justice Sandra Bacchus said in her decision that over two years, Rennie partnered with a wholesaler to cherry-pick the best donations and resell them for a profit, though it’s unclear exactly how much he benefited financially.———8 YEARS FOR B.C. DRUNK DRIVER WHO KILLED 3: A British Columbia man who killed three people while driving drunk along a winding mountain highway has been sentenced to eight years and four months in prison. Samuel Alec pleaded guilty in B.C. Supreme Court last month to three counts of impaired driving causing death after he mowed down two cyclists who were out for a weekend ride north of Whistler in May 2015. Alec’s friend in the passenger seat of the vehicle was also killed. The judge has ordered that Alec be banned from driving for 15 years when he is released.———N.S. LIBERALS PULL AD SUGGESTING MAY 30 VOTE: A campaign video posted to the Nova Scotia Liberal Party’s website Friday appeared to confirm a spring election is in the air. The video, which is no longer available, showed Premier Stephen McNeil posing next to a campaign slogan and the message “on May 30th vote Liberal.” It is the strongest hint yet that an election will be called in the coming days, although McNeil refused to confirm anything. “You saw an ad that was a mock-up of an ad, I wouldn’t read too much into it,” McNeil told reporters.———CLARK SAYS B.C. WOULD MOVE ON U.S. COAL SHIPMENTS: British Columbia’s Liberal leader says she would take steps to ban thermal coal shipments through the province if the federal government doesn’t act during a fight over softwood lumber tariffs imposed by the United States. On the election campaign trail, Christy Clark says Ottawa has not yet responded to a letter she sent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for a stop to American thermal coal passing through B.C. ports. Clark says she expects Ottawa will act to keep “filthy” U.S. coal from reaching China in accordance with its climate-change agenda.———HOOPP CHIEF EXECUTIVE QUITS HOME CAPITAL BOARD: The chief executive of HOOPP has resigned as a director of Home Capital Group and its subsidiaries, citing a potential conflict of interest following the pension fund’s decision to provide $2 billion of credit to the mortgage company. The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan manages more than $70 billion of retirement funds and will receive a $100 million non-refundable fee plus 10 per cent interest on money provided to Home Trust through the agreement. HOOPP chief executive Jim Keohane had been a director of Home Capital since last year.———PROGRAM TO HELP SOLDIERS BECOME CIVILIANS: A Canada-wide research study is being launched with the aim of helping members of the Canadian Armed Forces and veterans transition to civilian life. The study, based around a New Brunswick-based program called Shaping Purpose, will examine the experiences of 84 Forces members and veterans. The research study and the evaluation of the program is expected to be completed in December 2018, with the intent to present the findings to the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada in the spring of 2019.———FEDS RUN $11.5b DEFICIT FOR FIRST 11 MONTHS OF 2016-17: The federal government ran a deficit of $11.5 billion over the first 11 months of its 2016-17 fiscal year, putting it well ahead of its spring budget forecast with one month to go. The result compared with a surplus of $7.5 billion during the April-to-February period a year earlier. Not counting a $3-billion contingency cushion, Ottawa’s spring budget projected a deficit of $23 billion for 2016-17. Robert Kavcic, senior economist at the Bank of Montreal, notes that the government generally runs a large deficit in March as Canadians file their tax returns and receive their refunds.———U.S. AND CHINA DIFFER ON NORTH KOREA: The United States and China offered starkly different strategies Friday for addressing North Korea’s escalating nuclear threat as President Donald Trump’s top diplomat demanded full enforcement of economic sanctions on Pyongyang and urged new penalties. Stepping back from suggestions of U.S. military action, he even offered aid to North Korea if it ends its nuclear weapons program. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China would adhere to past UN resolutions and wants a denuclearized peninsula, but he spelled out no further steps his government might consider.———TRUMP TELLS NRA IT HAS ‘A FRIEND’ IN WHITE HOUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for gun rights Friday, telling attendees of a National Rifle Association convention that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.” Trump, the first sitting president to address the group’s annual convention in more than 30 years, assured the audience that he would defend their right to bear arms in a campaign-like speech reminiscent of his election rallies. “You have a true friend and champion in the White House,” he said.———
TORONTO – Below is a transcript of the full statement released Monday by former Sportsnet baseball analyst Gregg Zaun after he was fired Thursday following complaints by female colleagues of inappropriate behaviour and language.Without any exception whatsoever, I want to issue an absolute apology for any harm or distress which may have been caused by my comments with any female colleagues over the recent past.It has never been my intention to give offence to anyone. I have done a lot of soul searching over the last few days and know that my ignorance of the harm caused by my language does not excuse it — for which I accept responsibility. While I am well recognized for my unfiltered criticism of others within the sports world, which has made many critics and enemies — in ignorance I allowed a similar attitude to influence all aspects of my lifestyle, causing distress for female colleagues.For more than 10 years now, I have had the privilege of working with the most amazing and talented people and I am agonized to learn that they were affected negatively by me. I apologize deeply to all my colleagues and friends for any offence. I cherish and am proud of our achievements working together.In the past, when brought to my attention that I demonstrated poor judgement or language and gave offence, I sought to change my behaviour and apologize for any hurt caused. My remorse in the activities drawn to my attention by Rogers this week affecting unnamed individuals, is that it was never raised before and I naively believed that my language and behaviour were not considered offensive.I regret my blindness to the impact of my actions that I would have corrected at the time, rather than allowing the harm felt to continue to fester.I have been blindsided and emotionally gutted by the allegations and will continue to be regretful. As I look to the future, I am fortunate enough to be surrounded and supported by family, close friends, and colleagues on whom I will continue to rely and thank for their support.
OTTAWA – Vice-Admiral Mark Norman says he’s eager to deal with the criminal charge he faces and return to serving Canadians.Wearing his full navy uniform, Norman made a brief court appearance Tuesday concerning an accusation he leaked sensitive information about a shipbuilding project.Norman was charged last month with breach of trust and denies any wrongdoing. He is slated to return to Ontario court May 15 to begin setting a timetable for proceedings.“I’m anxious to get to court, get this dealt with as quickly as possible and get back to serving the people of Canada,” he said following the appearance.Norman, who was the military’s second-in-command until suspended from duty early last year, faces up to five years in prison.The case revolves around a November 2015 decision by the newly elected Liberal government to reconsider a $700-million contract the Harper Conservatives had awarded to Quebec-based Davie Shipbuilding.Davie was hired to convert a civilian vessel, the MV Asterix, into a temporary resupply ship that would be leased until a permanent replacement was ready.While the plan to revisit the contract was supposed to remain secret, court documents show the RCMP suspected Norman of being upset with the decision out of concern the government would cancel the project.Norman was commander of the navy at the time and, according to the documents, allegedly worked with Davie to pressure the government to keep the project afloat.None of the accusations has been tested in court.Norman’s lawyer, Marie Henein, told the court Tuesday that disclosure of materials from the Crown to the defence is “substantially complete.”The criminal investigation began in December 2015 when the RCMP received a complaint alleging that cabinet secrets had been disclosed.The Mounties gathered evidence through court-approved warrants and a legal assistance treaty request involving U.S. authorities. The investigation also included interviews and the forensic analysis of “a significant number” of documents, the RCMP says.Henein expressed impatience Tuesday with the length of the process.“I’m tired of shadow-boxing. It’s time to step in the courtroom and deal with the evidence,” she told reporters after the hearing.“I don’t try my cases on the courthouse steps. I try them in a courtroom. And that is what we are ready to do. So we want to get this going, get this dealt with and let the public know exactly what this case is about.”Asked if her client was being treated as a scapegoat, Henein said: “I think that’s self-evident, isn’t it?”— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
HALIFAX – A fishermen’s group says the federal government is jumping the gun with a costly fisheries closure in the Bay of Fundy following the sighting of a single North Atlantic right whale.The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the area in Grand Manan Basin will be closed to fixed-gear fishing from 11:59 p.m. Thursday until further notice.The closure affects lobster, crab, groundfish, herring and mackerel licences.But Brian Guptill, president of the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association, said the government was too quick to act.“A vessel … sees one right whale that is moving, not stopped and feeding, and they shut the fishery down because of that. The airplane was up this morning and couldn’t find a whale anywhere,” he said.Guptill said DFO should take a more measured approach.“It’s a matter of the number of whales or number of sightings. If you just see one whale and it’s travelling … the whale could be gone before you get the traps out of the water,” he said.Guptill said the closure is costly for 30 to 40 fishermen who will lose the last week of the season in that area.Ottawa says all gear must be removed before Thursday’s closure, and notice will be given prior to the reopening.The right whale population suffered 17 losses last year — 12 of them in Canadian waters — likely due to rope entanglements and ship collisions.Guptill said the government is overlooking the effective protection measures that Bay of Fundy fishermen have taken.“We’ve had a right whale mitigation strategy and we’ve been working to have no impact on the whales since 2006. There hasn’t been a known entanglement since that time,” he said.So far this year, the government has closed a number of East Coast fishing areas, mostly in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and fishermen have complained to Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc about lost opportunities.Last week, LeBlanc said he’s offering lobster fishermen from New Brunswick and Quebec a fall fishery due to the closure of a vast area where endangered right whales have been spotted.He said he told the Maritime Fishermen’s Union that he plans to open a harvesting zone in the last half of September to make up for the 15-day closure of a 1,400-square-kilometre portion of ocean.LeBlanc said the offer will go to about 62 fishing vessels in New Brunswick and 60 from the Gaspe Peninsula whose lobster harvest was largely shut down as the whales passed through.
An extensive report done on Wood Buffalo National Park contains testimony from Indigenous people in the area. Here are a few examples of what they said:Matthew Lepine: For birds, I have nowhere to go in fall, spring, summer for eggs … they are gone. There are places you cannot travel at all. In some places you can smell the stale water. We still try to go to those places, hoping there is water. We get little pitiful (muskrats) now. It’s all we have left. They are hardly even edible.Jocelyn Marten: Now it’s just a lot of algae. Oh my God, more algae than anything else! Come see in June, July, August the three lakes called Frog Lakes where we used to spend summer. That was one of the main nesting areas for ducks and (coots) and fish. You can’t even go there now these years with a boat. You can’t run a motor in there.Larry Marten: (Birds) tour around the delta on account of the oil plants. Just a few come in. Even if we have the water we will never have the birds as we used to as the oil plants won’t move. Migratory birds are using different routes because of the plants and no water. Where we used to hunt birds … I used to drive my dogs or use a snow machine. Now there is nothing!Gerald Gibot: In the past the ice was blue ice, white, like glass. It really thickened. Now it’s a foam ice. There is a lot of air in the ice. It’s not good ice like when I was growing up. You cannot really just cross anywhere without double-checking ice. It’s like a slush in a gas station. The ice is similar to that. I worked on the ice for 17 years on the ice roads going to Fort McMurray. I know ice.Ron Campbell: We are getting so used to the smell from industry. I’ll go back when I was a kid. Every day I’d walk from school. In March, when it starts warming up, you get a south wind and then you know spring is coming. That is when (you) get sulphur and other odours in the air from the tar sands. Now all through summer we get that smell every time there is a south wind. You get a funny feeling when you check the (fish) net. Some are deformed and have sores on them. You don’t have an appetite to eat them.Sloan Whiteknife: Even the moose are less now. And when we go hunting at Birch River I found out that moose are going away because they have less feed. It’s very hard for animals, even young ones after they feed from mom. The moose teach them how to eat. There are no small willows so it’s hard for them. The moose get hungry and skinny and calves are not full grown. The wolf has a better chance to kill them.Source: Strategic Environmental Assessment of Wood Buffalo National Park
A timeline of events in Friday’s deadly shooting in Fredericton. All times in Atlantic time:7:07 a.m. Local resident David MacCoubrey is awakened by the sound of three gunshots just outside his bedroom window, followed by 17 more gunshots over the next hour.7:10 a.m: Police receive a call about shots fired in the 200 block of Brookside Drive.7:45 a.m. Nearby resident Travis Hrubeniuk hears a steady stream of police sirens along Brookside Drive.7:47 a.m. Fredericton police send a tweet cautioning people to avoid the area around Brookside Drive due to an “ongoing incident.”7:53 a.m. Police advise people living in the area to stay in their homes with doors locked.8:17 a.m. Police tweet that there has been a shooting that caused “multiple fatalities.”8:31 a.m. Police confirm that four people have been killed in the incident.9:30 a.m: After firing an undisclosed number of shots, police arrest a 48-year-old Fredericton man inside an apartment. He is taken to hospital9:49 a.m. New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant issues condolences to the victims and their families and urges residents to follow police instructions.10:12 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sends a tweet saying his “heart goes out” to everyone affected by the shooting.10:28 a.m. City police confirm that two of their officers are among those killed.11:05 a.m. Police lift the lockdown on the area and say there is no further threat to the public.11:06 a.m. Horizon Health, the local health network for the city, said multiple shooting victims were being treated at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital.11:22 a.m. Police tweet that the suspect is being treated for serious injuries related to the shooting.4:30 p.m. The fallen officers are identified as Const. Robb Costello, 45, and Const. Sara Burns, 43. The civilian victims, a man and a woman, aren’t named.
CALGARY – A federal judge reserved his decision Tuesday in a land dispute between two families on Canada’s largest First Nation.But Justice Michael Manson made it clear he will not be overturning a decision that transferred land from former Blood Tribe chief Harley Frank to another family.“If you’re asking for declaratory relief that’s not going to happen. This court doesn’t move down that road and it’s not proper for me to do so,” Manson told Frank’s lawyer.“If you’re asking me to declare that it should be sent back for consideration … that is typically the relief this court is prepared to grant. It’s really extraordinary when we give declaratory relief.”The dispute on the Blood reserve, which is home to 12,500 people in southwestern Alberta, 250 kilometres southeast of Calgary, involves 600 hectares of prime agricultural land allocated to the Frank family in 1960.Although band members can’t own property outright, they can have it allocated to them with the approval of the chief and council.Frank’s father, Wilton, staked a claim nearly 60 years ago and then had two years to make improvements on the undeveloped property near the St. Mary Reservoir.Earlier this year he was informed that the band’s land dispute panel had awarded all but two hectares of the Frank property to a family with adjacent land. Frank said the decision was based on the evidence of a hand-drawn map and was approved by the chief and council.His request for an appeal was rejected.“The applicants and their families had always been the registered occupants of these lands. The burden of proof here was on the parties challenging that registration,” argued Frank’s lawyer Peter Leveque.“There is no basis on which this appeal tribunal could have reasonably concluded that this decision had been properly made. That’s why we say this decision is so perverse here,” he said.“It’s not just unreasonable — it’s patently unreasonable. It’s indefensible at any level.”Blood Tribe lawyer Paul Reid told the court that the process was signed off by Frank when he was a member of the band council in 2007.He said the land traditionally belonged to the Three Persons family and the Franks were essentially living there on a long-term lease. He said there will likely be more land disputes in the future.“There’s a shortfall of land on the reserve and as a result of that shortfall of land on the reserve we see this increase in disputes between parties,” Reid said.“There simply isn’t enough land to go around and these disputes sometimes are generational.”Reid asked Manson to determine that the process involved in the land dispute was fair.“The decision was reasonable. They reviewed the record. They made a determination using the informal process that they had the discretion to use,” he said.“The decision should stand.”Frank, who is 68, and several family members attended the hearing.He’s worried that the judge will send it back to the band appeal board for a second time.“If this is sent back then we’re going back to the same people who denied us fair procedure and that doesn’t make sense to me. What recourse do we have?” he asked.“What do we have to do to prove our story? I doubt that they will change their position.”Frank said his family has always played by the rules.“We trust chief and council that we were doing the right thing according to their policy. This has been taken away to the point that we feel like leaving … just abandoning our houses and just leaving.”Frank said if the judge rules against him he will likely attempt to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada.The judge didn’t give a date for releasing his decision.Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says his government will enforce a cannabis retailers’ fee on First Nations store owners in the new year, setting up another potential clash with Indigenous leaders.The Progressive Conservative government is requiring all cannabis retailers to pay what it calls a social responsibility fee. The levy amounts to six per cent of each retailer’s total annual revenues, starting in 2019. The annual fee is to be paid within six months after the year ends.Stores on reserves will not be exempt, Pallister said.“Every Manitoban has a social responsibility,” Pallister said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press.“And any company in Manitoba that wants to market cannabis — whether it’s on-reserve, off-reserve, on urban reserves, I do not care — shares that social responsibility.”Among the dozen or so private retail outlets that have opened so far across the province, two run in partnership with the Long Plain First Nation on urban reserves in Winnipeg and Portage La Prairie.Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches said the fee should not be applied on reserve land and he is considering legal action. Meeches said the levy appears to be much like the provincial sales tax, which does not apply to sales to First Nations consumers on reserves.“We’re just examining our options to see whether or not this is an attempt by the premier to skirt the PST (exemption),” Meeches said.Cannabis should be treated like tobacco, Meeches said. Through a rebate system, the province exempts tobacco sales on reserves to people with Indian status from its tobacco tax.“If this is allowed to go unchallenged, what else may come down the pike?” Meeches said.Pallister said the province has the right to impose a fee on businesses, whether on or off reserve.“We have the ability to establish a social responsibility levy.”Under a section of the federal Indian Act, any personal property of a First Nations member situated on a reserve is exempt from taxation. But taxes aimed at businesses are often applied.For example, Manitoba’s Health and Education Levy — a tax on companies with payrolls exceeding $1.25 million a year — applies on reserves as long as the company is incorporated and not that of a sole proprietor or band council.Pallister has been embroiled in disputes with Indigenous leaders on other fronts since taking office in 2016. He is facing opposition in some quarters over a plan to limit the use of spotlights for night hunting, and once said he feared it might become a “race war.”He is also facing a court challenge by the Manitoba Metis Federation over a proposed benefits agreement concerning Manitoba Hydro projects that was scuttled.Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on iTunes or Google Play.You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca. If you want to make it possible for families to afford downtown city living, or if you want to address the gender imbalance in the workforce, you have to figure out childcare. Most cities, or even countries, have not. But Quebec has. The province’s government daycare program is 25 years old, which is a long enough timeline to assess its impact, and the results are eye-opening.What’s so different about Quebec? What kind of numbers are we talking about? How can the rest of Canada and the world follow suit? And what else do we need to do if our best hope for a sustainable world is packing more families into the heart of our cities?GUEST: Molly McCluskey, writer, series editor, Room to Grow, CityLabAudio Playerhttp://media.blubrry.com/thebigstory/s/radio.pmd.rogersdigitalmedia.com/podcasts/thebigstory/tbs_01282019.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.
WHITEHORSE — A dog has died during the Yukon Quest dog sled race for the third year in a row.A release from race officials says Joker, a five-year-old male on the team of Czech musher Misha Wiljes, died Monday and was carried into the next checkpoint in the sled.Race chief veterinarian Nina Hansen says a necropsy will be performed in an effort to determine why the dog died.Wiljes, a veteran of the 1,600 kilometre Yukon Quest, finished 17th place in 2012 and is currently running in 17th spot, with about one quarter of the trail still ahead.There’s no indication if she will pull out of the race, but the Yukon Quest website shows she left Central checkpoint in Alaska early Tuesday and was on one of the final steep ascents of the gruelling race.Alaskan native Brent Sass won the race, crossing the finish in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Monday after setting out Feb. 2 from Whitehorse. (CKRW)The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Travellers, immigration detainees and others who feel they have been mistreated by Canada’s border agency will be able to complain to an independent body under a new measure included in the federal budget.The Liberal government is planning legislative changes to give the RCMP watchdog the additional responsibility of handling public complaints about the Canada Border Services Agency.The budget allocates $24 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, and $7 million a year after that, to expand the mandate of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.Border officers can stop travellers for questioning, take blood and breath samples, and search, detain and arrest people without warrants.The agency’s internal recourse directorate handles complaints from the public, while other bodies, including the courts, the federal privacy commissioner and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, examine various concerns about the agency’s work.But the border agency is not overseen by a dedicated, independent review or complaints body, prompting civil libertarians, refugee lawyers and parliamentary committees to call for stronger arm’s-length monitoring.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The Canadian Coast Guard’s recent struggles in resupplying northern communities and rescuing ice-jammed ferries appear set to continue despite the Trudeau government’s plan to invest $15.6 billion in new ships.None of the 18 vessels the government says it plans to buy is an icebreaker, meaning the coast guard will be forced to continue relying on its existing fleet for the foreseeable future.Much of the coast guard’s icebreaker fleet is already near or even already past its expected lifespan, which has resulted in breakdowns and other problems.Federal Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough acknowledged this week that the coast guard needs new icebreakers, but would not say when — or if — the Trudeau government would announce it is buying some.Qualtrough instead indicated that any announcement on additional ships for the coast guard would likely come after the government adds a third shipyard to the two that are already partners in its multibillion-dollar shipbuilding plan.The search for that third shipyard is expected to start in the coming weeks, but while many observers expect Davie Shipbuilding in Quebec City to win, a senior government official said a decision is unlikely before October’s election.The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The federal and Quebec governments have announced a $500-million reconstruction project for Canada’s longest highway tunnel — the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine Tunnel linking Montreal to its southern suburbs.“We’re bringing Montreal infrastructure into the 21st century,” said federal Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, referring also to the new Samuel-de-Champlain Bridge expected to open at the end of the month.Champagne and Quebec’s junior transport minister, Chantal Rouleau, announced the funding deal in Montreal on Monday. Work is expected to begin in 2020 and last until 2024.The investment in the 52-year-old tunnel — one of five links between Montreal and the south shore — will extend its life span by 40 years.No fewer than 47 million vehicles use the La Fontaine tunnel every year, Champagne said.“It’s the longest highway tunnel in Canada,” he said.Planned work includes pavement, lighting, vaults, walls, signage and a fire protection system, as well as repaving of the highway between Boucherville and Montreal and necessary infrastructure for public transportation on highways linking to the tunnel.Champagne wouldn’t say how the funding would be divided between the governments, so as not to compromise the tendering process set to open soon.He said it was important to announce the project to allow for preparatory work.Rouleau said about 13 per cent of the vehicles that use the tunnel daily are heavy trucks.She said the massive re-construction will cause some obstacles, but the province is planning mitigation measures including parking spots to encourage public transit use and lanes for buses and car pooling.There’s also a consideration of a river shuttle between Montreal and its southern suburbs.There will also be an emphasis on communication with residents impacted by the work, Rouleau said.“The work being announced today — everyone knew it had to be done,” Rouleau said. Lia Levesque, The Canadian Press