Infighting erupts among Metis National Council leadership

OTTAWA – Bitter infighting has erupted among the leaders of the group that represents the country’s Metis people.

The rift pits four of the five heads of the provincial Metis organizations that sit on the Metis National Council’s board of governors against a fifth member and president Clement Chartier.

Internal correspondence shows the leaders of Metis groups in four provinces have been trying for months to hold a board meeting.

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They say they want to address financial and management issues and set an election date for council president.

But Chartier – supported by council finance minister and fellow governor David Chartrand of the Manitoba Metis Federation – says a meeting will not be held until a court case involving the Saskatchewan organization runs its course.

All of this has raised tensions among board members.

“We have tried, as the board of governors – four, I’ll say four of the board of governors – we have tried to address this,” said Audrey Poitras, president of the Metis Nation of Alberta.

She and three other board members – Gary Lipinski of the Metis Nation of Ontario, Robert Doucette of Metis Nation Saskatchewan and Bruce Dumont of Metis Nation British Columbia – have been asking Chartier for months to call a meeting.

Their letters and emails prompted sharp rebukes from Chartier and Chartrand.

The board has not met since last June, Poitras said. A planned December meeting was called off.

“As we’ve found out, the only person that feels he can call a meeting is President Chartier – even though our bylaws clearly say that if any three members request a meeting, the president is to call it,” Poitras said.

That has thrown Chartier’s presidency into limbo in the minds of Poitras and some of her counterparts.

The council’s bylaws say elections are supposed to be held between the second and third year of the president’s term. Chartier last won re-election in December 2010, meaning his term was set to expire at the end of last year.

But only the board of governors can set the date of the presidential vote – something they cannot do unless they all meet. So until an election date is set, Chartier remains president.

Chartier says the council received a legal opinion that he should remain in office until the situation in Saskatchewan is sorted out.

“I should note that in 2007, external events, again in Saskatchewan, forced a delay in the MNC Assembly,” he said in a written statement.

“The same governing member presidents attempted to remove me on the grounds that my term had expired, which led to costly court action and a major disruption of the MNC.

“A court ruled that the leadership issue was to be resolved through an election which I won.”

Other board members disagree.

“Well, that’s his opinion,” said Poitras. “I know there’s some of the board of governors who refuse to call him president any longer.”

One of them is Dumont: “I’m not going to call him president, because his term has finished.”

Poitras and other provincial Metis leaders say they are now going public with their concerns so they don’t become associated with the findings of an investigation of the council’s management and finances.

The Canadian Press recently reported never-before-released details of an audit of the council by the Aboriginal Affairs Department. Some of those details included questionable contracts and apparent conflicts of interest.

A summary of the department’s findings, obtained under access-to-information legislation, offered a glimpse of what was happening behind-the-scenes before new measures were introduced to help make the council more transparent and accountable.

Poitras stressed that neither she nor the other provincial leaders knew about the issues flagged by Aboriginal Affairs.

But Chartier says the four board members knew of the allegations when they approved the council’s audited financial statements in the summer of 2012.

The dispute comes at a pivotal time for the Metis. A Federal Court ruling last year brought Metis and non-status Indians into the ranks of people considered “Indians” under the Constitution.

The Conservative government is now appealing that decision, which – if left to stand – would vastly expand Ottawa’s responsibilities for aboriginal peoples.

©2014The Canadian Press

BLOG: Morning News Rewind – March 20 – Saskatoon

Country rockers Me & Mae, kittens in Adopt a Pet, the provincial budget, a watershed conference, Travel Tips and the High Voltage Classic were featured on a very busy Morning News for Thursday, March 20.

Oh, and happy spring!

Kevin rues not being a part of the High Voltage Classic Ball Hockey tournament

The 29th annual High Voltage Classic Ball Hockey tournament will take on 23rd between 3rd and 4th Aves. this weekend.

Given the number of ball hockey games I see outside nowadays, I lament not hearing about this sooner! I would have been all over pulling a team together.

All the money raised from this (because it’s a charity event!) goes to the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation here in the city. A great cause, and a great event. Also, they have a beer garden, so head down and enjoy it!

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Melissa learns more about a watershed conference taking place in Saskatoon

For the first time, the Saskatchewan Association of Watersheds and the Sask. C & D Association have partnered together to facilitate the annual watershed conference. By doing that, they are hoping to collaborate and work together to address issues that different watersheds may face.

I found it fascinating that the association is solely run by volunteers. There was so much to discuss this morning that I felt that a couple minutes throughout the show made it very difficult to explain. Water affects us all and many different sectors of industries that make are province functional.

The conference will be looking further in-depth on the future of water management in Saskatchewan and hopefully deliver insight on conserving and protecting source water with economic, environmental and social values for future generations.

In Travel Tips, Kevin learns the best way to exchange currency

You hear all these credit card commercials that talk about how awesome it is to use your MasterVisa Express when you need to buy perogies from a roadside baba in Minsk. Who happens to have access to a debit machine.

Instead, our travel guru Barb from Ixtapa is more in favour of taking out denominations from a local ATM. Be sure you phone your bank and let them know you’re heading out, as well. Wouldn’t want a lockdown now, would ya?

Zach Jeffries discusses with Joelle how the provincial budget will benefit Saskatoon

I had the opportunity to sit down with city councillor Zach Jeffries following the provincial budget announcement yesterday.

This was a great opportunity to get more local clarification on what the budget announcement means for the two major bridge projects in Saskatoon. While the City of Saskatoon has applied for P3 funding from the federal government, the announcement yesterday only touched on the development of the north parkway commuter bridge, and neglected to mention the downtown traffic bridge.

I asked Zach what this means, and he reminded me that these things take time, but yesterday’s announcement was definitely a step in the right direction. He hopes that by the end of 2017, the north parkway commuter bridge will be well underway, providing another option for commuters in Saskatoon.

If anyone has been on the Circle Drive North commute during rush hour, they know the frustration of long waits and traffic delays. Jeffries told me that on any given day, there are around 100,000 drivers on that roadway! With a north parkway bridge, that number could be halved.

Only time will tell when it comes to the bridge development projects in Saskatoon, but with the government announcing their support for the commuter bridge, we can be cautiously optimistic that change is on the way.

Is Me and Mae another band for Kevin to add to his playlist?

On their media tour right now, the band “Me and Mae” describes their sound as a barn burner. It’s hardly of any surprise – the rich vocals and upbeat guitar melodies they strolled in with today had Jess and I boodlybopping (sorry for speaking Cosby-ese a moment ago, there).

They have the sort of sound that you could see (hear) on the radio, so check them out, and be a Me and Mae hipster.

Jessica was smitten by Lulu and Minnie, two kittens up for adoption at the Saskatoon SPCA

These were the most docile kittens we have had on our show… ever!! Absolutely adorable. Minnie was laying down playing and purring the whole time, and Lulu was just staring at Kevin and I with the most loving eyes.

The Saskatoon SPCA has a number of positions they are recruiting volunteers for. If you’re interested, on April 3 there is an opportunity for you to ask questions to current board members at the shelter and nominate yourself!

The new members will be chosen at the Annual General Meeting will be held on April 24.

Jessica and Kevin preview Friday’s Morning News

Robert Pattinson, Jay Baruchel projects take turns at Toronto house – Toronto

TORONTO — A feature film starring Robert Pattinson and a TV pilot starring Jay Baruchel are taking over a heritage building in downtown Toronto only days apart.

Life, starring Pattinson and Dane DeHaan, will shoot scenes Thursday night inside a brick walk-up at 71 Gloucester Street, just off Church Street.

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Five days later, crews will return to the building to film scenes for Man Seeking Woman starring Baruchel.

71 Gloucester is part of the Wallace Millichamp House built in 1875 and is listed on the city’s Inventory of Heritage Properties. (Millichamp was a Toronto councillor in the mid-1880s.)

The property has previously been used for film and TV projects, including 2009’s The Time Traveler’s Wife starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana.

Directed by Anton Corbijn (The American), Life tells the story of the friendship that developed between actor James Dean (DeHaan) and photographer Dennis Stock (Pattinson) when Stock was assigned to photograph Dean for Life magazine in 1955.

The movie also stars Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby) and Ben Kingsley (Ender’s Game).

In Man Seeking Woman, Baruchel plays a naive romantic desperately looking for love after his longtime girlfriend dumps him. It follows his adventures in Chicago’s dating scene.

Based on Simon Rich’s book The Last Girlfriend On Earth, the pilot is being made for U.S. cable channel FX by Toronto-born Lorne Michaels’ production company Broadway Video.

Man Seeking Woman is being directed by Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia).

©2014Shaw Media

Anti-gay pastor Fred Phelps dead at 84 – National

Fred Phelps Sr., the anti-gay pastor known for picketing funerals with signs that read “God Hates Fags,” is dead at the age of 84.

A family member confirmed to the news to a local news affiliate in Topeka, Kan., where Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church is based.

Phelps Sr.’s son Timothy told WIBW his father died late Wednesday night at a care facility.

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But, his daughter Margie Phelps told The Associated Press that Fred Phelps died shortly after midnight Thursday. She didn’t provide the cause of death or the condition that recently put him in hospice care.

Just days earlier, Phelps Sr.’s estranged son Nathan Phelps, who now lives in Calgary, revealed his father was on the “edge of death” at Midland Hospice House in Topeka.

READ MORE: Anti-gay pastor Fred Phelps on ‘edge of death’: son

Phelps, the sixth oldest child of 13, also said his father had been “ex-communicated” from his notorious church.

“I’m not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made,” Phelps said in a Facebook post late Saturday.

Phelps Sr. and his followers have become notorious for holding protests at funerals of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, particularly those who have died as a result of hate crimes.

Rev. Fred Phelps, from Westboro Baptist Church, protests the meeting between the Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Rev. Mel White in Lynchburg, Va., on Saturday, Oct. 23, 1999.

Doug Koonts, New and Advance/AP Photo, File

Most notably, the group picketed the 1998 funeral of Matthew Shepard – a gay Laramie, Wy. man who died five days after he was abducted, beaten, pistol-whipped and left tied to a fence for 18 hours in frigid temperatures.

The Westboro Baptist Church followers have also protested outside funerals and commemorations for fallen U.S. soldiers, claiming they died as a result of God’s punishment for U.S. policies supporting gay rights.

In recent days, the group has tweeted messages about the suicide of fashion designer L’Wren Scott.

The designer, who was Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger’s longtime girlfriend, died on Monday. The group tweeted posts with the hashtags #LWrenInHell and #PicketFuneral.

Global News reached out to the Westboro Baptist Church on Sunday to confirm Phelps Sr.’s health condition and his status as a member of the organization, but no response was ever received.

The next day, the group tweeted a blog post responding to media queries saying Phelps Sr. is “a person of advanced age, and such people sometimes have health issues.” In regards to his position in the Westboro Baptist Church, which he founded in 1955, the organization said “membership issues are private.”

At the time of publication, there was no mention of Phelps’ death on the Westboro Baptist Church website or on its 桑拿会所 account.

Westboro Baptist Church in Canada

In 2008, the Canadian government blocked members of Westboro Baptist Church from entering the country to protest the funeral for 22-year-old Tim McLean, who was decapitated on a Greyhound bus on July 30 of that year.

Phelps Sr., who founded the Westboro Baptist Church in 1955, attended the Prairie Bible Institute, located in Three Hills, Alta., his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper confirmed.

She said her father attended the evangelical institution in 1949 and 1950, according to an article posted on the Vancouver Sun website in Sept. 2013.

Nathan Phelps, who does not share his father’s and family members views and has spoken about enduring years of abuse at the hands of his father, left the family and moved to California in 1981. He eventually moved to Vancouver and later settled near Calgary. He now works as an advocate for LGBT rights.

©2014Shaw Media

Spring snowfall causes crashes on Calgary roads and area highways – Calgary

CALGARY – Wintry weather is being blamed for a series of car crashes throughout the city on Thursday.

Although it officially became spring at 10:57 a.m. MST on March 20th – snow began to fall early in the morning, leaving city streets cold and icy.

Calgary Police say there were 95 collisions reported between 6 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., four of which involved injuries.

North of Calgary, a man died after his car left the road and ended up submerged in a creek in Airdrie.

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Related

  • Man dies after car rolls into creek in Airdrie

Highway conditions deteriorate

RCMP are warning that area highways are in bad shape due to snow, wind and ice.

Road reports website Alberta 511 lists the QEII Highway as partially snow-covered from Edmonton south to the Montana border, and RCMP warn that the stretch from Red Deer to Calgary is particularity bad. Multiple collisions have been reported due to limited visibility with blowing snow and icy roads.

Alberta 511 lists the Trans-Canada Highway west of the city as snow-covered from Calgary to Canmore – and in even worse shape east of the city from Calgary to Strathmore.

Police were called to several crashes just east of Calgary due to snowy and icy highway conditions.

Global News

Around 10:30 a.m., RCMP released an advisory warning drivers to steer clear of McKnight Boulevard N.E. from city limits east to Highway 9 due to a collision near Conrich,

About an hour later, RCMP released another advisory, cautioning motorists against driving on Highway 3 between Pincher Creek and Fort McLeod, saying driving conditions were “horrendous” with visibility near zero.

Calgary’s seven day weather forecast

Meteorologist Jordan Witzel anticipates about three to six centimeters of snow will fall on Thursday, with the temperature steady near -4°C.

The snowfall should continue through the evening before eventually tapering off by Friday afternoon.

On Friday – the first full day of spring – the forecasted high is a chilly -10°C.

To get your weather forecast on the go, download our Skytracker Weather App.

Joe Mimran reaffirms commitment to helping victims of Bangladesh tragedy

TORONTO – As the one-year anniversary of the fatal factory collapse in Bangladesh approaches, the creative director of Joe Fresh said the brand’s parent company remains committed to helping victims and families affected by the tragedy.

“There’s been a lot of work done with respect to that,” said Joe Mimran in an interview at Toronto’s World MasterCard Fashion Week on Wednesday.

“There’s about 40 brands that are involved, and I know about 15 of them have all committed so far.”

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Related

  • Bangladesh factory collapse prompts reforms, but long-term impact uncertain

  • Loblaw commits financial aid to Bangladesh factory collapse victims

More than 1,100 people died in the April 24 tragedy at the illegally constructed Rana Plaza, making it the world’s worst garment industry accident. Items created for Joe Fresh were among those manufactured on-site, but a number of other clothing makers were also housed in the complex.

Last October, Joe Fresh brand owner Loblaw Companies Ltd. said it would provide short-term financial support to all workers or dependents of New Wave Style (which produced Joe Fresh items) and planned to join with British retailer Primark to provide financial assistance to workers of all retailers in the factory plaza.

Bob Chant, senior vice-president of corporate affairs and communications for Loblaw, told The Canadian Press in an interview last December that the company was proceeding with short-term compensation plans and had plans for long-term compensation as well.

Loblaw has also contributed $1 million to Save the Children Bangladesh and the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed, in support of programming for workers in the garment industry.

The company also joined several retailers in signing a pact to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh. The agreement requires that the companies conduct independent safety inspections, make their reports on factory conditions public and cover the costs for needed repairs.

The companies that agreed to the pact join two other retailers that signed the contract in 2012: PVH, which makes clothes under the Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Izod labels, and German retailer Tchibo.

Mimran said he was proud of how his brand’s parent company had rallied around what was “a tragic situation.”

©2014The Canadian Press

What does a happy, confident stroke caregiver look like in Canada?

TORONTO – Having a stroke is a sudden event and often shakes up the family dynamic when your loved ones turn into full-time caregivers. But what does a happy, confident caregiver look like in Canada?

A new University of Toronto study paints a picture of a women looking after her spouse and usually older, at about 58 years old. She has good physical health and the person she’s looking after is typically recovering from a severe stroke and is dealing with memory problems or cognitive impairment.

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“I was most surprised that caregivers were happier when caring for a family member who survived a more severe stroke. But when a stroke is labelled mild, expectations are high and the issues are more subtle. That can cause more frustration because survivors of a mild stroke still have problems,” said Dr. Jill Cameron, lead author of the study.

READ MORE: Some Canadians misunderstanding stroke recovery process: report

Cameron and her team studied 399 family members who were looking after stroke survivors. For two years, the researchers followed up with the people who had turned into full-time caregivers.

Caregivers generally don’t get much time to prepare since stroke survivors could leave hospital and head home within just days or weeks.

READ MORE: 5 lifestyle changes to improve your heart’s health

Cameron said older caregivers tend to handle the situation better because they could be retired or working part-time.

“That might be one reason older caregivers are the most content,” she said. “They’re most likely to be retired and less likely to have to juggle responsibilities of a job and children along with providing post-stroke care.”

The research suggested happier caregivers also kept up with their own hobbies, and activities. They carved out a space for their individual time, which is key.

The study builds on previous research that suggested stroke patients’ health outcomes are influenced by their caregivers’ outlook. In that case, University of Kentucky researchers said stroke survivors and their spouse caregivers need to be treated together, “as a unit, not individually.”

“When the spouse has a high level of self-esteem and optimism, the patient has lower levels of depression,” said study author Dr. Misook Chung.

READ MORE: Stroke patients’ health outcomes influenced by spouse’s optimism

Yet the changes in a spouse caregiver’s outlook and its impact on the patient’s depression are often ignored, Chung said.

“Spouses often assist the survivor in their own care, while also trying to adapt to the changes in their own lives as a result of providing care,” said Chung.

They end up quitting their jobs, taking on their spouses’ responsibilities to keep the house running, or they’re juggling their kids too.

Cameron’s findings were published Thursday afternoon in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

[email protected]桑拿按摩
Follow @Carmen_Chai

©2014Shaw Media

Migration to Alberta is exploding

It’s looking increasingly like Alberta isn’t just returning to the heady years of its last oil boom — it’s trumping them.

The latest piece of evidence comes in the form of inter-provincial population trends, or the number of people moving in and out of each province.

In 2013, the rest of the country (save Saskatchewan) witnessed an exodus of folks from their province of origin (see chart).

Where did they go? Virtually all to Alberta.

“A whopping 43,000 people flocked to Alberta last year,” BMO economist Robert Kavcic said in note published Thursday.

The surge in inter-provincial migration – the biggest in 23 years – bumped Alberta’s population up by 1.1 per cent, according to Kavcic.

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The demographic contrast between Alberta and the rest of the country is stark, but closely mirrors what’s happening on the jobs fronts (see second chart below).

READ MORE: Job growth has flatlined across the country — except in Alberta

Underpinning all this growth is – surprise – the oil and gas sector. And in the oil patch, job prospects are getting even brighter.

The Conference Board of Canada said in a report Thursday the sector is now “at the start of a slow pivot away from investment-fuelled growth” toward “more stable, export-driven growth going forward.”

Translation: It appears Big Oil is about to ramp up shipments of energy exports, which will boost job growth as more hands are required to get the job done.

One drag on this sunny outlook is the lack of infrastructure. Limited pipeline development poses a “significant downside risk” to the outlook, the Conference Board says.

But the board nevertheless expects the province to generate nearly 47,000 net new jobs which will push the province’s unemployment rate down to 4.4 per cent by the end of the year.

INFOGRAPHIC: February’s ‘disappointing’ jobs report

The national unemployement rate, meanwhile, is stuck at 7.0 per cent. In B.C., it’s 6.4 per cent, and in Ontario and Quebec, the rate is 7.8 and 8.7 per cent, respectively.

The population shift serves to underscore the “starkly different labour market conditions in different areas of the country,” BMO’s Kavcic said.

Inter-provincial migration patterns look an awful lot like job growth trends in Alberta, and elsewhere (chart above, BMO). 

Spring brings no end to wintry weather stats for Winnipeg – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG — The first day of spring is ushering in a change in the forecast, with snow on the way and temperatures falling well below seasonal  again.

Winnipeg has had a full helping of everything this winter.

The city has endured extreme cold, especially in the months of December and January. Normally the mean temperature for December would be around -13.2 C. This year it was -20.6 C, making it the sixth coldest December on record. The all-time coldest December was in 1879, when the mean temperature was -26 C.

The mean temperature for January was -20.1 C, still below normal but closer to the average (-16.4 C). This January on its own did not even crack the Top 50 for coldest Januarys.

February’s mean temperature of -20.0 C was just outside the top 20, ranking 21st for coldest on record and the coldest in 35 years. February’s normal mean temperature is -13.2 C.

Of course, snow has been another issue. Usually the total snowfall for the season is 114 centimetres. As of March 19, 151 cm has fallen in Winnipeg and this won’t be the last we’ll see of it. Even if you discount what is still to come in March, April and May usually add another 13 cm.

Greg MacKay illustrates the weather with these photos of his feet in his Winnipeg backyard on March 17 in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Submitted by Greg MacKay / Global News

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The last two winters have been summed up really well by Greg MacKay, one of our Global viewers. These three photos were all taken on March 17 of their respective year. In 2011-2012, we had 80.8 cm of snow. The 2012-13 snowfall total was the 14th biggest in recorded history, with 176.6 cm, and this year is not too far off.

Environment Canada meteorologist Dale Marciski recalls the last time Winnipeg saw harsh winters back to back, in the 1990s: 1995-96 and 1996-97.

“Things never repeat exactly in the climate world, and I’m certainly not forecasting anything yet, but those two back-to-back snowy and cold winters of 1995-96 and 1996-97 were followed by a dry and very mild winter of 1997-98. One hopes that next winter will be much nicer,” he said.

The first day of spring could be the last day this March when the temperature goes above 0 C, with highs below -10 C forecast through the weekend and snow forecast for Thursday evening and Friday.

©2014Shaw Media

Fire destroys several homes in Devon

EDMONTON – A number of homes in Devon were either damaged or destroyed by fire Thursday morning.

Fire officials says three homes were destroyed, two of which were levelled by the blaze. Another home is partially standing, but the roof has been burned out.

There are no reports of injuries.

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“Before they got here, the top of our house, where the bedroom is, was starting to burn,” said Suzanne Cole. “By the time they got water on it,” she explained, her voice breaking, “it was pretty… far gone.”

Residents of Devon tell Global News a fire – that is believed to have started at one home – spread to at least two others.

“Family is safe and sound,” said Ivan Laing, whose rental home was affected. “That’s the only thing running through my mind: what it could have been. Well, this is a heck of a lot better than what it could have been.”

Laing said he thinks the fire started in his garage.

Neighbours said they heard a number of explosions, which fire crews believe may have been propane and vehicle tires exploded.

Some residents expressed concerns about the time it took for fire crews to arrive on scene.  However, officials say they were on scene within minutes of the call.

Damage has been estimated to be $2 million.

Follow @Emily_Mertz