A Special Election Kick-Off Edition - listen here
Ken Coates, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and MacDonald-Laurier Institute's Senior Policy Fellow in Aboriginal and Northern Canadian Issues starts us off with an analysis of where each of the three major parties stand on indigenous issues. He then has three suggestions for aboriginal voters on what to look out for over the course of this long election campaign.
We hear from Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde who speaks to the importance of getting the aboriginal voter to the ballot box this time. The AFN has singled out 51 ridings that could swing if indigenous people get out and vote. Seven of those ridings are in Saskatchewan. They are: Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River, Battlefords-Lloydminster, Prince Albert, Saskatoon West, and three ridings in Regina; Lewvan, Qu'Appelle and Wascana.
To take our minds off this long election campaign, you can head out to the 18th annual John Arcand Fiddle Fest just southwest of Saskatoon. We hear a piece on the man himself and provide details about this ever growing Metis festival.
Brent Bosker has the Meeting Ground News Update
More from Meeting Ground News
Hugo Gallegos guilty of defrauding Whitecap Dakota First Nation
Members of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation hugged their chief outside Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench on Friday as the band's former accountant admitted stealing cash from the people he used to work for.
Hugo Edgardo Gallegos, 41, is accused of pocketing more than $1 million from the Saskatchewan First Nation just south of Saskatoon, between January 2009 and July 2013. The amount he admitted to stealing was not revealed in court, however, he did plead guilty to two counts of theft over $5,000 and two counts of fraud over $5,000.
Gallegos also pleaded guilty to laundering the proceeds of crime and possession of property obtained by crime.
Darcy Bear, chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, said the guilty pleas have been a long time coming.
“I was expecting it could be a not guilty plea today, but certainly it's good to see that there's finally some closure here on the guilty pleas,” he said outside of court.
“There's always been a lot of delay tactics, so I was just expecting another delay tactic today but that didn't happen, and so this step is out of the way, now we look forward to September 2.”
Read more here.
'Kilburn killed my son' says mom of teen who died while in custody
The boy who ran away from Saskatoon's Kilburn Hall on Wednesday night is the brother of the boy who died while in custody at the youth detention facility last week, CKOM has learned.
“I lost my one son and then they came and arrested my other son,” the woman, who cannot be named in order to protect the identities of her underage sons, said outside provincial court.
Her 16-year-old son made a brief court appearance Thursday morning. He's accused of running away from Kilburn Hall around 5 p.m. Wednesday night. According to a police release, he was found about 30 minutes later.
The woman said her youngest son was arrested for a breach of residence last week, on the same day that her oldest son passed away while being held at Kilburn Hall for breaching his conditions. Jail staff put the 16-year-old in the same holding cells where his 17-year-old brother had just been found unresponsive, she said.
“And he was just freaking out so bad. He didn't want to be near that room; he didn't want to be in that room, and it's all taped off with caution (tape),” she said.
She said her youngest ran away from the youth jail because he wanted to visit his brother's grave site.
Read more here.
AFN chief pushing First Nations people to cast votes this fall
Whether it’s Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair or Elizabeth May, Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde says he’s happy and willing to work with either candidate who becomes prime minister.
“Some chiefs are saying don't vote Conservative, some chiefs are saying, 'Hey, I vote for Conservatives so you have to respect the positions,” Bellegarde said.
Leading up to what is now the longest election campaign in 142 years; Bellegarde said while chiefs are calling for change at the top, his focus is about getting First Nations voters to cast a ballot this fall.
“The AFN's position is to encourage people to exercise that vote and make sure First Nations people do vote because our issues do matter.”
The main issue for Bellegarde is the gap between First Nations communities and the rest of Canada.
“According to the United Nations human development index Canada is rated sixth. But when you apply that to First Nations people we're 63rd and that gap is what needs to be closed,” Bellegarde said. “Government's need to start investing in education and training dealing with a backlog on housing, the high number of First Nation children in provincial care and the high number of First Nation people in jail.”
Read more here.
Food services at 8 Sask. jails to be contracted out
The Saskatchewan government has signed a five-year agreement with Compass Group Canada to provide food services at eight correctional facilities in Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert.
It said this will allow the Ministry of Justice to focus on community safety, programming, supervision, and rehabilitation.
In a news release Wednesday, Corrections and Policing Minister, Christine Tell, said this decision will allow the government to reinvest in programming and provide the best possible service to the offender population.
Tell added contracting with Compass Group will bring efficiency and consistency to food service delivery in correctional facilities while saving taxpayers' dollars.
The province believes it will save about $12 million over the five years. But the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union, which represents jail workers, does not think any money will be saved.
"We believe it's going to cost more money," said Bob Bymoen, President of the SGEU.
Bymoen said the government is trying to sell the idea that the Compass Group has agreed to take less money in this agreement.
Read more here.
La Ronge says goodbye to local paper after 30 years
The La Ronge Northerner is turning off its presses after decades of informing the town and the many communities surrounding it.
The local paper, owned by Glacier Media, will no longer exist as of Friday.
Mayor Thomas Sierzycki said it was disappointing to hear their “small town paper” no longer fits in the company’s “economic plan."
“Anytime you lose a staple of your community with a long history like The Northerner had in La Ronge and northern Saskatchewan, it’s pretty difficult,” Sierzycki said. "We’re hoping that there is something that’s put in place or someone comes along that may purchase or open up their local paper.”
“We strongly do believe that there are many stories to be told as well as a market for the next person that’s willing to fill that void.”
The paper has been up and running for at least 30 years, according to Sierzycki.
“Growing up in La Ronge, it’s always been one of those things that as a kid you see a lot of your neat stories, whether you’re in hockey or judo…or anything going on at the schools, and you always wanted to be in the local paper,” Sierzycki said.
Read more here.
Buffy Sainte-Marie slams fashion headdresses
Buffy Sainte-Marie has seen fashion-conscious fans show up to concerts wearing headdresses as a trendy statement — and she's seen enough.
"When it comes to things like headdresses, there are some things that are actually, factually, personally, deeply cultural to our heritage," the 74-year-old musical innovator said in an interview in Toronto this week.
"To some guy who's got models in high heels, bikini bottoms, pasties and a big headdress, and everybody's drunk — I want people to understand why that is painful or disgusting, why that is negative to us.
"It'd be like if you really loved your grandmother or your mom and all of a sudden you're watching wrestling on TV and you see your mom's picture on some wrestler's crotch.
"It's inappropriate. It's not funny. It doesn't help."
Read more here.
Kelly Geraldine Malone is a freelance journalist, podcaster, and radio producer based out of Manitoba, Canada