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Saskatchewan fishers not shocked over scathing report into marketing corporation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 09:36

Photo courtesy of freshwaterfish.com

A scathing report into the operation of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation of Canada comes as no surprise to local industry experts, who say the corporation has been poorly run for years.

Canada’s auditor general released a report yesterday that listed numerous shortcomings. Among them, the board’s oversight of the corporation was inadequate, and important business practices and controls were lacking or were disregarded by management.

The federal crown corporation acts as a marketing board for fishers in Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. In 2012, Saskatchewan pulled out of the monopoly, leaving the choice to fishers on who they wanted to sell to. Last year, Manitoba, which supplies 80 per cent of the fish to the corporation, announced it was pulling out.

The auditor’s report found the corporation did not identify Manitoba’s withdrawal as a significant risk or develop a strategy to deal with it.

Recruitment and staffing were also listed as being severely deficient, with the president creating positions without job descriptions, revising salaries without proper justification and filling positions without conducting a competitive selection process.

The president of Saskatchewan Cooperative Fisheries Limited, Marie Hildebrandt, could see this one coming. She says since Saskatchewan ended its agreement with the corporation in 2012, more and more fishers are signing up with a new buyer, called Arctic Blue, which is based out of Vancouver. She says that company has big plans, including the opening of a fish processing plant in North Battleford by November.

"It’s going to be huge," she said. "They are going through preliminary work of everything that has to be changed because they are redesigning the whole inside."

Hildebrandt doesn’t think the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation has much of a future.

"You know it’s their own doing if they lose a lot of their customers," she said.

Hildebrandt expects there will also be more lost customers in Saskatchewan when current contracts with the corporation expire in November.

In Saskatchewan, fishers have the option of signing contracts with the corporation or selling on their own.

Hildebrandt says many of them report a doubling of earnings since getting out of contracts with the corporation and signing on with Arctic Blue.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 12:11
Chilling details revealed at sentencing hearing for La Loche mass shooter PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 16:49

Meadow Lake Provincial Court. Photo courtesy of Chelsea Laskowski.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details that may trouble some readers.

La Loche's community safety committee says the teen who killed four and injured seven during a mass shooting that ended with a surrender to police in the Dene Building high school “acted like a coldblooded killer.”

This comment came in one of 11 victim impact statements read in Meadow Lake court and via video link to La Loche’s courtroom on Tuesday.

The dense, emotional and at times, graphic, hearing for the young offender comes after the Crown prosecutor applied to have the now-19-year-old offender sentenced as an adult. He entered guilty pleas to first-degree, second-degree and attempted murder for all 11 direct victims in October, and cannot be named due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

When he was escorted in on Tuesday there was little reaction, and he seemed attentive, looking around the room as prosecutors laid out what they'll be presenting in court over two weeks, which has been split into this week and another week in mid-June.

Court then received the first public view of chilling school surveillance video and crime scene photos from January 22, 2016. They showed the shooter’s 11-minute rampage through the Dene Building up to his surrender to police, which came after he shot and killed teen brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine at their grandmother’s home. That day, the offender had a large cache of at least eight shotguns and rifles, as well as ammunition, stored in the basement of that home before opening fire while the brothers were at home preparing to go back to school after eating lunch.

Evidence presented in the morning made clear the offender came into the shooting with some premeditation of the events to come. Back in September of 2015 he had a conversation with a friend in which the offender talked about shooting up the school. His phone and Ipad’s search history from January 2016 show terms like “school shootings in Canada” and “what does it feel like to kill someone.” The names of the Columbine shooters are among his final search terms at 11:16 a.m., only an hour or so before the shootings commenced.

It was an emotional day, with sniffles heard over the video feed to La Loche's court. In Meadow Lake when footage of all four of the deceased victims were shown, the few non-media and non-police members of the public consoled each other as they sobbed.

The full scope and severity of what happened was further punctuated by recordings of 911 calls coming from within the school in the minutes during and after the shooting. Whether the voices on the other end were frantic, calm, whispering, or pleading for help, all cases portrayed the desperation and fear within the school as callers hid under desks or in closets, or tended to their classmates wounds.

In total the Crown’s evidence amounts to 46 victim impact statements, multiple psychological reports, transcriptions of the offender's statements to police, police evidence, a binder that belongs to the offender, and video and photo evidence.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 23:47
AFN applauds First Nations veterans of Passchendaele PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dean Bear   
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 15:02

Francis Peghamagabow. Photo courtesy of thecanadianencyclopedia.ca

Two First Nations veterans of the First World War will be honoured and recognized for their contributions as part of the Countdown to Passchendaele 2017 Commemoration.

Francis Peghamagabow and Alexander Decouteau are being recognized for their bravery and contributions during the First World War.

Alexander Decouteau is from the Red Pheasant First Nation and Peghamagabow, from the Wasauksing First Nation in Ontario.

Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde said the two men were shining examples of the heroism displayed by many First Nation people who served Canada.

"Many First Nations veterans served proudly, despite being exempt from conscription, yet never received the same recognition or benefits as non-Indigenous veterans. We lift up Francis Peghamagabow, from the Wasauksing First Nation, and Alexander Decouteau, from the Red Pheasant First Nation, for their dedication and sacrifice, and we acknowledge the organizers of the Countdown to Passchendaele for ensuring our people are recognized," he said.

The Countdown to Passchendaele 2017 Commemorative Tribute to Canada will take place this year in Belgium in cities across the Flanders region.

The AFN recognizes the commitment and sacrifice of all the men and women who fought in World War One and Passchendaele.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 15:17
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