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UPDATED - NDP says province not trying hard enough to close funding gap for First Nations students PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Thursday, 22 June 2017 12:45

Carla Beck. Photo courtesy of Manfred Joehnck.

The provincial NDP is calling on the premier to put more pressure on the federal government to end the funding gap for students in First Nations schools.

They are funded at a rate about 40 per cent less than the provincial average.

NDP Education Critic, Carla Beck, says while it is the federal government’s responsibility, the province has a role to play.

"It is indefensible that we allow this to continue," she said. "We really want to highlight this today -- that we need to make a stand to ensure this funding gap is rectified."

Beck says the province should make up the difference in funding, then bill the federal government. According to the FSIN, it would amount to about $80 million a year.

A year ago, the provincial government and the NDP sent a joint letter to the prime minister, asking that the funding gap be ended immediately. Beck says since then, the situation has gotten worse for First Nations children.

"The human cost to our kids should be reason enough to do the right thing, but the fact is, these cuts and this dramatic under-funding are also hurting the economy and blocking important economic opportunities," said Beck. "Every child in Saskatchewan deserves an equal opportunity to succeed."

In a statement provided to MBC News, Education Minister Don Morgan says: "The Government of Saskatchewan cannot step into this area of federal jurisdiction. Funding for K-12 education on-reserve is, and remains, a federal responsibility. We continue to actively encourage the federal government to fulfill its prior commitment to eliminate the funding gap for children attending First Nations schools."

Morgan goes on to say: "While we wholeheartedly agree with the members of the Opposition that the federal government needs to eliminate the funding gap, we find it irresponsible of the NDP to call for our government to provide the funding now and simply bill the federal government later - particularly since the NDP has not been able to provide a cost estimate for what they expect it would cost the people of Saskatchewan (our own estimate is that this would cost at least $67.7 million annually)."

Morgan adds his government remains strongly committed to improving First Nations and Metis graduation rates in this province, noting First Nations and Metis graduation rates have risen more than 10 per cent in the past decade.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 23 June 2017 07:27
 
Pinehouse cited for non-compliance of privacy act PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Thursday, 22 June 2017 12:10

Pinehouse Business North. Photo courtesy of Village of Pinehouse.

The tiny northern village of Pinehouse Lake is one of the most secretive in the province when it comes to divulging information about its finances.

It was cited seven times by the privacy commissioner for refusing to comply with freedom of information requests.

The privacy commissioner says his own office often couldn’t get responses from the village, leaving him no choice but to write up the complaints and urge it to comply, even offering assistance from his office.

This does not sit well with a group called, Pinehouse Info. Spokesman, D'Arcy Hande, says it looks like someone has got something to hide.

"Where the money is going?" he asked. "We can’t get financial statements, especially from Pinehouse business north, and we just don’t understand what is going on here."

Hande is also a freelance writer, who did a number of stories on the community and its collaboration agreement with Cameco. He says a lot of corporate money went into the community, but it’s not clear how the administration spent it.

"We are trying to get answers as to where this money is going because some people in Pinehouse are saying, well our streets aren’t in any better shape," he said.

Hande would like to see tougher freedom of information laws, including giving the privacy commissioner the power to initiate legal action against groups and individuals that basically ignore requests for public information.

Pinehouse Mayor, Mike Natomagan, has been contacted and said he will provide comment this week.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 June 2017 16:49
 
UPDATED - At least 8 people hospitalized after crash north of Prince Albert PDF Print E-mail
Written by mbcnews   
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 19:53

Wreckage of vehicle involved in two-vehicle crash north of Prince Albert early Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Lakeland and District Fire Department.

As many as eight people were injured in a serious two-vehicle collision in northern Saskatchewan Wednesday afternoon.

The Lakeland and District Fire Department says it was among several emergency responders called to the scene on Highway 2 at around 12:45 p.m.

The fire department says two people had to be extricated out of one vehicle.

It also says STARS Air Ambulance transported two victims to hospital, while another six people were taken to hospital by Parkland Ambulance.

Parkland Ambulance says a 30-year-old woman, a 20-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man were taken to Saskatoon's Royal University Hospital with serious injuries.  Meanwhile, a 37-year-old man, a 39-year-old woman, a 39-year-old man, an 18-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman were being treated for minor injuries at Prince Albert's Victoria Hospital.

At last word, there was no update on the condition of any of the victims.

Parkland Ambulance says the crash was 80 km north of Prince Albert, while the fire department says it was 57 km north of Christopher Lake.

Other responding agencies include the Waskesiu RCMP and RCMP Traffic Services.

Emergency responders also say there were bystanders who assisted.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 21:42
 
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