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Advance polls show high interest in Metis election PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 11:11

Photo courtesy of mnselection.ca

The countdown is on for the Metis general election in Saskatchewan.

In just four days, a new president will be elected, and 20 other executive positions will be filled. It is the first election in five years, and it is expected to be one of the largest.

The advance polls wrapped up on Saturday, when about 600 ballots were cast. Last week, advance voting also took place in 14 smaller centres around the province, with about 1,200 people voting.

Chief Returning Officer, Loretta Metzger, says interest is high.

"Lots of Metis people feel there is lots on the line this time around," she said. In 2012, only about 3,000 people cast ballots, that is less than 10 per cent of eligible voters.

Metzger says her office is doing all it can to get people out to vote, and it seems to be paying off.

"We had at least one advance poll in every region of the province," she said. "I think we had 14 in total, plus we had a number of small mobile polls as well."

This is seen as a key election. There will be a new president. Nine people are in the running for that job. Former president Robert Doucette did not seek re-election.

Vice President Gerald Morin is running again for the vice president position. The Metis Nation has been fractured for years, with Doucette and Morin butting heads on most everything. Failure to hold required legislative assemblies resulted in the cancellation of federal funding in 2014.

The Metis office is closed, and it has sold off most of its assets to pay the bills. Whoever is elected on Saturday will have the difficult task of setting a new course for the provincial organization.

This comes at a key time, with two recent Supreme Court decisions extending Metis rights and establishing the federal government’s responsibility.

It is estimated that 40 to 45,000 people are eligible to vote in the May 27th Saskatchewan Metis election.

 
UPDATED: Muskoday murderer addresses court at sentencing for stabbing death of fiancé PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Friday, 19 May 2017 11:07

Robyn Ermine is escorted from court on May 19, 2017. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

A life sentence has been imposed on a Muskoday woman who killed her fiance, accompanied by the legal minimum period of parole ineligibility of 10 years.

Earlier this week, a Prince Albert jury found 30-year-old Robyn Laura Ermine guilty of second-degree murder in the Feb. 2015 stabbing death of her partner Evan Tylan Bear. He died of blood loss after a drunken fight between the couple, which took place in the Muskoday home they'd been living in at the time.

At her Friday sentencing, her lawyer Adam Masiowski said she "has stayed sober this entire time" since Bear's death.

Justice Scherman said there's no doubt alcohol was a significant negative factor, both in Ermine's life previosly and in her actions that night.

He has agreed to the Crown prosecutor's recommendation for Ermine to serve the minimum 10 years of her life sentence in jail before being able to apply for parole, saying it would not be "just and equitable" to sentence her to anything higher.

Scherman urged Ermine to continue on with a path of sobriety, which "will continue to be a struggle for her."

The lenient sentence extends into Scherman allowing Ermine to serve time concurrently - or at the same time - for her other offence of breach of undertaking and for her victim surcharge.

Scherman pointed to Ermine's remorse in her comments to the court.

Ermine tearfully said "I'm sorry for what I done, and I take full responsibility for it. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of" Bear, adding that she's sorry for pain she's caused Bear's family, his 10-year-old son Jayce, and her own family.

She said she's sorry "for my daughter for losing a mom,” referring to the time she’ll be in prison.

Ermine said when Bear was dying she left because she knew paramedics wouldn't enter a home if she - the assailant - was still there, but "I should have stayed right by his side.

"I wish I could bring him back," she said while sobbing.

Outside court, Jayce's mother Shauna Munroe said she can't accept Ermine's apology because it took her two years to take responsibility for her actions. She was in court for all but one day of Ermine's trial.

Shauna Munroe outside Prince Albert Court of Queen's Bench. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

"I was here on behalf of my son to hear that justice would be served and that we could just move on with our lives and know that she won't be out there hurting anybody else anymore," she said.

Now with sentencing complete, Munroe said she, her partner, and Jayce are "just gonna move on. We're gonna do bigger things. Evan will always be there watching us."

After Ermine received her sentence, she exchanged tearful hugs with family members and that emotion spilled out into the court hallway.

Ermine's upset mother, Leona Bear, confronted a media member saying he had painted Evan out to be "an angel" and then yelled an expletives at Evan's mother, with Evan's mother yelling back. Darcy, Evan's brother, tried to calm the situation as the two women walked away from each other.

Outside court, he acknowledged those tensions but also said his family wasn't seeking a punitive sentence.

"Our family is of the belief of two wrongs don't make a right. So her going to jail doesn't bring Evan back. Her going to jail doesn't fix the problems, the issues, the root cause issues between the two of them that caused them to be violent with each other," Darcy said.

"If my brother loved her, we were open to loving her as well."

After sentencing, Ermine was escorted away in cuffs and ankle chains. She also faces a lifetime firearm ban and DNA order.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 May 2017 12:51
 
Wild fur industry under stress PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Friday, 19 May 2017 11:00

Turnor Lake trapper Ron Desjardin getting the best prices for his furs. Photo courtesy @NorthSaskTrappers, Facebook.

The wild fur industry is still under stress, with limited markets for most pelts.

North American Fur Auctions held its spring sale this week with mixed results.

Larger sized otter were selling well with rising prices, mainly to buyers in China. Beaver saw good sales of better quality pelts. There was a big demand on wild mink, while muskrat saw price resistance and was pulled from the sale.

Over the past year, prices for wild pelts are up. The average price for otter is about $50.00, up more than 70 per cent from a year ago. Beaver pelts were selling at an average of $15.78, up 40 per cent, while the average wild mink price was about $16.00 a pelt, up 48 per cent from last year.

Muskrat pelts were selling for $3.60 a year ago, but demand has been so poor this year, they were withdrawn from the auction.

North American Fur Auctions has nearly 350,000 muskrat pelts in its inventory.

 
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