In Saskatchewan, Indigenous people are worried that a new trespassing plan may stoke racial tensions

Debbie Baptiste, mother of Colten Boushie, holds a photo of her son during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on February 14, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

  • The Saskatchewan throne speech last month included a reference to changing trespassing laws to ‘better address the appropriate balance between the rights of rural landowners and members of the public’

A Saskatchewan grandmother who was confronted by a farmer with a gun says changing trespassing laws probably won’t stop crime but could increase racial tension.

Angela Bishop, a Metis lawyer, was driving on a rural road in Alberta in September with her two grandchildren who are visibly Indigenous. They were looking for a place to get out, stretch and go for a short walk during a long drive to Edmonton.

She noticed a vehicle driving up behind her, so she stopped.

A man got out and started to yell at her to get off his road, she said, despite her attempts to explain why she was there. She said she spotted a gun inside his vehicle.

Terrified for her grandchildren, Bishop said she tried to drive away — but the man pursued her.

She eventually pulled over, called law enforcement and requested a police escort. Officers told her that, in fact, it was a public road and she could be there.

As a rural land owner in Saskatchewan, Bishop said she can sympathize with frustration about property crime, but a life is more important.

“My concern would be that they believe they are legally entitled to take the law into their own hands,” she said from Quintana Roo state in Mexico.

The Saskatchewan throne speech last month included a reference to changing trespassing laws to “better address the appropriate balance between the rights of rural landowners and members of the public.”

The government said in an emailed statement that Justice Minister Don Morgan is prepared to meet with Indigenous people to discuss their concerns.

The province has already sought public input on whether access to rural property should require prior permission from a landowner, regardless of the activity, and if not doing so should be illegal.

A lawyer representing the family of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous man fatally shot by farmer Gerald Stanley in August 2016, said she is worried the Saskatchewan Party government is engaged in political posturing which could stoke racial fear.

A Saskatchewan farmer was acquitted in the fatal shooting of a 22-year old Indigenous man. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

“Indigenous people aren’t feeling safe that the authorities or the police are going to protect them or that they are not going to be shot at,” Eleanore Sunchild said from Battleford, Sask.

“It seems like there’s more of an approval to take vigilante justice in your hands, and if you are an Indigenous victim, nothing is going to happen to the non-native that shot you.”

Stanley was acquitted of second-degree murder after testifying that his gun went off accidentally. He said he was trying to scare away young people he thought were stealing from him. The Crown decided not to appeal.

Sunchild said the throne speech sends the message that the farmer was right to shoot the Indigenous man and that trespassing fears are justified.

Sunchild wonders what advice she would give her own children if they have car trouble or need help on a rural road.

“Do I tell them to go ask a farmer? I don’t think so.”

Heather Bear, vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said the Boushie trial and provincial response have many Indigenous people feeling afraid.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

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Crown says it won’t appeal not-guilty verdict in Gerald Stanley trial

Gerald Stanley enters the Court of Queen’s Bench for the fifth day of his trial in Battleford, Sask., on Feb. 5, 2018.

The Crown says it won’t appeal the acquittal of a Saskatchewan farmer who was accused of fatally shooting a young Indigenous man in the head.

Last month, a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie, who was 22 and from Red Pheasant First Nation.

The Crown says a verdict can’t be appealed because people don’t agree with it or because there may be questions about the investigation.

“The Crown can only appeal legal errors in the course of the trial,” senior prosecutor Anthony Gerein said Wednesday at a news conference.

The trial heard that Boushie was one of five young people who drove an SUV into Stanley’s farmyard near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016. Those in the SUV testified they were looking for help for a flat tire while Stanley told the trial he thought the youths were trying to steal an all-terrain vehicle.

Stanley testified he fired warning shots to scare them away and the gun accidentally went off again when he reached for the keys in the SUV’s ignition.

The case was filled with racial tension from the beginning and the verdict was met with outrage from Boushie’s relatives and their supporters.

Family members met with federal ministers along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ask for changes to the justice system and to how juries are selected to better reflect Indigenous people.

Protests were also held around Canada to voice displeasure with the outcome of the case.

“I know there is much sadness about the decision not to appeal, but there can be no appeal because the law does not allow it,” Gerein said.

He said the Crown did not consult with the Boushie family about the legal decision. But Gerein spoke to lawyers on both sides and they informed their clients, he said.

Boushie’s cousin, Jade Tootoosis, has said that the family felt excluded and ignored by the justice system following the shooting.

“I urge no one to be discouraged or distrust the system. We are all in this together and must be united against crime and in the search for justice,” Gerein said.

“Complainants need to come forward when they have been wronged. Witnesses need to come to court and testify, sharing the truth. Good men and women will convict where they are sure it is right.”

On Tuesday, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission launched a review into the RCMP’s investigation into the shooting.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Calls for Child Welfare overhaul filter into Sask. after Tina Fontaine’s death in Man.

Manitoba’s child welfare system has been criticized since Tina Fontaine’s body was found in the Red River in 2014. (CBC)

81% of 5,000 children in care in Sask. are Indigenous

As the death of Tina Fontaine leads to calls for an overhaul of the child welfare system in Manitoba, a similar push is gaining momentum in Saskatchewan.

On Aug 17, 2014, Fontaine was found dead in Winnipeg’s Red River. Fontaine was originally from Sagkeeng First Nation, but had been in the care of Manitoba’s child welfare system at the time of her death.

Calls for drastic change in Manitoba’s child welfare system have been consistent and loud since Fontaine’s body was discovered. In Saskatchewan, similar whispers are getting louder.

There are approximately 5,000 children in care in Saskatchewan, and about 4,000 of them are Indigenous.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations has been in talks with the Ministry of Social Services in Saskatchewan since October — when Second Vice-Chief David Pratt was elected to improve the situation for young Indigenous people in the care of the province. The collaboration is in its infancy, according to Pratt.

David Pratt is the second vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and manages the child welfare file. (Brad Bellegarde/CBC News)

“There’s a lot of receiving homes open in Saskatchewan and we want greater accountability in terms of what’s going on in those homes, who’s staffing those homes, if there’s any cultural component happening in those homes,” he said.

“I think we need to work together as partners.”

Pratt has been encouraged by the readiness of federal ministers Jane Philpott, of Indigenous Services, and Carolyn Bennett, of Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, to focus on prevention of children having to go into care, rather than band-aid solutions.

But Pratt said the province has some work to do.

‘Here in Saskatchewan, we have a lot of work to get done.’ – FSIN Vice-Chief David Pratt on Saskatchewan’s child welfare system

“A lot of times the government comes to us with the jurisdictional song and dance. We know the constitution. We know what Section 91 states, that responsibility [for] Indians falls under the federal government. But we’ve got to look at what regions like Ontario are doing.”

In Ontario, federal and provincial governments work with Ontario Chiefs as a tripartite to work toward better outcomes for children in care.

“In Nova Scotia, the Mi’kmaq actually helped draft the child welfare legislation. Why can’t we do that in Saskatchewan? Let’s open up that legislation.”

Pratt believes that groups like the FSIN have solutions, if only various levels of government would listen.

Recognizing trauma, heritage

Part of improving outcomes for Indigenous children who are unable to live with their parents is connecting them with their home communities.

“Nine hundred of these children are not registered with their community, so we’d like to work as partners with the ministry to get them back registered,” said Pratt

“It’ll help them with their identity. Learning who they are is part of a healthy young individual.”

A young Indigenous person’s identity, though, can often involve a history linked to residential schools and intergenerational trauma, and the necessity of navigating colonial systems.

“Our treaty partners in Saskatchewan, non-Indigenous people, need to realize our history and that we’re not going to find solutions unless we work together on them,” said Pratt.

Within the province’s social services, there has been a conscious shift over the past few years to be more sensitive to the needs of young Indigenous people, and to connect them with their First Nations and families

Tina Fontaine’s body was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg on Aug. 17, 2014. It was wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down with rocks. (Tina Fontaine/Facebook)

“For many Indigenous families we work with, they might identify elders, community leaders, or agencies like community-based organizations that are Indigenous-run, or they might identify their home First Nation, so we’d connect with them in developing the case plan,” said Tobie Eberhardt, executive director of community services at the Ministry of Social Services.

“It would be around the family identifying what their needs are, who they would see as their natural supports.”

Every child is also subject to a strength and needs assessment when they come to the ministry for help.

Most often, children are then placed with a family member, or at the very least, with someone familiar to them.

“Sixty per cent of children in Saskatchewan are placed with extended family, or significant people in their lives,” said Eberhardt.

CBC News Posted: Feb 26, 2018

[SOURCE]

Canada and Whitecap Dakota First Nation sign framework agreement for Treaty

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett signs a framework agreement for treaty negotiations with Whitecap Dakota Chief Darcy Bear on Jan. 22, 2018. (650 CKOM)

Signing sets the stage for Whitecap Dakota Treaty

A new framework agreement between a Saskatchewan First Nation and the Canadian government sets the stage for what would be the first new treaty signed in the province since the beginning of the 20th century.

A historic agreement between Canada and Whitecap Dakota First Nation was signed earlier this week to negotiate a treaty with the Crown — for what will be known as the Whitecap Dakota Treaty.

Whitecap Dakota First Nation Chief Darcy Bear and Carolyn Bennett, the federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, signed the agreement Monday at the First Nation.

Whitecap is not part of any of the numbered treaties in Saskatchewan because the Dakota people were viewed as Native Americans rather than British or Canadian.

Bear says the six-page document builds on more than 230 years of shared history, including a military alliance and concurrent promise by British representatives to protect Dakota territory.

The historical relationship between the British and the Dakota is well documented. The Dakota were allies of the British before Confederation and fought alongside the British in the War of 1812.

According to the agreement, the negotiation mandate includes recognition of Whitecap Dakota’s rightful place in Canada, and an acknowledgement of contributions made by the Dakota in the founding and development of the country.

The mandate also includes “appropriate measures to realize equitable treatment and benefits as between (Whitecap Dakota First Nation) and Treaty First Nations,” as well as resources to “support a sustainable community.”

Bear said the main objectives for the First Nation in treaty negotiations are to acquire a larger land base for sustainable growth, money for economic development, capital projects and protecting language and culture and to be recognized as a Treaty First Nation.

Unlike most of Saskatchewan’s First Nations, which were allocated land under six numbered treaties, Whitecap Dakota’s land was provided by a federal order in council issued in 1889. Bear said he hopes to increase that allocation to 128 acres per person from 16 acres.

In the 1870s, Dakota Chief Whitecap was present at both Treaty 4 and 6 discussions, but wasn’t acknowledged as a signatory.

The framework that was signed Monday launches a negotiation process where the Whitecap Dakota will provide a list of issues they want the treaty to address. The finalized mandate will be presented to cabinet by Bennett for approval. Ottawa would then formally offer a treaty to the First Nation.

The Whitecap Dakota First Nation is part of the larger Dakota-Nakata-Lakota Nation whose traditional governance structure was called the Seven Council Fires or Oceti Sakowin, whose lands extended into both Canada and the United States.

Whitecap Dakota First Nation is located 26 kilometres south of Saskatoon.

Sask. Indigenous Girls 26 Times More Likely To Die By Suicide: Report

There have been more than 500 First Nations suicides in Saskatchewan since 2005.

Grim numbers from the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations are showing First Nations youth face a significantly higher risk of suicide than their non-Indigenous counterparts in Saskatchewan.

A discussion paper released by the FSIN on Friday used coroner office statistics to show there have been over 500 First Nations suicides in the province since 2005, a rate four times higher than in non-First Nation populations.

Over half of the suicides involved people under the age of 30.

Dr. Kim McKay-McNabb, a First Nations therapist, calls it “a mental health crisis.”

McKay-McNabb is one of two technical advisors assisting with the development of the FSIN’s Saskatchewan First Nations suicide prevention strategy, which will be released on May 18, 2018.

The release of her research comes almost one year after multiple suicides rocked the province’s northern communities.

She said there aren’t enough treatment centres for First Nations residents across the province.

“You can be on the reserve and want to access treatment options. As a First Nations person you are limited on where you can go for treatment,” she said.

The numbers released Friday also indicated First Nations girls aged 10 to 19 faced a suicide rate 26 times higher than non-First Nations girls in Saskatchewan.

Children waiting too long for mental health treatment

McKay-McNabb said children are waiting too long for mental supports.

“Someone on the reserve gets a referral for an ed-psych to find out if they have a learning difficulty. That child can wait up to two to four years before they actually get to see that psychologist,” she said.

FSIN vice-chief Heather Bear said the discussion paper highlighted the importance of the suicide prevention strategy.

She added it would be important for First Nations voices to lead the effort to find a solution for their communities.

“We can’t go wrong when we get our people involved and they know what their issues are, they know what their problems are,” she said.

“They do have the solutions on how to fix them.”

 HuffPost Canada

[SOURCE]

RCMP Statement on Human Rights Watch Report on Police Treatment of Indigenous Women in Saskatchewan

RCMP are investigating an assault on an 11-year old girl Wednesday night in St. Theresa Point. (CBC)

OTTAWA, June 19, 2017 /CNW/ – 

RCMP statement on Human Rights Watch report:

  • The RCMP has received the Human Rights Watch Report on Police Treatment of Indigenous Women in Saskatchewan and will take time to thoroughly review it. Several of the report’s recommendations to the RCMP have been addressed in response to other reports by, among others, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) and the Call to Action resulting from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
  • Last February, the CRCC released its report on Policing in Northern British Columbia, which contained 31 recommendations pertaining to the RCMP. These recommendations focused on five areas: personal searches, policing of public intoxication, use of force, domestic violence and missing persons. In response to the report, the RCMP has further implemented policy and/or procedural changes in each of these areas. The CRCC’s review did not find any systemic racism in Northern British Columbia, nor did they initiate any new investigations.
  • The RCMP is committed to participating fully in the implementation of the national reconciliation framework and supporting the Calls to Action resulting from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. For example, regarding Call to Action 41, the RCMP is providing its full cooperation and participation to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  • Allegations of police misconduct are serious and demand a full investigation. If individuals are aware of specific allegations of police misconduct, the RCMP encourages them to bring them forward, either to the RCMP directly or to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (https://www.crcc-ccetp.gc.ca/).

RCMP actions:

Expand Indigenous training for officers

  • The RCMP has integrated cultural awareness, human rights and gender diversity training into its Cadet Training Program. Also, the RCMP’s Aboriginal Perceptions Training Course provides members an understanding of Indigenous perceptions/attitudes towards the Canadian Justice System, the factors which have influenced perceptions, and how those factors can sometimes create tensions. The interactive training fosters a broader understanding of the contemporary and historical issues between Canada’s Indigenous peoples and the government.
  • Through Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, the Government of Canada has committed to cultural competency training for members that is division-specific. The training will recognize the unique and varied experiences of local and regional communities and focus on family violence and violence against Indigenous women and girls.

Training on de-escalation/use of force

  • The RCMP created a national crisis intervention and de-escalation course, which is mandatory for all members to complete by October 2017. Included in this course is a crisis intervention and de-escalation model. This model provides a foundation for police to approach a crisis in a manner that not only builds rapport but allows for a more thorough risk assessment of crisis situations and ultimately de-escalating crisis situations more effectively and safely.

Respectful police response for Indigenous victims of violence

  • The RCMP has developed a National Missing Persons Investigations course. This course is being released in English at the end of June 2017, and will be available in both official languages in September 2017. The course will be mandatory for all members who investigate missing persons complaints. Within the course, there is a module dedicated to Indigenous missing persons.

Female body searches

  • The RCMP’s Personal Search Policy was updated in August 2016 and states that strip searches must be authorized by a supervisor/delegate and be conducted by an officer of the same sex and in private, unless exigent circumstances require an immediate search for the preservation of evidence or to ensure the health and safety of members, the public, or detained persons.

Available female officers to conduct searches

  • The RCMP Personal Search Policy was enhanced to ensure that same sex searches are conducted, when possible. However, given operational requirements and the vast geographic area covered by the RCMP, it is not always possible to have a female member available to conduct a search. The policy permits strip searches by officers of the opposite sex in exigent circumstances.

Identification of dominant aggressor in intimate partner violence

  • The RCMP’s bias-free policing policy is clear: all persons are treated the same regardless of sexual orientation or gender. The RCMP’s Violence in Relationships policy demands a thorough investigation be completed to distinguish the primary aggressor.

Collection of race and gender data

  • As announced in the 2014 Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview, “Aboriginal identity” is now included on the Homicide Surveys used by all Canadian police forces, and remitted to Statistics Canada.
  • The RCMP is committed to a bias-free policing policy to ensure all people in Canada are treated fairly through transparent, independent and neutral investigations. Ethnicity is not a variable collected through most policing forms, unless there is a need to do so for the investigation, such as for missing persons.

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2017/rcmp-statement-human-rights-watch-report

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Media Relations and Issues Management

For further information: RCMP Media Relations, RCMP.HQMediaRelations-DGRelationsmedias.GRC@rcmp-grc.gc.ca, 613-843-5999

[SOURCE]

Human Rights Watch Wants Special Unit to Investigate Alleged Sask. Police Violence Against Indigenous Women

Farida Deif, Canada director at Human Rights Watch, speaks at a news conference Monday. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC)

Organization says it’s documented dozens of claims of police misconduct based on 64 interviews

By Jason Warick, CBC News Posted: Jun 19, 2017

Human Rights Watch is calling for the creation of a special investigative unit to look at allegations of violence by police in Saskatchewan.

During detailed interviews last year with 64 Saskatchewan Indigenous women, the New York-based organization says it uncovered dozens of cases of police misconduct, including overly intrusive strip searches, excessive use of force, racial profiling and sexual harassment.

“The crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada means that police services across the country should be acutely aware of and sensitive to the well-being, vulnerability, and needs of Indigenous women,” said Farida Deif, Canada director at Human Rights Watch.

“Instead, in some cases, it is the police themselves who are making Indigenous women feel unsafe.”

Human Rights Watch, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, the Elizabeth Fry Society and others held a news conference Monday to elaborate on the report.

At the conference, Deif said the group found evidence of a “deeply fractured” relationship between police and Indigenous communities.

‘Why is there still denial? You can’t deny that this is going on in our police system.’– Heath Bear, vice-chief

She said Indigenous women told them they wouldn’t call police to report crimes for fear of harassment and violence. She said one woman told them “we become as invisible as we possible can” in public places to avoid police attention. This breakdown of trust is particularly dangerous for victims of violence, she said, and could be life-threatening.

Sheila McLean, an Idle No More community organizer, said at the news conference the report “is not talking about a few bigots on our police force” but is example of systemic racism and the justice system’s role in perpetuating it.

All parties agreed action is needed, not more reports. Heather Bear, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations vice-chief, asked how many reports have to be done before the problems are addressed.

‘Not invisible’

“Why is there still denial?” she said. “You can’t deny that this is going on in our police system.”

She said the country needs “strong laws that protect our women from our protectors.”

“We are not invisible,” she added.

The report calls for a new special investigative unit that should employ staff with expertise in responding to violence against women. The report also calls for the unit to have power “to require chiefs of police to comply with the recommendations.”

According to the report, many Indigenous women are afraid to report police misconduct. Many are even afraid of the repercussions of reporting police violence against other Indigenous women they’ve witnessed.

Police agree changes needed: report

The report says most police know major changes are necessary in some areas. For example, it states, Prince Albert police estimate they take into custody 3,000 people per year for public intoxication.

“Police themselves recognize the problem and acknowledge that more centres are required and more support needed for those suffering from alcohol dependency,” says the report.

Other recommendations include:

  • Ensure the commissioners of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women investigate police agencies.
  • Expand non-incarceration options for individuals arrested for being intoxicated in public, including short- and long-term detox facilities and alcohol management programs.
  • Expand training for police officers to ensure that police forces have knowledge about Indigenous history, the legacy of colonial abuses — including policing abuses — and human rights policing standards.
  • End body (“frisk”) searches of women and girls by male police officers in all but extraordinary circumstances.
  • Collect and make publicly available (as ethically appropriate) accurate and comprehensive race- and gender-disaggregated data that includes an ethnicity variable on violence against Indigenous women, as well as on use of force, police stops, and searches.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/human-rights-watch-saskatchewan-police-1.4165196

Gerald Stanley, Accused in Colten Boushie Case, to Stand Trial for Second Degree Murder

Colten Boushie’s family surrounded by support outside the North Battleford courthouse Aug. 18, 2016.

Gerald Stanley committed to stand trial for second degree murder of Colten Boushie

By Red Power Media, Staff | April 06, 2017

The Saskatchewan farmer charged in the shooting death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie has been committed to stand trial.

650 CKOM reports, Gerald Stanley will stand trial in the Court of Queen’s Bench, in North Battleford, on the charge of second degree murder.

The ruling came down Thursday, on the last day of Stanley’s preliminary hearing.

On Aug. 9, 2016, Boushie, a resident of the Red Pheasant First Nation, was a passenger in a car with four other people when he was shot and killed on Stanley’s rural property after the group went to ask for help with a flat tire.

Gerald Stanley leaves North Battleford provincial court on the last day of his preliminary hearing Thursday. A judge ordered him to stand trial on second-degree murder. (Jason Warick/CBC )

The allegations against Stanley have not yet been proven in court.

A trial date has not been set, however the Crown said it would be fall 2017 at the earliest.

All evidence and testimony from Stanley’s preliminary hearing are under a publication ban.

The next scheduled appearance for Stanley is June 26, 1:30 in provincial court on two charges of unsafe storage of a firearm.

RCMP are also looking into laying hate-speech charges over racist comments made online about the Colten Boushie case.

RCMP say that Mounties have “looked into a number of instances of potential hate crimes” over the last few months in Saskatchewan. No charges have yet been laid.

RELATED:

The RCMP was accused of showing bias in its initial media release issued about the shooting.

The way RCMP initially described the shooting death of Boushie fueled racial tensions in Saskatchewan.

Social media exploded with rumours and posts that wished violence on Boushie’s friends and Indigenous people in general.

Hearing attracts rally

CBC News reports, a crowd of nearly 100 people carrying placards reading “Justice for Colten” and “Native Lives Matter!” gathered outside the courthouse on Thursday.

According to the Battlefords News-Optimist, a number of Indigenous leaders, including Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) officials and several area Chiefs, were in attendance decrying the racism they were seeing.

“This is tragic, but again it’s not the first time,” said FSIN vice-chief Heather Bear. She voiced support for laying charges for those who had promoted hate speech on social media in the wake of the tragedy.

At the rally Colten’s cousin Jade Tootoosis stood beside Colten’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, and read a statement on behalf of the family.

“While his death revealed a deep divide in this province, it also brought us here, to this court house where we can come together and ask for a fair trial for everyone involved. We, Colten’s family, hope that this preliminary hearing and the issues that it raises about our relationships with each other, will generate further discussion and dialogue to help us bring our communities together.”

Following the preliminary hearing, crowds broke into chants of “Justice for Colten” after they learned that Stanley had been committed to stand trial.

“I’m pretty sure my brother’s looking down now happy,” said Colten Boushie’s brother, William Boushie, to reporters following the proceedings.

RCMP barricades blocked the road in front of North Battleford Provincial Court for much of the hearing’s, while several officers were stationed outside the building and inside the hallways and courtroom.

The lawyer for the Boushie family, Chris Murphy, said he wasn’t aware of any threats and said he’s never before seen that amount of security at a court case.

Tanker Illegally Dumps Crude Oil Near Lloydminster, Sask. Water Treatment Plant

oil-spill-lloyd

Illegal dumping to blame for an oil spill near Lloydminster

Global News | Feb 16, 2017

An oil spill near the water treatment plant in Lloydminster, Sask., was not a spill at all.

The Saskatchewan government said it was due to a tank-trailer illegally dumping around 2,000 litres of heavy crude into a ditch. The oil then entered the storm water system.

A city staff member saw the oil near the facility, which is northeast of Lloydminster on the Saskatchewan side of the border. City crews responded at around 12:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

“The city was quick to isolate the spill and to clean up and recover as much as possible,” Wes Kotyk, acting assistant deputy minister of the Saskatchewan Environmental Protection Division, said.

“The product that entered the storm sewer, there was no reporting of any of it exiting into any environmentally sensitive areas, so there’s no impacts to water bodies or other infrastructure,” Kotyk said.

No threat to the city’s drinking water supply is believed to exist.

It is being contained with sandbags.

Provincial officials are trying to determine who is responsible for the incident, for which possible fines range from one dollar to $1 million per day, Kotyk said.

No threat to the city’s water supply is believed to exist.

About 95 per cent of the oil was recovered as of Tuesday.

Remediation efforts could be done in “the next couple days,” according to Lloydminster Fire Department Chief Jordan Newton.

“There should be no permanent environmental damage. We are working to remediate all the environmental impact to return that area to what it once was,” Newton said.

Crews from the Ministry of Environment are investigating, along with Lloydminster RCMP and the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency.

A third-party environmental group is monitoring the situation as well, Newton said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Lloydminster’s public safety office at 780-874-3710.

With files from The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Sask. Protesters Brave Extreme Cold on Long Walk to Standing Rock

A group of pipeline protesters passed through Saskatoon on Tuesday as part of a long trek from Stanley Mission, Sask. to Standing Rock, N.D. (Don Somers/CBC News)

A group of pipeline protesters passed through Saskatoon on Tuesday as part of a long trek from Stanley Mission, Sask. to Standing Rock, N.D. (Don Somers/CBC News)

Group arrived in Saskatoon on 18th day of walk Tuesday

CBC News: Dec 13, 2016

Through freezing winds and extreme cold temperatures, a group of pipeline protesters are on a 1,400-kilometre trek from northern Saskatchewan to Standing Rock, North Dakota.

The group arrived in Saskatoon on Tuesday, 18 days and about 460 kilometres after they started their journey in Stanley Mission, Sask.

Ricky Sanderson pipeline protester

Ricky Sanderson is one of a group of pipeline protesters walking from Stanley Mission, Sask. to Standing Rock, North Dakota. (Don Somers/CBC News)

Ricky Sanderson said his group was raising awareness about pipelines for youth and future generations.

He felt compelled to act when he saw the events at Standing Rock on social media.

“I started seeing a lot of things on Facebook that really scared me a lot, and then I couldn’t stand sitting around at home watching this happen, so I just came up with a walk,” said Sanderson.

The group started their journey before the Department of the Army announced it would not allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Ricky Sanderson was set to arrive in Saskatoon Tuesday night on his way to Standing Rock, N.D. (Don Somers/CBC News)

Ricky Sanderson was set to arrive in Saskatoon Tuesday night on his way to Standing Rock, N.D. (Don Somers/CBC News)

For months, thousands of people had descended upon a handful of camps in the area to voice opposition to the pipeline, which they said threatened drinking water and would harm sacred sites.

Ricky Sanderson said protecting water was also his reason for walking to Standing Rock.

“This walk’s for our future generations, for the water, because the water is really important to us because it’s a sacred thing to our lives,” said Sanderson.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/protesters-walk-stanley-mission-standing-rock-1.3895523?cmp=abfb