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‘Exciting time’: Nunavut’s historic land use plan heads into final public hearings

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IQALUIT, Nunavut — One of the final steps in a 15-year-long process to formally guide how, where and when land and water can be used in Nunavut is underway, with the last in a series of public hearings beginning in Iqaluit earlier this week.

“It’s a pretty exciting time,” said Sharon Ehaloak, executive director of the Nunavut Planning Commission. 

Nunavut’s ambitious land-use plan covers 2.1 million square kilometres and represents a fifth of Canada’s land mass, as well as fresh water and marine areas. In development since 2007, it has gone through four different drafts, with the planning commission holding hundreds of meetings, technical workshops, hearings and interviews. It also included visits to each of Nunavut’s 25 communities at least twice, as well as northern Manitoba.

Ehaloak said one of the biggest challenges has been balancing diverse and sometimes competing interests. Governments, residents, hunters, trappers, industry representatives and environmental organizations have all weighed in.

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“You could ask every party the same question: ‘what’s important to you?’” Ehaloak said. “We would get different answers from everyone.”

That has included protecting critical wildlife habitat for caribou, migratory birds, walrus, polar bears and whales, supporting economic development opportunities, safeguarding drinking water and maintaining and promoting Inuit culture and traditions.

The plan establishes three land-use designations across Nunavut. Mixed use areas, representing 65 per cent of all land and marine areas, allow for a variety of uses with no prohibitions or conformity requirements. Limited use areas, which account for 22 per cent of the plan, have year-round prohibitions on certain types of uses. Conditional use areas, representing nine per cent of land and water, have requirements such as seasonal prohibitions and setbacks around important features.

The plan is a legal requirement under the Nunavut Agreement, which established Nunavut as a territory in 1999. Ehaloak said it’s also an important step toward Inuit self-determination.

“Many Indigenous populations are watching this. This plan is important because it’s part of national reconciliation,” she said.

Ehaloak said not having a land-use plan in Nunavut has created extra levels of bureaucracy and made resource development, conservation, water security and food sovereignty more challenging.

“The lack of certainty makes all planning decisions more difficult for everyone,” she said. “It also impacts the communities who have been saying for many, many years how they want the lands, water and air managed around their communities.”

After hearings end, participants have until Jan. 10 to submit additional written submissions. The planning commission aims to submit a final land use plan in the spring to the federal and Nunavut governments and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., which represents Inuit in Nunavut, for approval.

Once approved, the plan will be a living document that is subject to review.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2022.

— By Emily Blake in Yellowknife

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

 

The Canadian Press

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St-Onge urges provinces to accelerate efforts to make sports safer for athletes

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Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge says ending abuse in sports will require complaints processes that include provincial-level athletes, not just national ones.

St-Onge and provincial sports ministers will meet during the Canada Games in mid-February where their agenda will include the ongoing effort to address widespread allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse in sports.

She says she asked the provincial ministers at an August meeting to look at joining the new federal sport integrity process or creating their own.

The national sports integrity commissioner can only investigate allegations of abuse from athletes at the national level.

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But St-Onge says the vast majority of athletes aren’t in that category and only Quebec has its own sports integrity office capable of receiving and investigating complaints.

The national sport integrity office officially began its work last June and has since received 48 complaints from athletes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2023.

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Justice is a Privilege Reserved for the Few

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History is full of examples showing us that Justice is a privilege reserved for the few, the wealthy, politically and financially connected, in fact, those of the right colour or race depending on where and when this justice was to be dealt with. Justice must be earnt, and it expends a colossal cost. What do I mean?

When a justice system demands proof of your innocence, while viewing the accused as guilty until that proof surfaces, the system of justice seems to be blind to all but those with the ability to hire known lawyers and a defense team to point out any misunderstandings that arise. A Black Man with many priors stands before a judge, accused of violent crimes. Will such a man have the ability to raise money to get out of jail and hire a powerful legal team? If he is a financially well-off man perhaps, but if he is an “Average Joe”, the justice system swallows him up, incarcerating him while he waits for his trial, and possible conviction. While the justice system is supposed to be blind to financial, sexist, and racial coding, the statistics show White men often walk, and Black-Hispanic and men of color often do not. Don’t think so?

America’s Justice system has a huge penal population, well into the millions of citizens in public and private prisons across the land. According to Scientific America, 71% of those imprisoned are not white. So do you think these men and women got there because of their choices or did the system help to decide that while whites can be either excused, rehabilitated or found not endangering the greater society, “the others” are threats to the nation’s security and population?

White privilege is still prevalent within our system, with financial privilege a close second.

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The World was white, but now its really black(non-white)
Justice for all is never achieved, just verbatim.
What can justice do for the lowly man
while jails fill and are built anew continually?

When you are seen as an outsider always,
and the precious few escape societies’ hungry grasp.
Justice for all is the cry we all hear these days,
While the policeman stamps your future out at last.

Martin L says the Black Persons going to win this war,
and a war of attrition it truly has been.
Justice is a privileged and socially mobile thing,
leaving the many to pray to the spirit of Tyre Nichols,
asking what the hell can we do???

I walked through an airport recently with no problem and no questioning. Customs and border officers were busy getting into the face of many non-white travelers. To this very day, a non-white person flying anywhere with a long beard, and dressed like a Muslim could get you unwelcomed trouble. Being different will always create difficulties. Being out of your place in another financial-ethnic society will be a challenge. Race, financial and political privilege will forever be with us. The powerful will always be able to dance around the justice system’s rules and regulations. Why? Well, the justice system is an exclusive club, filled with lawyers and police. The administrators and enforcers of the system. Some other form of the judicial system is needed, with a firm root in community equality. Can our Justice System be truly blind to all influencers, but the laws of the land? Can victims of crime receive true justice, retribution in kind for the offenses carried out by criminals against them?

” In the final analysis, true justice is not a matter of courts and law books, but of a commitment in each of us to liberty and mutual respect”(Jimmy Carter). Mutual respect of all actors in the play known as the Justice System, influenced, manipulated, and written by lawyers and academics. God help us.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

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By the numbers for British Columbia’s overdose crisis

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British Columbia’s chief coroner released overdose figures for 2022, showing 2,272 residents died from toxic drugs last year. Lisa Lapointe says drug toxicity remains the leading cause of unnatural death in B.C., and is second only to cancers in terms of years of life lost.

Here are some of the numbers connected to the overdose crisis:

189: Average number of deaths per month last year.

6.2: Average deaths per day.

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At least 11,171: Deaths attributed to drug toxicity since the public health emergency was declared in April 2016.

70: Percentage of the dead between 30 and 59 years old.

79: Percentage of those who died who were male.

65: Children and youth who have died in the last two years.

82: Percentage of the deaths where the toxic opioid fentanyl was involved.

73,000: People in B.C. who have been diagnosed with opioid use disorder.

8.8: The rate that First Nations women are dying, is a multiple of the general population’s rate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2023.

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