TORONTO – The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) announced plans to work together, to continue creating a meaningful pathway for reconciliation.
A press release from NWMO said, “This new five-year agreement will invest $150,000 into supporting both the Legacy Schools program and Legacy Spaces program. The partnership broadly advances Canadian learning about the history and impact of the Residential School system on Indigenous peoples. Both programs are an invitation for people to participate in reconciliation.”
“The DWF is an amazing organization that is building on the legacy of two incredible people (Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack) to encourage people to learn about reconciliation and take action,” said Lisa Frizzell, vice president of stakeholder relations at the NWMO.
The announcement was made on Sept. 29, the day before Orange Shirt Day, which is a day that honours those Indigenous children that were forcibly taken from their families and sent to Residential Schools.
With support from the NWMO, the Legacy Schools program provides free toolkits to teachers in schools across Canada, including educators in areas where the NWMO is active, including South Bruce, and Ignace, Ontario.
Among its resources, the Legacy Schools toolkit features a graphic novel created by the lead singer of the Tragically Hip, Gord Downie, before he passed away from terminal brain cancer.
The Secret Path, tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died in 1966 after escaping a residential school and trying to walk 600 kilometres home.
“We are so grateful to extend our partnership with the NWMO,” said Sarah Midanik, president and CEO of DWF. “This five-year commitment will support exponential growth in the Legacy Schools program to more schools and communities.”
Currently, the NWMO is planning its own Legacy Space at its office in Toronto.
“Our Legacy Space will further support staff in being able to actively see their role in reconciliation as part of interweaving Indigenous knowledge into all of NWMO’s work, by embedding Indigenous teachings into the workplace,” said Jessica Perritt, section manager, Indigenous knowledge and reconciliation at the NWMO.
The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) was created out of two families coming together to make a change, uphold Chanie and Gord’s legacies, and create a pathway on the journey toward reconciliation. Each year, DWF hosts its annual event “Secret Path Week” that spreads awareness about their programming. This year, virtual events will be held online from Oct. 17- 22. For more information, to support and donate today, please visit www.downiewenjack.ca
Over the next year, 20 new schools will be built across Ontario and eight existing schools will see state-of-the-art permanent additions.
That’s according to the provincial government, who are investing $550-million in the project, which is expected to add nearly 16,000 new learning spaces and 870 new licensed child care spaces over the 2020-2021 school year.
“Our government is doing everything possible to ensure our students can achieve lifelong success,” said Premier Doug Ford. “That’s why we made a significant commitment to fix our schools and ensure students and staff have access to the best classrooms, with features like modern ventilation systems and high-speed Internet access. During construction, these projects will create hundreds of jobs and contribute significantly to our economic recovery.”
Some schools will also be getting upgrades to enhance their facilities and add more student spaces.
“This government firmly believes that all children deserve to learn in state-of-the-art, modern, technologically connected and accessible schools,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “We will continue to take action to ensure students are safe today and well into the future by approving more new school buildings and permanent additions, and increasing access to child care for working parents.”
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Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and US announced on Tuesday the establishment of a development fund during the first-ever visit of an Emirati delegation to Tel Aviv.
The Abraham Fund, derived from the Abraham Accords, the official name of the normalization deal between Israel and the UAE, will be launched with an initial investment of $3 billion, said US International Development Finance Corporation CEO Adam Boehler.
He said the Jerusalem-based fund aims to promote economic cooperation and prosperity in the Middle East and North Africa.
In a statement, the US Embassy in Israel said the fund is “a manifestation of the new spirit of friendship and cooperation between the three countries, as well as their common will to advance the region”.
On Sept. 15, the UAE and Bahrain agreed to establish full diplomatic, cultural and commercial relations with Israel after signing controversial agreements at the White House.
The deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.
* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara
Climate change is important to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, but it’s not ready to divest of its holdings in conventional oil and gas.
Although a segment of the Canadian population may want the CPPIB to drop conventional energy, the board’s top spokesman says its investment decisions are not necessarily motivated by politics or a change in public policy.
Michel Leduc, CPPIB senior managing director and global head of public affairs and communications, said in a phone interview on Monday that conventional energy sources are not going away as quickly as some people may believe, and oil and gas will have a role in the global economy for some time to come.
It is the investment board’s view that conventional oil and gas is still a good investment, providing a good return for years to come, said Leduc, and the board will maintain such investments.
The conventional oil and gas companies are making the switch to unconventional wind and solar energy themselves, Leduc argued, so if the CPPIB was to cut its investment in such companies it would actually help slow the transition from conventional to renewable energy.
The subject of energy may come up again Tuesday when Leduc hosts a CPPIB virtual town hall for Nova Scotians, during which he will explain what the investment board is doing with its $430-billion fund.
Every second year, the CPPIB holds public meetings individually for each province and the northern territories throughout October. Nova Scotia is the second last of year’s presentations.
There are a total of 20 million CPP contributors and beneficiaries in Canada and, of that, there are 461,799 contributors and 220,693 retirement beneficiaries in Nova Scotia.
Leduc said that despite the economic concern brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the solvency and sustainability of the Canada Pension Plan is on solid footing for at least the next 75 years.
Before the creation of the CPPIB in 1997, the Canada Pension Plan was 100 per cent invested in government debt, Leduc said. To better prepare for so-called black swan events, such as a pandemic, the investment board has diversified the fund.
The fund is invested in three broad categories: 20 per cent in fixed income, which is mainly sovereign bonds and provincial bonds; 53 per cent in equities, both publicly traded stocks and private companies wholly controlled by the CPPIB; and the remainder would be in real assets, which includes toll roads, commercial real estate and ports, which provide steady income for a long period.
Geographically, only about 15 per cent of the CPPIB’s investments are in Canada, Leduc said, and about 85 per cent is invested across the developed economies of the world.
Considering that Canada represents only about three per cent of global markets, most of the CPPIB investments are outside of the country to be fully diversified and protect the fund from downturns in the Canadian economy.
The largest portion of the outside investments are in the United States, followed by Europe, Japan, South Korea and then developing countries, which includes China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Colombia.
In Canada, the fund is invested in both conventional and renewable energy, the financial sector and technology, including Ottawa-based tech darling Shopify, Leduc said.
The CPPIB has a 50 per cent holding in the 407 toll highway in Ontario, which has proven to be the investment board’s largest investment so far.
In Nova Scotia, the fund has investments in Empire Co. Ltd., parent of the Sobeys grocery chain, and Crombie REIT, both of which are controlled by the founding Sobey family of Pictou County.
Internationally, the CPPIB owns 23 ports in the United Kingdom, which also provide steady income over a long period.
CPPIB VIRTUAL TOWN HALL
The virtual Canada Pension Plan Investment Board town halls are accessed at cppinvestments.com/publicmeetings. The Nova Scotia session is scheduled for today from noon to 1 p.m.
To join, click the link for the meeting and register with an email address. Registrants will get a response and can submit a question in advance.
In Nova Scotia, 461,799 residents are CPP contributors (47.9 per cent of the provincial population) and 220,693 are CPP retirement beneficiaries (22.9 per cent of the population).
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