News & Current Events
|Kenora Online News|
|Less red tape for gun owners, RickfordKenora MP Greg Rickford visits with community living supporters in Dryden earlier today.|
Gun owners in the district may have less red tape to deal with soon. Kenora MP Greg Rickford says the Conservatives will be introducing their Common Sense Firearms Act this fall.
"Obviously, we were very pleased -- after successive minority governments -- to dismantle the longun registry, but by my own admission, as a lawful gun owner myself, there were other things we needed to take care of," he said Wednesday.
"This is a balanced proposal that will come in the form of legislation very soon. Frankly, this fairly reflects what my constituents -- particularly gun enthusiasts, of which there's a critical mass in this riding and across northern Ontario -- have been asking for," he added.
Ottawa scrapped the controversial long gun registry two years ago. The registry was created after the Montreal Massacre 25 years ago.
The proposed legislation would merge the possession and acquisition licence with the possession only licence. It would also offer a grace period of five years, for people who haven't renewed their permits.
Under the billl, first-time gun owners would be required to take safety courses, and there would be stronger provisions for owners, who have been convicted of domestic violence offences.
For more information:
Common Sense Firearms Act
Jury roll issue still not resolved in northwestThe province is continuing to work with First Nation leaders on the issue of jury rolls.
A year after the creation of a committee, an impasse remains. Jury rolls in the northwest still lack First Nation members, and there are some important implications.
At the top of the list is a further delay for the coroner's inquest, which has been called to look into the safety of First Nation students from remote communities, who were studying in Thunder Bay. The list of implications also includes the process for collecting names for jury pools in the Kenora District.
Yesterday, Heather Visser from the Attorney General's office for Ontario offered a prepared statement on the progress of the implementation committee. It's role is to find ways to implement recommendations made by former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci.
"Ontario remains deeply committed to the jury review process and to improving the representation of First Nations people on jury rolls," she says in the statement.
"As recommended in the Iacobucci Report, we have established a collaborative process between the government and First Nations partners. The 11-member Jury Review Implementation Committee is comprised of a substantial First Nations membership," Visser continues.
At one time, band lists were used to help create the pool of names for jury members. However, this practice ended
The committee is led by co-chairs Alvin Fiddler, who is the deputy grand chief for Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and Irwin Glasberg, the assistant deputy Attorney General. The committee also includes judges, lawyers and policymakers, providing a wide range of perspectives from across the justice sector, Visser says in her statement.
"The Committee continues to consider how best to adopt the report's recommendations. The Ministry is confident this group has the right mix of professional expertise and lived experience to help us find the practical solutions we need to enhance the representation of First Nations people on juries," she continues.
Leaders from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation say they don't understand the delays.
"We are at a loss as to how the Attorney General is proposing to run jury trials on criminal matters in the North while at the same time our families cannot have access to a
jury for a coronerâ€™s inquest. This is becoming absurd," said Fiddler.
"This appears to be an other example of the government making big political announcements then sitting back while public officials lose interest and leave the concerns of our communities unaddressed," he continued.
In Thunder Bay, First Nation families are waiting for a coroner's inquest into the death of seven students. The families are hoping to improve safety measures and supports for aboriginal youth, who travel south from remote communities for high school. The inquest has been delayed, due to the ongoing issues with jury rolls.Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell in the legislature
(Courtesy Queen's Park)
In the Ontario legislature yesterday, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell raised the issue, saying she wasn't satisfied with the answers she was getting from the provincial government. She was specifically concerned about jury rolls, as they pertained to the coroner's inquest in Thunder Bay.
However, in their responses, government ministers addressed broader issues. Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer took the lead, saying the government is working to implement the recommendations from the Iacobucci report for all types of juries, whether they're for inquests, criminal trials or civil proceedings. The minister responsible for children and youth, Tracy McCharles, added the government was also working on a new strategy to help address systemic issues that impact aboriginal youth.
It's worth noting jury trials in the district have proceeded, since the problems with the jury rolls were identified. Iacobucci was appointed in 2011 to help find a solution, and his report was released in 2013.
"As this report will demonstrate, there is not only the problem of a lack of representation of First Nations peoples on juries that is of serious proportions, but it is also regrettably the fact that the justice system generally, as applied to First Nations peoples, particularly in the North, is quite frankly in a crisis. If we continue the status quo, we will aggravate what is already a serious situation, and any hope of true reconciliation between First Nations and Ontarians generally will vanish. Put more directly, the time for talk is over, what is desperately needed is action," wrote Iacobucci.
In his findings, Iacobucci emphasized that First Nations people were reluctant to participate in a system they found to be in conflict with their values. Respondents also identified systemic issues with the system, adding concerns about confidentiality with information contained in a jury pool list.
Alternatives suggested by the report included the use of names and addresses found in health insurance files. The education of potential jury members on their role in the overall justice system might help, the report suggested. Allowing the use of video conferencing to reduce sustantial travel from remote communities was another recommendation.Supreme Court to hear case of Grassy Narrows member Clifford Kokopenace.
In the meantime, jury trials have continued at the Kenora court house.
In the future, the Supreme Court of Canada is expected to hear a case that focuses on the composition of juries. Grassy Narrows member Clifford Kokopenace is challenging his conviction for manslaughter back in 2008, saying there wasn't sufficient representation by First Nation members on the jury roll. Out of 699 potential jurors, only 29 were First Nation on-reserve residents. No date has been set for his hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada.
For more information:Statement from the Attorney General's officeStatement from Nishnawbe AskiProvince addresses district jury rollsSupreme Court of Canada - Queen v. Kokopenace
Kenora OPP make one arrest, investigate two more break and entersKenora OPP are investigating a few break and enters that took place earlier this week.
Kenora OPP are investigating a few break and enters that took place on Monday night.
Yesterday morning police received a report that an unknown suspect(s) had entered the Sioux Narrows Provincial Park main office last night. The suspect entered the building through a window and stole Canadian Currency.
An hour later the police received another report that an unknown suspect had entered an unlocked garage in Sioux Narrows and stole gasoline and alcohol.
Both investigations are continuing.
Here in town, police have charged a Hamilton man with Possession of Stolen Property. Yesterday, the OPP received complaints of a suspect entering vehicles on the south side of Kenora. Police patrolled the area and located a male matching the description from one of the complainants.
The OPP are once again reminding the public to be aware of their personal safety at all times. Lock your doors, vehicles and outbuildings. For tips on safety for you and your home see opp.ca.
For more information:
Dryden OPP investigating boat motor thefts
Two more break and enters in Kenora
Dryden OPP investigating boat motor theftsDryden OPP are looking into a few thefts from two weekends ago.
Dryden OPP are looking into a theft of boat motors.
Sometime between Friday, July 11 and Sunday, July 9 an unknown person removed two outboard motors along with 2 red plastic 5 gallon fuel tanks with hoses from Mafeking Lake.
OPP are also investigating the theft of fuel from a work site on the North Road. Approximately 100 litres of fuel was taken from heavy equipment parked on site.
If you have any information about these thefts, call the Dryden OPP at 1-807-937-5577 or 1-888-310-1122.
If you want to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
For more information:
Two more break and enters in Kenora
OPP investigating break and enter in Sioux Narrows
Winter repairs still ongoing in Kenora
Winter's been over for a while now, but work crews are still fixing water pipes in Kenora. Barry Robinson lives on Lake Street in Keewatin, and he's been on an alternate service since January.
"It's wild to be without water. Suddenly, you don't have any. When you don't got it, you really miss it," he said.
"We were without for maybe two and a half weeks, then they hooked us up to this," he said, referring to the plastic pipe running through tree branches to his house.
"It worked fine, but with the weather changes this winter, it did freeze a couple of times," he noted.
While Robinson's happy to see public works crews fixing the water main in front of his house, he thinks they'll need to redo the whole street, before a more permanent fix is in place.
"It's only down about six feet. I do a lot of this for a living, and that is not enough cover, not in the middle of a road. Frost goes down a lot further than six feet," he said.
At the same time, the city of Kenora is working with water and sewer customers. The city is hoping to find a practical and fair solution, for those who were without service last winter, as well as those who helped their neighbours.
"Due to the extreme conditions, we understand that many of you used more water than your typical winter consumption under a wide variety of circumstances. In some cases, it was because residents were helping neighbours, whose services were frozen by providing them with water and for others, it was because you were trying to ensure your services, or even the city mains, did not freeze," it says in the letter.
The city's letter then talks about an adjustment period of February to May of 2014, when the utility will be looking at adjusting bills for customers. Charges based on meter readings will be capped at 2013 levels for this time period.
For those without service for more than a week during this time period, flat rates for water and sewer service will be adjusted to reflect the time services weren't available, it says in the letter. The 12 customers, who had to have their service thawed out between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15 will also have those fees reimbursed, the letter says.
"We thank everyone in the City of Kenora for their patience and understanding over this past winter. To the customers who experienced frozen water lines for days, weeks or even months, our sincere thanks. The City did everything we could to respond to the winter crisis we were faced with and without the citizen's understanding and cooperation it would have made it that much more challenging," the letter concludes.
Mayor Dave Canfield says he's continuing to lobby the province for some financial assistance. Finance chairman Ron Lunny says they're still adding up the added costs associated with winter maintenance, including water and sewer repair.
For more information:
Letter to customers
City of Kenora - Water and sewer
Visitors encouraged to use shuttle for Coney Island Music FestivalVisitors are encouraged to use the shuttle this year due to high water levels at Coney Island.
Everyone heading out to Coney Island this Sunday for the 6th Maybe Annual Music Festival is encouraged to leave their boats at home.
Due to high water levels, there are fewer docks where visitors can leave their boats, and the existing docks are very slippery.
Everyone is encouraged to use the shuttle provided by Tall Pines Marina, which runs from 9:30 in the morning until 5:30 at night. The cost is $10 per adult or $5 per child. The shuttle will run from the harbourfront, near the Whitecap Pavilion, to the Coney Island beach and back.
The MS Kenora will also be available. It makes two trips: one at noon from the harbourfront docks to Coney Island and one at 5:15 from Coney Island back to the harbourfront docks.
If boating to the festival is a must, then visitors are encouraged to anchor offshore and swim or shuttle in.
For more information:
6th Maybe Annual Coney Island Music Festival
Coney Island Music Festival fast approaching
Museum holds paper mache class for kidsChildren dip strips of newspaper into a blue and water mix outside the Lake of the Woods Museum.
There were plenty of balloons, strips of newspaper and buckets of glue at the Lake of the Woods Museum yesterday. Children signed up for a class to make their very own papier mache fish. Museum educator Braden Murray explains.
"We have our balloons and we're going to put some fins on there with cardboard. We're going to papier mache them up. Then everyone is going to come back on Thursday and everyone's going to paint them like real fish or fantastical fish, depending on what they would like," he said.
Between taping on her three cardboard fins, 12-year-old Lilly Moore explained why she decided to sign up for the art class.
"I thought it would be really fun, and I've never done paper mache before," she said.
Murray spoke about why the museum decided to run the workshop.
"We really like to do programming that goes with exhibits and we really like paper mache. It's a little bit messy but a lot of fun. It gets everyone involved and it's really accessible," he said.
The art class goes hand-in-hand with their current exhibit on the history of fishing on Lake of the Woods called Hook, Line and Sinker.
Braden Murray, in plaid, shows kids how to put cardboard fins on their balloon fish before papier macheing them.
For more information:
Lake of the Woods Museum
Shore lunch a huge success
Museum looks at history of fishing
Three former soldiers walking across Canada to raise awareness for PTSDFrom left, Scott McFarlane, Jason McKenzie and Steve Hartwig are walking across Canada to raise awareness for PTSD.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be debilitating for workers who witness or live through traumatic events. Former soldier, Steve Hartwig, has been living with PTSD since he was wounded in a tour of Yugoslavia in 1992. Now he's crossing the country to raise awareness about the disorder.
"The main goal is to broaden the awareness in Canada, helping to educate people about the symptoms. Then, looking at things like the care that's provided for people with PTSD. The next steps for us is broadening the type of care. So, including families and children. Including non-traditional types of care such as volunteerism or mentoring, giving them some sort of purpose again," he said.
Hartwig is walking alongside Jason McKenzie and Scott McFarlane. They're also former soldiers, who have PTSD. The trip is called Into No Man's Land and began on June 23 in Victoria. It will finish mid-September in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Hartwig spoke more about the disorder.
"I think there are common stigmas. We hear it all the time. 'Crazy. Oh, people who have PTSD. You guys are crazy!' Or, it's a sickness or an illness. It's not. PTSD is the result of trauma. It's one of the very, very few things that are caused by an external event. The stigma around it, for the most part, is that you are not functional. You're not safe, and that's not true. Regardless of the job, or the circumstance, the individual has been exposed to trauma and needs care," he said.
Hartwig says Canada has come a long way, over the last decade, in recognizing PTSD and helping those who suffer from it. However, he's now pushing for the inclusion of families in treatment, as well as non-traditional methods, such as volunteering, mentoring and more.
"For me, it was a sweat lodge. I was brought into a First Nations sweat lodge, and it opened me in a way I've never been opened. I was able to acces my emotions in a different way. That lead me on a complete path to healing, in a different way. So, when I see that there is a lot of care out there, but it hasn't been brought together in a comprehensive fashion to allow people to make choices," he said.
Hartwig hopes to raise awareness about this with his cross-country tour. If anyone is interested in donating, they can visit Into No Man's Land Fundrazr.
For more information:
Into No Man's Land
Into No Man's Land - Facebook
Lake of the Woods research plan releasedKelli Saunders talks with Kenora city councillors about the Lake of the Woods watershed.
After six years of work, a research plan for water conservation on Lake of the Woods is out. It was released yesterday, and Kelli Saunders of Kenora is pretty excited about it.
"It feels great! It feels really good," she said Tuesday. "I've been part of it since the beginning, and to see the evolution..."
The plan has grown to include input from governments in Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota. After getting public feedback in August, both the American and Canadian governments will review it.
"We've got it this far, and it's been with a lot of -- I think -- great input from people from all corners of the watershed. I think that's what's going to -- hopefully -- make it successful," she added.
Governments at all levels and across all boundaries have been encouraged to work together, especially since the State of Minnesota declared it an impaired waterway in 2008.
For more information:
State of the basin
Lake of the Woods water quality update
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