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First Nations equity partners

The landmark Tsilhqot'in Supreme Court decision provides a unique opportunity for governments and industry to partner with First Nations to advance major resource projects. More than ever, we need First Nations participation in resource development, but we need to do it with First Nations as real partners with equity.

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Until recently, First Nations communities have been economically frozen in time. Many have built up economies in an effort to become self-sufficient, but face a number of common hurdles: a lack of infrastructure and financial knowledge, as well as an inability to attract long-term financing.

The First Nations Fiscal Management Act received unanimous consent in the House of Commons in 2006. The act helps minimize barriers through taxation and certification, and acts as a financial instrument to allow First Nations to go to the bond market.

The act provided legislative framework to create three national aboriginal institutions: the First Nations Tax Commission, the First Nations Financial Management Board and the First Nations Authority. Each assists First Nations governments to address socio-economic well-being.

Under the act, there is the ability to administer an equity position in a First Nations joint project. Adding to this, the Tsilhqot'in decision gives us certainty: We know the rules, and the financial institutions provide the capacity to deal with major infrastructure projects.

We have seen First Nations engaged in capacity-building and resource-development projects, but the status quo hasn't worked. It is time to look at a new approach that fits within the parameters of the Supreme Court's decision.


Harold Calla

Executive chairman, First Nations Financial Management Board


No passport of convenience

Re: Citizenship-revocation rule imperils Canadians abroad (July 8). Citizenship should not simply be a passport of convenience, and the reforms in the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act send a clear message that those who betray our country or take up arms against our armed forces have, in essence, forfeited their right to Canadian citizenship. This reflects the foundation of allegiance at the base of our Canadian citizenship, which Bill C-24 will protect and enhance.

This provision will not apply to cases where there are concerns about the judicial system in a particular country, as is the case of Mohamed Fahmy. Our government has stated our concerns with the integrity of the judicial process, and we continue to advocate on Fahmy's behalf and provide him with consular services.


Costas Menegakis

Parliamentary secretary to Canada's Citizenship and Immigration minister


Heavy loads, crumbling roads

I'm getting frustrated reading about people complaining about our roads and the cost of their upkeep in comparison to those of North Dakota and Minnesota (Manitoba's shameful roads, Letters, July 7).

While I agree our roads need repair, we must realize much of this repair is needed due to the oversized truck loads Manitoba allows in comparison to our neighbours to the south.

Can we expect anything else when we continue to allow our railroads to abandon and destroy mile after mile of track without even a whimper of disapproval from our two senior governments?


Raymond Le Neal



Jury holds the power

Re: Big decisions should be left to the elected (July 8). Sidney Green made a great case that big decisions, such as the case of abortion, ought to be made by politicians rather than judges.

But I suggest if justice is to prevail in protecting the people from the overreach of either politicians or judges, the jury remains the most powerful actor in deciding the big cases.


Chris Buors



From Gettysburg to Parcel 4

Re:'Paradise' clears hurdle (July 8). Now that a proposal for the development of the last remaining parcels of vacant land at The Forks has passed its first hurdle at city hall, and following the revelations of the recent audit, it seems Winnipeg has, to paraphrase former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, a government "of the developers, by the developers, for the developers."


Ray Kathwaroon



Little help for seniors

It appears the city does not care about us senior citizens who live downtown (Seniors fight city move to remove loading zone, July 7).

As a resident of Kiwanis Chateau, we've had no help getting a grocery store in the walkway for those of us who use wheelchairs, walkers or canes.

The city should reconsider changing the area on Vaughan Street in front of Fred Douglas Place from a loading zone to parking meters.

The people involved with this decision should remember that one day they, too, will be senior citizens.


Dorothy Clark



Make time fit the crimes

If I sat in the judge's chair in the case of Kevin Maryk, I would sentence him with at least 10 years in jail (Crown may call new witness in abduction case, July 8).

He committed two crimes, not one, when he kidnapped his two children for those four years. Therefore, his sentence should be five years, which the prosecutor is seeking, times two, with no time served -- let the punishment fit his crimes.

The unconscionable pain and suffering inflicted by Maryk on Dominic, 13, and Abby, 11, by keeping them away from home for four years and depriving them of the normal environment of important childhood years will linger longer than his sentence of 10 years.


Chris Kennedy



Beyond measurable outcomes

In his letter Keep teachers accountable (July 7), Mike Phelan says "anything that has no measurable outcomes is neither worth doing nor of any value to society."

I'd remind Phelan of a time period we teach in Grade 8 social studies called "the Renaissance" which brought forward a period of "enlightenment," particularly in music, art, and literature.

How could we all agree on a measurable outcome to give that stuff, which clearly has value to society?

Let's not forget the era which came before the Renaissance: the Dark Ages.


Nathan Klippenstein


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2014 A10

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