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APTN uses church as backdrop for serious issue
Ever wonder how television producers and researchers find their ideal shooting locations?
Sometimes it’s as easy as driving past a building that suddenly seems just perfect.
When Melissa Ridgen, senior reseacher/writer for APTN Investigates, drove past a small church in Headingley, the site seemed just the idyllic, small wedding chapel her program called for.
Ridgen made arrangements for a shoot that called for a camera crew, actors and a reporter in a simulated wedding scene in front of an altar.
As luck would have it, Ridgen originally envisioned using the Anglican Church on Portage Avenue — as fate would have it, she and her crew ended up at Headingley United Church, which proved to be a good venue with accommodating volunteers and "the stained glass windows were a nice bonus for the context of my story," Ridgen says.
The story, "Unholy Matrimony," which aired on APTN Investigates on Jan. 24, deals with a sensitive issue in the aboriginal community.
"Most people don’t realize there are no laws on reserves governing what happens when a couple splits up," Ridgen explains.
"There are so many complicated levels — for example if the couple own the house versus if the band owns it; or if one person is a band member and the spouse isn’t.
"The (Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act) that came into effect (in December 2013) aims to fill the gaps that exist so that ‘on-reserve’ couples have the same safeguards as couples living off-reserve," Ridgen says.
The new act is different from the province of Manitoba’s Family Property Act of 2004.
The story explores many of the political considerations behind the act and the issue. Why now (to enact that piece of legislation)? Why the current federal government?
"And why would the right-wing Fraser Institute also invest time and research in the issue of property rights on reserves?" Ridgen asks.
The story asks tough questions. Does the new law really advance the well-being of
aboriginals? If everyone on reserve owns their own property, can they sell it to anybody? If the land were to be sold to an outsider, does it lose "reserve status"?
"The title ‘Unholy Matrimony’ speaks to the many sudden, unlikely allies," Ridgen says.
For more information on this story follow the link from the APTN website:
www.aptn.ca to http://aptn.ca/news/category/investigates/
Valerie Chatain-White is a community correspondent for Headingley. You can contact her at email@example.com
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