Alberta First Nation signs child welfare agreement with feds, without the province
Maskwacis – An Alberta First Nation signed a two-year agreement with Ottawa Wednesday that gives it the autonomy to administer its own child welfare.
Louis Bull Tribe in Maskwacis, Alta., south of Edmonton, is the first in the province to sign such an agreement.
“This is an important day for Louis Bull Tribe,” Chief Desmond Bull said during the signing. “Our children are sacred. This law seeks to bring them home.”
The First Nation said it’s a bilateral agreement with the federal government and does not involve the province.
Last year, Louis Bull’s child welfare organization, Asikiw Mostos O’Pikinawasiwin Society, said Alberta wasn’t co-operating and didn’t want to sign the agreement. Child welfare services for most Indigenous children are provided by the province or territory where they reside.
The provincial government did not respond to a request for comment.
Ottawa passed An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families in 2020 with a focus on prevention so families can receive support to remain together.
It allows First Nations to bypass co-ordination agreements with provincial governments if no consensus is met one year after a request is made to administer to their own child welfare services.
“Wherever there is a conflict of law — federal, provincial, municipal, or another First Nation — this Asikiw Mostos O’Pikinawasiwin Law is paramount,” said a news release from Indigenous Services Canada.
“Reducing the number of Indigenous children in care remains a priority for AMO Society with the support from the Government of Canada.”
The Asikiw Mostos O’Pikinawasiwin Society was founded shortly after the federal bill was passed. The society works toward the First Nation having full authority over its child and family services.
Catherine Lappe, assistant deputy minister at Indigenous Services Canada, signed the agreement with Bull on behalf of Minister Patty Hadju during a ceremony.
“Louis Bull Tribe is leading the way to a better future for their families and children,” said Hadju in a statement. “Canada’s colonial reality has harmed too many people over generations, but today Canada and Louis Bull Tribe have a new path forward together.”
Bull said the law will ensure that children will grow up immersed in their own culture.
“Although this is only a two-year agreement, it gives us the base and the foundation for us to look forward to developing something stronger, something more permanent, something that will allow that bilateral agreement to continue.”
Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan was the first to sign such an agreement in 2021. Wabaseemoong Independent Nations in Ontario and Peguis First Nation in Manitoba have also signed agreements with Ottawa and their provincial governments.
Dozens of other First Nations across the country are waiting for agreements.
The federal government will provide Louis Bull Tribe nearly $125 million over the next two years as it implements the Asikiw Mostos O’Pikinawasiwin law.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2023.
By Angela Amato in Edmonton.
Police investigating how shooter got firearm after autopsy and balistic analysis
News release from the Edmonton Police Service
Autopsy on shooter, ballistic analysis complete in line of duty deaths
An autopsy on the shooter and ballistic analysis of the firearm have been completed in the Mar. 16, 2023 EPS line of duty deaths.
The Edmonton Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on Mar. 22, 2023, and confirmed that the 16-year-old male shooter’s cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head consistent with being self-inflicted.
“We recognize that there is intense public interest in this investigation,” says EPS Deputy Chief Devin Laforce. “At this time, our priorities need to be the integrity of ongoing investigations, including the origin of the firearm, as well as the safety and privacy of all the families affected by this tragedy. For these reasons, we are not releasing or confirming the name of the deceased.”
A bullet casing recovered from the scene of a Mar. 12, 2023 shooting at a nearby restaurant in the area of 133 Street and 114 Avenue has been forensically matched to the firearm that was recovered at the 132 Street and 114 Avenue apartment, where Constable Brett Ryan and Constable Travis Jordan were fatally shot on Mar. 16, 2023.
Investigators believe the suspect in the Mar. 12 shooting to be the same 16-year-old male responsible for the deaths of the two EPS members, although this has yet to be confirmed. Detectives are also working to trace the origins of the firearm and how it came to be in the youth’s possession.
At this time, investigators continue to believe that the youth’s parents, police dispatch and Constables Ryan and Jordan had no information to suggest there was a firearm in the home when the family dispute call for service was made on Mar. 16.
“Both events have been served by robust investigations that have followed all lines of inquiry,” says Deputy Chief Devin Laforce. “All tips and other investigative avenues were pursued exhaustively by the investigating teams.”
The male shot on Mar. 12 in the restaurant remains in hospital in critical but stable condition, and the youth’s mother who was shot on Mar. 16 remains in hospital in serious but stable condition.
Search of four Edmonton homes results in Cocaine and Meth bust
News release from the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT)
Cocaine seized after four Edmonton homes searched
More than two kilograms of cocaine, cash, and four vehicles have been seized following an ALERT Edmonton investigation into cocaine trafficking.
The investigation began in October 2022. Police were able to identify four homes and four vehicles linked to the drug trafficking operation.
“Through the course of this five-month investigation, officers were able to identify several suspects, and seized several pieces of equipment which were being used to produce large, commercial-sized quantities of product. This tells us that this was a much bigger, sophisticated operation,” said Sgt. Jeff Woodliffe, ALERT Edmonton.
On February 23, 2023, police searched four homes and seized the following items as evidence:
- 2.6 kgs of cocaine;
- 28 grams of methamphetamine;
- 10 kgs of a cocaine buffing agent; and
- $11,000 in cash.
The investigation remains ongoing as investigators prepare reports and disclosure for Crown Counsel.
The Edmonton Police Service assisted throughout the investigation.
Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.
ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.
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