Finance Minister Tables Second Supplementary Estimates

first_imgMinister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, tabled the Second Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure for the 2017/18 financial year, in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 13).The figures show that the Budget has been revised upwards from $805.4 billion to $815.2 billion, an increase of $9.78 billion.The Estimates show an increase in the Recurrent (housekeeping) expenses from $515.4 billion to $523.8 billion, while Capital (development) spending has moved from $290 billion to $291.4 billion.Members of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) will deliberate on the Second Supplementary Estimates on Wednesday, March 14.The First Supplementary Estimates for the 2017/18 financial year was approved by the House of Representatives in December. The Budget was increased from $715.6 billion to $805.4 billion. It reflected an increase of $89.9 billion.last_img read more

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Mico Receives Sport Supplies from JICA

first_img The Physical Education Department of The Mico University College has received sport supplies from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), through its ‘Smile for All the World’ programme. “This donation represents the collaboration between Mico and JICA in assisting us to build sustainability in our sports programme. This is a critical area that is driving the education curriculum in Jamaica,” he said. President of the university, Asburn Pinnock, thanked JICA for the generous donation. Story Highlights The Physical Education Department of The Mico University College has received sport supplies from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), through its ‘Smile for All the World’ programme.The assortment of netballs, footballs and volleyballs were handed over during a ceremony, held on March 26, at The Mico University College, in Kingston.President of the university, Asburn Pinnock, thanked JICA for the generous donation.“This donation represents the collaboration between Mico and JICA in assisting us to build sustainability in our sports programme. This is a critical area that is driving the education curriculum in Jamaica,” he said.Meanwhile, Resident Representative for JICA, Jamaica Office, Tobita Kenji, said the programme is evidence of the continued friendship and goodwill between Jamaica and Japan.He expressed the hope that the supplies will assist in improving the performance of amateur athletes in these disciplines.The ‘Smile for All the World’ programme in Japan distributes goods related to sports, culture, education, social services and more all over the world through JICA volunteers. These goods are primarily donated to developing countries.According to the Japanese Embassy, 36 volunteers are involved in activities throughout the island. They are assigned to public agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under the Ministries of Education, Youth and Information; Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; Local Government and Community Development; Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Tourism; Economic Growth and Job Creation, and Transport and Mining.Since 1989, a total of 425 JICA volunteers have worked in various areas of the island.Established in 1974, JICA has been implementing Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) through cooperation, such as loan, grant and technical cooperation, which include the JICA volunteer programme, training in Japan as well as technical cooperation projects.last_img read more

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Federal Fisheries minister will not review federal permits that authorize flooding for

first_img(An aerial view of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam in Labrador. Photo courtesy of Nalcor)Trina RoacheJorge Barrera  APTN National NewsFisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc says he will not review federal permits granted to Newfoundland and Labrador to flood an area for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.The request to hold a review came from Labrador MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the minister of Indigenous Affairs Yvonne Jones after nine demonstrators were arrested by RCMP for ignoring a court injunction ordering them to stay away from the site.“I have asked the minister to do a review of the environmental conditions that were supposed to be met when a permit was issued by the federal government,” said Jones, in a scrum following question period on Parliament Hill Monday. “If the conditions were not being met when the permit was issued, obviously then there will be a federal responsibility for that.”But in a statement, a spokesperson for LeBlanc wrote that the minister is putting the onus on the province.“We understand that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is working with the proponent, Indigenous peoples, and stakeholders with respect to this project,” the statement said. “We expect the province will meet its responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of Canadians.”Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlancThere was no mention of reviewing the permits.Yvonne Jones could not be reached for comment as of the posting of this story.On Monday, Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe asked the Prime Minister to step in, saying a Harvard Study on methylmercury at Muskrat Falls was a game changer.“Independent scientific evidence, which was not available when the authorization was granted, overwhelmingly demonstrates that flooding of the reservoir, under current clearing conditions, will violate the terms of that authorization,” said Lampe.No one from the Nunatsiavut Government has heard from the federal government at this point.Todd Russell, president of the  NunatuKavut Community Council. said he didn’t want to comment until he heard it directly from the Minister’s office.“But I will say this,” said Russell. “There comes a time when they got to start communicating with us directly. And I have to say, it’s all news to me. Isn’t it? I said yesterday (Tuesday) I haven’t been informed. We haven’t been asked. And if they confirm what you’re saying, probably for good reason because there was no intention of ever doing it.”Todd Russell, president of the NunatuKavut Community Council tours the Churchill River by the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. For more than a year, Inuit leaders have been pushing for changes to the Muskrat Falls project to address concerns over methylmercury.The Harvard University study predicts that the trees and topsoil left in the flood zone will create methylmercury. The toxin will flow downstream, and work its way up the food chain.The Inuit fear their traditional food sources will be poisoned.“There were options, things they could do,” said Russell. “This is what is so maddening about this entire situation.”Inuit leaders say there’s still time and want the project halted immediately so the reservoir can be fully cleared.“We still believe, standing here right now, by this monstrosity wreaking havoc upon the landscape, that there is still time,” said Russell. “Let the water flow clean from that reservoir. Start respecting Indigenous rights.”Russell toured the Lower Churchill River by boat, before heading to the construction site where land protectors are camped out.On Monday, nine people were arrested at the blockade for violating a court injunction obtained by Nalcor Energy, a provincially owned energy corporation.“We warned the premier that if there were no changes, you are precipitating the action you’re seeing,” said Russell. “And it’s spreading. Support is very widespread, people see the injustice.”Russell said this isn’t an abstract issue for people who live around Lake Melville, where the water from the dam will flow.“When you disrupt the food on people tables, you disrupt their well being, their sense of security, their connectedness to each other and land. You threaten a way of life. That’s what this project does,” he said.Protectors of the Land huddle around a fire barrel near the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric site. Photo courtesy Tom Fennario/APTNIn a statement, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Environment Minister Perry Trimper called the federal government a “key stakeholder” in the project.“Their scientists have worked closely with officials in the department of Environment and Climate Change throughout the project and they participated in two scientific workshops held by the department on Muskrat Falls and methylmercury.”Trimper added that the federal government has also been involved in “the Aquatic Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan – an important plan that will monitor methylmercury in fish and seal which will be vitally important to informing actions needed to ensure protection of human health.”But that monitoring plan falls short according to the Nunatsiavut Government.“The Province has indicated that the work carried out by Harvard University is not being used to inform the monitoring program,” said Lampe. “That is extremely disappointing, and has added to the level of frustration we have had with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on this whole issue.”In the meantime, work continues at Muskrat Falls. The land protectors continue to watch over the project from a distance outlined in the court injunction sought by Nalcor.Nalcor said flooding has not yet begun but is imminent.Yvonne Jones, Labrador MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs requested a review of federal permits for the Muskrat Falls project. Photo: APTNThe initial flooding will fill the reservoir to the 25 metre mark; rising up to a metre per day. Later flooding will fill the reservoir up to 39 metres and isn’t expected to be completed until 2019.The blockade, arrests and rallies are just the latest in a long fight against a project that many have called a boondoggle; Muksrat Falls is behind schedule and over budget.“The civil unrest we are currently witnessing is because of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s poor handling of the Muskrat Falls fiasco and it appears to be escalating,” said Lampe. “It is time the premier showed some leadership and direct Nalcor Energy to delay flooding of the reservoir until all concerns are meaningfully addressed.”[email protected]last_img read more

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Canada could face 20 Standing Rocks says Mohawk chief as Ottawa rejects

first_img(Supporters at a camp on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation. Standing Rock is currently battling construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota. APTN/File)Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsCanada could face “20 Standing Rocks,” said a Mohawk chief in response to the Justin Trudeau government’s revelation Thursday it doesn’t plan to include consent as part of its consultation approach with First Nations on major resource projects.Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr told reporters Thursday the Trudeau government believes it only needs to accommodate and consult First Nations before proceeding with major resource development projects and not obtain “free prior and informed consent.”It’s a position at odds with Supreme Court of Canada rulings which have stated that obtaining consent is part of the consultation spectrum the Crown faces when dealing with First Nations on issues that impact rights, title and territory. The position also undercuts a key element of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which the Trudeau government has claimed it plans to embrace as part of its efforts toward reconciliation.Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon said he’s not surprised the Trudeau government says it does not believe it needs to obtain consent to proceed with major projects that impact Indigenous territories.“New infrastructure to bring in more oil from the tar sands? Forget it, it’s not going to happen,” said Simon, who is grand chief for the Mohawk community at the centre of the 1990 Oka crisis. “I don’t care what Jim Carr says that no consent is necessary….. Consent, it’s what we are demanding and he will never get our consent, not for something like this…. What if we gave Canada 20 Standing Rocks? I wonder if his position will change then?”Simon was referring to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe which is currently trying to stop construction of an oil pipeline through North Dakota. The Standing Rock’s opposition to the pipeline triggered a historic Native American-led movement that has led to intense clashes with U.S. authorities and hundreds of arrests.“We always knew the Trudeau government, a lot of his ministers, are influenced by the fossil fuel industry and a prime minister is only as good as how he handles the economy,” said Simon. “If we keep doing this, our children and their children are going to suffer the brunt of climate change.”Simon is one of the lead spokespeople for an anti-pipeline alliance supported by about 85 First Nations and tribes which have signed a treaty to oppose new oil pipeline projects.Carr made his comments laying out, for the first time, the Liberal government’s position on consultation in Ottawa Thursday when he was asked by reporters to comment on the release of a report from a three-person ministerial panel on the $6.8 billion proposed Trans Mountain expansion pipeline project.The project would twin Kinder Morgan’s existing pipeline and increase capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil per day from the current 300,000 bpd. The 1,150 kilometre pipeline project would run from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C.In its report, the panel raised several questions about the project, including how the Liberal cabinet could square its commitment to reconciliation and to the UNDRIP principle of “free prior and informed consent” with the pipeline’s approval.Facing repeated questions from reporters on the government’s position regarding free, prior and informed consent, Carr made it clear that consent is not part of the Liberal government’s equation when it comes to its approach to consultation. The government only believes it needs to consult and accommodate.“We believe that to meaningfully consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples in the context of these energy reviews is the principal responsibility of the government of Canada,” said Carr, according to a transcript of the exchange. “That’s what we have done and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Friday he expects the Trudeau government to abide by its commitments on UNDRIP.“The government endorsed (UNDRIP) without qualification, and the UN declaration states the requirement of free, prior and informed consent by First Nations over any activities that can impact our rights, our people or our territory,” said Bellegarde, in a statement. “We fully expect Canada to honour that commitment and to work with First Nation to develop a national plan for implementing the UN declaration, including a joint law and policy review.”International human rights lawyer Paul Joffe, who also worked on UNDRIP, said Carr’s description of the government’s position does not comply with Supreme Court decisions, nor the international declaration.“It is highly problematic and it’s not helpful to the discussion and it’s not helpful to reconciliation,” said Joffe, who was provided with a transcript of Carr’s statements.Joffe said the concept of consent in UNDRIP has been demonized, twisted and misinterpreted to mean a “veto.” He believes the Trudeau Liberal government doesn’t seem to grasp that consent is part of international human rights law and part of the tapestry woven by Supreme Court decisions on Aboriginal rights and title.“For the minister to say we are going on the basis of consultation and accommodation, that doesn’t quite make sense, the way he is using it,” said Joffe. “Consultation is a spectrum, it hangs on the facts and the law. It might be minimal consultation in some cases…but at the other end of the spectrum, the Supreme Court said in the Haida case, that on very serious issues it would require the full consent of the Aboriginal nation. That is the full spectrum. On very serious issues, it would be consent.”In its 2004 Haida decision, the Supreme Court, quoting the previous 1997 Delgamuukw decision, describes the spectrum of consultation.“The content of the duty (to consult) varied with the circumstances: from a minimum ‘duty to discuss important decisions’ where the ‘breach is less serious or relatively minor;’ through the ‘significantly deeper than mere consultation’ that is required in ‘most cases,’ to ‘full consent of the Aboriginal nation’ on very serious issues,” said the court in Haida.The Supreme Court’s 2015 Tsilhqot’in also mentions consent.Joffe said he doesn’t understand how the Liberal government could both embrace UNDRIP and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) 94 calls to action and yet ignore the principle of obtaining free, prior and informed consent.“There is a further point which makes it very troubling what the minister is saying. The TRC in their 94 calls to action…indicate that they call on federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to adopt and implement the UNDRIP framework for reconciliation,” said Joffe. “So if one now attacks or undermines UNDRIP, one is also undermining the TRC calls to action.”During the last federal election campaign, candidate Justin Trudeau told APTN’s Cheryl McKenzie his government would respect a First Nations “no” on major resource development [email protected]@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

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