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Manitoba First Nations seek to sue Canada for not honouring treaty land entitlements

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A group representing Manitoba First Nations is seeking to sue the federal government for failing to honour a two-decade-old promise to fulfil land debt.

The Treaty Land Entitlement Committee of Manitoba (TLEC) filed a notice of application this week with the Federal Court of Canada in Winnipeg, hoping to nullify an agreement signed between the committee and the Crown in 1997, and clear the way for a “multi-billion dollar” lawsuit.

“In 1997, when our member First Nations agreed to accept the [Manitoba Framework Agreement] deal for land to settle our outstanding TLE [treaty land entitlement] claims, we were required to provide Canada with a conditional release where we agreed that further legal action would not be pursued by us,” Chief Nelson Genaille of the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, and TLEC Manitoba president, said in a news release.

“However, 22 years later, Canada is failing to hold up the honour of the Crown in fulfilling its treaty obligations under the MFA.”

As such, Manitoba’s TLEC is asking the federal court to make “void and ineffective” the restrictions to pursue legal action.

In 1996, Canada’s provincial and federal governments agreed on the TLE process to resolve disputes with bands that did not receive all the lands promised through the treaties signed in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Those bands would be given priority to make claims on surplus Crown lands or to purchase other properties and convert them into urban reserves.

Based on that, the MFA was signed the following year, for deficient land obligations in treaties 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10. There are 21 Manitoba First Nations eligible under the framework agreement.

The MFA required the governments to provide over 445,000 hectares of land to Manitoba’s TLEC member First Nations. Roughly 215,000 hectares have only been set aside since then.

“More recently, they have breached the MFA’s terms by unilaterally amending the TLE land conversion process without our consent,” Genaille said. “This is why we are taking this legal action.”

In 2012, Canada advised TLE committees that it would start consulting other Indigenous groups prior to setting aside TLE lands as reserve under the MFA.

TLEC Manitoba claims that is a breach of the MFA because its member First Nations have not consented to the alteration.

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‘Too soon to celebrate’ Ottawa’s low case count, says Etches

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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged just 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the lowest daily total since Sept. 1.

Because of the lag between testing and reporting, the low number could simply reflect low turnout at the city’s testing sites on weekends — all month, new case counts have been lower on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

During a virtual news conference Tuesday, the city’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said she doesn’t read too much into a single day’s report.

“I don’t think we can make too much of 11. Actually, it could be a lot higher tomorrow — I would expect that, on average,” she said. “It’s too soon to celebrate.”

Provincewide, public health officials reported 1, 249 new cases Tuesday.

OPH also declared 62 cases resolved Tuesday, lowering the number of known active cases in the city to 462. Two more people have died, both in care homes currently experiencing outbreaks, raising the city’s COVID-19 death toll to 361. 

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Santa Claus isn’t coming to Ottawa’s major malls this year

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Santa Claus may still be coming to town this Christmas, but he won’t be dropping by any of Ottawa’s major malls, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Cadillac Fairview said Santa won’t be making an appearance at any of its 19 malls across Canada, including Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa. On Tuesday, Bayshore and St. Laurent shopping centres confirmed they, too, are scrapping the annual tradition.

“Due to the evolution of the situation in regards to COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our Santa Program and Gift Wrap Program this year,” Bayshore spokesperson Sara Macdonald wrote in an email to CBC.

Macdonald said parent company Ivanhoé Cambridge cancelled all holiday activities “due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country.”

Macdonald said families that had already booked an appointment to visit Santa will receive an email with more information.  

Virtual visits with Santa

Rideau Centre said based on customer research and discussions with public health officials, its North Pole is going online this year.

“Children will be able to have a private chat with Santa,” said Craig Flannagan, vice-president of marketing for Cadillac Fairview. “You’ll also be able to join a 15-minute storytime with Santa over Facebook Live.” 

At Place d’Orléans Shopping Centre, visitors are invited to take a “selfie with Santa” — actually, a life-size cutout of Santa Pierre, the man who’s been playing Santa at the east end mall for years.

“We understand that this is not ideal, but in lieu of this tradition we will be doing what we can to maintain and encourage holiday cheer,” according to a statement on the mall’s Facebook page.

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Ottawa Bylaw breaks up two large parties in Ottawa over the weekend

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OTTAWA — Ottawa Bylaw is investigating social gatherings of more than 10 people in private homes across Ottawa last weekend.

Mayor Jim Watson tells Newstalk 580 CFRA that Ottawa Bylaw broke-up two house parties over the weekend, with 20 to 25 people at each party.

“That’s the kind of stupidity that angers me, that’s where the bulk of the transmissions are taking place, if we exclude the tragedy of the long-term care homes; it’s these house parties with unrelated people,” said Watson on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts.

“The message doesn’t seem to be getting through, particularly to some young people who think they’re invincible.”

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Bylaw and Regulatory Services Director Roger Chapman says, “There are still ongoing investigations from this past weekend that could result in charges.”

Chapman says recent investigations led to two charges being issued for social gatherings of more than 10 people in a private residence in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act.

“In one case, up to 30 individuals were observed attending a house party in Ward 18 on Oct. 24,” said Chapman.

“The second charge was issued following a house party in Ward 16 on Oct. 31, where up to 16 individuals were observed to be in attendance.”

The fine is $880 for hosting an illegal gathering.

Alta Vista is Ward 18, while Ward 16 is River Ward.

Ottawa Bylaw has issued 24 charges for illegal gatherings since the start of the pandemic.

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