KLP, the Norwegian local government pension fund, has called for the chairman of chemicals producer Yara International to step down, following governance concerns over the company’s involvement in Norway’s biggest-ever corruption scandal.KLP is one of Yara’s largest shareholders. The offences included bribes to consultants or other contacts in India, Libya and Russia, some of them to secure joint venture deals.The bribes were paid between 2004 and 2009. This January, Yara – one of Norway’s biggest companies – admitted responsibility and accepted a fine of NOK295m (€35.4m) imposed by ØKOKRIM, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime.One member of staff and three former employees were also indicted and now face trial.In April 2011, Yara had informed ØKOKRIM of “possible irregularities”, at the same time hiring legal firm Wiersholm to conduct a private investigation.This uncovered “unacceptable” payments, including $15m (€10.9m) of disbursements from Yara Balderton (now Yara Switzerland), the company’s Swiss subsidiary, to individuals working with suppliers.Yara says it has invested considerably in its long-term work to ensure compliance with its ethical standards and has continued to strengthen its ethics and compliance function since its establishment in 2009.Since 2011, it has fully integrated its ethics and compliance programme in investment activities, published a manual with rules of conduct when participating in joint ventures and amended reporting lines so the chief compliance officer reports directly to the chief executive.But, in spite of Yara’s subsequent efforts to improve governance, KLP still has concerns, which it has communicated to Yara’s management through letters, meetings and the nomination committee, which represents shareholders and elects four directors to the Yara board.It has also conducted its own investigation, including speaking to former company employees.Earlier this month, KLP told other members of the nomination committee that it felt Yara’s chairman, Bernt Reitan, should resign.The news was published on KLP’s website in a blog written by Jeanett Bergan, KLP’s head of responsible investment.In her blog, she said: “Yara has established a sound regulatory framework that includes policies and procedures as well as training programmes and controls.“Nevertheless, the information we have shows there is doubt as to whether the company’s actions are in keeping with this policy.”The blog continued: “This includes the lack of response to warnings about possible corruption, the central location of the accused employee and the circumstances surrounding the departure of key staff in ethics and the control area, as well as further problematic transactions. The company would be best served by a change in its board.”Bergan told IPE: “We have been following up this governance problem as we always do with companies we invest in. We are not sure whether the action taken has been enough.”She added: “We have asked the nomination committee to strengthen the board because we don’t think the board has performed its control function, and the board must bear the responsibility for the doubts we have concerning the corruption case.” But she said KLP had never been in a situation that required divestment, and that the pension fund did not believe divestments would be necessary in the case of Yara either.Other shareholders have also had concerns, including the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, representing the government – the biggest shareholder in Yara, with a 36% stake.Ministry representatives have already met Reitan to discuss how Yara now acts to prevent corrupt activities happening again.The ministry said it is encouraging Yara to be as transparent about the matter as possible.Martine Røiseland, head of communication at Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, said: “Corruption is illegal. There should be no doubt the state as owner has zero tolerance for corruption and expects Norwegian companies to have the same attitude.”Meanwhile, Folketrygdfondet, the manager of the Government Pension Fund-Norway, which owns 5.6% of Yara’s shares, has also met Reitan and the company’s chief executive, and received confirmation that anti-corruption measures have now been implemented.But Olaug Svarva, managing director at Folketrygdfondet, said: “We recommend that the board of Yara present a summary of the corruption case and explain its decision to accept the fine.“We assume this to be public information and thus available to the entire market.”At its quarterly results meeting on 12 February, Yara emphasised that it has established and developed routines and systems to prevent the irregularities from happening again.It said it regards zero tolerance for corruption as a licence to operate, and that this is a solid platform for the company going forward.
A European pension fund operator is seeking a global equities manager to run money for up to three of its pension plans, via IPE Quest.According to search QN-2471, the mandate will be worth between $50m and $100m (€43m-€85m) “for one or all of our three major European pension plans”.Managers pitching for the mandate should have at least $1bn already invested in the strategy, and a track record of at least 10 years.Performance should be stated gross of fees to 31 July 2018, and managers should state the alpha generated over three, five and 10 years, as well as since inception of the strategy. Downside capture should be lower than 100%, the investor stated – “the lower the better”. Managers should also demonstrate a “batting average” – a measure of a manager’s ability to beat the benchmark – of more than 50%.The investor has not specified a style or process, but the manager will be benchmarked against the MSCI ACWI or MSCI World indices.The deadline for submissions is 13 September at 5pm UK time.The IPE news team is unable to answer any further questions about IPE Quest, Discovery, or Innovation tender notices to protect the interests of clients conducting the search. To obtain information directly from IPE Quest, please contact Jayna Vishram on +44 (0) 20 3465 9330 or email [email protected] open IPE Quest manager searches:Swiss pension fund seeks manager for $500m emerging markets mandate (closes 4 September)
Advertisement jNBA Finals | Brooklyn VsgdtWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eechw( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 8d96piWould you ever consider trying this?😱7azriCan your students do this? 🌚ur5yRoller skating! Powered by Firework The 2019/20 Ligue 1 season has been officially called off after the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe asked the country’s National Assembly to stop all sporting activity until September, this afternoon. According to multiple reports, the league’s governing body, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), will decide the fate of the rest of the season next month and resolve issues such as Champions League qualification, promotion and relegation.Advertisement “The big sporting affairs cannot occur before September. The 2019-20 football season cannot return.” PM Phillippe declared.Advertisement The 2019/20 Ligue 1 season was suspended earlier in March due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with several players agreeing to donate 50% of their salaries to help their clubs during this crisis. And the Prime Minister’s speech on Tuesday confirmed that the French government was unwilling to risk a further outbreak by allowing the return of the game anytime soon.However, the main concerns right now are whether reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain, (who are 12 points clear at the top of the league table) will retain their crown or not, along with the issues of Champions League, Europa League qualification, promotion and relegations also on the agenda.Elsewhere, the German government looks poised to resume Bundesliga next month behind closed doors, while the Italian football federation (FIGC) is expected to hold a meeting of its executive council on the first week of May to present its plans to a government scientific committee.The Premier League clubs, on the other hand, have resumed training with discussions over a restart date is being discussed.Meanwhile, UEFA have released £203million to the various national associations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and confirmed that the amount is a part of their HatTrick funding programme, as each association will receive up to £3.75m, shortly.In a press release, the association said that the money is being released in order to develop specific and targeted areas affected by the crisis, and because of the unexpected financial impact due to the outbreak, UEFA will leave the matter up to its 55 member countries on how and where to use the sum. If you like reading about MMA, make sure you check out MMAIndia.comAlso follow India’s biggest arm wrestling tournament at ProPanja.com You may also like:Read which country has restarted its football league amidst global Covid-19 lockdown!‘Leaks’ of government measures reveal when football in front of fans is likely to resume in Italy Advertisement
Ssenkatuka holds a Moghreb Athletic shirt after signing for them on Friday. (PHOTO/Courtesy)Barely a month after Patrick Kaddu and Murushid Jjuuko joined the Moroccan top-flight, another Ugandan has done likewise.The player in question is Nelson Ssenkatuka who is understood to have joined Moghreb Athletic de Tetouan.Ssenkatuka who has been captain of Uganda Premier League side Bright Stars has signed a three year deal that will see him play for Moghreb until at least 2022.His move was confirmed by the Moroccan club of Friday afternoon via their official website.“Our team Morocco Athletic Tetouan on Friday morning (13 September 2019), officially signed with Ugandan striker Nelson Ssenkatuka on a professional contract extends for three seasons, read part of the post on Moghreb’s website.”After his deal was confirmed, the pacey forward took to Facebook and bid farewell to Bright Stars.“What a journey it has been. I would like to announce that I have officially left Bright Stars FC, noted Ssenkatuka.“Thanks to the entire management, fans and players of the club for everything they’ve done for me.”.Ssenkatuka has previously featured at KCCA FC and Proline FC before joining Bright Stars.Last season he managed to score 16 league goals at Bright Stars, enabling them finish in the top half of the table.Ssenkatuka is a full Uganda Cranes international having played 13 games and scored one goal since making his debut in 2015.About Ssenkatuka’s new clubMoghreb Tetouan was founded in 1965 and they host their games at a 15000 capacity Saniat Rmel Stadium.Tarik Sektioui is the head coach at the Moroccan Premier League club.Senkatuka joins Milton Karisa (Mouloudia Club D’oujja), Murushid Juuko ( Wydad Casablanca) and Patrick Henry Kaddu ( RS Berkane) as the other Ugandans who ply their trade in Morocco.Comments Tags: bright starsMilton KarisaMoghreb AthleticMurushid JjuukoNelson Ssenkatukapatrick kaddutopUganda Cranes
It may well come to pass that the travails of Qantas will be a watershed for Australian work practices. The oft quoted saying that Australians are not prepared to pay for the salaries and conditions they enjoy is becoming truer every day.Aviation is the most global of all industries and, like it or not, every time a foreign airline touches down at an Australia airport it imports the labour costs and work practices of that country from low cost Indonesia to high cost Europe.Qantas’ immediate problem is the emergence of rival Virgin Australia, with lower staff costs and greater productivity, into the premium domestic market, a market it has enjoyed a monolpy on for the past 10 years. Virgin has strong foreign airline backers with deep pockets, whereas Qantas is struggling to attract investor interest.The new threat has been the catalyst for lobbying the Australian government for help after Virgin Australia raised $350 million, mainly through its foreign partner airlines. In Australia Qantas, under the Qantas Sale Act of 1995, is restricted to 49 per cent foreign ownership whereas Virgin Australia has split itself into two entities, domestic and international. Under Australian law the domestic operation can be 100 per cent foreign owned, while the international arm must remain 51 per cent Australian controlled.For years Qantas has traded on – and charged a premium for – its superb safety record. In the movie Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman, playing Raymond Babbitt, uttered the now famous words that “Qantas never crashes”.The movie came out in 1988, at a time when Qantas was at the top of its game with well over 40 per cent of the traffic into and out of Australia.Government policy was to protect the national carrier from foreign competition; an airline which taxpayers owned and which was selling tickets at a premium to adoring travellers at a time when well-known airlines like Pan Am, Alitalia, Korean Air, and Continental Airlines were having many accidents. In 1989 there were 231 accidents and incidents, which made Qantas’ unblemished record shine.The landscape is starkly different today. For 2013 the number of fatal crashes involving IATA members is close to zero.Today only about 25 per cent of travellers list safety as a major consideration when choosing a flight, with most citing price and frequency as the two most important aspects. These are factors in which Qantas is behind, particularly on the international front. As a result only 16 per cent of international travellers into and out of Australia are choosing Qantas.Product, price and planesAustralian travellers have been deserting the airline for years. Initially it was because of cabin offerings. Malaysia Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific started the rot snubbing IATA by offering free drinks way back in the late 1960s. Qantas and other airlines reluctantly followed.Fast forward to the early 1990s and Singapore Airlines led the way with seatback videos for economy passengers. Emirates and Virgin Atlantic were also early adopters of entertainment for all. Inextricably, Qantas was stoic in its resistance. This website and the author then pleaded the case for premium economy to the late James Strong, who said the airline could not “make the business case”, despite the fact that Australians are the second tallest people in the world behind the Dutch and fly the longest distances after the Kiwis.Premium economy is a no-brainer, as the airline has now discovered, just as business class was when Qantas introduced it in 1979.While price has always been important in the last two decades it has become critical as travel becomes more affordable to budget conscious travellers.Internationally we have seen UTA, Alitalia, Lufthansa and KLM, to name a few, withdraw from Australia because they could not compete with the new breed of Asian airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines. Qantas itself quit a host of Asian cities for the same reason using first lower cost Australian Airlines and now budget Jetstar to serve these markets.In the last ten years the Middle-East giants Emirates, Qatar and Etihad have stolen traffic with lower fares, superb in-flight product and extraordinary networks.Now, a newer breed of airlines with even lower costs such as AirAsiaX and China Southern have entered the fray with rock bottom prices, and in the case of the latter, an excellent product.This unshakable trend combined with continued globalization begs the question: Can Qantas survive in the international space without endless government support?Recently the airline’s virtual monopoly on domestic business class has come to a shuddering halt with the morphing of Virgin Blue into Virgin Australia with a premium product.For Qantas it is a double nightmare. The Virgin A330 business class product is superior and the new upstart has reduced the fares. The latest government index shows that the business class fare which has remained stable for the past ten years has dropped 40 per cent in the past two years.Once Qantas boasted it was the first around the world with theSuper Connie and the first with the 707 outside the USA, while it (Trans Australian Airlines) was amongst the initial airlines to order the 727 and DC-9 and of course, the 747.Today it is not even a participant in the latest technology such as the 777X and it is cancelling orders because it cannot afford the 787. Not buying the 777 has robbed the airline of the most versatile, fuel efficient and reliable aircraft ever built.Within Qantas, it is now recognized that buying the A380 was a mistake because the super jumbo is simply too big for the airline when travellers are demanding point-to-point services and high frequency.It is difficult to see how Qantas can undo the damage done by these bad choices – at least in the short term.ProductivityThere are many that say that Qantas is not an airline but a committee. Harsh possibly but at so many touch-points, one can see many layers of management structure. This is of course is inevitable when you have been in business for 93 years.That inefficiency runs right through the airline in varying degrees from the high profile pilots to baggage handlers.In the US decades of inefficiency have been wiped out by airlines entering Chapter 11 with every major US carrier seeking to reorganise its labour invoking that blunt instrument. The result has been, for example, a 40 per cent decline in pay for pilots since 2001.It would be wrong however to single out any one group for comparison or sacrifice, suffice to point out that the average wage cost at Qantas is $92,000 while at Emirates it is $47,000 and for Singapore Airlines $42,000. And one would guess that the productivity at those two foreign airlines is significantly higher.While it is dangerous to compare short haul airlines with long haul airlines as the metrics are vastly different, the gap between the average salary is vast.But the debate on the efficiency of Qantas must also be a debate about all of Australia’s work practices and salary perks such as weekend and penalty pay rates, 17.5 per cent leave loading and such anachronistic institutions as long service leave. Many reading this would not even understand the origins of long service leave which began in South Australia and Victoria in the 1860s as a scheme that allowed civil servants three months or more leave to go home to Britain after 10 years’ service in the colonies. The lengthy time off was dictated by the long ship journey to and from Australia. Long service leave became widespread in the 1950s and no other country incorporates such a right into their labour market regulations.Holiday leave loading’s origins are just as bizarre relating to the fact that employees cannot earn overtime while they are on leave.But changing work practices and increasing efficiency will only come if Qantas can change its culture and that is a far bigger task. Charles Darwin wrote that “it is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” This idea was alluded to by former British Airways and Ansett CEO Rod Eddington when he warned in a 2004 interview with the author that achieving that responsiveness is extremely difficult.“Changing airline culture is like trying to perform an engine change inflight,” Eddington said at the time. When Eddington arrived at British Airways in 2000 he found that the staff did not perceive the need to change because the airline had a low cost airline called Go. He found that staff believed that Go mitigated or even eliminated the need for further adjustments at the mainline.“My staff told me that Go was the solution,” he said. “I said I could possibly accept that if Go was making £300 million a year, which is what our European division was losing.” He notes that it was difficult to change this mindset until Go was sold off to easyJet. “Once we sold Go, the staff at BA really focused on making the changes necessary to make BA itself competitive.” Similarly with Qantas it can possibly be argued that the success of Jetstar is having a negative impact on the need for change at the mainline operation.Surveys have shown that another reason for the resistance to change is that although employees agree change is needed, they do not believe they themselves need to change. For example, at an American Airlines management conference in the late 1990s, all participants were polled on a series of questions. More than 90 per cent responded positively to the proposition that management, colleagues and subordinates needed to change, but 90 per cent responded in the negative to the item “I need to change.”Another perspective is added by Nawal Taneja, chairman of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Aviation at Ohio State University in his book Simpli-Flying. “The problem for culture change is that you have to see death right between the eyes before the impetus to change becomes strong enough,” said Teneja. And while the notion that the government will help Qantas stays alive then change may be near impossible.One of the major problems in changing staff culture is how do you strip out complexity, notes Taneja. He says that airlines have added enormous complexity to their operations and processes over time and staff are ingrained with these systems. “Enormous fleet and network complexity and labor contracts have been built around these complex systems and processes.”“Unfortunately for legacy airlines, many passengers now are not willing to pay for this complexity given the increasing availability of low-fare service by the LCCs.”And Taneja warns that many of the structural changes we have seen are permanent and global.Taneja adds that there has been a massive transformation of the industry and the change is equivalent to what the former co-founder of Intel called “a strategic inflection point” which is an event that changes the way we think and act. The change is also global exemplified by the growth of LCCs in the Asia-Pacific region, something considered impossible only ten years ago.Another perspective on the challenge of change is the enormous emphasis on safety in airline culture built around strict management systems and attention to detail, which is the opposite of flexibility and flair. Airlines such as Qantas have built up a rigid model over decades for very sound reasons but the question must be asked whether they are as relevant today.Qantas like so many legacy carriers has evolved out of a military base and much of the management style, marketplace orientation and paraphernalia of culture still reflect an authoritarian, hierarchical and command-and-control worldview.Successive management teams have sidestepped taking on the more militant unions to address gross inefficiencies and ludicrous perks which dog the airline. Over the past 10 years, the launch of low cost Jetstar and a monopoly in the domestic business class market courtesy of the demise of Ansett, have masked the need for massive restructure. But that has all changed!There are no levers left to pull in the cockpit as passengers will no longer pay top fares. They now have alternatives in price and product – in fact better alternatives in many cases.Market shareAt the root of the fare war between Virgin Australia and Qantas is the capacity war instigated by the latter in defense of its refusal to move from a 65 per cent line-in-the-sand strategy for the domestic market.It should be noted that Qantas only won that market share after Ansett collapsed. Prior to this, it had survived with excellent profits on a 50 per cent market share which makes the whole strategy hollow at best. The 65 per cent market share concept was born out of aviation’s S-curve theory which argues that airlines that have a frequency-share advantage garner a disproportionate market and revenue share. But that thought process had its roots in a 1972 study when low cost carriers did not exist.A recent McKinsey & Co study for IATA says the relevance of the S-curve is waning. The report by Urs Binggeli and Lucio Pompeo found that the “S-curve principle must be applied in a more tailored and specific way than in the past, especially in markets where there is LCC competition.”It noted that in the trade-off between efficiency (e.g. higher aircraft utilization and larger aircraft) and schedule quality, the balance is moving towards more efficiency, as the S-curve premium will be further eroded through the continued growth of LCCs.And in a warning at the heart of the battle in Australia it added that “frequency matching and escalation, which has often led to overcapacity and price wars, is becoming obsolete in many markets, potentially paving the way for a better balance of supply and demand.”The report said that the S-curve principle has been “hard-wired” in the heads of many network planners for decades. “Nevertheless, times are changing and airlines need to take stock of what does and doesn’t work.”However Business Spectator’s Stephen Bartholomeusz makes the point that while “at face value it would seem less painful to cede market share to Virgin ….. the risk in that option would be that it would transform the S-curve into an S-bend.”Bartholomeusz argues that “because its [Qantas’] cost base is significantly higher than Virgin’s, Qantas needs to capture a disproportionate share of higher-yielding fares. To do that – to dominate business travel – it has to have a frequency advantage, which means it has to more than match Virgin’s capacity increases. Its dominance of the high-yield end of the market feeds into its frequent flyer program in a self-reinforcing fashion and that combination also provides volume and yield for its international business.”And of course with lower costs, would Virgin’s CEO John Borghetti be happy to share 50 per cent of the market with Qantas – an airline that passed him over for the top job in 2008? Probably not!No matter what the government does with the Qantas Sale Act, or even if it steps in with a bank guarantee or a buy-in, Qantas is doomed if it does not aggressively address its cost base.Mr Bartholomeusz is spot on in his commentary when he says: “In other words, the entire Qantas business model is built on that domestic market dominance and that dominance has, until now, enabled its domestic business to remain consistently and highly profitable despite its otherwise uncompetitive cost base.”The final words are for former Virgin CEO Brett Godfrey who said in 2004: “This year we will carry as many passengers as Ansett, with one third the staff.”And that staff was being paid approximately half the average of Ansett employees. Perhaps today Qantas is Ansett Mark 2 but the difference is there is still time for Qantas to reinvent itself.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) recently announced that Harold D. Watters, Ohio State University has been named the International Certified Crop Adviser of the Year.Harold Watters left was also inducted into the FSR Hall of Fame in 2015.The annual award is presented for outstanding contributions to agronomy through education, national and international service, and research.An associate professor and field specialist, Watters works directly with agronomic crop producers, crop advisers and Extension educators to provide relevant information in a timely manner with emphasis on web and media outlets. Recruited as a team coordinator in 2004 for the OSU Agronomic Crops Team, Watters has influence on Ohio agronomic crop production education as co-coordinator of this 80-member team. Watters’ work is in the areas of agronomic crop production practices, systematic data evaluation and field research done locally to confirm best practices.Watters serves as editorial coordinator of the Crop Observation and Recommendation Network (CORN) newsletter and is a regular OCJ contributor through his monthly CORN to go… page. Watters also serves as an informal mentor to new team members and has participated in 10 training visits to Ukraine to aid producers there on adoption of modern crop production methods.The International Certified Crop Adviser of the Year Award is designed to annually recognize a certified crop adviser who delivers exceptional customer service, is highly innovative, has shown that they are a leader in their field, and has contributed substantially to the exchange of ideas and the transfer of agronomic knowledge within the agriculture industry.The award recipient will be recognized at both the Commodity Classic and the American Society of Agronomy Annual Meeting. The award consists of hotel and travel expenses to the Commodity Classic Meeting and ASA Annual Meeting, $2,000 honorarium, a commemorative plaque, and a one-year membership in the American Society ofAgronomy. The ICCA of the Year Award celebrates a level of proficiency that belongs to an individual and not to a company.
Ron Hunter’s celebratory fall out of his chair proved to be a somewhat costly one – it was clearly worth it, though. On Thursday, the Georgia State coach dropped to the floor after his son, R.J. Hunter, hit a game-winning 3-pointer against Baylor in the NCAA Tournament’s Second Round. Ron Hunter, who was sitting on a rolling chair because he tore his Achilles celebrating his team’s NCAA Tournament berth, cracked his cast as he fell to the ground. A doctor is on his way to Jacksonville to re-cast the foot. Ron Hunter told CBS Sports’ Jamie Erdahl about the situation Friday morning. What would you do for an NCAA Tournament victory?Georgia State is set to face Baylor on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. E.T. The game will be televised on TNT.
jourdan lewis michigan wont leave earlyWednesday, it was revealed in police reports that former Michigan State star basketball player Draymond Green’s arrest this past Sunday came after an altercation with current Michigan State football player Jermaine Edmondson. Of course, at least one University of Michigan athlete has weighed in on the situation.Michigan senior corner Jourdan Lewis, who runs an entertaining Twitter account, tweeted some thoughts on the matter. He essentially poked fun at Edmondson, saying he “told” on Draymond. The “skeeps” tweet refers to Scorekeepers bar in Ann Arbor.PS: If I ever give you a scholarship, I promise I won’t slap you for payment.— Jourdan Lewis (@JourdanJD) July 13, 2016 The Wolverines and the Spartans meet on October 29. It should be fun.
Tim Tebow/Twitter.Today is the day Tim Tebow tries to become a major league baseball player.Tebow, 29, is set to work out for 20-plus MLB teams in Los Angeles. The former Florida Gator and NFL quarterback has been working out with a baseball career in mind for a year-plus. He already has a contract offer from a Venezuelan winter league team.Scott Miller, an MLB columnist for Bleacher Report, is out in Los Angeles for the workout.He tweeted out a photo of the plan for Tebow’s MLB showcase.Tebow will be:Running a 60-yard dashThrowing to bases from the outfieldShagging flyballs and groundballs in the outfieldTaking batting practiceTaking “live” BP from two AAA pitchersHere’s the schedule:Almost showtime pic.twitter.com/dBvSnT0j0N— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) August 30, 2016Tebow’s showcase is taking place at USC.Tim Tebow warming up for his showcase. pic.twitter.com/5RhJ3saXRl— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) August 30, 2016Updates to come.
APTN National NewsOTTAWA–The Conservative government unveiled its priorities Friday with a Speech from the Throne that pledged to “renew and deepen” Canada’s relationship with First Nations by removing the “barriers to social and economic participation that many Aboriginal Canadians face.”The speech, read by Gov. Gen. David Johnston, laid out the agenda for the recently elected Conservative majority government which largely focused on the economy and getting the country’s book back in the black.In a section of the speech titled, “Here for communities and industries,” the government said it wanted to better integrate Aboriginal people into the Canadian economic and social mainstream.“Canada’s Aboriginal peoples are central to Canada’s history, and our government has made it a priority to renew and deepen our relationship,” said Johnston. “The contribution of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples will be important to our future prosperity. Concerted action is needed to address the barriers to social and economic participation that many Aboriginal Canadian’s face.”The government pledged to “promote access to clean water” and use more clean energy technology in Aboriginal and northern communities.The government also promised to build on the work of the blue-ribbon panel announced by the Conservatives in their previous incarnation as a minority government tasked with studying ways to improve on-reserve elementary and secondary education.The government also said it planned to improve and expand adult basic education in the territories.“Our government will engage with partners to make concrete, positive changes to give First Nations children a better education so they can realize their dreams,” said Johnston.New investments are also planned for First Nations Land Management, a legislative-based program created to allow First Nations to develop codes and laws to govern and manage reserve lands.The government is also planning to introduce legislation on matrimonial real property rights to govern the handling of on-reserve assets following a divorce or death.“Our government will also introduce legislation to ensure that people living on reserve have the same matrimonial real property rights and protections as other Canadians,” Johnston said.The government also said it would complete the complete the last leg of the Dempster Highway, finally linking Inuvik, NT., to Tuktoyaktuk, NT.“Thereby realizing (former prime minister)John Diefenbaker’s vision,” said Johnston.The North would also continue to be a “cornerstone” of the government’s agenda, said Johnston.“The strongest expression of our sovereignty comes through presence and actions, not words,” he said. “Our government will continue to exercise leadership in the stewardship of northern lands and waters.”There are also plans to create an urban national park in the Rouge Valley of eastern Toronto.“In this, the 100th anniversary year of our national parks system, our government will create significant new protected areas,” said Johnston. “It will work with provincial, regional, municipal, Aboriginal and community stakeholders toward establishing an urban national park.”The speech made no mention of any plans for a meeting between Harper and First Nations leaders.Assembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn Atleo has been calling for a meeting.The event, held in the Senate Red Chamber, was momentarily upstaged by Senate page Brigette Marcelle, 21, who stepped onto the chamber floor with a red, “Stop Harper” sign for a few seconds before she was escorted away.“Harper’s agenda is disastrous for this country and for my generation,” said a statement from Marcelle sent to APTN National News. “We have to stop him from wasting billions on fighter jets, military bases and corporate tax cuts while cutting social programs and destroying the climate.”She has been fired.