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Current Affairs

Justice for Jake and Morris

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Update on Court Proceedings on Métis Hunters Murder Charges

July 29, 2020 (Edmonton)– The family of the victims of the two men jointly charged with the murders of Morris Cardinal and Jake Sansom were relieved today when Justice Goss denied bail to the second accused in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench. The first man to be charged had already been denied bail on June 16th by another Judge of the same Court.

The two accused are now in jail and next make a Court appearance at 9:30 am on August 13 at St Paul Provincial Court when a preliminary hearing date should be set or the case sent to the Court of Queen’s Bench to set a trial date in that Court. At the last Provincial Court appearance in St. Paul, the Crown announced that they expect the Attorney-General to consent to the Crown proceeding by direct indictment.

A direct indictment is a procedure whereby the Crown prosecutor sends the case directly to a trial without the accused being able to have a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is a court hearing where a Provincial Court Judge determines if there is enough evidence to have a case go to trial.

The accused who was denied bail in June is also scheduled to appear at 9:30 a.m. on August 13th in the Alberta Court of Appeal in Edmonton seeking approval from that Court to hear an appeal of the June bail denial. If the Court of Appeal allows his application, a date would be fixed for the actual hearing of the bail appeal probably in the fall.

Statement from Audrey Poitras, President of Métis Nation of Alberta on criminal charges laid against Dwayne Roth

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Edmonton, Alberta – July 29, 2020 – Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta condemns, in the strongest of terms, all forms of bullying, violence, sexual assault, coercion and manipulation of anyone by individuals in positions of power.

As information has come to light about sexual assault charges laid by the RCMP against Mr. Dwayne Roth, CEO of the Fort McKay Métis Group Ltd., the MNA offers its support to the Métis women who have bravely come forward to share their stories. They deserve to be heard, and, much more importantly, supported and believed. Sexual assault, violence, bullying and abuse of power have no place within the Métis Nation or Canadian society as a whole.

While the MNA will not be further commenting on the specifics of the charges laid against Mr. Roth, these issues need to be raised and addressed within our communities and the Métis Nation as a whole.  Very often Métis women and girls are put in positions where they are forced to remain silent because of pressures from our communities and existing power structures as well as systemic and institutional biases.  

In the #MeToo era, it is more important than ever that victims are supported as they come forward to identify these repulsive and unacceptable behaviours and share their experiences. This type of conduct has been common in our society for far too long. Our people, communities and Nation need to work together to create safety for girls and women who have endured abuse as well as change the power structures that allow this sort of abuse to continue, including within Métis communities and the Métis Nation. 

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Contact:
Jeri Brown, Media Profile
416-455-7188

Justice for Jake and Morris: Status of Court Proceedings on Murder Charges

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On July 16, the two men jointly charged with the murders of Morris Cardinal and Jake Sansom appeared at St. Paul Provincial Court. The charges were in Court for the setting of preliminary hearing dates. 

At the hearing, the Crown announced that they expect the Justice and Solicitor General to consent to the Crown proceeding by direct indictment. This is a procedure whereby the Crown prosecutor sends the case directly to a trial without the accused being able to have a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is a court hearing where a Provincial Court Judge determines if there is enough evidence to have a case go to trial.

The two accused next appear at 9:30 am on August 13 at St. Paul Provincial Court when a preliminary hearing date should be set, or the case sent to the Court of Queen’s Bench to set a trial date in that Court.

One of the two accused was denied bail on June 16 and the other accused is expected to apply for bail in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench at 10:00 a.m. on July 29.

UPDATE ON JAKE AND MORRIS CASE

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On June 16, 2020 a Judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton denied Bail to the person charged with the murder of Jake and Morris.

Since then, the father of the accused person was also charged with second-degree murder and both accused murderers appeared in St. Paul Provincial Court on June 18, 2020.

The lawyers for the father has scheduled a bail hearing date for the bail application to be heard on July 29, 2020 at Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench starting at 10 AM.

In the meantime, both accused will be back at St. Paul Provincial Court on July 16 for the parties to advise the Court what arrangements may be being made in proceeding with the case.

Bail Request Denied to Man Charged with Murder of Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal

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Many gathered in front of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta today in support of justice and the families of Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal.

Calls of “no justice, no peace” and “stop the violence, stop the hate” echoed off the walls of the courthouse as the crowd awaited the decision. Those close to Jake and Morris shared fond memories of the two kind and generous men.

After a six hour wait, the decision was announced; bail was denied to the first man charged with their murder.

Jake and Morris’s families are relieved at the decision. Relieved that their children will feel safe tonight with the accused still behind bars.

On June 12, RCMP arrested a second man, Roger Bilodeau, 56, in connection to this tragic case. As with his son, Roger Bilodeau has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder. Father and son are scheduled to appear in a St. Paul court Thursday, June 18th.

The MNA continues to support the Sansom and Cardinal families and stands with them as they seek justice for this inexcusable act of violence. Métis citizens must always feel safe to exercise their rights and uphold our traditional ways of life.

The Sansom and Cardinal families are asking those that can, to come help them push for justice at Thursday’s hearing in St. Paul.

If you wish to show your support by attending, a group will meet on Thursday, June 18 at 8:00am at the St. Paul courthouse, 4704 – 50 St., St. Paul, AB.

Bail Hearing Date Scheduled for killer of Morris Cardinal and Jake Sansom

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On June 16th, the man charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal will appear in an Edmonton courtroom for a bail hearing.

Jake and Morris were Métis men and citizens of the Métis Nation of Alberta. They were tragically killed by gunshot after a hunting trip near Glendon on March 28th.

The Provincial Office is following this situation closely as the MNA is deeply troubled and concerned with reports of so many incidents with strong overtones of racism in various areas of Alberta. We want justice to be served for these two kind and generous men and their families.

Our communities must feel safe as we work to uphold our traditional ways of life, including harvesting. The MNA maintains a strong stand against violence and racism in all its ugly forms.

For anyone wishing to attend this hearing and offer support to the Sansom and Cardinal families, a group will meet on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at 9:00 a.m., at the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta at 1 Winston Churchill Square.

Métis Nation of Alberta announces second phase of COVID-19 support

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Watch the video announcements
English
Cree

Edmonton (May 11, 2020) – The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is announcing a second phase of funding to support Métis citizens in Alberta who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Phase two support includes a $1.8-million funding top up to the Citizens, Families, and Seniors Direct Support Program, which translates to an additional $300,000 for each of the MNA’s six regions. The program also includes the hiring of a support liaison within each region, on a six-month contract term, to help field inquiries, applications and identify local needs. These contract positions and the funding top up are the result of federal funding being received by the MNA.

Affiliate Métis Crossing will see $500,000 to ensure job security for their staff, overhead costs are met and progress continues on the grand opening strategic plan.

In addition to these new financial supports, the MNA has procured 150,000 masks and gloves for the protection of Métis citizens and MNA staff across the province.

Phase one MNA funding has already benefited Métis citizens within Alberta. The Citizens, Families, and Seniors Direct Support Program has supported more than 2,000 Métis Albertans through various financial supports, including grocery gift cards and utility payments. The Child Wellness Benefit has seen more than 3,400 applications, and over $2.8 million in payments approved to date. This benefit is projected to provide more than $5.6 million to Métis families. The Emergency Rent Supplement Program has so far approved $867,000 in payments. MNA affiliate, Rupertsland Institute (RLI) has also provided several community supports, including 2,176 Chromebooks to Métis students with limited access to online learning tools and $450,000 to the MNA regions to hire temporary workers and increase support to Métis citizens. Steps have been taken to protect Métis-owned businesses with the MNA and RLI providing their affiliated lending institution Apeetogosan $500,000 and $750,000 respectively. Apeetogosan will match this funding for a total injection of $2.5 million allowing hundreds of Métis business owners to keep their doors open.

“Métis citizens within Alberta have been severely impacted by the pandemic, as have people all over Canada and around the world,” said Audrey Poitras, President of the MNA. “The MNA will continue to support Métis citizens in Alberta while we all do our part to battle this pandemic. We offer thanks to the heroic frontline workers who have spent their days and nights keeping everyone safe, and we will continue to support our citizens with their varied and unique needs during these uncertain times.”

“Through this pandemic, our goal has been clear, to ensure no Métis Nation citizen or family is left behind,” said MNA Vice-President Dan Cardinal. “With this second wave of supports, we’re continuing to ensure the security and wellness of all Métis in Alberta. If Métis citizens have any concerns, MNA leadership  is here to help and I am only a phone call away. The well-being of our community is of great importance to me and together we will meet those needs and build a healthy Métis nation.”

Métis people within Alberta, whether they are citizens of the MNA or not, can apply for support by visiting www.albertametis.com or calling 780 455 2200.

About the MNA

Since its inception in 1928, the MNA promotes and facilitates the advancement of Métis people in Alberta through self-reliance, self-determination and self-management. The MNA is governed by a Provincial Council, comprised of a Provincial President and Vice President and six regional Presidents and Vice Presidents, all democratically elected. In June 2019, the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Government of Canada signed the MNA-Canada Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement.

For more information:
780-455-2200
emergencysupport@metis.org

Métis Nation of Alberta announces Fort McMurray and Fort Vermilion flood relief

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Edmonton (May 11, 2020) – The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is announcing $140,000 from the Emergency Housing Fund for its Region One and Six offices to support Métis citizens within Alberta who have been affected by the floods in the Fort McMurray and Fort Vermilion/Mackenzie County areas. MNA Regions One and Six will work with Local 1935, Fort McMurray and Local 74, Fort Vermilion to ensure funding reaches those affected.

Flooding, due to ice jams on the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers and the Peace River in Mackenzie County, led to evacuation orders for some residents of Fort McMurray and Fort Vermilion.

“These have been called once-in-a-lifetime floods and many Métis people in the Fort McMurray and Fort Vermilion areas are being impacted,” said Audrey Poitras, President of the MNA. “The MNA is here to help all Métis citizens within Alberta in this time of need. We send our thoughts to everyone who has lost a home or suffered property damage, and we thank all of the first responders and everyone involved in ensuring the safety of all Albertans.”

“These unprecedented floods have added stress in a time of great uncertainty for Métis and all Albertans,” said MNA Vice-President Dan Cardinal. “The MNA is dedicated to ensuring Métis Nation citizens impacted by these floods, get the support they need a quickly as possible.”

The MNA funds will be made available to Métis citizens within Alberta who are in need to cover costs associated with being displaced as a result of the flooding. This can include expenses for temporary living arrangements, food, clothing, and other essentials.

About the MNA

Since its inception in 1928, the MNA promotes and facilitates the advancement of Métis people in Alberta through self-reliance, self-determination and self-management. The MNA is governed by a Provincial Council, comprised of a Provincial President and Vice President and six regional Presidents and Vice Presidents, all democratically elected. In June 2019, the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Government of Canada signed the MNA-Canada Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement.

Watch the announcement video for these supports by President Poitras.

If you’re a Métis citizen living in one of the flood affected areas and need support, please contact your Regional Office.

Region 1
P: 780-623-3039

Region 6
P: 780-624-4219
TF: 1-800-668-5319

Indigenous Program Resources and Services

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Read or Download this valuable resource provided by Indigenous Health Program (AHS).

A special thank you to:

Dr Cassandra Felske-Durksen/Indigenous Wellness Clinic
Mike Sutherland/Senior Advisor Edmonton Zone
Violet D. Shepard/Indigenous Health Coordinator

Click image to view or download PDF

Condolences to the families of Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal

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Condolences to the families of Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal from the Métis Nation of Alberta.

Like so many in our community, we were devastated to hear of the deaths of Jacob Sansom and Morris Cardinal last weekend. Jacob and his uncle Morris were loving, generous men and the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) mourns with the families they leave behind. Our deepest condolences to Jacob’s wife Sarah and their three children and to Morris’s three stepchildren and five grandchildren. Our hearts are with you all.

Jacob and Morris were hunting in the Glendon area to help provide food for family members after Jacob lost his job due to corona-virus layoffs. They were out on the land, doing what any Métis would do in a time of need. Both were MNA citizens and registered Métis Harvesters, exercising their inherent right and doing so responsibly and sustainably.

Yesterday, the RCMP charged one man with two counts of second-degree murder. He will be brought to justice for his horrific, senseless crime.

The MNA is in contact with Jacob and Morris’s families to provide immediate financial support during this unimaginably difficult time.

As a community, we all feel this loss. We mourn together and we will heal together.

If you are struggling or know someone who is, for any reason, please reach out to someone. Talk with family, friends or contact mental health supports in your community. You can find a list in Alberta at albertametis.com/covid-19-information/mental-health/


Jacob Sansom, 39, and his uncle Morris Cardinal, 57, smile in a recent photo.