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Parks Canada and W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council rename campground in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve to recognize Indigenous culture and connection to the land

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Local carvings and interpretive panels enhance forested area renamed SMONEĆTEN. Local carvings and interpretive panels enhance forested area renamed SMONEĆTEN   May 4, 2021                                  North Saanich, BC                    Parks Canada Agency A forest of towering Douglas fir trees in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is now…

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Local carvings and interpretive panels enhance forested area renamed SMONEĆTEN.

Local carvings and interpretive panels enhance forested area renamed SMONEĆTEN  


May 4, 2021                                  North Saanich, BC                    Parks Canada Agency

A forest of towering Douglas fir trees in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is now a place to appreciate Indigenous culture as well as nature, as a result of collaboration between Parks Canada and W̱SÁNEĆ (pronounced wh say nich) First Nations, whose people have been stewards of the land since time immemorial.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada and Chief Don Tom, W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council Chair announced a step toward healing as McDonald Campground in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve was renamed SMONEĆTEN (pronounced smaw nitch tun).

Four hand-carved cedar panels and an interpretive display have been installed at the campground as part of the reinstatement of W̱SÁNEĆ language, history and culture on the land. The displays share how the site was once a place to gather liquid pitch, also known as sap, from Douglas fir trees to start fires, patch canoes, heal wounds, and light lanterns. The new name comes from the local SENĆOŦEN (pronounced sen chaw thun) language and means “fir pitch place”.

SMONEĆTEN will continue to serve as a seasonal Parks Canada campground in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, as well as a place where visitors and community members can enjoy a forest walk. Parks Canada looks forward to resuming public programs such as Learn-to-Camp and evening campfires, often led by local Indigenous presenters, when it is safe to do so.

Parks Canada is committed to a system of national heritage places that recognizes and honours the historic and contemporary contributions of Indigenous peoples, their histories and cultures, as well as the special relationships Indigenous peoples have with ancestral lands and waters. This name change is an important step in that direction. 

                                                                       -30-

“Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples are partners in conserving natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of these treasured places. The renaming and enhancements of SMONEĆTEN Campground in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve will help Canadians gain further appreciation of local Indigenous culture, while ensuring W̱SÁNEĆ community members of all ages see their culture and language reflected back on these lands of enduring significance.”

Jonathan Wilkinson, 


Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“In the heart of W̱SÁNEĆ Territory, right next to the old village of W̱SI,I,KEM, SMONEĆTEN is a place where people would go to harvest the materials they needed to thrive. As these places were taken from W̱SÁNEĆ people, new names were placed on the landscape and our presence in the eyes of settlers was diminished. But, within W̱SÁNEĆ culture, this information was never forgotten. We held it tight to our chest waiting for people to listen once again. Today, I am proud to see the government begin the process of listening by taking these small steps toward preserving and honouring W̱SÁNEĆ culture and history.”

Chief Don Tom, Chairman, W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council 

The newly unveiled hand-carved wood panels at SMONEĆTEN were crafted by carvers from all four First Nations on the Saanich Peninsula: Tsartlip, Pauquachin, Tseycum and Tsawout.

SMONEĆTEN is one of many places the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council has been working to reinstate W̱SÁNEĆ culture including the renaming of ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/ John Dean Provincial Park.

The stretch of forest was protected from encroaching development as a result of a land donation by former Member of the Legislative Assembly of BC, Alexander McDonald, to become McDonald Provincial Park in 1948. This donation will continue to be recognized through an onsite plaque. 

In 2003, with the establishment of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, this land was transferred from the Province of BC to Parks Canada.

Parks Canada continues to collaboratively develop co-management strategies with Coast Salish First Nations for Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

SMONEĆTEN features 49 drive-in and walk-in campsites just north of the Town of Sidney that are open from May 15 to September 30. People also frequent the area for forest walks. 

Chief Don Tom 

Chairman

W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council 

778-977-4342

Don.Tom@wsanec.com


Matthew Dillon

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

873-353-5863

matthew.dillon@canada.ca

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Alberta eases security payment burden for oilsands companies

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Alberta is changing how it calculates the payments oilsands mines make to ensure there’s enough money to clean up the mess they leave behind — a move the province says is in reaction to low oil prices last year, which briefly reached negative values.

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Alberta is changing how it calculates the payments oilsands mines make to ensure there’s enough money to clean up the mess they leave behind — a move the province says is in reaction to low oil prices last year, which briefly reached negative values.


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Ontario vowed to investigate horrific deaths in long-term care. Now it says that didn’t happen.

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Nearly one year ago, as the first detailed picture emerged of the true scale of the horror faced by residents of Ontario’s long-term care system during the pandemic, a visibly emotional Premier Doug Ford vowed his government would conduct a full investigation. Now it turns out that didn’t happen.

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COVID-19 CAMILLA CARE LTCH CROSSES

Nearly one year ago, as the first detailed picture emerged of the true scale of the horror faced by residents of Ontario’s long-term care system during the pandemic, a visibly emotional Premier Doug Ford vowed his government would conduct a full investigation. Now it turns out that didn’t happen.


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Grim ICU projections drove Jason Kenney to impose tough COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Quebec Premier François Legault leave a press conference in Ottawa on Sept. 18, 2020. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press Alberta’s decision to impose tougher COVID-19 restrictions after resisting that option for weeks was driven by projections that the province’s intensive care units would be so overwhelmed that doctors could be forced…

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Quebec Premier François Legault leave a press conference in Ottawa on Sept. 18, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Alberta’s decision to impose tougher COVID-19 restrictions after resisting that option for weeks was driven by projections that the province’s intensive care units would be so overwhelmed that doctors could be forced to start rationing care within a month.

Premier Jason Kenney laid out that dire scenario on Wednesday as he explained why his government is imposing a suite of new public health measures, including moving K-12 classes online, shutting down restaurant patios and forcing non-essential businesses that have three or more COVID-19 infections to close.

Mr. Kenney asked people who are opposed to public-health restrictions — a group that includes members of his own United Conservative Party caucus who have publicly criticized such measures — to think about the prospect of someone they cared about being denied care because the hospitals cannot cope.

“We’re not telling people this to create unnecessary fear,” Mr. Kenney said Wednesday, after using a televised address to announce the new rules the night before.

“We’re just trying to be straight up with Albertans about where we are.”

Alberta has the highest COVID-19 rates in North America and is among the few provinces in Canada where the number of daily infections is increasing. Alberta has about twice the active infections per capita as Ontario.

There were 146 COVID-19 patients in the province’s ICUs as of Wednesday, a slightly lower number than in recent days, but still about twice as many as a month ago. Mr. Kenney said there are also 60 non-COVID patients in ICUs, which together puts the province above the capacity it had before the pandemic.

Health officials say they can expand the province’s capacity to 425 ICU beds, but that would require the cancellation of most non-essential surgeries and medical procedures. Alberta Health Services released a triage document last week that would guide decisions to ration care by focusing on patients with the highest likelihood to survive the following year.

Mr. Kenney’s government had closed indoor dining at restaurants and imposed a number of other restrictions a month ago, but had resisted further restrictions even as infections exploded. The new measures are the most severe the province has seen since the first wave a year ago.

The Premier has chided people who continue to defy the public-health restrictions, including protesters at anti-lockdown rallies that have been a regular feature of some Alberta cities and a rodeo, held last weekend, that drew large crowds to a site near Bowden in flagrant violation of the ban on large outdoor events.

The opposition he has faced within the UCP caucus includes more than a dozen MLAs publicly criticizing the province’s public-health orders last April.

Mr. Kenney has played down that opposition, saying it amounted to healthy debate. He said on Wednesday that politics was not driving his government’s response to the pandemic.

“We do, however, obviously have to be mindful of the broader context of public opinion in Alberta, about people’s willingness to comply with the rules,” he said.

“As I’ve said repeatedly, there’s no point in adopting a policy that will only invite widespread non-compliance.”

One of the signees of a letter protesting restrictions last month – UCP MLA Nate Horner – said understands there’s a risk that Alberta hospitals become overwhelmed.

“I know we all need to pull together,” Mr. Horner, the MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, said Wednesday. “I don’t want to do anything other than support the decisions that have been made. That being said, we still do have very rigorous debate within caucus.”

Mr. Horner said he signed the original letter to let his constituents know he was advocating for a regional approach to restrictions in caucus discussions.

“I represent a very rural riding that over the last 14 months has had periods when there’s been very little COVID in vast areas,” he said. “Skip the Dishes and DoorDash aren’t a thing here.”

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the province won’t proceed with further easing of community health restrictions on COVID-19 even though hospitalizations are under the benchmark 300 figure. Shandro says cases and hospitalizations are trending up and it would not be safe to further reopen the economy, which would include allowing indoor gatherings. The Canadian Press

Mr. Horner noted he fielded about 70 calls from unhappy constituents Wednesday – many who are facing the loss of work and business income, are concerned about schools being closed for two weeks, and don’t understand why the federal government hasn’t implemented stricter border controls.

“A lot of them understand the severity of the issue. They’ve seen the cases rise – they know the situation has changed,” he said.

Other MLAs who signed last month’s letter, such as Mark Smith in Drayton Valley-Devon, Jason Stephan of Red Deer-South, and Miranda Rosin of Banff-Kananaskis, posted the live feed of Mr. Kenney announcing new public health measures on their Facebook pages – without comment.

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