Daily news now available on The Flatlander website

We recently signed an agreement with The Canadian Press, allowing us to bring you the daily news from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Starting this week, in addition to our regular newsletter, you will receive a second email, like the one today, which includes a comprehensive summary of all the Prairie news you need to know straight from the heart of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

From politics to culture, this news summary will give you a quick and comprehensive look at the stories from our community that matter most.

We know how important it is to stay in the loop with what’s happening in our region, so we’re bringing you the essential headlines weekly. 

Whether you’re into local politics or industry or just want to stay informed, we’ve got you covered.

We hope you enjoy this new addition, and thank you for your continued support.

Local, independent, in-depth.

Our Prairie stories.

Public-sector union strike could hurt farmers as grain inspectors walk out

The Canadian public-sector union strike could spell bad news for our farmers, with over 140 grain inspectors on strike.

  • The strike has already caused a significant impact on the certification of grain exports, according to the Canadian Grain Commission.
  • Delays in grain inspections mean the grains can’t be shipped on time, leaving them to sit in shipping containers at ports, which could result in demurrage charges. 
  • This means the shipping companies have to pay extra money to store the grains at the ports, and these fees could cut into farmers’ profits. 
  • And if the strike goes on for too long, Canada could lose customers over the long term. 

Health care

Sask. healthcare workers allegedly muzzled by government memo

Saskatchewan healthcare workers were reportedly told to refrain from speaking with elected officials about their concerns. 

  • The Opposition NDP released a memo that told Lanigan Hospital staff not to answer questions from legislature members or political parties. 
  • Health Minister Paul Merriman said the memo was “misinterpreted” and aimed at coordinating tours and minimizing disruption. However, the NDP says the memo shows the government is muzzling healthcare workers and creating a “culture of fear” around speaking out. 


Vital Metals stops construction, raises concerns about future of critical minerals in Sask

Vital Metals, Canada’s only rare earths mining firm, has paused construction on its Saskatoon processing facility, citing increased costs and low rare earth prices. 

  • The company invested approximately $19.7 million in the Saskatoon facility, which is currently half-built.
  • Its decision to pause construction has raised concerns about the future of critical minerals in Saskatchewan. However, the Saskatchewan Research Council is building its own facility to process these minerals and says the facility has interest from companies and governments worldwide. 
  • Earlier this year, Saskatchewan released a critical minerals strategy that aims to double production by 2030. 

Manitoba considers relocating rail lines after Winnipeg train derailment

  • The Manitoba government is considering relocating rail lines outside Winnipeg after a train derailment led to the closure of a busy road in the city. 
  • The government is planning to discuss the matter with the city’s mayor. 
  • The former premier, Brian Pallister, had previously blocked a plan by the former NDP government in 2016 to spend $400,000 on a rail relocation study.

Police violence 

Winnipeg police officers charged with assault after man injured during arrest

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Three police officers in Winnipeg face charges of assault causing bodily harm following an investigation by the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba. 

  • The probe was launched after a man was injured during an arrest in the city’s downtown area a year ago. 
  • Constables Evan Fehr, Barry Knudsen and Tyler Rahn are due to appear in court on May 15.

Prince Albert man on life support after altercation with police

The family of Boden Umpherville, a 40-year-old Prince Albert man, say he is on life support with no brain activity after an altercation with police earlier this month. 

  • The incident occurred during a police stop in Prince Albert, with Umpherville’s family alleging officers used excessive force. 
  • The Saskatchewan Serious Incident Response Team is investigating, and Prince Albert police have yet to comment. 

Growing concern about Prince Albert police 


La Loche school stabbing reminiscent of previous mass shooting

Two people were stabbed at the Dene High School in La Loche in northern Saskatchewan. 

  • The victims, a student and a staff member were hospitalized while the suspect was taken into police custody. 
  • The stabbings brought back memories of the 2016 mass shooting in the community, which killed four people. 
  • After the shooting, the province spent $4.45 million to renovate the high school in 2019. 
  • A new entrance with a security desk and a new administrative office provided staff with a better view of the outside.
  • Following last week’s stabbing, Jason Young, the school division’s director, said all options are on the table for further improving safety, including adding metal detectors.

Police seek help in identifying remains of woman found on Red River bank

Winnipeg police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the partial remains of a young woman found along the Red River earlier this month.

  • The remains were discovered on a riverbank near a walking and cycling path
  • The victim was a woman of unknown ethnicity who was older than 20 years old.
  • Authorities have described her as having a slight build, with hair dyed dark, double-pierced ears, a caesarean section scar, and no upper or lower teeth. 
  • Police said there is no evidence linking her death to any other investigation.
  • Last spring, Rebecca Contois’ partial remains were discovered in a garbage bin, while additional remains were found at a landfill in Winnipeg in June.
  • The bodies of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran are believed to be in another landfill, and their bodies have not been found.
  • Jeremy Skibicki is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Contois, Harris, Myran, and an unidentified woman who Indigenous leaders named Buffalo Woman.

Sask. man charged with domestic assault received public service medal

A public service medal was given to a Saskatchewan man who pleaded guilty to domestic assault, prompting apologies from the provincial Agriculture Minister. 

  • Former Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association chairman Jim Wickett was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal in December. However, it was later discovered he had been charged with assault last June and pleaded guilty earlier this year.
  • The Saskatchewan government apologized for the incident, with Agriculture Minister David Marit accepting responsibility for the nomination and expressing regret he was not aware of Wickett’s charge at the time of the nomination and medal presentation. 
  • The Opposition New Democrats said this is part of a pattern of the government not taking intimate partner violence seriously.
  • Last year, the government apologized after inviting Colin Thatcher, a convicted murderer to the throne speech
  • Thatcher’s ex-wife, JoAnn Wilson, was found beaten and shot to death in her Regina garage in 1983. 

Indigenous news

Métis Nation-Saskatchewan to Build $8M Cultural Lodge in Batoche

The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S)  announced the construction of an $8 million, 18,000-square-foot Dumont Lodge in Batoche. 

  • The building will serve as a cultural hub for Métis youth, providing space for gatherings and lodging for scouts and elders.
  • The facility will feature traditional construction methods Métis people use, such as dovetail joinery and the Red River Frame
  • The landscaping will showcase native plant and berry species important to Métis culture.
  • This project was funded by the federal government’s Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples program.
  • Architect Jason Surkan, a registered member of the MN-S, designed the lodge.

Bill to improve Indigenous consultation defeated by Saskatchewan govt

Saskatchewan NDP Opposition member Betty Nippi-Albright put forward a bill aimed to improve consultation processes with Indigenous groups when the province sells Crown land or changes policies related to the environment.

  • Nippi-Albright feels the current consultation process needs to be revised and give Indigenous peoples more say in the decisions that will impact them.
  • The Saskatchewan Party voted the bill down because it would give Indigenous groups too much power to veto projects.
  • The government did say they would introduce changes to current consultation practices.
  • Nippi-Albright believes the new policy will have little meaningful change and could lead to more lawsuits from First Nations because of the lack of consultation.

Provincial Politics

Manitoba’s plan for more private liquor sales on hold

Manitoba’s plan to increase private liquor sales has been delayed.

  • The New Democrats used procedural rules to stall two liquor bills in the legislature so they won’t pass before the upcoming election on Oct. 3. 
  • The bills would have let more stores sell liquor and allowed private beer vendors and wine stores to offer a wider range of beverages.
  • The government reasons Manitobans want more options for one-stop shopping.
  • The NDP worry about making alcohol available in convenience stores because of the exposure to minors, and they don’t want people to be able to purchase liquor all hours of the day. 
  • The NDP also said they would review the province’s private retail system for cannabis if they won the election.

Saskatchewan premier declines five-minute meeting with prime minister

Premier Scott Moe didn’t meet with Justin Trudeau earlier this month because he was only offered five minutes with the Prime Minister during his Saskatchewan stop. 

  • Moe said more than such a quick pull-aside meeting was needed to discuss important things like the infrastructure fund, clean electricity standards, and the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement. 
  • These two leaders have not met in person during Trudeau’s two stops in the province this year. 
  • Moe has been critical of the Liberal government’s policies on various topics, particularly their environmental policies and their impact on Saskatchewan’s resource sector. But despite their differences, Moe said his government would work with Ottawa when it is in the province’s best interest.
  • According to Daniel Westlake, a political studies assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan, the lack of in-person meetings is a symptom of a “problematic relationship” between the provincial and federal governments due to their different interests and political ideologies.

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