Power Point: First Nation Federal Cannabis Framework Update at CANDO Conference

(October 30, Gatineau, QC) Isadore Day presented an update at the 26th Annual CANDO Conference on the progress being made in regard to the First Nation Federal Cannabis Framework.  There were over 300 Indigenous Economic Development Officers in attendance at the Lac Leamy Hilton.

“Right now, 80 per cent of cannabis purchased by Canadians is from the black market. Mainstream cannabis producers and dispensaries are losing money,” said Day. “The challenge that First Nations face is to legally fill that gap. We must be able to cultivate, process, and retail cannabis that is entirely legal and legitimate in the eyes of the federal and provincial governments.”

The full power point presentation is posted below:

FINAL 19-10-30 CANDO Cannabis Panel

 

Bimaadzwin CEO Isadore Day is hosting a cannabis reception. Here’s why

Isadore Day is pictured in this 2015 file photo. Donna Hopper/SooToday

by James Hopkin

Originally published on June 10 at SooToday.com

Former Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day wants to talk to proponents of the First Nations cannabis industry about the opportunities that exist within going green.

The founder and CEO of Bimaadzwin – a company that provides services related to project management, facilitation and policy analysis, among other things – is using his company to host First Nation Cannabis Reception: Growth, Prosperity and Cultivating a Green Economy, an event slated for Monday evening at Sault Ste. Marie Delta Waterfront.

“It’s a file that obviously has great interest to the federal government, the provincial government and First Nations, and because First Nations have not been effectively engaged and consulted on this,” Day said.

The three-hour reception will be attended by First Nations cannabis retailers that are interested in discussing the idea of forming an association that would help create a framework for certification, testing and compliance going forward.

“Today’s meeting is going to be twofold – it’s going to be to actually discuss some of those internal issues, and how we put those targeted issues and requests,” Day said.

The timing of the Bimaadzwin cannabis reception isn’t pure happenstance, either.

The Chiefs of Ontario will be hosting its 45th annual All Chiefs Conference over the next three days, beginning Tuesday morning in Sault Ste. Marie.

“I don’t suspect it [cannabis reception] will be an overly huge meeting, but I do think it will be a meeting with the right people, and we are going to be sitting down and talking about what some of the communities are doing in the region here, and hopefully, making sure that they’re able to do what they need to do based on support that we can help them define in the chiefs assembly,” Day said.

The cannabis industry has been on Day’s radar for awhile – it precedes his political career – but now, he says, is the time for some clarity in terms of how First Nations enter a new and lucrative industry.   

“Many First Nations are dealing with cannabis on a number of different levels, and the way they’re asserting this on a number of different levels is something that should be brought into center, into focus this way – becoming much more clear about how communities engage, and how communities basically come up with their decisions around cannabis, and the priorities that they set out in their cannabis policies,” said Day. “That really should be the discussion we’re having.”

Bimaadzwin is now publishing an online cannabis and hemp industry magazine, Growth and Prosperity, to highlight, in part, the economic opportunities potentially available.  

“This is cultivation, it’s administration. It’s in the field, it’s processing, and it’s distribution and retail,” said Day. “So there’s a value chain within cannabis that is really of interest to First Nations, because there has been a lot of money made so far on cannabis, and it is a lucrative industry.”

“We’re now taking the time to examine those opportunities very carefully.”

Day says there’s essentially three ways in which First Nations can enter the cannabis industry – full sovereignty, full Crown compliance or a harmonized approach that would blend elements of Indigenous sovereignty and governmental compliance.

Day believes that many First Nations will end up taking the harmonized approach.   

“I don’t think the province or the federal government want to end up in court on this, because there was no real consultation with our communities,” said Day. “There were obviously discussions, but there was nothing that was coordinated on a level…where we could actually be recognized as a party to the enabling legislation – [Bill] C-45 – and then the rollout into the provinces.”

“First Nations are saying, ‘absolutely not, we cannot just take this for what it’s worth to the federal government and the provinces, we have to demonstrate what the worth of this industry is from our perspective,’” he continued. “That means putting in place our community laws, it means sitting at the table and negotiating those frameworks with the province and the federal governments, and basically, making sure that our communities are up to speed and supporting what we’re doing.”

Bimaadzwin has been at the forefront of two National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference events since the inaugural one, which took place in Alberta in November 2018.  

Those events, Day says, have helped push the First Nations cannabis file forward by establishing dialogue.  

“We’ve had federal and provincial governments with us all along, so where the Chiefs of Ontario and the AFN [Assembly of First Nations] may have not have been able to actually move this file, you know, being the former regional chief I understand the food chain, the political apparatus in the federal family, and I’ve been able to keep this ball rolling,” he said.

Day says that through Bimaadzwin’s work with the national cannabis conferences and talks with more than a dozen First Nations, the messaging surrounding First Nations involvement in the cannabis industry has been clear – even if the process is not. 

“The playing field is not level, I’ll say that much,” said Day. “The First Nations are saying, ‘listen, if we’re recognized as jurisdictions, if we are seen as First Nations, if reconciliation is real – then we should be able to do this as well.’”

Participation in Mainstream Industry Purpose of Anishinabek Cannabis Gathering on May 25

 

(Serpent River First Nation — May 23, 2019) The third Anishinabek Cannabis Gathering will be held this Saturday in Wahnipatae First Nation. The first two gatherings were held in Alderville and Pikwakanagan First Nations. All three communities currently have cannabis dispensaries that combined generate millions of dollars annually in revenue, as well as millions of dollars in income for community members.

“First Nations in Ontario, and across the country, are declaring their interests and rights to participate in this industry,” said Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin, and co-ordinator of the gatherings. “This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a foothold in a multi-billion-dollar market that will never disappear, that will continue to grow.”

 

“Let’s not forget that when the prohibition on alcohol was lifted in the 1930s, First Nations were not allowed to leave their reserves. Even up to the 1960s, First Nations were not allowed to purchase alcohol at Ontario run liquor stores. Today, the prohibition on cannabis is over, and our Peoples are ready grow and sell this natural green commodity to mainstream Canadians.

 

“For those First Nation retailers who are currently operating, there are a number of urgent priorities. They want to be seen as legitimate businesses in the eyes of the community and leadership,” said Day. “This means they are eager to operate under community cannabis laws. They also want to safely operate under Health Canada regulations and provincial laws.”

 

A good example of the impact the cannabis industry has had in one geographical area over the past year is at Pikwakanagan First Nation on Golden Lake. The seven dispensaries that have formed the Pikwakanagan Cannabis Business Association currently employ about 100 people, who earn an estimated $2.8 million income annually. This number continues to grow. Some employees are seniors who work part-time to supplement their pensions. Indigenous cannabis business leaders are also stressing their commitment to train, hire and help advance the socio-economic interests of people who would previously be seen as unemployable.

 

“Pikwakanagan is about a 90-minute drive from the City of Ottawa. Since the three provincially regulated cannabis dispensaries opened in Ottawa on April 1st, cannabis sales actually increased in Pikwakanagan,” said Day. “In fact, business has also increased for the local gas stations, restaurants, and businesses both on and off-reserve in the Golden Lake area. As long as consumers recognize that they are able to purchase quality cannabis, they will make the trip from the Ottawa—Gatineau area.

 

“In the meantime, there are a number of First Nation communities in Ontario who are currently drafting cannabis by-laws. In the years to come, these communities will be involved in producing, processing and selling. They will also establish a network that has the potential to become a significant economic generator for generations to come.

 

“At the end of the day, every single Indigenous individual or community who wants to either invest, or become directly involved in the cannabis industry, has the potential to grow and prosper for many years to come,” concluded Day. “That economic potential must also be respected, accepted, even celebrated by mainstream governments who realize that our Peoples have every right to grow their economies, locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.”

For information on the Anishinabek Cannabis Gathering, visit   https://bimaadzwin.ca/anishinabek-cannabis-gathering/

#RedDressDay

#MMIWG #RedDressDay #MMIWG2S

Today is Red Dress Day – signifying the honour and prayers for lost and stolen sisters and their safe return and peace, in cases where their lives have been taken.
Angela Trudeau displayed this dress outside of our residence in Sault Ste Marie. We live on a busy street where people will not only see beauty, they will wonder why? If they don’t already know about this important social justice movement in our Indigenous community and in Our Nations, they should. 
 
We at Bimaadzwin express our appreciation, support and gratitude to all the families, communities, allies, advocates and activists who are working to heal and bring awareness and justice for Indigenous women, girls and two spirited people.
 
The video below is a DJ set shared by Boogey the Beat in 2014 in honour of MMIWG. Sadly, it remains relevant today.

Bimaadzwin Reaction to Provincial Budget 2019: Ontario and First Nations agree that Federal Transfer Payments are key to creating wealth and the conditions to be open for business

(Serpent River First Nation, April 11, 2019) “Today’s provincial budget – the first by the Doug Ford Conservative government – makes a point that the current system of federal transfers is ‘broken and not working.’ As a former First Nation leader, I sympathize with Finance Minister Vic Fedeli’s concerns. Nationally, First Nations are promised billions of dollars annually in programs and services, but it never seems to reach the communities.”

To quote today’s budget: ‘It is critical that the federal government treat Ontario’s businesses, individuals, and families fairly and support them through adequate transfer agreements, not more red tape and administrative burdens.’

“For First Nations in Ontario – and across Canada – this sounds very familiar – ‘red tape and administrative burdens’.  Just like the provinces and territories, First Nations need to break free of red tape and bureaucracy in Ottawa,” said Day. “At the same time, First Nations should no longer have to sit and wait for federal and provincial budgets to treat our peoples like line items in a budget.

“Just like the Province of Ontario, First Nations need to assert our jurisdictions through long term reliable, sustainable federal fiscal transfers that will go directly to our own authorities, regions, and communities. For example, the British Columbia First Nations Health Authority will receive $4.7 billion in direct federal transfer payments over the next decade, with the Province of BC adding $84 million.  This is First Nation health care delivered by First Nations.

“In 2017, the federal government announced that Indigenous Services Canada will download its funding and services, which includes health, to First Nation authorities and communities, within five years,” noted Day. “We now have a little over 3 years at the least to build capacity in our regions and communities in order to prepare to take control of our own services for our own peoples. This is how we will assert Nationhood.

“In closing, I am disappointed there was no mention of First Nations in today’s budget speech, other than the search for “willing Indigenous partners” to help develop the Ring of Fire minerals in the Far North. I predict that Ontario will have to search long and hard before our Peoples are ready to be open for resource development business. Our priority will always remain protecting the lands and waters for our children — and for all peoples across the country, and around the world.”

Universal Healthcare Coverage for All means Indigenous Wellbeing must be established as a High Priority

World Health Day 2019 is observed worldwide on 7th of April. It is also a day that should remind Canadians that the health care system in Canada continues to be a racialized system that is evidenced in the poor health outcomes of First Nations as opposed to the country’s non-indigenous population.

“The health conditions generally in First Nation communities do not represent equitable health with the rest of Canadians. In fact, there has been a lack of follow-through on Reconciliation as a catalyst to health partnerships,” said Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin and former Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Health at the Assembly of First Nations.  “This lack of commitment is glaring and is proving to show through in the federal government’s poor funding of critical issues like responding to suicides in First Nations. 

“This is why we at Bimaadzwin are advocates for the World Health Organization’s efforts to raise global awareness on health equity issues such as the importance of health and wellness, and equal access to health care professionals and facilities.” 

“Canada’s 2019 Budget is not indicative of a solutions-based approach toward issues of mental health and addictions – which is unsettling, to say the least,” said Day. “The multi-generational impacts of colonialism, residential schools and a grossly underfunded indigenous healthcare system has certainly exasperated the health conditions of the Indigenous community, only leaving one obvious solution – adequate funding. This flies in the face of what World Health Day represents this year.”

Theme of World Health Day 2019

Just like 2018, the theme of World Health Day 2019 is Universal health coverage, according to the World Health Organisation. WHO sees its key aim to ensure that everyone can obtain the care they need, when they need it, right in the heart of the community. WHO chose “Universal Health Coverage” as the theme for World Health Day 2019. Steps are being taken to achieve Universal health coverage for everyone, everywhere and the slogan is “Health for All”.

Bimaadzwin and our team aim to work with First Nation communities to advance their Nationhood objectives in all sectors, including health governance and community planning. Contact us for information and how to get started on making First Nation Health Transformation a reality.

For more information you can reach Bryan Hendry at: bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca or 613-863-1764

Bimaadzwin Federal Budget Reaction: Nationhood Needs to be Addressed in order to build First Nation Economies and Happy, Healthy Communities

(North Caribou Lake First Nation, March 20, 2019) “The highlight of yesterday’s federal budget is that it will be easier for millennials to buy new homes. However, far too many of the First Nation generation who grew up under the two-decade 2 per cent funding cap will continue to suffer in third world housing conditions,” said Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, CEO of Bimaadzwin. “If the federal government were truly serious about reconciliation, the focus on funding should have been on nation building, housing, and economic development. An extra $4.4 billion over four years on program spending, which includes $100 million for economic development, is not much of an investment.

“First of all, I want to commend the federal government for its continued commitment to eliminate Boil Water Advisories (BWAs) within the next two years. But clean drinking water is just one determinant of health. Like all Canadians take for granted, First Nations need clean drinking water flowing out of taps in homes that are safe to live in,” said Day. “As it stands in 2019, just as it did in 1999, First Nation housing remains in crisis. We need at least $8 billion nationally, which includes $2 billion in Ontario and $3 billion in Manitoba.

“On the same day as the federal budget, there was a headline about a four-month old First Nation baby who died after being taken from its mother in Manitoba. This baby is another victim of an Indian Act system that perpetuates poverty and helplessness. This baby’s mother grew up under a two per cent funding cap that has resulted in at least $25 to $30 billion in lost federal funding. This is the reason why we have children taken from their parents. This is the reason why we have children suffering from lung and skin diseases as a result of living in moldy, cold, overcrowded homes.

“On a positive note, I am currently working in North Caribou Lake First Nation, which just received a national Community Housing Recognition Award for the work being done by Housing Manager Gary Benson and his construction team of community members. This is an example of how leadership and commitment can make a positive difference when there is a focus on addressing the human right to housing.”

In August 2017, Indian And Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) was split into two departments – Indigenous Services and Crown-Indigenous Relations. At the same time, the First Nation and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) was absorbed into Indigenous Services. It was also announced that Indigenous Services would be dissolved within 5 years, by 2022, in order to be placed in direct control of First Nation governments.

“We have yet to see how First Nations will take control of our own destinies. In order to truly build our Nations, we need to be our own bureaucrats in order to address our own priorities,” said Day. “In order to assume control of our services and economies, we need to begin now to build capacity in our regional and local systems of government. This means we need the same level of control as provincial and territorial governments.

“True Nationhood will only occur when we have federal budgets in 2022 and beyond that directly transfer so many billions of dollars per year to our own economies and services,” concluded Day. “For the sake of our children, we must act now to build our Nations and control our destinies.”

For more information, please contact Bryan Hendry, Director of Marketing and Communications, at 613-863-1764 or bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca

 

 

 

 

Indigenous Cannabis Consortium to be launched at National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference

“Now is the Time for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples to Secure Their Position in the Global Cannabis Market”

 

Serpent River, Ontario, Jan. 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — “The second National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference (NICHC) to be held in Ottawa, February 19-21, represents a significant opportunity for First Nations and Indigenous peoples to secure a significant competitive position in the national and global cannabis and hemp markets,” said Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin, and publisher of Growth and Prosperity Magazine at https://bimaadzwin.ca/magazine/

“The first NICHC brought together  a national consortium and working group that is focused on supporting those Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities who want to participate in the cannabis market,” said Mr. Day. “There are a number of questions and concerns on policy, process, and participation that we need answered at next month’s conference.”

Key Open Questions Include:

Indigenous communities must be able to fully participate in Canada’s cannabis industry and the global market – from seed to sale – in a manner that respects our sovereignty, community by-laws and global commercial reality. When will the government provide clarity on critical issues?

Indigenous communities want to have the ability to sell cannabis products to their own members, the Canadian public, and also export internationally. How do we as First Nation companies establish ourselves to compete across all markets? If cannabis products are tested and meet current Health Canada standards, will there be any other federal/provincial barriers to full commercial participation?

How can Indigenous communities access federal health and education funding to understand and communicate cannabis health risks and benefits, especially to inform and protect our youth and to support our harm reduction challenges? We have specific concerns about edibles and derivative products as they aren’t well understood or tested but are soon expected to come to the market.  

“We know that Wiisag,  a First Nation cannabis company, and one of the invited participants,  deals with these types of questions every day. We have heard that they have been working out these questions with every community and entrepreneur they have been forming alliances and partnerships with,” added Mr. Day.

“We are extremely excited to have Wiisag participate in the second National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference.  They seem to stir up much excitement among the participants with their vision of a national and international Indigenous brand,” said conference organizer Howard Silver.

“Wiisag is looking forward to another great experience and thanks the tremendous efforts of Bimaadzwin and the conference organizers for extending Wiisag the opportunity to participate and engage with all of the conferecnce participants.  We wish everyone safe travels,“ said Jake Linklater, Executive Chairman of Wiisag.

The conference opens with a reception at the Ottawa Shaw Centre on the evening of February 19th, sponsored by Bimaadzwin, Wiisag, and the Capital Hill Group. Parliamentarians have been invited to attend. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor is one of many conference speakers. For details on the 2nd National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference, please visit: www.nichc.ca

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Bryan Hendry
Bimaadzwin
6138631764
bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca