Traditional practices such as hunting, fishing and trapping are essential to First Nations and guaranteed in treaty rights. In order to foster these industries, SCO aims to help protect the environment so the habitat required allows for these industries to grow. We will also look to expand access to both regional and international markets related to these fields by reaching out to industry at home and abroad to find the best prices for our members products. We with partner with accredited first and weapons safety groups to ensure the safest possible practices. With calls from the province to begin to regulate certain aspects of hunting, Grand Chief Jerry Daniels feels it best to put mechanisms in place to ensure that treaty rights are respected and any regulation related to them is managed by First Nations communities themselves.
The structure of this Hunting Association will initially be two full time staff who would work to build a network of traditional practitioners from SCO nations, to build connections with industry and to act as liaison with Manitobans to ensure that any concerns they have regarding these traditional practices are addressed. They will work with elders to build a governance structure and work with industry to minimize costs and maximize returns. They will look into innovative ways to use any waste products, such as scraps for pet food, fish emulsion for fertilizers and top dressing for landscaping. They will work with groups like Ducks Unlimited to restore marshland which provides habitat for hunting, fishing, traditional medicines and foods like wild rice. This will also begin to address long term flood mitigation as marshlands can hold significant amounts of water and disperse them slowly. As they are also massive carbon sinks, funding should be available to move this forward once the new carbon tax is in.
In conjunction with the Assembly of First Nations, we held a Housing Conference in Brandon to begin to address the housing crisis faced by SCO member nations. To accomplish this, we brought Red River College to speak on capacity building in relation to housing, from trades to admin and management of related industries. We brought Fisher River to speak on their successes with Castle to address the supply side capacity issues related to home building. We brought the Canadian Red Cross in to speak on the emergency management related to housing. We also brought various community members to speak on different housing projects they have on the go in order to show options that are already working. From SCO we spoke on disability access and a cost benefit analysis of a variety of housing models as well as mold mitigation in order to allow our member nations to have a full, holistic picture of the options they have in regards to housing.
To build on this work, we have begun to build a Housing Authority which will continue to facilitate a solution to the housing crisis faced by our member nations. Pending approval it will employ 5 full time positions with an aim to build a five and ten year plan to address housing, to create pilot programs for innovative housing styles, to reduce maintenance costs and mold mitigation and to begin to create the capacity for disaster and emergency management through a partnership with the red cross. This will be done with full consultation with all SCO members to address the housing and related funding shortfalls.