The southern B.C. First Nation of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc has shared new details about the search that brought the deaths of Indigenous children at residential school into the national and international spotlight.
Sarah Beaulieu, who performed the search using ground-penetrating radar, or GPR, said Thursday that nothing has changed substantively since her initial findings, though she did reduce the number of probable gravesites to 200 from 215.
“Which is why we need to pull back a little bit and say that they are ‘probable burials,’ they are ‘targets of interest,’ for sure,” said Dr. Beaulieu, who has about a decade of experience searching for historic grave sites, including working with the RCMP and other First Nations communities.
She said the investigation has “barely scratched the surface,” covering just under two acres of the total 160-acre residential school site in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory. Searchers were alerted to an orchard area around the former Kamloops Indian Residential School site after the discovery of a child’s tooth, a juvenile rib bone found by a tourist, and the stories of elders and knowledge keepers.
“All residential school landscapes are likely to contain burials and missing children,” she said. “And remote sensing such as GPR merely provides some spatial specificity to this truth.”
Opinion: This is a crime scene. When will Canada take responsibility for bringing about justice?
Read more: Kamloops, St. Eugene’s, Marieval: What we know about residential schools’ unmarked graves so far
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Former chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance faces criminal charge
Former chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance, who is under investigation over allegations of sexual misconduct, has been charged with obstruction of justice.
After months of controversy in the Canadian Armed Forces over allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Vance and other senior military leaders, the Department of National Defence released a statement that said the retired general was charged under the Criminal Code on Thursday.
Mr. Vance has not publicly commented on the charge.
Documents filed in court allege Mr. Vance “did willfully attempt to obstruct the course of justice in a judicial proceeding by repeatedly contacting” an individual by phone and “attempting to persuade her to make false statements about their past relationship” to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.
Nova Scotia police get direct access to alerting
Police in Nova Scotia have been given direct access to a system that can sound alerts on all cellphones in a declared radius. This access is being afforded to police in the province 15 months after communications breakdowns caused that same system to stay silent as a gunman killed 22 people.
On Thursday, the province announced it has trained the RCMP and Halifax Regional Police on how to directly use the national public altering system, also known as Alert Ready. This way police officers at these forces will alert the public themselves without having to work with the province’s emergency management organization.
The statement announcing these changes did not make reference to the well-documented and time-consuming RCMP-EMO problems that occurred during the gunman’s 13-hour massacre in April, 2020. A public inquiry is to release reports next year on several issues, including the two agencies’ breakdowns in alerting, when it probes what led to the massacre now known as the worst mass-shooting in Canadian history.
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ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Relentless heat is scorching crops across Western Canada: Extreme heat and dry conditions have devastated crops across Canada, scorching and stunting key agricultural products as farmers brace for the potential of more unfavourable weather and try to minimize their losses. Plants are wilting and, in some cases, dying. Irrigation reservoirs are getting low and farmers are rationing water.
One-time wealth tax could generate $60-billion in revenue: A one-time tax on Canadians with more than $10-million in net wealth would generate about $60-billion in new revenue, according to a new report by Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux. Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said on Thursday that he hopes the findings encourage more debate about new taxes on extreme wealth to pay for government services.
Several people injured after tornado hits Barrie, Ont: Eight people were taken to hospital, four of them with serious injuries, after a tornado carved a path of destruction through part of the Southern Ontario city Thursday, local officials said. Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman said that while the tornado caused extensive property damage, no deaths were reported and no one appeared to be unaccounted for.
New Manitoba Indigenous Reconciliation Minister defends residential schools on first day: Manitoba’s new minister overseeing Indigenous relations defended Canada’s residential school system minutes after he was sworn into cabinet, saying he thinks the people responsible for the institutions believed they were “doing the right thing” at the time. Alan Lagimodiere, who is Métis, was appointed after revelations Wednesday of a surprise resignation by his predecessor.
At least 60 people dead as floods sweep through Western Europe: More than 60 people have died and dozens were missing Thursday as severe flooding in Germany and Belgium turned streams and streets into raging torrents that swept away cars and caused houses to collapse. Among those killed were nine residents of an assisted living facility for people with disabilities and two firefighters involved in rescue efforts across the region.
World shares steady: Global shares held steady while U.S. Treasury yields hovered near multi-month lows on Friday, with markets looking to U.S. consumer data as the next test of the Federal Reserve’s dovish rates outlook. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.40 per cent while Germany’s DAX added 0.38 per cent. France’s CAC 40 slid 0.07 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.98 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.03 per cent. New York futures were treading water. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.53 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
As Canada reopens, Black-owned spaces for gathering bring new possibilities
“Protecting Black space, then, has been at the forefront of community conversations. For example, Reclaim, Rebuild Eg West, a youth-run, grassroots group, has organized in support of Toronto’s historically Black neighbourhood of “Little Jamaica” along Eglinton West. The area has experienced undue economic burden amid lockdowns, rampant gentrification, and a seemingly endless and sprawling light-rail transit construction project.” – Rodney Diverlus
Remembering Canada’s front-line health workers, and the pandemics they fought against
“To be sure, Canada’s experience in 1847 is worth commemorating all on its own. The scale of mass immigration and death from disease that Canada witnessed was monumental, dwarfing our contemporary experiences of landing Syrian refugees and battling the COVID-19 pandemic. How the country coped with that influx 20 years before Confederation is a remarkable story.” – The Globe and Mail Editorial Board
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Which hobbies will stick around, after the pandemic?
Some of the hobbies that so many Canadians adopted to fill long hours in lockdown might be left in the past as the world reopens, becoming fond memories to look back on – time-killers and distraction techniques Canadians were pushed to in search of structure and meaning. But for many, these hobbies presented to them something new, like a stronger sense of community, moments of calm focus that many are hesitant to give up now that lockdown restrictions are lifting and life inches toward normal.
MOMENT IN TIME: July 16, 1862
African-American journalist and activist Ida B. Wells is born
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them,” Ida B. Wells once said. An African-American journalist known for her investigative reporting on lynching in the South, Wells lived by these words. Wells was born into slavery in Mississippi on this day in 1862, less than a year before Emancipation. When her parents and a brother died in a yellow-fever epidemic, 16-year-old Wells worked as a teacher to support her siblings. She later moved to Memphis and became the co-owner and editor of The Memphis Free Speech and Headlight. After her friend was lynched by a white mob in 1892, Wells travelled across the south and conducted eyewitness interviews to disprove the racist stereotype that Black men were rapists, which was often used to justify these hate crimes. Her reporting found that in most mob murders, rape was never an accusation, and that lynching was instead used to retaliate against Black people for their economic success. After she published these exposés in her newspaper, a mob destroyed her press and drove her out of Memphis, prompting her to move to Chicago. She continued advocating for civil rights until she died of kidney disease in 1931. – Chantelle Lee