The Cowessess First Nation said it has discovered hundreds of unmarked graves at a former residential school site in Saskatchewan. It’s expected to hold a press briefing on Thursday morning on the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School to explain the “horrific and shocking” discovery. The First Nation has been working with experts, knowledge keepers and survivors who attended the school as part of its effort to identify unmarked graves at the site of the institution’s cemetery.
Kisha Supernant, director of the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology at the University of Alberta, said though she was surprised by the number of remains that had been found, the country needs to brace itself for similar discoveries. “We need to prepare for the fact that there will be other schools, probably with similar numbers,” said Dr. Supernant, who is Métis. “But I also really want to emphasize that any number of unmarked graves around a school is horrible: there should not be a school with a cemetery.”
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett’s office declined to issue a statement, saying it wants to hold off on comments until the community has had a chance to address the public. The federal government has earmarked some $27-million in funding that it said Indigenous communities can use to further investigate former residential school sites.
Read more: Alberta commits $8-million to locate and honour victims at residential school sites
More context: Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations to receive funding for research of burial sites
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Ottawa takes House Speaker to court to block release of unredacted documents
The Liberal government has filed an application in Federal Court asking it to block the release of unredacted documents related to the firing of two scientists at Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory. House Speaker Anthony Rota, a Liberal MP, who ruled that the Public Health Agency of Canada must turn over the documents to Parliament, is named as the respondent in the matter. The government has cited national security concerns in its petition to the court.
Rota has vowed to defend the rights of the House, noting that the court cannot interfere in its jurisdiction, and fight the government on the matter. The move has left opposition MPs shocked, who point to the supremacy of parliamentary privilege.
Context: Top public-health official defies Parliament and refuses to release documents on fired scientists
Environmental groups could ignore orders from Kenney inquiry
Dozens of leading environmental groups that were served notice to explain their sources of revenue are unsure whether they are obligated to comply with Alberta’s inquiry into foreign funding of anti-energy campaigns. The inquiry, struck in 2019, was meant to fulfil a 2019 campaign pledge by Premier Jason Kenney, but legal experts have said it’s done more damage to the energy industry than good.
During the campaign, Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based think tank, became the poster child for Kenney’s call for an inquiry, with the Premier alleging that Alberta’s oil patch is being maligned by environmental groups dependent on foreign money. But between 2006 and 2008, the think tank received less from international grants than from oil and gas companies that have contracted the institute to help find environmental solutions, about $5-million compared with $5.2-million.
“International engagement is fine when you’re talking about corporate dollars, but it’s not fine when it’s talking about environmental policies? It doesn’t make sense,” said Pembina’s deputy executive director Simon Dyer.
Catch the latest Decibel: Meet Dr. Vett Lloyd, who has made it her life’s work to understand ticks after a brush with Lyme disease herself. She joins host Tamara Khandaker to share tips on how to avoid getting bitten, what to do if you discover the parasite on you, a loved one or your pet and why there isn’t a vaccine against the disease on the market.
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ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Senate to sit extra days to deal with budget bill, but broadcasting legislation to undergo thorough study
Senators agreed to sit for an additional two days next week so they can pass the budget bill and likely another bill that would require the federal government to set national targets aimed at reducing carbon emissions. What is less likely to pass before the summer recess are Bill C-10, controversial legislation that updates the Broadcasting Act, and Bill C-6, which seeks to ban the practice of conversion therapy.
Garneau to visit Israel, West Bank to push for two-state solution
Canada’s top diplomat, Marc Garneau, is scheduled to travel to Israel and the West Bank soon in an effort to advance a two-state solution. His visit comes weeks after Hamas and Israel agreed to a ceasefire, which brought an end to 11 days of deadly clashes, and is part of an international trip that will see him meet with his G20 counterparts in Italy.
‘I want my life back’: Britney Spears petitions judge to be released from ‘abusive’ conservatorship
In a lengthy, emotional speech, Britney Spears asked a judge yesterday to end her court conservatorship, calling it an “abusive” arrangement that has done her “way more harm than good.” Spears said it’s forced her to use birth control and take other medications against her will. The pop star has been under the conservatorship controlled in part by her father since 2008, which was put in place after she experienced a mental-health crisis.
Civil liberties group calls on Liberal Party to end use of facial recognition technology
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, in a letter to the Liberal Party, urged it to halt its use of facial recognition technology to verify the identity of members voting in candidate nominations. Though its use does not run afoul of Canadian privacy laws – as political parties are exempt – using the tool amounts to a tacit endorsement of “unreliable, racist technology,” the group said.
Cities across Canada contend with homeless encampments
A Toronto Police raid of a homeless encampment earlier this week has set off a wider debate across Canadian cities over how to respond to the growing number of tent villages. Mayor John Tory argued that it was more compassionate to get people off the streets, but critics said the city’s approach was heavy-handed.
Global shares edged up on Thursday, while the U.S. dollar steadied below an 11-week high as investors reassessed U.S. Federal Reserve statements on inflation and looked to upcoming data for direction. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE rose 0.23 per cent while investors await a Bank of England meeting for the latest clues about how soon stimulus could be withdrawn. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC were up 0.80 per cent and 1.03 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended flat. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.23 per cent. The Canadian dollar was trading at 81.34 U.S. cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
John Ibbitson: “... It probably wasn’t clever Liberal scheming that is leading Parliament yet again to promise but not deliver on the conversion therapy bill. It’s just that almost no one, on either side of the aisle, cares enough about protecting sexual- and gender-minority children to really push for the bill to become law. And that’s a damn shame.”
Konrad Yakabuski: “Already facing criticism for the church’s refusal to apologize for abuses committed by clergy at Indigenous residential schools, it remains unclear whether the CCCB would risk more public controversy now by following its U.S. counterpart in issuing new guidance on communion, a move that would be seen as sanctioning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his pro-choice policies. But that may not stop individual bishops from doing so.”
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
10 uplifting new reads to restore your faith in humanity
Unwind from the stresses, complications and irritants of pandemic life with this slate of new arrivals. From a Regency romp to the romantic hijinks of three friends ready to call it quits with dating apps, these reads are the perfect mood-lifters for those caught up in the pandemic doldrums.
MOMENT IN TIME: June 24, 1819
Queen Victoria is christened
What was meant to be a joyous regal occasion ended up tarnished by a family squabble because of a difficult uncle. On this day in 1819, the future Queen Victoria was christened at Kensington Palace. Her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, had proposed names to George IV, the Prince Regent who was reigning while George III was ill. The Prince Regent accepted the name Alexandrina, after the Russian Czar Alexander, who would serve as a godparent, but rejected Georgiana, after himself, because he felt his name shouldn’t come before – or after – the czar’s. He dismissed Charlotte, his late daughter’s name, and Augusta, which he found too majestic. The question of the baby’s name lingered until the big day, when the archbishop presided over a tense affair and found himself looking around for guidance. “Give her the mother’s name also then,” the Prince Regent told him. Her mother went by Victoire. Thus, the baby became Alexandrina Victoria and was known as Drina as a child. Victoria was considered an unusual, foreign name, but since her father had three older brothers, it was unlikely she would inherit the throne – or leave her name on countless cities, streets and landmarks. Joy Yokoyama