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The head of Canada’s most prominent advocacy group for Indigenous women chastised the federal government on Thursday for its response to a Globe and Mail story detailing the overrepresentation of Indigenous women in federal prisons.

The article cited information from Canada’s prison ombudsman, who said Indigenous women now make up half the female population in federal penitentiaries – a disproportionate figure, considering the fact that only about 5 per cent of Canadian women are Indigenous.

Asked about the issue in the House of Commons during Question Period on Thursday, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino acknowledged that the overrepresentation of Indigenous women in federal prisons is “unacceptable” and said the government would address the issue with a range of unspecified reforms.

Lynne Groulx, CEO of the Native Women’s Association, criticized Mendicino’s answer, saying “successive federal governments have failed to reduce the obscenely disproportionate incarceration rates of Indigenous women in Canada.”

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Philippine election brings Ferdinand Marcos Jr., scion of a dictatorial dynasty, within reach of the presidency

As the voices of a choir soar to a crescendo, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. raises a fist to his chest and speaks into the camera: “Together, we will rise again.”

The son of the late Philippine dictator with whom he shares a name, the younger Marcos, known as Bongbong, is poised to become the country’s next president when Filipinos go to the polls on May 9. Should he win, it will cap one of the most remarkable resurrections in Southeast Asian political history, as the once loathed and humiliated Marcos clan returns to power 36 years after protesters drove Ferdinand from office, reports The Globe’s James Griffiths.

Marcos has benefited from a campaign to reshape the narrative around the elder Marcos, casting him not as a brutal dictator and – along with his wife, Imelda – icon of kleptocracy, but instead as a patriotic hero who oversaw a period of economic stability and growth for the Philippines.

Nearly 15 million people died in first two years of pandemic, study finds

The first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic has killed nearly 15 million people around the world, a new detailed estimate from the World Health Organization has found.

The latest estimate, focusing on direct and indirect mortality caused by the pandemic, is nearly triple the official count of 5.4 million deaths in the same period. Deaths since January were not included in the study.

In releasing the new data on Thursday, the WHO said the world has vastly underestimated the true toll of the pandemic. Official statistics have undercounted the deaths caused directly by the coronavirus, while also missing the millions of deaths from indirect effects, such as those who died of other causes when they were turned away from hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Ukrainian fighters make their stand as battle rages at Mariupol steel plant: Ukrainian fighters in the tunnels underneath the embattled Mariupol steel plant held out against Russian troops Thursday in an increasingly desperate effort to deprive Moscow of its biggest success of the war yet: Fully capturing the strategic port city.

In a reversal, Nova Scotia scraps non-president property tax: Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston has decided to abandon a controversial plan to raise taxes on properties owned by non-residents, saying he was concerned the move would make his province appear unwelcoming to outsiders. The proposed tax would have tripled the levy for properties owned by those who don’t live in Nova Scotia year-round.

‘I felt pressured to say yes’: Indigenous women tell Senate committee they were coerced into sterilizations after giving birth: Testifying before the Senate’s human rights committee, several witnesses said they were coerced into receiving sterilization procedures after giving birth at hospitals, a problem advocates say is well enough known that it has made others reluctant to seek medical care.

BoC needs to do more to support economic reconciliation with Indigenous people, deputy governor says: The Bank of Canada is planning to step up efforts to advance economic reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, said Lawrence Schembri in his final speech as deputy governor. He said the central bank is consulting with Indigenous groups on an action plan, which it hopes to publish next year.

Tampa Bay Lightning talent present a real and present danger. But the Maple Leafs have stars, too: The Maple Leafs got their comeuppance in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Wednesday after Toronto had dominated Game 1. The Leafs now head to Florida with the hope that they can win on Friday or Sunday and return home in a strong position next Tuesday for Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.


MORNING MARKETS

World stocks fall: The U.S. dollar hit 20-year highs and world stocks fell towards their lowest in over a year on Friday as markets anticipated more U.S. interest rate rises, while Asian stocks fell on worries about the hit to growth from China’s zero-COVID policy. Just after 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.97 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 lost 1.3 per cent and 1.38 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended down 3.81 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei bucked the trend, closing up 0.69 per cent. New York futures were lower. The Canadian dollar was trading at 77.99 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Women’s rights are under attack. But that was already the case for Indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada

“In the U.S. and in Canada, women have been denied their reproductive rights and their right to choose what we want to do with their bodies. The outrage over the leaked Roe v. Wade decision is righteous and necessary – yet it also shows how far Indigenous women have had to climb for any resemblance of equality in the eyes of the public and the law.” - Tanya Talaga

More freedom or more death? That’s a pandemic quandary we have yet to solve

“The next time a worldwide disease strikes, we may not wish to be the United States, which suffered a staggering number of unnecessary deaths (a death rate more than three times higher than Canada’s, and 23 times higher than New Zealand’s) in the name of symbolic freedom from basic hygiene principles. Indeed, the U.S. still has a vaccination rate that is far too low to prevent deadly outbreaks. Nor would we want to be Shanghai – a place with neither freedom nor safety.” - Doug Saunders


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian Gabl/The Globe and Mail


MOMENT IN TIME: May 6, 1682

Louis XIV moves court to Versailles

A view of Versailles, as seen in the 1682.Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Prior to the reign of Louis XIV, France was a largely decentralized state. The monarch and his courtiers resided throughout the country at any given time, expected to work in conjunction with and remain answerable to France’s ministers. At the age of 23, the Sun King did away with this form of government, citing his divine right as God’s representative on Earth as justification to rule as an absolute monarch. In order to cement this absolutism, Louis XIV oversaw a great many transformations in the way his royal court functioned, with one of the most potent being his decision to officially inaugurate Versailles as the permanent location of the French monarch and his courtiers on this day in 1682. The Palace of Versailles soon became a defining symbol of Louis XIV’s absolute power, housing the entire court in gilded opulence. A centralized place of residence and rule allowed the king unhindered access to his noble subjects, commanding loyalty and impeding any potential plot against the throne. Versailles remains an emblem of all that the French monarchy gained – as well as all that it lost nearly a century later – from Louis XIV’s reign amid the Le Grand Siècle. Pascale Malenfant

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