The RCMP are investigating whether two scientists dismissed from Canada’s top-security infectious disease laboratory passed on Canadian intellectual property to China, including to the Wuhan Institute of virology. According to a source, the probe centres on the possibility that materials such as plasma DNA molecules, which could be used to recreate vaccines or viruses, were transferred without the approval of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The Globe and Mail has also learned that the RCMP have been informed that Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, recently relocated to China after they were fired in January from the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg.
As part of the criminal probe of the couple, the RCMP investigation has expanded to determine how two People’s Liberation Army scientists gained access to the Winnipeg lab, a Level-4 facility equipped to handle some of the world’s most dangerous viruses. The probe began in July, 2019 when the couple and an unknown number of students from China lost their security clearances and were escorted out of the Winnipeg facility.
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Remains of 182 people in unmarked graves found near St. Eugene Mission residential school in B.C.
Two First Nations say a search using ground-penetrating radar has found the remains of 182 people in unmarked graves at a site close to a former residential school in the southern Interior of British Columbia. The leadership of the Ktunaxa community of Aqam says several factors make it difficult to establish whether the unmarked graves contain the remains of children who attended the institution.
Grief and anger have intensified in recent weeks after announcements by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation in British Columbia and Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan of the discovery of nearly 1,000 unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools.
Much of the outrage is aimed at the Catholic Church, which ran the majority of the schools. On Wednesday, police said they were investigating a suspicious fire at the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church in Indian Brook, N.S., the latest after a string of fires reported in B.C. and Alberta. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde has said that he understands the anger, but that “to burn things down is not our way.”
Bellegarde is hoping that an Indigenous delegation travelling to the Vatican will lead to Pope Francis apologizing in Canada for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools. He noted, though, that there are no guarantees. The head of bishops in Canada has said that he won’t commit his organization to ask for a papal apology.
Read more: Cost to search for unmarked graves, identify remains at residential schools could exceed $1-billion
Explainer: St. Eugene, Marieval, Kamloops residential schools: What we know about the unmarked graves, and Canada’s reaction so far
Record-breaking heat wave believed to kill hundreds in B.C., especially elderly people living alone
A record-shattering heat wave in Western Canada and the northwestern United States is believed to have killed hundreds of people in British Columbia, with many being elderly people who lived alone. B.C. Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe urged British Columbians to check on friends, family and neighbours.
The heat wave has wreaked havoc across B.C., causing huge backlogs in emergency response and pushing schools and restaurants to close. Fans are sold out as soon as shelves are restocked and many hotels across the region were fully booked on the hottest days by locals seeking an air-conditioned reprieve. The village of Lytton broke the record for hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada for three consecutive days, reaching 49.6 Celsius on Tuesday.
The “heat dome” responsible for the extreme temperatures is expected to continue moving east, with Albertans bracing for the arrival of hotter temperatures today. Premier Jason Kenney said Alberta’s emergency-management agency is keeping an eye on the situation and urged people to take precautions to cope with the heat.
Keewaywin First Nation plans Day of Mourning on July 1 as multiple communities cancel, revise Canada Day plans
In Keewaywin First Nation, a remote community in Northwestern Ontario, there will be no Canada Day fireworks or festivities as in previous years. Instead, there will be a candlelight vigil outside the band office to honour the hundreds of Indigenous children believed to be buried in unmarked graves recently uncovered at former Indian residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. And on Wednesday, 182 unmarked graves were found near a residential school in southeastern B.C.
The community is one of a growing number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities that are either cancelling or revising their Canada Day events to show respect and support to Indigenous people, many of whom have been devastated by the recent gravesite discoveries.
The federal government has opted to move ahead with its virtual celebrations that it says will feature Indigenous artists and musicians. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday at a press conference that there will be a lot of conversations this Canada Day, and reflection about how people can commit to reconciliation and justice.
Read more: Peace Tower flag to remain at half-mast for Canada Day to honour residential school victims, Trudeau says
Decibel podcast on #CancelCanadaDay: Assistant Professor Crystal Fraser on how she sees Canada, as a historian and an Indigenous person, and how we can reflect on the history of Canada.
Subscribe to our Olympics newsletter: Going for gold under the cloud of COVID-19 makes the Tokyo Summer Games an Olympics like no other. Tokyo Olympics Update is here to help you make sense of it all, with original stories from Globe reporters in Canada and Tokyo, tracking Team Canada’s medal wins, and past Olympic moments from iconic performances.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Last night: Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final
The Montreal Canadiens fall behind 2-0 in the series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Habs will play at home for the next two games at the Bell Centre.
Trump’s company and CFO expected to face criminal charges today, source says
Former U.S. president Donald Trump’s namesake company and its chief financial officer are expected to be criminally charged today in Manhattan. Charges have been expected to focus on whether Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and other officials received perks and benefits such as rent-free apartments and leased cars without reporting them properly on their tax returns.
Death toll in Florida condo collapse rises to 18
Search crews going through the ruins of a Florida condo tower found six more bodies in the rubble Wednesday, bringing the number of confirmed dead to 18. It was the biggest one-day toll since the building collapsed almost a week ago. The number of residents unaccounted for stands at 147, including four Canadians.
Will third doses of COVID-19 vaccines be necessary for immunocompromised people?
Tens of thousands of Canadian transplant recipients are waiting to see if more can be done to protect them from COVID-19 – including offering them a third shot, as France is already doing. The elderly and people with HIV, certain cancers and autoimmune disorders could be in line for a third shot, too, if research shows that extra doses prod weaker immune systems into action.
Princes William and Harry to unveil Princess Diana statue in London as royal rift simmers
Royal watchers will be looking closely for any signs of a truce – or deepening rift – today when Princes William and Harry unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Despite growing up as close brothers, links are now painfully strained as William sits in London defending the Royal Family from allegations of racism and insensitivity made by Harry and his wife, Meghan, from their new home in Southern California.
Canada Day puzzle
Ready for The Globe and Mail’s giant Canada Day crossword puzzle? Test your mental mettle with this brain-twisting assortment of word, logic and number puzzles by Fraser Simpson.
Europe’s financial markets made a solid start to the second half of the year on Thursday, with stocks brushing off a rapid re-acceleration in the region’s coronavirus cases and both the dollar and oil extending their strong first half rallies, while Canada’s TSX is closed for the Canada Day holiday. Just before 7 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 is up 0.60 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.07 per cent and 0.18 per cent respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished off down 0.29 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.57 per cent. The Canadian dollar was trading at 80.67 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Joan Baxter: “The Atlantic bubble was seen as symbolizing the region’s “spirit of pandemic unity,” and it served us well. But what is needed next is not a regional or even a national bubble. Rather, we need a worldwide one to address inequities in access to vaccines and health care, and to take on the massive challenges of climate change, which will cause disproportionate suffering for those who are least responsible for it.”
Robyn Urback: “What remains indisputable is that there is an extraordinarily high bar for ministerial missteps – just so long as the minister stays faithful to the party. Whether he or she is faithful to constituents is less a matter of concern.”
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Are you tired of cooking?
For some during the pandemic, cooking has offered a chance to rest and treat one’s self with kindness. For others, cooking has become a slog. So what’s going to happen, postpandemic?
MOMENT IN TIME: July 1, 1916
Newfoundland Regiment sustains huge losses
The soldiers of the Newfoundland Regiment whistled and sang their way to the trenches the night before their big attack in the Battle of the Somme during the First World War. But the following morning, their bravado was gone. The regiment ran into a death trap when they began their advance on the French village of Beaumont-Hamel at 9:15 a.m., exposed to heavy German machine guns the Allied artillery had failed to knock out. No unit suffered heavier losses in the months-long Somme offensive, which was one of the deadliest in history. When the fighting paused after that first day, only 68 men in the Newfoundland Regiment were able to answer their names at roll call – 324 were killed, missing or presumed dead, and 386 were wounded. “The Germans actually mowed us down like sheep,” recalled Private James McGrath, who was shot three times and spent 17 hours trying to get back to Allied trenches. The attack was a devastating failure, exposing fatal mistakes by the British commanders, and turned July 1 into an official day of remembrance in Newfoundland and Labrador to honour the terrible sacrifice of the soldiers who fought at Beaumont-Hamel. Greg Mercer