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Canada Morning Update: Vatican opens door to apology for Catholic Church’s role in residential schools

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Pope Francis willing to reconcile with Canada’s Indigenous people, Vatican says

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In line with one of the calls to action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Vatican is opening the door to apologizing to Canada’s Indigenous people for abuse at Catholic-run Indian residential schools. In a speech at a private gathering in Ottawa late last month, Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, the Papal Nuncio, assured guests that “Pope Francis is not against a gesture of reconciliation.” He went on to say that the Pope “is willing to seek together ways that can foster the desired process of healing and reconciliation with and among the Indigenous peoples in this country.” While the Anglican, Presbyterian, and United Churches - the other three denominations that ran residential schools - have all apologized, the Catholic Church has not.

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B.C. inks deals with 31 cannabis producers to supply legal marijuana and paraphernalia

The Liquor Distribution Branch - which will be the only legal wholesaler of cannabis in British Columbia - announced Wednesday that it has entered into memorandums of understanding with 31 licensed cannabis producers (for subscribers). The move will ensure that come legalization this October, the government-run legal cannabis stores can offer more than 150 strains, ranging in quality from cheap to high-end, along with a range of paraphernalia. LDB plans to sell products at prices that will compete with - and eventually stamp out - the illegal market. The branch also plans to apply for municipal approval of its first provincial marijuana store, in a Kamloops shopping centre.

Hydro One board, CEO step down amid pressure from Ford government

After extensive pressure from Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the entire board of the Ontario electricity transmission and distribution utility is resigning. Its chief executive officer Mayo Schmidt is retiring immediately, with no severance pay. The new board will not be fully set until Aug. 15. Hydro One said in a news release issued the same day that it had agreed to “the orderly replacement of the board of directors” after discussions with the new government. Ford campaigned heavily on the promise to bring down high electricity rates in the province. However, in the past, Hydro One has objected to allegations that the company is responsible for increases in electricity prices, which are set by a public body, the Ontario Energy Board.

Venezuelan Canadians call out rising visitor-visa refusals

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Venezuelan Canadians say family members attempting to visit Canada have experienced disproportionate refusal rates for visitor visas. The number of refused visitor-visa applications from the country has grown as the country’s political stability has worsened: The government refused 468 applications in March, 2018, for example, a drastic increase from its 216 refusals in November, 2016. The families of those refused call this intentionally discriminatory. Among them is Gabriela Prada, a Venezuelan Canadian living in Gatineau, whose mother and sister were refused visitor visas this year. “What they are saying is because you live in this place, we are rejecting you,” Prada said. However, the federal Immigration Department says there have been no visa-policy changes for Venezuelan nationals, and that applications from around the world are treated equally.

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Doug Ford government scraps controversial Ontario sex-ed curriculum

Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson confirmed to reporters on Wednesday that the provincial government will repeal the controversial sex-ed curriculum rolled out by the Liberal government in 2015, thus fulfilling one of Ford’s major campaign promises. The 2015 update was the first time the curriculum had been modified since 1998, and it was altered to include lessons on gender identity, same-sex marriage, and masturbation. While many educators found these changes necessary, opponents of the new curriculum, including faith groups and socially conservative family organizations, labelled it age-inappropriate, feeling the lessons introduced should be left to parents’ discretion to teach their kids. In talks with reporters, Thompson said the government plans to move “swiftly” with consultations to repeal the curriculum over the “weeks to come.”


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Markets rebound

Stocks and commodity markets regained some poise on Thursday, having suffered wild tailspins in the previous session as the United States ratcheted up trade war threats on China. Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 1.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.6 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite 2.2 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 were up by between 0.4 and 0.6 per cent by about 5:30 a.m. ET. New York futures were also up. The Canadian dollar, having jumped after Wednesday’s Bank of Canada rate hike, only to fall again amid a stronger U.S. currency and lower oil prices, was below 76 US cents, though up slightly.


Is Trump’s Supreme Court pick a stalking horse for the religious right?

“If he has generally ruled against government regulation and taken an expansive view of presidential powers, he has shown deference to higher-court rulings, including Roe v. Wade, the seminal 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing a woman’s right to choose. How he would rule in abortion-rights cases as a Supreme Court justice himself, however, is as clear as mud...That doesn’t mean Roe v. Wade is safe – just that it will be hard for Judge Kavanaugh’s detractors to argue that it isn’t. Therein lies the genius of Mr. Trump’s choice.” - Konrad Yakabuski

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After World Cup loss, England has a new national sporting disaster to occupy its nightmares

“At the whistle, as the players lay there dazed, England did not look like a team that had exceeded expectations – which it very definitely is. The players looked like those who will spend the rest of their lives feeling bitter regret. ‘A thrilling tease,’ the country’s great play-by-play man, Peter Drury, said in summation, followed by the ‘old, familiar emptiness.’ The emptiness is familiar, but this was a different sort. The English had it, against a team of aged, exhausted players from a country as populous as Alberta, and they let it go.” - Cathal Kelly

The Canadian visa process is broken. And it must be fixed

“The very notion of visas and who needs them points to differential treatment for people coming from countries that are wealthier, have closer trade and other relationships with Canada, and are fortunate enough not to face situations of war and serious human-rights abuses. When the very premise of the system is discriminatory in this way, the process complex, decisions opaque and the outcomes often arbitrary and unfair, human-rights concerns absolutely do arise.” - Alex Neve, secretary-general, Amnesty International Canada.


What’s the secret to a great homemade jam?

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DIY jam is not just a sweet summer treat, it is also a creative gift and an engaging project to try with the family. Making it seamlessly without destroying your kitchen, however, is a task in and of itself. Food columnist Lucy Waverman has the tricks for producing wonderful preserves here.


Medical Care Act introduced in the House of Commons

When the Medical Care Act was introduced on this day in 1966, Liberal health and welfare minister Allan MacEachen described the bill’s animating principle this way: “Health is not a privilege tied to the state of one’s bank account, but rather a basic right which should be open to all.” Canada already had (mostly) universal coverage for hospital care, but Lester Pearson and his minority government wanted to go one big step further, offering to foot half the provincial and territorial bill for physicians’ services outside hospitals. In exchange, the provinces would have to make coverage comprehensive, publicly administered, portable and available to all, regardless of ability to pay. Four years earlier, Saskatchewan had touched off a bitter doctors’ strike when it adopted something similar. The Canadian Medical Association fought Ottawa’s bid to take the Saskatchewan experiment national, arguing governments would be better off limiting state health-care to the poor. But the concerns of the medical profession paled next to their patients’ enthusiasm for medicare. The act ultimately passed the House with near-unanimous support. The main knock against it was that it wouldn’t take effect fast enough to mark the country’s 100th birthday. - Kelly Grant

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