The Prime Minister and the Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister say they are open to supporting a search for the remains of two First Nations women at a Winnipeg-area landfill that could end up costing $184-million.
Justin Trudeau and Marc Miller were asked about the issue Friday, hours after the release of a study that detailed the possible financial costs. The study said the search could take up to three years.
At issue is the effort to find the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran. Police have said they believe the two women’s bodies are buried at the Prairie Green Landfill, north of Winnipeg. Jeremy Skibicki has been charged with first-degree murder in their deaths, as well as those of two other women. (Story here.)
“As we have said from the beginning, the federal government will be there to support this grieving and healing process,” Mr. Trudeau told a news conference Friday when asked about the study’s conclusions, including the issue of cost.
Mr. Trudeau was with several cabinet ministers, visiting the Newfoundland and Labrador community of Nain.
“We know how atrocious and how difficult this is for the families and we will do whatever we can to help,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Miller took the microphone after Mr. Trudeau.
“Yes, it’s a substantial amount of money,” Mr. Miller said, “but as the Assembly of Manitoba chiefs said, what signal do you send if you don’t search for First Nations bodies, which have been disposed as if they were trash, which they are absolutely not? And they are sacred, and to be honored in that context.”
Mr. Miller said government teams will be working with the provincial government in Manitoba and the municipal government in Winnipeg to plan next steps.
“This could take many years and there is a risk to human life for those searching potentially toxic sites, so that all has to be properly planned,” he said.
BREAKING - There’s a new Speaker in the Senate, the first woman to hold the post in 44 years. Manitoba Senator Raymonde Gagné is replacing retiring speaker George Furey, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Friday afternoon. Mr. Furey had been speaker since 2015. Ms. Gagné has represented Manitoba as a senator since 2016. The Senate speaker is appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. There’s an overview here of the role of the speaker in the Senate.
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CSIS HAS SIGNIFICANT FILE ON OUSTED CHINESE DIPLOMAT - The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has a significant counterintelligence file on Chinese consulate official Zhao Wei, and since 2020 has shared that information with Global Affairs Canada, the department with the authority to expel foreign representatives for engaging in non-diplomatic activities, according to two national security sources. Story here.
NG PLANNING TRADE MISSION TO INDIA THIS FALL - International Trade Minister Mary Ng says she will be leading a trade mission to India this October, possibly with provincial representatives. Story here.
CANADA OUT OF STEP ON WHAT COUNTS AS HOMEGROWN FILM: HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS - Hollywood movie studios, including Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount and Universal, say Canada is out of step with other countries when it comes to what counts as a homegrown film. Story here.
MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS LEAD TO OUSTER OF GRAND CHIEF - The Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Northern Ontario’s largest Indigenous political organization, was removed from office Thursday after its chiefs-in-assembly reviewed a report into misconduct allegations against him. Story here.
NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR SPORTS GAMBLING COMMERCIALS: CBC - The CBC says it bears no responsibility for the sports gambling commercials on its airwaves during NHL hockey games, and that viewers with objections should take up the matter with the Sportsnet network, which controls the broadcasts and collects all the advertising revenue from them. Story here.
GREENBELT AREA “A SCAM”: FORD - Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province’s “so-called” Greenbelt area is a “scam,” which he claimed was initially drawn up at random by a previous Liberal government. He defended his recent move to allow developers to build houses on parts of the protected lands. Story here.
MONARCHISTS CHIDE GG ON MONARCHY COMMENTS - Canadian monarchists have sent a strongly worded letter to Governor-General Mary Simon chastising her for suggesting recently that there may need to be “conversations” about a future without the royals. Story here from CBC.
QUEBEC PREMIER FACES PARTY CONFIDENCE VOTE - As he prepares to attend a weekend convention of his Coalition Avenir Québec party, Premier François Legault is facing a confidence vote amid political crises. The vote results will be announced Sunday. Story here from the Montreal Gazette.
CANADIANS’ WAGES GROWING FASTER THAN PRICES - Canadians’ wages are finally growing faster than prices as inflation continues to ease, but that isn’t necessarily good news for economists, who worry high wage growth might stand in the way of bringing inflation back down to the two-per-cent target. Story here.
YET ANOTHER CLASSIC MONTREAL EATERY CLOSING - Days after the shutdown of The Main Deli, a classic Montreal eatery whose demise prompted sparring in Parliament between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, another iconic Montreal smoked-meat institution is closing. Story here from CBC.
REYNOLDS NOT PROCEEDING WITH SENATORS BID - Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds will not move forward with his bid to acquire the Ottawa Senators, ESPN and Postmedia have reported. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, May 12, accessible here.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER’S DAY - Chrystia Freeland, also Finance Minister, is in Niigata, Japan for the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting.
IN OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly hosted Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD - Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, in Montreal, delivered remarks on environmental diplomacy at the Montréal Council on Foreign Relations, then participated in a fireside chat with Leïla Copti, President of COPTICOM, a public-affairs consulting firm. Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray, in Burnaby, B.C., with Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, made an infrastructure announcement. International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan, in Vancouver, on behalf of Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, announced $12-million in support for pre-arrival settlement services for newcomers.
BERNIER ANNOUNCES BY-ELECTION RUN - Former federal cabinet minister Maxime Bernier has confirmed, on Twitter here, that he will be running in the Manitoba riding of Portage–Lisgar, formerly held by interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen. Ms. Bergen stepped down as an MP in February. The by-election to replace her has not yet been called. There’s a story here.
NEW DEPUTY BANK OF CANADA GOVERNOR - Rhys Mendes has been appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, effective July 17, 2023. Mr. Mendes has been on secondment to the Finance Department, serving as an assistant deputy minister, since 2021. He joined the bank in 2004.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Nain, Nunatsiavut, Newfoundland and Labrador, co-chaired an Inuit Partnership Committee Leaders Meeting with Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. Mr. Trudeau was accompanied by Treasury Board President Mona Fortier, Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu, Justice Minister David Lametti, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller, and Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal. Mr. Trudeau and the ministerial delegation attended a community feast, and the Prime Minister held a media scrum.
No schedules released for party leaders.
Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail’s podcast features technology reporter Sean Silcoff, co-author of the book that served as the basis of the new film BlackBerry, which has been described by Globe and Mail film editor Barry Hertz as “funny, fast and nerve-rattling.” The film opens May 12. Mr. Silcoff talks about how he got the inside access needed to tell the story of BlackBerry’s rise and fall and explains why it is still relevant today. The Decibel is here.
ALAN HERBERT - Alan Herbert, a Vancouver city councillor, one of the first openly gay politicians in Canada and a gay activist who advocated for queer causes for more than three decades, has died. There’s an obituary here.
WHAT WOKE MEANS TO CANADIANS - Twenty-five per cent of Canadians consider themselves “woke,” with younger and more racialized people more likely to self-apply the label, according to new research from Pollara Strategic Insights. The same research found 40 per cent of Conservative voters feel political correctness is a bad thing, compared to seven per cent of Liberal voters and eight per cent of NDP voters. Details here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how a free press needs the free market: “The 24 policies approved by delegates to the Liberal convention in Ottawa last week contained proposals that were worthy and practical, such as improving the quality of home care for the elderly, and worthy but impractical, such as moving toward a national guaranteed basic income. But one resolution, passed without debate, was nothing short of dreadful and dangerous. The Liberal Party of Canada – which enshrined freedom of expression and of the press into the Constitution four decades ago – now favours exploring options ‘to hold on-line information services accountable for the veracity of material published on their platforms and to limit publication only to material whose sources can be traced.’ Such a policy would corrode responsible investigative journalism.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how 100 million Canadians by 2100 may not be federal policy, but it should be – even if it makes Quebec howl: “One hundred million looks like a big number compared to today; in the same way, today’s 40 million would look unimaginably large to someone in 1946. But that’s the magic of compounding: any growth rate, no matter how modest, compounded over a long enough time, yields big changes. The ‘100 million’ headline relies for its shock value on implying the opposite: our population more than doubles, overnight. How will we possibly adapt? Over 77 years? We’ll adapt. But back to Quebec...”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how Pierre Poilievre may be on his way to becoming Prime Minister: “Eight months after Pierre Poilievre won the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, the evidence suggests he is on his way to becoming prime minister. In politics, nothing is inevitable, and by the time of the next federal election, circumstances could have changed. But if an election were held today, Mr. Poilievre would probably be on his way to whatever residence substitutes for 24 Sussex Dr.”
Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on how the Catholic Oblates must be fully transparent about the sins they may have wrought: “How long must we wait for accountability? It took four years for the Jesuits of Canada to release a list of 27 priests for whom there were “credible accusations of the abuse of minors.” Father Erik Oland, the provincial (or leader) of the Jesuits of Canada, released the list this past March, after the organization announced in 2019 that it had hired an outside firm to investigate historic files going back up to six decades ago. While many of the men on the list are dead, it was still an important and proactive step forward, as not all of them had faced criminal or civil litigation. The Jesuits have promised to maintain the list, keeping it as a living document and adding to it as time goes on.”
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how Justin Trudeau’s culture war on Canada’s symbols erases history: “The recent unveiling of a new Canadian Royal Crown and new passport design may not seem like much of a reason to get one’s traditionalist knickers in a knot. But it is the same kind of culture-war attack on patriotic symbols that aims to discredit our past as removing statues of Sir John A. Macdonald. It rejects seminal events on our path to nationhood in favour of a sanitized version of what it means to be a 21st-century Canadian, which in the end, means almost nothing.”
Elamin Abdelmahmoud (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on what happens when back home becomes a war zone: “I‘m finding it challenging to understand the carnage in Sudan through the headlines and stories I’m consuming, even though I work in media. It is the country of my birth and the majority of my childhood; the chaos is far more personal, far more specific. It was disorienting, for instance, to wake up a few weeks ago and find, on the front page of The New York Times, a photo of a bridge in Khartoum that I grew up crossing every weekend when I went to visit my uncles. The bridge looked like it always has, save for a plume of black smoke – evidence of the battles raging in Khartoum right now. That’s not some war zone, I thought to myself. That’s the way to visit family.”
Michael Wernick (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how launching constitutional reform in Canada would be a terrible idea: “The passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation of King Charles have led to stirrings of interest in some quarters for another attempt to rewrite the Constitution, this time to reconsider the role of the Crown. It would be a really bad idea to give in and scratch this itch. First of all, it would be distracting. Previous rounds of constitutional debate and negotiation consumed great swaths of the attention of political leaders and the people who advise, support and try to influence them. That attention would be better used to tackle more urgent claims on their focus: climate warming, reform of primary health care, Indigenous reconciliation, keeping Canada prosperous and competitive in a changing economy, responding to the rise of China, and more.”