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Good evening to you.
Canada has its first Indigenous Governor General. This morning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Queen had accepted his nomination of Mary Simon, an Inuk woman who has been a lifelong advocate for Indigenous Peoples. She takes up the position as Canada’s 30th Governor General in the wake of Julie Payette’s resignation in January in a swirl of controversy over her conduct at Rideau Hall.
Simon is from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik in northern Quebec and brings a lengthy resume to the role — including a stint at CBC North. In addition to serving as the Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs and the Canadian Ambassador to Denmark, Simon has acted as chairperson for the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation and for the the National Committee on Inuit Education. She also served as the former head of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and her work on behalf of Inuit led to their inclusion in the Constitution in 1982.
Speaking in Inuktitut and English, she thanked Trudeau for the “historic opportunity” and said she is “honoured, humbled and ready to be Canada’s first Indigenous governor general.” Simon said she will work every day to promote healing in Canada, noting that her appointment comes at “an especially reflective and dynamic time in our shared history,” coming after hundreds of children’s remains have been found in recent weeks at former residential schools. However, she noted it is “an important step forward on the long path towards reconciliation.”
“I believe we can build the hopeful future in a way that is respectful of what has happened in the past,” she said. “It means supporting the well being of people by focusing on our youth, and in improved educational outcomes for all of our children. It means prioritizing the protection of our natural world so that we can have a healthy climate and planet for generations to come.”
Speaking at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Trudeau said that after 154 years, the country took a historic step today.
“Canada is a place defined by people: By people who serve those around them, who tackle big challenges with hope and determination and, above all, who never stopped working to build a brighter tomorrow. In other words — people like Mary Simon,” Trudeau said.
“I cannot think of a better person to meet the moment.”
CBC has this look at four things you should know about Simon.
In Saskatchewan, the prime minister and Premier Scott Moe are set to sign an agreement this afternoon that will see Cowessess First Nation retake jurisdiction of child welfare. Chief Cadmus Delorme says they will retake jurisdiction of children in care for first time since 1951. That story from CBC.
Back on the Hill: A report from the federal spending watchdog confirms that the government is letting its responsibility to help pay for Canadians’ health care slide, says the NDP’s health critic. The Parliamentary Budget Officer’s annual report on fiscal sustainability, which was released on June 30, forecasted government finances over the next 75 years and identified Canada’s aging population as a key pressure on health-care spending.
NDP health critic Don Davies said he was happy the report stressed that Canada Health Transfer (CHT) payments can’t keep up with rising health-care spending. “I think this is an extremely important, foundational issue in health care in Canada,” he said. “This is not the first time this has been pointed out. In fact, I know the NDP and other opposition parties, including the Bloc, have been pointing out the long-term slide in federal contributions in health care for many years. We’ve been warning about the significant impact this is going to have on the ground if it is not addressed.” That story from
Ahead of their virtual meeting and vote for a new leader tomorrow to replace Perry Bellegarde, the Assembly of First Nations today honoured children who never made it home from residential schools. As the Canadian Press reports, statements of grief and anger over the recent discovers of unmarked graves at residential schools mixed with ceremonial opening prayers at the general assembly. Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation told those gathered that this is a moment of reckoning for First Nations leaders. “It’s in this time we need chiefs that are strong so we can come together with one good mind so that we can bear our grief and our sorrow and turn it into a cry for justice for what happened to our people, for what happened to all of those children who were buried in the earth and are yet to be discovered. Our hearts cry out to them as they cry more and more.”
And now that MPs are on a break from House of Commons sittings until September, unless we head to the polls later this summer and with the possible exception of recalling the Senate to review legislation to restrict conversion therapy, it seems the 43rd Parliament’s legislative work is done. Opposition members struggled to pass bills during a gridlocked spring, retiring MPs have given farewell speeches, the governing Liberals have amped up their searches for electoral candidates, and — as of Tuesday — Canada has a new Governor General to approve her first dissolution of Parliament.
Few significant changes to Canada’s laws passed during this iteration of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which will likely be remembered instead for how it navigated the country through the pandemic — helped by Parliament’s unprecedented speedy passage of emergency bills that allowed hundreds of billions of dollars to flow to individuals and companies to help them survive the COVID crisis. Charlie Pinkerton has that story.
Comings and Goings: Former AstraZeneca execs join TACTIX
In Other Headlines:
Feds unveil plans for Toronto-Quebec City high-frequency rail corridor (Global)
Taxpayers have spent at least $23B on pipeline subsidies since 2018: report (CBC)
Canada didn’t invoke dispute clause when Chinese vaccine deal fell apart (The Post)
First Nations in BC threaten to block rail traffic over fire recovery fears (Global)
Canadian killed in Miami building collapse, three more Canadians missing (CP)
The privilege of pandemic private jets (Global)
More than 1 billion marine animals may have died in B.C. heat wave (CTV)
President Joe Biden once again pleaded with people today to get vaccinated. “The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family and the people you care about the most is get vaccinated,” he said. “The best things a community can do to protect themselves is to increase vaccination rates. You can do this.” His latest plea comes after he fell short of meeting his July 4 goal of having 70 per cent of American adults get their first jab.
According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 67 per cent of American adults had received their first shot as of this morning, while more than 157 million are fully vaccinated. This morning he laid out the five key areas his administration is focused on to keep those numbers rising, and to protect people against the Delta variant. As CNN reports, Biden expects the country to have 160 million fully vaccinated by the end of this week.
In Myanmar, five months after a coup against elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the military and police have declared war on medics. The Associated Press reports.
In Other International Headlines:
Estonia condemns ‘set-up’ detention of its diplomat in Russia (Al Jazeera)
Biden to meet with federal agencies to address ransomware concerns this week (The Hill)
U.S. hosts Saudi crown prince brother in first high-level visit since Khashoggi killing (AP)
Lebanon’s prime minister warns of ‘social explosion’ in call for aid (The Hill)
European powers decry latest nuclear move by Iran (AP)
How Putin could jam up Biden’s post-Afghanistan plans (Politico)
Pentagon cancels $10bn ‘Jedi’ contract with Microsoft (BBC)
Prominent Dutch crime reporter shot on Amsterdam street (Al Jazeera)
As Tokyo Olympics approach, virus worries rise in Japan (AP)
South Africa’s Zuma tries to block arrest as police hold back (Reuters)
In Iceland, a new study has found that when it comes to work, less is more. The results showed that a shortened workweek, without a cut in pay, led to better outcomes for workers and employers alike. Overall, they were happier, healthier and more productive.
Umm, sign us up.
On that note, have a good night.
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