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Good evening to you.
As the nation mourns the remains of the 215 children found buried at the site of the former Kamploops Residential School, there are now calls for International Criminal Court investigate the Canadian government and the Vatican for crimes against humanity. As CBC News reports, 15 lawyers from across Canada have formally made the request to the ICC’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan. Should that happen, “employees, agents and actors” of the church and federal government who were involved could be prosecuted, said Calgary lawyer Brendan Miller. “We don’t know the names of these children. They were intended to be erased,” he said. “It has taken this event to shame people into action — the time for gestures is over.”
On the Hill, retired senator Murray Sinclair, who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, called today for an independent investigation to examine all burial sites near former residential schools. As the Canadian Press reports, he told a House of Commons’ committee that the probe should be overseen by a parliamentary committee, not the federal government, to make sure it’s done properly. “It’s good for Canada to understand that we still have to come to terms with a lot of what occurred during the residential school era, and that there are a lot of uncovered truths out there that we need to look at,” he said, noting there are still many questions around just how many burial sites there are across the country and just how many children may be buried in them.
The Catholic Church’s “lack of commitment” to share residential school records also came under scrutiny at the committee. “The fact that there are still church records that have not been revealed … is also a sad commentary of the lack of commitment by the Catholic church to allow us to investigate this further. We need to have that question looked at as well,” Sinclair said.
Also from CP: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling on the federal government to drop a pair of Federal Court appeals in the name of reconciliation. Singh says the court challenges represent a “belligerent” approach to justice for First Nations children.
It’s been two years since the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls issued 213 calls for justice, and today, the federal government finally shared its national action plan to address the violence, racism and disproportionate deaths of Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Within the 113-page plan that was drafted in collaboration with the National Families and Survivors Circle, Indigenous communities, and other levels of government, there are short-term priorities and long-term commitments for change. CTV News has this look at both.
Turning to COVID-19, our neighbours south of the border have shared plans on how its stockpile of vaccines will be shared with its neighbours and beyond. The U.S. will send 25 million coronavirus doses abroad, with about three quarters of them allocated to the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative. Of those, nearly six million doses are targeted towards “regional priorities and partner recipients” — including Canada. That said, there’s much that’s still not known, including how many doses are headed here, which vaccine would be offered and whether Canada would accept them. “We first made doses available to our closest neighbours – Canada and Mexico. Our dose sharing approach prioritizes Latin American and the Caribbean on a per capita basis,” the White House said in a statement. More from Global News.
On the Canada-U.S. border: The federal government may get more questions than answers by asking the provinces how they think international travel should resume since it was largely restricted over a year ago. During one of their biweekly meetings on Friday, the provinces’ and territories’ Health ministers will discuss with their federal counterpart how Canada should reopen international travel. Charlie Pinkerton has more on what’s in store.
Still with travel, and Air Canada in particular, MPs voted unanimously this afternoon to condemn the airline for doling out millions of dollars of bonuses to executives while kicking tens of thousands of staff to the curb, refusing to give customers refunds and receiving billions as part of a taxpayer-funded pandemic relief package.
Meanwhile on the farm, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said she’s open to increasing the amount invested in Canadian farmers and food producers in the next agriculture-policy framework from the current $3 billion, so long as the current 60/40 federal-provincial cost-sharing arrangement remains in place. Aidan Chamandy has the lowdown.
As well, Janet Silver outlines how a move by the U.S. to slap tariffs on countries with taxes on tech giants could impact Canada.
The latest episode of Talking Points is live. This week we’re talking about reconciliation and what to expect in the final legislative push before the House rises. Have a listen here.
Hill Movers: New press sec for Lametti; regional adviser at PMO
The Sprout: JBS meat-packing plants get back online
In Other Headlines:
TRC commissioners call on Ottawa to end delays in implementing calls to action (CBC)
Travellers who refuse hotel quarantine will soon face larger fines (CTV)
Quebec shortening wait times for 2nd COVID-19 vaccine doses to 8 weeks (CTV)
Anand says Senate’s plans for Centre Block renovations are too costly (CBC)
N.B. launching investigation into mystery neurological disease (CTV)
North Atlantic whales shrinking due to fishing gear entanglements (The Guardian)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky painted a rapidly improving picture of COVID-19 in the United States today. Average daily deaths have dropped, and cases have have fallen to around 15,000 per day, and the seven-day average of about 15,600 cases per day is the lowest level of new recorded cases since March 2020.
“This represents a decrease of more than 30 per cent from our prior seven-day average and more importantly it is a 94 per cent decrease from the peak of COVID-19 cases we reported in January of this year,” she told a White House briefing. “This is the type of news I like to deliver, and certainly these data are encouraging and uplifting as we battle this pandemic.”
Meanwhile, as “vaccination rates have fallen off a cliff, the White House has rolled out an all-hands-on-deck plan to get those who are holding out jabbed. That will see First Lady Jill Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci give a joint interview on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” next week.
In Israel, “King Bibi” isn’t going down without a fight. He took to Twitter to lash out a newly-formed coalition of eight opposition parties that is in a position to knock him from the prime ministerial perch he’s held for 12 years, calling them “left-wing” and “dangerous.” He has called on right-wing members of Parliament to block the coalition from taking office. As the BBC reports, the coalition spans the political spectrum and will need Parliament’s backing to take office.
In Other International Headlines:
GOP balks at Biden’s revised infrastructure plan (Politico)
Biden expands US investment ban on Chinese firms (BBC)
Vaccinating kids against COVID-19 ‘not a high priority,’ WHO says (AP)
France halts joint army operations with Malian forces over coup (Al Jazeera)
In Featured Opinion:
Alan Freeman: Churchill Falls power is déjà vu all over again
Michael Coren: Should the Catholic Church lose it charitable tax status?
Stephen Van Dine: Canada needs a national strategy for digital government
Finally, a Rick Astley and Foo Fighters mashup. Because, why not?
And how’s this for a graduation present?
Have a good night.