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As the flag atop the Peace Tower flutters at half mast, there are growing calls for a national day of mourning to honour the lives of 215 little children whose remains were found in Kamloops at a former residential school.
The Department of Canadian Heritage said flags at all federal buildings and establishments across Canada would be lowered until further notice “in memory of the thousands of children who were sent to residential schools, for those who never returned and in honour of the families whose lives were forever changed.”
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said more supports for survivors of residential schools are coming, although what those will look like is not yet clear. As CBC News reports, Trudeau planned to meet with his cabinet today to discuss next steps to aid survivors and the community.
“People are hurting and we must be there for the survivors,” he said this morning. “Sadly, this is not an exception or an isolated incident. We’re not going to hide from that. We have to acknowledge the truth. Residential schools were a reality — a tragedy that existed here, in our country, and we have to own up to it.”
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has called on the federal government to fully fund the investigation of other former residential school sites and to put more sustainable funding towards healing initiatives. He also called for an emergency debate.
Meanwhile, Indigenous leaders warn that the remains found in Kamloops are not an “isolated incident,” and say other school sites should be controlled and protected so full investigations can be done. In Saskatchewan, First Nations leaders and Premier Scott Moe have called on the federal government to examine other residential school sites.
In Toronto tonight, the Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens will face off in game 7 of their series, and 550 fully vaccinated health-care workers will be on hand to watch. That follows Saturday night’s game in Montreal that was attended by 2,500 distanced, masked fans — a first this year in Canada. Earlier today Premier Doug Ford announced the plan to allow workers from hospital and long-term care homes to attend.
“Every single day our health-care workers put their lives on the line to help others,” he said. “This small token of appreciation doesn’t measure up to the sacrifices they’ve made during COVID-19, but it is an opportunity for us to recognize their heroic efforts to keep each and every one of us safe. It also shows that the more of us who get vaccinated, the faster we can return to doing the things we miss.” That said, GO HABS GO!!!
Still with hockey, word is the federal government is about to approve a travel exemption for the NHL that would allow teams to move across the Canada-U.S. border during the Stanley Cup finals without quarantining. As CBC News reports, the move would involve daily COVID-19 testing and adherence to a bubble that includes team hotels and the arena.
On the Hill: While it faces opponents in the parliamentary calendar and the Senate itself, legislation to make it legal to place bets on single sporting events will take another step toward the finish line this Wednesday. The first of at least two expected Senate committee meetings on Bill C-218 will be held that evening. C-218 was first tabled in the House of Commons in February 2020. It would allow people in Canada to legally place bets on single sports outcomes, such as an individual NHL game, or a lone boxing match. Sports betting is already legal in Canada, but it must be done in parlays, which are when multiple outcomes are paired together. All have to hit correctly for the bet to be won. Charlie Pinkerton has the details.
It’s impossible to define “free, prior, and informed consent” in Bill C-15, the government’s legislation to bring Canada’s laws in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Justice Minister David Lametti said today. He was testifying at the Senate Aboriginal Affairs committee, along with Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett. The government wants to pass C-15 — which would give a comprehensive overview of Indigenous rights in Canada — before a possible federal election later this year. Yet critics say the wording in Article 28, which says development can’t happen on traditional Indigenous lands without the “free, prior, and informed consent” (FPIC) of Indigenous communities, could allow Indigenous vetoes over natural-resource projects. Rachel Emmanuel reports.
The recent conflict in Israel and Gaza has led to a surge in anti-Semitism here in Canada, and has even divided the federal Green Party. When asked on today if reports of sharp divisions in her party over Israel and Palestine worried her, Leader Annamie Paul referred instead to “difficult conversations.”
“The Green Party is a party of non-violence, and we believe in dialogue,” Paul said. “It is possible to have differences of opinion and still respect each other.” She went on to say that anti-Semitism had no place in politics. “I am asking for solidarity to condemn anti-Semitism, because silence emboldens hate.” The rift Paul was being asked to comment on was demonstrated in a series of tweets, Facebook posts, and recent news stories involving two Green MPs, Jenica Atwin and Paul Manly. Janet Silver has that story.
A top federal court judge has ruled that background documents behind the Trudeau government’s ban of more than 1,500 models of semi-automatic rifles last year are cabinet secrets that cannot be disclosed in open court. But, in what Associate Chief Justice Jocelyn Gagné described as a partial win for more than 20 firearm owners, businesses and a prominent new Canadian gun lobby, the court battle isn’t over yet. Tim Naumetz reports.
The Ontario government’s spending plan for education falls more than $12 billion short over the next decade, according to a new report from the province’s fiscal watchdog. The projection is in a review released today by the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) of Ontario, and is based on the Ministry of Education’s spending plan from the 2021 provincial budget and its 2021-22 expenditure estimates. Ontario’s budget laid out an average annual spending increase for education of 1.2 per cent over the next decade, reaching $35.7 billion in 2029-30. But to maintain current programs and commitments, the FAO’s report says ministry spending will need to increase by an average annual rate of two per cent over the same period, reaching $38.6 billion by 2029-30. Iain Sherriff-Scott has more on the shortfall.
It’s budget day in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Finance Minister Siobhan Coady has tabled one that would add $1.7 billion to the province’s staggering $47-billion debt load. Facing what government officials describe as an “unsustainable” fiscal situation requiring “urgent” action, Coady’s fiscal plan included a mix of tax increases and spending cuts. She calls her budget a “reasonable and prudent plan.”
To that end, health and education will be restructured. To instill fiscal discipline, Coady said the government will introduce legislation to balance the budget. As part of what she calls “transforming government,” provincial assets will be reviewed, including the province’s equity stakes in offshore oil and gas holdings. In a pre-budget interview with iPolitics, Premier Andrew Furey said, “We will be taking direct and urgent action,” but added, “We didn’t get here overnight, and we are not going to change it overnight. The question and the strategy is what levers do you pull and in what order.” Roger Bill reports from the Rock.
The Sprout: Happy National Macaroon Day!
In Other Headlines:
PM walking with cane after spraining ankle playing Frisbee (CP)
Canada won’t rush reopening border with United States, Trudeau says (CP)
Ontario reports under 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for first time in nearly 3 months (Global)
Manitoba says AstraZeneca recipients can get Pfizer or Moderna for second dose (CTV)
AstraZeneca expiry change based on science but communication is key: experts (CP)
Greens join Tories to say Liberals, NDP pushing through new net-zero climate bill (CP)
Canada to receive 2.9M vaccine doses this week as Pfizer-BioNTech increase deliveries (CP)
Canadian Coast Guard moving toward gender-neutral uniforms (CBC)
On June 1, B.C.’s minimum wage will become one of the highest in Canada (Global)
Air Canada granted special stock awards and millions in executive bonuses while negotiating gov’t bailout (Globe)
It’s Memorial Day in the United States. At Arlington National Cemetery this morning, President Joe Biden commemorated those who died serving in the military and urged Americans to honor the fallen by strengthening and protecting the nation’s democracy. He spoke of the rising wave of autocratic rule across the world. “Democracy itself is in peril, here at home and around the world. What we do now — what we do now, how we honour the memory of the fallen will determine whether or not democracy will long endure,” he said. “We owe the honoured dead a debt we can never fully repay. We owe them our whole souls. We owe them our full best efforts to perfect the union for which they died.”
Biden said the nation must honour the sacrifices of generations of service members “by sustaining the best of America while honestly confronting all that we must do to make our nation fuller, freer and more just. Empathy is the fuel of democracy. Our willingness to see each other not as enemies, neighbours, even when we disagree, to understand what the other is going through.”
Michael Flynn doesn’t appear likely to heed Biden’s words. Over the weekend, the former national security adviser in the Trump administration told a Dallas conference attended by many supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory that a Myanmar-like coup “should happen” in America. Yes — after four years of Trump, that’s exactly what the country and the world needs.
In Other International Headlines:
NATO restricts Belarusian access to HQ (Reuters)
Israel coalition government a threat to security, warns Netanyahu (BBC)
NATO tests its ability to reinforce Europe in a crisis with massive trans-Atlantic operation (CBC)
Peru revises Covid-19 death toll, now worst in the world per capita (France 24)
UN watchdog says it hasn’t accessed Iran’s nuclear program data since February (The Hill)
Denmark accused of helping US spy on European officials (BBC)
In Featured Opinion:
Alexandra Morton: To protect wild fisheries, the government must listen to scientists
Florian Martin-Bariteau and Tina Dekker: Canada must act fast to prepare for the quantum age
Finally, in a sign of the times, this concert can be a cheap night out or a costly one. What you pay all depends on whether you saw fit to get jabbed.
Have a good night.