The Monday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories

By The Canadian Press
June 19, 2017 - 1:45pm

Highlights from the news file for Monday, June 19

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GOVERNOR GENERAL APOLOGIZES FOR INDIGENOUS REMARK: Gov. Gen. David Johnston apologized publicly Monday for referring to Indigenous Peoples as immigrants as he bestowed honours on 29 people — including the frontman of the Tragically Hip — for their efforts in furthering indigenous causes. Johnston told the investiture ceremony he misspoke when he said during a CBC Radio interview aired Saturday that the roots of Canadian immigration extend all the way back to include indigenous people. The comments, aired on CBC's politics program "The House,' touched off a flurry of criticism on social media, where some listeners complained that Johnston's remarks reflected a deep-seated colonial mentality. "Let me apologize for not expressing myself correctly on this matter recently," Johnston told Monday's gathering, which followed an apologetic tweet of his own earlier in the day. "Indigenous Peoples are the original peoples of this land."

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SCHOOL MOURNS BOXING DEATH OF BELOVED TEACHER: The Edmonton elementary school where fighter Tim Hague taught is calling his death after a boxing match on the weekend a tragedy. The 34-year-old Hague died from injuries suffered in a second round technical knockout loss to Adam Braidwood in a heavyweight bout on Friday night. A statement from Ecole Bellevue School says Hague was a "beloved teacher and staff member" and that his death is "a tragedy for everyone." The school is offering support to its staff and students to help deal with the loss. Hague's death came less than a month after boxer David Whittom went into a coma with bleeding on the brain after knockout loss in Fredericton, N.B. The two cases have raised calls for an investigation into ways to improve the safety of fighters in boxing and MMA.

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U.K. MOVES TO EASE TENSIONS AFTER ATTACK ON LONDON MUSLIMS: British authorities and Islamic leaders moved swiftly to ease concerns in the Muslim community after a man plowed a large van into a crowd of worshippers outside a north London mosque early Monday, injuring at least nine people. British media named the suspect as Darren Osborne, a 47-year-old father of four who was living in Cardiff, Wales. British Security Minister Ben Wallace said authorities were aware of rising far-right activity but the suspect was not known to them prior to the attack. Police are treating the incident as a terror attack. One man died at the scene, although he had been receiving first aid at the time and it wasn't clear if he died as a result of the attack or from something else. The chaos outside the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park follows three Islamist-inspired attacks over the past three months that have triggered a surge in hate crimes around Britain. The Metropolitan Police Service, already stretched by its investigations of the earlier attacks and a high-rise apartment fire that is believed to have killed 79 people, immediately announced it was putting extra patrols on the streets to protect the public.

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REPORT ALLEGES POLICE MISTREATMENT OF INDIGENOUS WOMEN: Indigenous women in Saskatchewan have been subjected to violence, invasive strip searches and other mistreatment by police, says a report from a human rights watchdog group that was quickly criticized by some police agencies. The 32-page report from New-York-based Human Rights Watch said the group documented 64 cases of alleged violent abuse during a visit last year to the province that included talks with indigenous women and social workers. The treatment of indigenous people by police in Saskatchewan has been the subject of high-profile legal proceedings. The 1990 death of Neil Stonechild, who was found frozen to death in a field outside Saskatoon, led to an inquiry and the firing of two Saskatoon police officers. The Human Rights Watch report documents more recent allegations of police abuse from indigenous women whose names were not revealed, including a Prince Albert woman who said an officer at a traffic stop in 2014 grabbed her ear and started hitting her because she didn't want to leave her car with her child in it.

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RUSSIAN THREAT COULD AFFECT CANADIAN PLANES: There are fears Canadian military aircraft operating over Syria could be caught in the middle of a new and potentially explosive dispute between the U.S. and Russia. Moscow warned Monday that it will track allied aircraft operating west of the Euphrates River in Syria as potential targets after the U.S. shot down a Syrian government warplane. American officials say the Syrian jet dropped bombs near U.S.-backed forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — a claim the Syrian government and Russia both dispute. The Canadian military has been flying surveillance aircraft and a refuelling plane over Syria as part of its contribution to the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition. But while National Defence says it is monitoring the situation, it otherwise wouldn't comment Monday on where the Canadian planes have been flying in Syria and whether they are in any increased risk of danger.

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TIM HORTONS FRANCHISEE LAUNCHES CLASS ACTION: A Tim Hortons franchisee is seeking a class-action lawsuit alleging Restaurant Brands International is improperly using money from a national advertising fund. Since RBI acquired Tim Hortons in 2014 it has used money in the fund in ways that were not used previously or permitted, according to a statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court on Monday. Each franchisee contributes 3.5 per cent of their gross sales to the fund and since Dec. 14, 2014, the fund has collected nearly $700 million, according to the claim. The lawsuit alleges RBI has funnelled the money to itself, the TDL Group Corp., and several individuals — including RBI CEO Daniel Schwartz — also listed as defendants. The allegations have not been proven in court. RBI said in a statement that it vehemently disagrees with and denies all of the allegations. It said the company remains committed to working with restaurant owners to make the Tim Hortons brand strong.

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LEGAL POT BY 2018 'RUSHED,' MANITOBA MINISTER SAYS: Manitoba's finance minister says he's feeling rushed by the Trudeau government's July 2018 timeline for legalizing recreational marijuana, and he wants an extension. Cameron Friesen says with the clock ticking there are still many unanswered questions on issues like public safety, enforcement and finding legal supplies of marijuana. He says provinces are responsible for much of the work and the high costs needed to create a regulated cannabis market. Friesen was speaking in Ottawa before a federal-provincial finance ministers meeting, which is exploring the issue of how to tax Canada's forthcoming legal pot industry, among other things. He says he mentioned the idea of an extension to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau — but didn't reveal how much extra time he's hoping for. Provincial ministers are planning to push Ottawa to ensure they receive a share of pot-related tax revenue that fairly reflects the added costs provinces will have to assume on the road to legalization.

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NEW TWIST IN EDMONTON SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE: A man convicted of sexually assaulting an indigenous woman whom the Crown had jailed and shackled to ensure her testimony has applied for legal records to discredit her as he seeks a mistrial. Lance David Blanchard was found guilty in December of aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping and unlawful confinement for the 2014 attack. The victim, a 28-year-old homeless woman, died in 2015 in an unrelated shooting. Tom Engel, Blanchard's lawyer, has applied for the release of legal records that he contends contain new evidence that she was heavily addicted to drugs and was involved in criminal activity. Earlier this month, an Edmonton judge ruled against Blanchard's attempt to have his convictions stayed over his treatment in custody. A judge is to hear arguments on the records request next Monday and for the mistrial application on July 26. Blanchard is scheduled for a dangerous offender hearing in January that could lead to him being jailed indefinitely.

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FEDS DETAIL GENDER VIOLENCE STRATEGY: The Liberal government has unveiled its strategy on gender-based violence, proposing to spend the bulk of the cash allotted to create a centre of excellence within Status of Women Canada to both study and try to solve the problem. Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef said the money will help collect and share national data on gender-based violence that other levels of government and those on the front lines are unable to gather on their own. The centre will receive $77.5 million of the $101 million the Liberal government committed over five years to the gender-based violence strategy in the March budget, plus $16 million a year going forward, for research, data collection and programming. The rest of the money will be spread across several departments as part of a federal plan aimed at prevention, providing better support for survivors and helping the justice system become more responsive to the needs of those who experience sexual assault or other forms of violence.

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HEALTH OFFICIALS TO MEET WITH DESMOND FAMILY: Nova Scotia's health authority has agreed to meet with Lionel Desmond's immediate family next week, almost six months after the former Canadian soldier fatally shot his mother, wife, daughter and himself in a horrific murder-suicide that attracted national attention. One of Desmond's sisters, Chantel, confirmed today that the authority has scheduled a June 28 meeting at St. Martha's Hospital in Antigonish, N.S., which is a half-hour drive from Lionel Desmond's home in Upper Big Tracadie. The meeting will be important to the family because it will focus on the authority's confidential review of how the province's health-care system dealt with Lionel Desmond before the killings on or about Jan. 3. Chantel Desmond and her sister Cassandra Desmond recently joined a growing list of advocacy groups in calling for a broader fatality inquiry, saying they have yet to receive any useful information from public officials, including the Defence Department, Veterans Affairs Canada and the provincial government.

The Canadian Press

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Mon, 19 Jun 2017 16:40:06 -0400

List of honourees recognized for indigenous work by Gov. Gen. David Johnston

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