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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Government called on to review honoring historic figures over treatment of Indigenous people

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 27/17

   By Jim Fox

   The Canadian government is being urged to review honoring historic figures as a teachers’ group wants the name of Canada’s first prime minister removed from schools.
   The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario wants new names for schools named after Sir John A. Macdonald over his treatment of Indigenous people.
   It’s an opportunity to “seize this opportunity” to acknowledge Canada’s past and engage with native people on correcting historical wrongs, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly’s office said.
   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in June the government would remove the name of Hector-Louis Langevin, a father of Confederation, from the national capital building housing his office.
   The decision was made after Indigenous politicians and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Langevin was a proponent of the residential school system.
   The system took sent native children away to government-sponsored religious schools to assimilate them into Euro-Canadian culture.
   New Democrat Romeo Saganash, a residential school “survivor,” said a full discussion is needed into the role of historic figures in the “dark realities of colonialism.”


   Canada should brace for a much-larger influx of Salvadorian asylum seekers fleeing from the U.S.
   Some 260,000 Salvadorans face possible U.S. deportation if their temporary protected status is lifted next March.
   That’s four times the number of Haitians whose status will end in January and has sent 7,000 people illegally crossing into Canada at an unofficial border point in Quebec this summer.
   The influx is straining resources as the arrivals await refugee hearings, government officials said.
   Critics say Prime Minister Trudeau should have made it clear that Canada welcomes “people fleeing persecution” only if they come legally by first applying for a visa.


   News in brief:
   - Senator Mike Duffy is suing the Senate and the Mounties for $7.8 million in lost income and general damages. The suit is over his suspension without pay before a trial in which he was found not guilty last year of 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery. Ottawa lawyer Lawrence Greenspon said the Senate “acted unconstitutionally” and the police were negligent in its investigation.
   - Eastern Canadian premiers are talking trade today and Monday with New England governors in Charlottetown. Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan said the ongoing talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and softwood lumber are on their minds and agenda. New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said nine-million U.S. jobs are linked to trade with Canada and 30 states have Canada as their largest trading partner.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has advanced to 80.11 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.248 in Canadian funds before exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.75 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.95 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,055 points while the TSX Venture index is 769 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is higher at $1.087 a liter or $4.13 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Aug. 23) 9, 15, 24, 33, 40 and 46; bonus 38. (Aug. 19) 2, 13, 27, 45, 48 and 49; bonus 19. Lotto Max (Aug. 18) 2, 9, 13, 16, 25, 26 and 45; bonus 19.


   Regional briefs:
   - New Democratic Premier John Horgan said his new British Columbia government will eliminate tolls on two major Vancouver-area bridges effective Sept. 1. The tolls will end on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges to treat commuters in the Lower Mainland the same as those elsewhere in the province who aren’t charged bridge tolls. The average commuter would save $1,500 a year, he said.
   - Neshan Wagstaffe has lost his family home to fire twice in the past year, but this time his dog Clouseau saved his life. The animal was “running around the house going a little crazy” to wake Wagstaffe from a mid-afternoon nap and warn him of the fire. He and a friend escaped with the dog from the mobile home in Fort McMurray’s Timberlea area. He had just rebuilt the home after it was destroyed in the town’s wildfire last year.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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