The top Catholic Church official in Vancouver took to social media to express his “deep apology and profound condolences” to those devastated by the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Archbishop J. Michael Miller tweeted yesterday the church was “unquestionably wrong in implementing a government colonialist policy” of residential schools. He says words of apology must come with tangible actions that support the full disclosure of the truth, and he committed the archdiocese to a series of first steps. Miller says the archdiocese in Vancouver will be fully transparent with its archives and records related to residential schools and urges other Catholic and government organizations to do the same. An Indigenous faith leader this apology is a good first step — but it’s not the apology survivors, their families, and communities have been waiting for. He went on to say  “We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools,”

Despite two incidents involving aggressive, threatening behaviour at Fraser Valley campsites, an outdoor advocate assures these situations are extremely rare. However, with more people heading into the outdoors and with remote sites also getting busier, there are calls for people to have patience with one another. If you want to have a space to yourself, camping enthusiast Steven Jones says you need to leave earlier or drive farther. “You shouldn’t expect that you can head out Friday afternoon and go to the first spot and that you’re going to find peace and quiet and that no one is going to join you,” he explained. However, he says fortunately there are few serious conflicts.“There’s a very small number of bad apples that we don’t want to ruin it for the rest of us so we just need some enforcement,” Jones said Police said in a release Tuesday that they were stepping up patrols in recreation areas. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth confirmed on Wednesday that enforcement has been stepped up this year across the province.

 

 

Surrey RCMP is asking for the public’s help in finding a missing teen. Aarna Garg, 14, was last seen June 1 at 3:45 p.m., leaving a home in the 6400-block of 121st Street, according to a release from Surrey RCMP Corporal Vanessa Munn. Aarna takes medication daily that police say she did not take with her. Aarna is described as South Asian, five-foot-six, 149 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes. Munn said she was last seen wearing black shorts with a purple tank top Aarna is know to frequent Surrey and Vancouver, Munn said. Anyone with more information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP

 

 

About six kilometres of new bike lanes will be relatively rapidly built within Surrey City Centre using funding granted by TransLink. The City of Surrey is looking to add temporary protected bike lanes on five corridors, primarily using existing road space and using low-cost methods such as planters and temporary curbs as barriers. About a dozen on-street vehicle parking stalls will be consolidated to one side of the street for the 100 Avenue and Whalley Boulevard bike lanes, and roughly two dozen stalls will be consolidated on City Parkway. Some overall parking reductions can be expected. “The installation of ‘Quick-Build’ protected cycling routes is intended to provide safer more comfortable cycling; therefore, project elements will prioritize safety for cyclists in conflict zones such as driveways and intersections,” reads a city staff report. “As the ‘Quick-Build’ measures are intended to be fast and lower cost, working within existing curbs will be done to the greatest degree possible.”

 

 

We’ve been encouraged to wear orange this week to honour the Indigenous children found buried at a former residential school in Kamloops in May, but a First Nations woman says when she did — her boss told her to take it off. The woman works at Surrey Memorial Hospital but is employed by Aramark, which is looking into making changes in light of the incident. In a TikTok, she says she left work on Monday when she was told she couldn’t wear the orange shirt. “I said ‘no,’ and they said ‘take it off,’ and I said ‘no, it stays on,’” she recalls in the video. “If I can’t wear it, I’m going home.” In a statement  Aramark, which provides housekeeping services at some Fraser Health facilities, says, “For health and safety reasons, our intention was to stay true to our uniform policy and not intended to be disrespectful in any way.” “We understand and sympathize with the pain the community is experiencing and recognize this could have been handled in a more supportive way,” the statement continues. “We are exploring this policy and intend to compensate the person who left work on Monday. We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and are using this as an opportunity to open a dialogue with our staff.” Meanwhile, Fraser Health is calling the incident “unfortunate,” adding it told “leadership at all of our sites that they could support staff to wear orange to honour those who were lost” following the discovery in Kamloops. It also lowered flags at its facilities.

WorkSafeBC is making changes to headgear safety rules to ensure workplaces are more inclusive for people who wear religious head coverings. The Sikh community has been raising concerns for years about some employers’ blanket approach to hard hat regulations — requiring all workers to wear one on the job even in areas where there is a low or non-existent risk. Under the changes taking effect in September, employers will conduct a risk assessment to determine whether safety headgear such as a hard hat is necessary in each area of a work site. The legal counsel of the World Sikh Organization of Canada says the change makes B-C a leader in the accommodation of the turban in the workplace.
B-C health officials say 71 per cent of the province’s eligible population has received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. But Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Doctor Bonnie Henry say B-C’s restart plan will be a slow, cautious progression to normal life. They say the return to normal may cause anxiety in some, and asked residents to be mindful of communities that are assessing their own risks. B-C reported 194 infections of COVID-19 yesterday, along with four deaths.

The United Nations Human Rights Office says all levels of Canadian government must immediately and exhaustively investigate the deaths of children forced to attend Indigenous residential schools in the country. The recommendation comes as the office comments on the discovery of what are believed to be the graves of more than 200 students buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. U-N spokeswoman Marta Hurtado says abuses suffered by children at residential schools across Canada continue to affect Indigenous communities and the situation is made worse because there’s been no truth or redress for the victims. Hurtado says the U-N would like to see Canada create a new organization that includes government and Indigenous members responsible for protecting and managing burial sites. A survivor of the former residential school in Kamloops says the shock expressed by Canadians over the discovery of the remains of 215 children has been unexpected and uplifting.

Summer is still nearly three weeks away but a heat wave is already bringing record temperatures to parts of B-C. Environment Canada says records were broken in 10 places yesterday — from 29 degrees in Fort Nelson — just edging a record set in 1961 — to 34.6 in Trail, and highs ranging from 27 degrees to the low 30s in Sechelt, Gibsons, Clinton, Merritt, Pemberton, Princeton and the Malahat on Vancouver Island. Lytton claimed the hot spot for all of Canada yesterday with a withering 35.2 degrees — two-tenths of a degree hotter than on the same day 60 years earlier. The weather office says more records could fall today as unseasonable heat grips much of Western Canada — prompting warnings for much of Alberta, Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba — although no heat warnings are posted in B-C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has spoken with Premier John Horgan about the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Indian residential school site in Kamloops  as well as potential next steps. A release from the Prime Minister’s Office says they spoke yesterday about the work both governments are doing in relation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls for action as well as new federal funding. Horgan said Tuesday that B-C has an obligation to ensure the 94 calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are realized. However, he stopped short of offering financial aid for other ground-penetrating radar efforts at former residential school sites.

 

Police in New Westminster say they’ve have made an arrest in a stabbing last Saturday at the Columbia SkyTrain station. A man was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police say they tracked down their suspect two days later and he remains in custody. Twenty-six-year-old Murid Ghulam of New Westminster is now charged with one count of attempted murder.

 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the 280-thousand B-C residents who got a first dose of AztraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will have a choice about their second dose. Henry says they can either chose to get a second dose of AstraZeneca at a pharmacy or receive a dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at mass vaccination clinics. She says notices will start going out next Monday for those who got their first shots at least eight weeks ago. Henry says those who received a first dose of Moderna can also chose to receive the Pfizer vaccine for their second dose or wait until later this month when there is more supply of their original Vaccine.

 

B-C health officials say 71 per cent of the province’s eligible population has received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. But Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Doctor Bonnie Henry say B-C’s restart plan will be a slow, cautious progression to normal life. They say the return to normal may cause anxiety in some, and asked residents to be mindful of communities that are assessing their own risks. B-C reported 194 infections of COVID-19 yesterday, along with four deaths.

 

The number of daily new COVID-19 cases in B-C has slipped below 200 for three straight days for the first time since mid-October. The province reported 199 new cases today, following 194 new cases yesterday and 184 on Tuesday. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced two additional deaths, bringing the total to one-thousand-709. Henry says there are two-thousand-563 cases that are still active with 224 people in hospital, including 62 in intensive care.