This has been an emotional day for Indigenous Canadians, who have finally received an apology from the Roman Catholic Church for its role in the residential school system. Pope Francis made the historic apology at the Vatican, begging forgiveness and telling about 190 Indigenous delegates that he hopes to visit Canada around the Feast of St. Anna, which falls on July 26th. Francis recognized the cultural genocide that was inflicted on Indigenous children, calling today a first step on the path of reconciliation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says today wouldn’t have happened without the bravery and determination of residential school survivors who journeyed to the Vatican to tell their truths and painful memories.
Starting today, it’s a little easier for Canadians to travel, as vaccinated travellers can now enter the country without first getting a COVID-19 test. The Tourism Industry Association of Canada says while it will take some time to return to pre-pandemic levels, the easing of restrictions will spark a surge in travel bookings. People could still be randomly tested when they arrive and Health Canada requires anyone coming from outside the country to wear a mask in public for 14 days.
B-C’s health minister says the province will give an update next Tuesday on potentially making a fourth COVID-19 dose available to vulnerable people. Adrian Dix says discussions are underway about providing a second booster shot to clinically vulnerable people such as those in long-term care. B-C reported two more COVID-19 deaths yesterday, bringing the toll to two-thousand-998 people. It also reported 281 people in hospital, with 42 in intensive care.
The R-C-M-P say they’re investigating a suspicious death in Port Coquitlam. They say officers were called to a home on Wednesday afternoon where they found a 41-year-old man dead. Police say e the “parties involved are believed to be known to each other,” but didn’t elaborate, or release the identity of the deceased. The release says the case is now in the hands of homicide detectives and that investigators don’t believe the incident is connected to local gang activity.
A security alert that Surrey RCMP are calling “unfounded” cancelled some classes at Kwantlen University’s Surrey campus yesterday. Surrey RCMP say there was an “unspecified threat received” and “out of an abundance of caution” the university went into lockdown just after noon. Everything was resolved shortly after however classes were cancelled until 4 p.m.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says COVID-19 is still circulating widely and there is a risk Canada will see another surge in cases this spring, fall and winter. But she says we are in a stronger position to get back to the things we love, thanks to vaccines and personal protective measures like masking. Tam says those tools can help reduce the impact and severity of COVID-19.
A Delta Air Lines flight from Salt Lake City to Washington, D-C diverted to Denver after the cockpit windshield shattered while the plane was flying above 30-thousand feet. A photo of the windshield taken by a passenger shows the glass was lined with cracks but didn’t fall from its frame. No one was injured and Delta is describing the incident as a mid-flight maintenance issue.
The provincial government says a review has found that 13 per cent of all light-duty vehicle sales in B-C last year were electric vehicles. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston says in a statement that B-C is quickly becoming a leader in the industry — with the highest reported uptake rate of zero emission vehicles in North America. B-C was the first jurisdiction to pass a law in 2019 requiring it make the switch to 100 per cent electric-vehicle sales. The Zero-Emissions Vehicles Act requires at least 26 per cent of all light-duty vehicle sales to be zero emission by 2026, 90 per cent by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2035, five years ahead of the original target.
The provincial government has announced more than 12.4-million dollars in funding to help B-C artists and organizations recover from the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Culture Minister Melanie Mark says the one-time funding is crucial to help rebuild a thriving and dynamic sector that faced severe hardships over the past two years. The funding will be provided to the B-C Arts Council, which will distribute 7.9-million dollars in resilience supplements to more than 300 organizations currently receiving operating assistance. The remaining 4.5-million dollars will be used to top up the Arts Impact Grant program — boosting that budget to more than eight-million dollars. (The Canadian Press)
B-C’s civilian police watchdog has been called in after a man was fatally shot by an R-C-M-P officer in Surrey. Police say they received a call early this morning of an attempted armed robbery followed a short time later by a second call about a nearby car jacking involving a weapon. Police say a front-line officer later located a person matching the description of the suspect and a confrontation occurred during a foot chase where the officer shot the man. The Mounties say the man died in hospital but no further information will be released since the matter is now under investigation by the Independent Investigations Office.
Canada’s natural resources minister says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is mostly to blame for rising gas prices, not the national carbon price. In a letter to the premiers of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Jonathan Wilkinson says temporarily pausing the national carbon price would mean families wouldn’t receive rebate payments, which he says help to tackle the cost of living. The premiers had asked the federal government to scrap its plan to increase the federal carbon price by 10-dollars, bringing it to 50-dollars per tonne.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says 279 cases of norovirus or other gastrointestinal illnesses have been linked to consumption of raw oysters from B-C. The agency has issued a public health warning about several brands of B-C oysters harvested from around Deep Bay and Union Bay off eastern Vancouver Island. Most of the illnesses have been reported in B-C but there have been 15 in Ontario and two on the Prairies. Public health officials say an investigation is continuing and more recalls could be issued, but in the meantime diners are advised to cook all oysters thoroughly and return any of the recalled brands to the place they were purchased.
Canada’s top doctor says Canadians should keep wearing masks and ensure vaccinations are up to date amid rising COVID-19 case counts and reduced public health measures. Dr. Theresa Tam says the country is in a period of pandemic transition that might see further waves of COVID-19 cases this year. Tam says Canada is observing a steady increase in the B-A-2 variant of COVID-19. She will be encouraging provinces and territories to keep up COVID-19 testing capacity, and to continue to offer tests to their populations.
A Metro Vancouver-based Olympic swimmer is retiring — again. Swimming Canada says Brent Hayden — the former 100-metre freestyle world champion and bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics — made the announcement this morning. Hayden came out of retirement in 2019 and rejoined the national team in time for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. At the age of 37 he was also the oldest swimmer in Canadian history — but he helped the team to 4th in the 4×100 metre freestyle and his leadoff leg of 47.99 seconds made him the oldest person to ever swim 100 metres under 48 seconds.