Skip to content

Pope's genocide acknowledgement, prison needle exchange : In The News for Aug. 2

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Aug. 2 ... What we are watching in Canada ...

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Aug. 2 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

A member of the National Indian Residential School Circle of Survivors says it's good Pope Francis acknowledged that what happened in the schools amounted to genocide, but that he should have said it before he left Canada.

Ken Young, who is the former Manitoba regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations, says he believes the Pope failed to make the acknowledgment during his Canadian visit last week because Canadian Catholic officials failed to brief him properly.

Francis apologized multiple times throughout the week for abuses of Catholic-run residential schools, but didn't use the word "genocide" until he was asked by reporters on his plane back to Rome if he accepted that members of the church participated in genocide.

Francis said the reason he did not say that on his apology visit was because he felt "genocide" was a technical term.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission referred to residential schools as a form of cultural genocide when it released its final report in 2015, and since then, a number of Indigenous groups have amended this to say it was genocide.

Young says he believes Francis, when at the end of the Canadian visit, was free to express his own point of view.

"It's good that he said it ... but he should have said it when he was talking to people here in Canada, and in particular the First Nation survivors of Indian residential schools, and of course the Métis and Inuit," Young said in a phone interview Monday in Winnipeg.

Young said he doesn't think there's a difference between "genocide" and "cultural genocide."

"It's either genocide or it's no genocide," Young said. "That's the way I see it. It's kind of black or white, I guess, but that's my view." 


Also this ...

Government officials say Correctional Service Canada is planning to expand its needle exchange programs beyond the nine institutions where they are currently offered.

A director general from the agency told the International AIDS Conference in Montreal this weekend that a number of institutions have been identified for the expansion.

The agency says 53 inmates were actively using the programs in mid-June, and 277 people had been approved to participate over the last four years.

Meanwhile, Canada's first safe injection site within a prison has had 55 participants so far and has seen more than 1,500 visits since 2019.

Advocates say the participant numbers seem low and they suspect that's because security personnel are involved in approving participation, unlike for similar programs in other countries. 

Officials say that the needle exchange programs and other health interventions have led to decreases in both HIV and hepatitis C infections among inmates. 


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

YREKA, Calif. _ When ash began to fall and his throat was burning from the smoke, Franklin Thom decided it was time to leave the city where he grew up on the edge of the national forest in California.

On Monday, he was staying at a shelter with just his medicine, some clothes, his shower shoes, his daughter and the word that unlike some others, he had escaped California's largest fire of the year with his home still standing.

"Keep your prayers out for us,'' said Thom, 55.

At least two people have died and more than 100 homes, sheds and other buildings have burned in the McKinney Fire since it erupted last Friday and the blaze remains out of control, authorities said.

Two bodies were found inside a charred vehicle Sunday in the driveway of a home near the remote community of Klamath River, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. Other details weren't immediately released.

The blaze in Northern California near the state line with Oregon exploded in size to nearly 225 square kilometres after starting in the Klamath National Forest. It was one of several fires raging through the Western U.S., threatening thousands of homes.

In northwestern Montana, a fire that started Friday afternoon near the town of Elmo on the Flathead Indian Reservation measured 52 square kilometres, fire officials said. Some people were forced to flee their homes as gusting afternoon winds drove the fire east.

The California fire started small but exploded over the weekend as thunderstorm cells brought winds gusting to 80 kph at times.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka _ Sri Lankans who have endured months of fuel and food shortages are bracing for more pain as a newly installed government scrambles to find solutions to the Indian Ocean nation's economic emergency.

Like many others, fish monger Gamini Mallawarachchi says he is pinning his hopes on President Ranil Wickremesinghe's ability to revive the economy and restore stability after months of turmoil and protests.

"Things are really, really bad now and my life is almost ruined,'' said Mallawarachchi, who has given up on selling fish because he can't find fuel to get to the village where he used to buy it, and anyway his customers were buying less and less.

Mallawarachchi said he views Wickremesinghe his "last hope.''

"I think he will do something. With his experience and knowledge, I believe he has the capability,'' said Mallawarachchi. "But, he must show some results before the end of this year, otherwise, he will also have to face protests from the people,'' he said.

Sri Lanka inched closer to ending its dire economic and humanitarian crisis with the July 20 appointment of Wickremesinghe's new government after months of protests and turmoil. But daunting hurdles lay ahead.

Lawmakers backed him in extending a national emergency that gives the president broad powers to crack down on any violence. That may buy him time to try to reach a deal with the International Monetary Fund on a requested $3 billion bailout.

On Saturday, Wickremesinghe said he has pushed back by a month his aim of getting an agreement by early August since talks with the IMF stalled amid recent political turmoil. But so far there are scant signs of progress in negotiations with Sri Lanka's other creditors on more than $50 billion that it owes to lenders.


On this day in 1934 ...

Adolf Hitler was installed as dictator of Germany. With the death of President Paul von Hindenburg, Hitler combined the vacant office with his own, that of chancellor, and declared himself Der Fuhrer. With absolute power, Hitler began a campaign against all opposition, even within his own party. Hundreds of influential Nazis were killed and soon he was arming troops for the European invasions that would bring about the Second World War.


In entertainment ...

Beyonce is removing an offensive term for disabled people from a new song on her record "Renaissance,'' just weeks after rapper Lizzo also changed lyrics to remove the same word.

"The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,'' a spokeswoman for Beyonce wrote in a statement.

The song "Heated,'' which was co-written with Canadian rapper Drake among several others, uses the word "spaz,'' which is considered a derogatory reference to the medical term spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.

Lizzo also removed the word from one of her songs, "Grrrls,'' in June after disability advocates complained about the lyrics. Lizzo said in a statement she never wanted to promote derogatory language.

Disability advocate Hannah Diviney, who pointed out Lizzo's lyrics that lead to the change, wrote on Twitter that hearing the word again used by Beyonce "felt like a slap in the face to me, the disabled community & the progress we tried to make with Lizzo.''


Did you see this?

Much of Canada has been sweltering, but that's cold comfort for ice cream truck vendors like Meedo Falou, who says inflation and high fuel costs are melting away his profits.

The owner of Rainbow Ice Cream in B.C., who owns a fleet of 10 ice cream trucks, also says some flavours are in short supply, taking a further toll on his business.

Falou says while ice cream prices have gone up, he can't pass along all the costs to consumers.

Steve Christensen, executive director of the North American Ice Cream Association, says high gas prices have had a ripple effect on cones, cups and more.

Christensen says ice cream prices usually go up by about five per cent each year, but this year they've increased up to 15 per cent.

He says ice cream truck operators also have to contend with new challenges from delivery apps and online vendors.

Christensen says gone are the days when ice cream truck operators could drum up enough trade by simply driving around, and now they have to hustle by offering catering at scheduled events.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 2, 2022.

The Canadian Press

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks