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Sask. court file reveals new details of Catholic Church compensation for residential school survivors
A Saskatchewan judge has released files detailing the Roman Catholic Church’s controversial $79-million compensation deal for residential school survivors following a successful court application by CBC News and the Globe and Mail.
This cache of documents, along with other internal papers obtained by CBC News in recent weeks, illustrates how Catholic officials, aided by a team of veteran lawyers, successfully fought years of federal government efforts to make them pay the full amounts promised in the landmark 2005 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
Advocates say they also add vital detail and context to the story of the Catholic Church’s broken promises.
“I think the result is a really important outcome for openness and transparency for our court system. It goes to that old maxim that justice not only must be done — it must be seen to be done,” said Sean Sinclair, a Saskatoon lawyer who argued the case on behalf of the two media organizations.
The court files contain new information and elaborate on many of the individual revelations previously reported by CBC News.
For example, the Catholic entities that signed the 2005 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement spent more than $6 million on unapproved legal fees, administration, internal loans and other expenses. This included payments to lawyers sitting on the Catholic board overseeing the settlement. None of the other Christian churches involved (Anglican, Presbyterian or United) engaged in these practices and paid the full amounts they owed shortly after signing the 2005 agreement.
“Canada was never informed of this conflict of interest … no other church organization has claimed legal expenses, never mind legal expenses of $2.7 million,” senior federal government analyst Pamela Stellick stated in a 2014 affidavit contained in the package released last month.
“As of today, there have been many problems in getting the Catholic entities to fulfil their obligations.”
In addition, Catholic entities that attended Truth and Reconciliation Commission events and meetings across Canada paid their expenses from the pot of money dedicated to survivors. In a March 2012 letter, a federal official told a church leader that this was a clear violation of the deal. Church officials “must not draw from funds to the disadvantage of the beneficiaries,” the federal official wrote. Read more on this story here.
A dirty job
After 257.7 kilometres of wind, rain and crashes, mud-covered Sonny Colbrelli of Italy celebrates as he crosses the finish line just ahead of Belgium’s Florian Vermeersch (right) to win the 118th edition of the Paris-Roubaix cycling race yesterday.
While more than 5,000 air travellers who refused to quarantine in a hotel when they arrived in Canada were hit with big fines, CBC News has yet to confirm that any such fines were issued in Calgary or Montreal. They are two of just four cities — along with Vancouver and Toronto — where international passengers could land while the hotel quarantine rule was in effect, from Feb. 22 to Aug. 8. The absence of fines issued in Calgary doesn’t mean all Calgary arrivals obeyed the rules. Seven travellers told CBC News they landed in the city, refused to quarantine in a hotel and received no fines. The Public Health Agency of Canada told CBC News its officers couldn’t fine hotel quarantine violators in Alberta because the province never adopted the federal Contraventions Act. But the agency said police in Alberta could issue the fines and suggested checking with police for up-to-date statistics. Alberta RCMP and Calgary police said they have issued no such fines. In May, Calgary police said fining hotel quarantine violators was a challenge because they could only investigate a case if they receive a complaint. Read more about the fines.
An Ottawa couple recently listed their brand new rental property, but before they could rent it out, they found a family living there without their knowledge as a result of a bold and complex scam. The con, based on a fake listing on Kijiji but with a puzzling twist, not only duped the family out of thousands of dollars in rent, but left the homeowners feeling stunned and violated. After sharing information, the homeowners, listing agent and the would-be renter zeroed in on a theory that the perpetrator of the scam accessed a lock box combination through a booking on ShowingTime, a Chicago-based site that allows agents to schedule and book home showings, by posing as a real estate agent. Read more about the rental scam.
Canadians are unknowingly buying and building homes and other infrastructure in areas at high risk of flooding, wildfires and other climate change impacts. That could lead to billions of dollars in damage each year, says a new report from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. Investing in adaptation could slash those costs — but just about no one has the information they need to be able to adapt, according to the report released last week from the federally funded think-tank. “There’s pretty poor understanding of climate risks and really poor risk-disclosure practices across the country,” said Dylan Clark, a senior research associate at the institute and co-author of the report. There’s little to no public information on current flood, wildfire or permafrost thaw risks, he said, let alone taking into account the future of climate. Read more on this story here.
While government workers are required to prove if they are vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s a very different story in the private sector. Almost none of northeastern Ontario’s largest industrial employers have vaccination policies. Steel producer Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie says it does not require its 2,800 employees to be vaccinated. Vale, with some 4,000 workers in Sudbury, didn’t answer CBC’s questions, but United Steelworkers Local 6500 says there is no policy in place. That’s also the case at Glencore in Sudbury, where about 1,000 miners and smelter workers are represented by the Mine Mill union. “This is a very polarizing issue for a lot of people,” said union president Eric Boulay. “Some are for it and some are against it, and they want to see the union fight for their direction, and that’s two different directions.” He said that on top of the in-fighting among the membership, his local’s “pro-choice” stance also strays from the national Unifor union, which wants to see COVID-19 vaccines made mandatory. Read more about vaccination requirements in the private sector.
It’s normal to feel awkward, worried or even exhausted at the prospect of re-entering social situations, experts say. The key is to be honest about how you’re feeling, and go easy on yourself. Allison Ouimet, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Ottawa, says anxiety over illness, long-term consequences of COVID-19, and its impacts on social relationships has been prevalent in the past year and a half. “Now that we’re heading much more into reopening, those same problems are coming up,” said Ouimet, who specializes in anxiety disorders. “It’s OK to feel anxious … worried…. Allowing that, rather than judging, it is step number one.” Read more about coping with reopening.
The Toronto Blue Jays’ post-season hopes came to a crashing end on Sunday. After pounding the Baltimore Orioles 12-4 on the final day of the regular season, the Jays could only watch as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox both won their games. That put the Jays’ American League East archrivals into the AL wild-card game. “You don’t ever want your fate in the hands of somebody else,” said Blue Jays outfielder George Springer. “But that’s just the way it was, is, hoping for the best, but it didn’t happen.” The Yankees-Red Sox wild-card game will go Tuesday at Boston’s Fenway Park. Read more about the end to the Jays’ season.
Now for some good news to start your Monday: The organization in B.C. for growing giant pumpkins says a Richmond man has grown the biggest ever in the province, weighing close to 900 kilograms. David Chan’s “papa bear” was among several giant pumpkins weighed at an annual event in Langley on Saturday, hosted by Giant Pumpkins British Columbia. Chan’s pumpkin weighed 866 kilograms. He also grew two other huge pumpkins, “mama bear” and “baby bear,” which earned him a special honour at the weigh-off for growing three pumpkins weighing a collective 1,811 kilograms or more. “I’m excited,” he said about the honour. “I’ve been watering them six times a day for a total of 200 gallons (757 litres) of water per plant.” Chan says he’s been growing giant pumpkins for 40 years since seeing the giant vegetables on an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Read more about Chan and his giant pumpkins.
Front Burner: Wellness culture’s link to COVID denialism
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a networked and affiliate-linked system of alternative health influencers took the stage. Some people who were once talking about everything from complementary care to mindfulness, meditation and transcendence were now pushing pseudoscientific conspiracy theories about the pandemic.
Today, we take a closer look at the connection between wellness culture and anti-vaccine, as well as anti-vaccine-passport, movements.
Matthew Remski is a journalist and co-host of the podcast Conspirituality, and he joins us to explain this interconnected dynamic.
Front Burner25:22Wellness culture’s link to COVID denialism
Today in history: October 4
1957: The space age begins as the Soviet Union puts the first spacecraft, Sputnik 1, into orbit around earth. Carrying radio equipment, the first man-made satellite weighed 83 kilograms and was 58 centimetres in diameter.
1982: Canadian pianist Glenn Gould dies in Toronto at the age of 50, eight days after suffering a severe stroke.
1988: Nine Canadians who were unknowing guinea pigs during CIA-financed brainwashing experiments in the 1950s reach an out-of-court settlement, sharing $750,000.
2004: Louise Charron and Rosalie Abella are sworn in as Supreme Court of Canada justices, bringing the number of women on the bench to four for the first time.