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Queen’s University takes action against students after misogynistic signs over party weekend

Noushin Ziafati, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Oct 19th, 2021

KINGSTON, Ont. – A university in southeastern Ontario says it’s taking action against those who displayed misogynistic signs at unsanctioned student parties over the weekend.

Queen’s University said in a statement Monday that the signs were hung in front of a number of houses on Saturday and the occupants of those homes were told the school would take action under the Student Code of Conduct. The university did not specify what that action would entail.

Patrick Deane, the principal and vice-chancellor for the school in Kingston, Ont., said there’s no excuse for acts of sexual harassment or violence or sexist behaviour of any kind.

“The signs that appeared on Saturday poison the quality of (the university) environment by unwantedly sexualizing campus life, but more particularly by causing the threat of sexual violence to hang over the heads of women and those vulnerable to harassment and assault in our community,” said Deane.

“In that way, they compromise the right of all members of the university to enjoy a living, learning and working environment that is free from fear, intimidation and anxiety.”

The partying took place on homecoming weekend, even though the university opted against holding traditional in-person homecoming events for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police in Kingston made several arrests during what they declared an “aggravated nuisance party” over the weekend.
The force estimated that roughly 8,000 people gathered on the city’s Aberdeen Street on Saturday afternoon. An officer had to be taken to hospital after projectiles were thrown at police.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, police posted a video online showing hundreds of what they described as “intoxicated students” gathered in the dark near the Victoria Park area.

Queen’s said it expects members of its university community to be “respectful, considerate and acutely sensitive to the impact of their actions on others.”

“Sadly, this weekend revealed that amongst us there are still problematic and violent assumptions being made about gender that reflects a complete disregard for their impact on individuals and indeed, our entire community,” Deane said.

A survey on sexual violence on Ontario university campuses conducted in 2018 indicated Queen’s had the second-highest rate of reported sexual harassment and ranked fourth for the prevalence of sexual assault.

Late last month, students at Queen’s organized a walkout to support survivors of sexual violence at universities across Ontario.

That followed several allegations of sexual assault that surfaced at Western University, in London, Ont. Police in that city has said they received four complaints of on-campus sexual assaults at Western.

The force has also been investigating online allegations of drugging and sexual assaults at a Western student residence but said earlier this month that it had received no formal reports on the matter. Police said they would keep the investigation open.

A reporter’s investigation into the origins of COVID-19

THE BIG STORY | posted Tuesday, Oct 5th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, in the early days of the pandemic, a conspiracy theory claimed that the virus was intentionally released from a lab. It was seized upon by the worst people and drove racist scapegoating of Asian people around the world. And if that wasn’t horrific enough, it also managed to poison the well for the investigations that must be done now. Not to prove that the virus was released on purpose—that’s a conspiracy—but to pinpoint, as accurately as we can, how the virus made its way into humans and what we can learn from understanding that.

So: What’s the case for COVID-19 having leaked from a laboratory?

GUEST: Elaine Dewar, investigative journalist and author of On the Origin of the Deadliest Pandemic in 100 Years

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Trudeau returns to Ottawa following untimely B.C. vacation

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Oct 5th, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be back in Ottawa on Tuesday following his untimely Tofino vacation on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Trudeau apologized to B.C. Indigenous leaders over the weekend, but has yet to speak publicly on the matter.

The Prime Minister attended a truth and reconciliation event last Wednesday night – the next day his itinerary did not mention that he was flying out west to Tofino. The itinerary simply said he would be conducting private meetings in Ottawa.

The same thing is listed on Trudeau’s itinerary for Tuesday.

On Sunday, Trudeau’s press secretary confirmed that he had reached out to the chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc First Nation Saturday and offered an apology for not responding to invitations to visit the community.

PM spokesperson Ann-Clara Vaillancourt told 680 NEWS “He reached out [Saturday], spoke with the Chief, offered an apology, discussed the path forward and is looking forward to visiting the community soon.”

Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald said the PM’s apology fell short.

“As I stated to the Catholic church, hollow apologies will no longer be accepted. As National Chief, on behalf of all First Nations, I expect concrete action and changed behaviours. The Prime Minister must demonstrate through actions that he is committed to the healing path forward,” she said.

Meanwhile, Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus will be holding a news conference on Tuesday morning and calling on the federal government to take concrete steps towards reconciliation in this country.

Erin O’Toole faces caucus

Erin O’Toole’s leadership will face its first test since the Conservative Party’s disappointing election defeat two weeks ago.

The 119 Conservative MPs are set to gather in person in Ottawa where they will have to decide whether they want the power to review O’toole’s leadership.

Under legislation passed in 2015, each party’s caucus is required to decide after an election whether it wants to empower its members to trigger a leadership review. The review requires a written notice backed by at least 20 per cent of caucus.

Several conservative MPs, speaking to the Toronto Star on the condition of anonymity, say they believe their colleagues could vote in favour of launching a leadership review but tell the paper where was no sign on Monday that anyone was actively gathering signatures.

With files from the Canadian Press

Blue Jays rout Orioles in season finale but fall short in post-season bid

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Oct 4th, 2021

A pair of George Springer homers, including a grand slam and a record-breaking blast from Vladimir Guerrero Jr., pushed the Blue Jays to the brink of a berth in an American League wild-card tiebreaker game. But in the end they came up one win short.

Toronto hammered the lowly Baltimore Orioles 12-4 to sweep the regular-season ending series on Sunday but they needed a loss from either the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees to make it to a tiebreaker game for one of the two wild-card slots.

The Yankees were the first to dash Toronto’s hopes, scoring the only run they needed in the ninth inning for a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. That clinched a wild-card spot for New York.

The Red Sox put the nail in the Blue Jays post-season coffin with a come-from-behind 7-5 win over the Washington Nationals to secure the second wild-card berth.

After hitting five homers in a 10-1 win on Saturday, the Blue Jays slammed four more long balls in the finale to extend their club record for homers in a season to 262.

The 22-year-old Guerrero’s two-run homer in the second inning was his 48th to set a record for most homers in a season by a player 22 or younger. The remarkable Eddie Mathews set the record of 47 in 1953.

To go with his AL-leading 48 homers, Guerrero finished his AL MVP-candidate season with a league-best .311 average and 111 RBI.

The Blue Jays emerged swiftly with leads of 3-0 after the first inning, 5-0 after the second and 9-1 after three.

After Springer drilled his fourth lead-off homer of the year, the right-handed hitting Guerrero smacked an opposite-field two-run shot with Marcus Semien aboard in the second.

In the third, Springer belted a grand slam for his 22nd homer of the year.

A Guerrero walk, double from Bo Bichette, and a two-run single to centre from Teoscar Hernandez pushed Toronto’s advantage to 11-1 in the fourth with his club-leading 115th and 116th RBI.

Semien smacked a two-out solo shot to left in the fifth inning for his 45th.

Toronto starter Hyun Jin Ryu (14-10) lasted five innings. He struck out seven, walked one and surrendered two runs on six hits, including rookie Tyler Nevin’s first career homer in the third inning.

Ryu won for the first time since Sept. 6 and survived a scary incident in the fourth inning. With one out and Baltimore-designated hitter Trey Mancini on first base, catcher Pedro Severino hit a smash back at Ryu, hitting the Toronto pitcher on the inside of his right thigh. He stayed in the game but gave up another run in the fifth inning.

The Orioles (52-110) finished with the worst record in the American League.

Are unions poised for a comeback?

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Oct 4th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, private-sector union membership has declined significantly in recent decades, in part due to a vast pool of foreign labour that has left many domestic workers in constant fear of being outsourced.

The stresses of the pandemic, and a historically high cost of living is putting the squeeze on North American low-wage workers, but as the current labour shortage worsens and companies become increasingly desperate to hire employees, people in industries like hospitality, or healthcare, or manufacturing find themselves in a much-strengthened bargaining position.

As workers become more empowered, will they be emboldened to organize and advocate for their rights?

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Statistics Canada says GDP fell 0.1 per cent in July

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Oct 1st, 2021

Statistics Canada said Friday the economy shrank 0.1 per cent in July, following a 0.6 per cent rise in June.

The agency’s initial estimate for July real gross domestic product had been for a contraction of 0.4 per cent despite an easing of public health restrictions.

While the majority of sectors the agency tracks grew in July, declines in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing more than offset any gains.

Crop production, except cannabis, was at it lowest level since November 2007 on the back of drought conditions that Statistics Canada said hurt production of wheat, canola and other grains.

Manufacturing was down 1.1 per cent in July, while the construction sector fell by 0.9 per cent, which the agency said was driven by a third straight month of declines in residential building activity after reaching a record high in April.

Statistics Canada said total economic activity in July was about two per cent below pre-pandemic levels recorded in February 2020.

The agency’s initial estimate for August suggests a rise of 0.7 per cent for the month, which would put total economic activity about one per cent below pre-pandemic levels. The August GDP figure will be finalized at the end of the month.

CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes said the figures for both months were largely in line with expectations, but other figures released by Statistics Canada on Friday suggest GDP is tracking below forecasts for the quarter.

Leading the gains in July was the beleaguered accommodation and food services sector, which has felt the brunt of public health measures restricting in-person services and travel.

Statistics Canada said a combination of summer weather, expanded patio capacity and loosened public health restrictions on indoor and outdoor dining across the country helped fuel a 12.5 per cent gain in the sector, marking the second straight month of double-digit growth.

Air transportation rose 67.7 per cent in the July travel season after fully vaccinated visitors were no longer required to quarantine as of July 5.

Still, each sector is still well below where it was just before the pandemic struck.

Statistics Canada said the accommodations and food services sector in July was 21.3 per cent below February 2020 levels, while air transportation was nearly 83 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

1 lot of Mirvala 28 birth control product recalled due to possible presence of placebo

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Oct 1st, 2021

Health Canada says drug-maker Apotex Inc. is recalling a particular lot of the Mirvala 28 birth control product due to the possible presence of a placebo pill.

“Mirvala 28 packages contain 21 white pills (active pills that contain hormones) and seven green placebo pills (inactive pills with no hormone),” Health Canada said on their website Friday. “Taking the pills in the proper order, according to the instructions that accompany the product, is important for preventing pregnancy.”

Health Canada said to look for these particular details on the package:

  • DIN:  02410257
  • UPC code: 771313225328
  • Lot:  LF21272B
  • Expiry date: 08/2022

“If your package has a placebo (green) pill in place of an active (white) pill, return it to your pharmacy as soon as possible for a replacement. If you are uncertain, consult your pharmacist,” Health Canada said.

The federal agency added that people can also speak to their physicians or can contact the drug’s manufacturer at 1-866-534-9986.

Court dismisses Ottawa’s appeals of Indigenous children’s rulings

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Sep 30th, 2021

OTTAWA – The Federal Court has dismissed Ottawa’s attempts to appeal a pair of rulings about providing services and compensation to First Nations children.

In September 2019, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled Ottawa didn’t properly fund child and family services, which resulted in it “wilfully and recklessly” discriminating against Indigenous children living on reserve.

It ordered the federal government to pay $40,000 each to about 50,000 First Nations children as well as their relatives, but the Liberal government appealed the ruling.

The second legal battle stems from a separate ruling in November 2020 that expanded the scope of Jordan’s Principle, which is a rule stating when there is jurisdictional disagreement over what level of government should provide a service to First Nations children, Ottawa takes on the responsibility.

Opposition parties and Indigenous leaders have criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to fight both of these rulings, saying that’s not the appropriate course of action for a government committed to reconciliation.

In June, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion brought forward by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asking the federal government to abandon its legal challenges against First Nations children.

More coming.

Canada marks first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

BRENNA OWEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Sep 30th, 2021

Communities across Canada are set to mark the country’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation today, honouring Indigenous survivors and children who disappeared from the residential school system.

Singing and drumming were scheduled to ring out at 2:15 p.m. from Kamloops where the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation announced in May that ground-penetrating radar had detected what are believed to be 215 unmarked graves at the site of one of the largest former residential schools.

Numerous Indigenous nations have since reported finding unmarked graves at former residential school sites with the same technology used in Kamloops, prompting calls for justice that have resonated across the world.

The federal government announced the new statutory holiday in June to commemorate the history and ongoing impacts of the church-run institutions where Indigenous children were torn from their families and abused.


Terry Teegee, regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, said it’s a day to reflect on that terrible history, and also to think about how to address the effects of 150 years of residential school policies that aimed to “kill the Indian in the child.”

The last residential school in Canada closed in 1996.

Generations of Indigenous children attended the institutions and the trauma from them has been passed down, Teegee said in an interview, pointing to the ’60s Scoop — when Canadian governments placed thousands of Indigenous youth in foster care — and to the disproportionate number of Indigenous youth in care today.

There’s a risk the meaning of reconciliation could become “watered down” without substantive action and funding from the Canadian government to address the mental health challenges, addictions, homelessness, discrimination in the health-care system and other social harms related to residential schools, he said.

Teegee said gestures, such as acknowledgments of Indigenous lands, lowering flags to half-mast to honour residential school victims and an apology from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, are needed, but gestures only go so far.

“That doesn’t change tomorrow for an Indigenous person who’s dealing with addictions or dealing with mental health issues because of residential schools.”


A number of extensive reports — from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1996 to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls — have made recommendations to address the discrimination and harms Indigenous people face, Teegee said.

“We’re one of the most studied groups out there,” he said. “Yet we’re still dealing with the same old issues over and over again.”

“We’re tired of being studied.”

The federal government has pledged to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and the B.C. government is in the process of aligning its laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But Teegee said he would like to see more concerted plans, timelines and funding.

Ultimately, Teegee said he sees reconciliation as changing the relationships between Indigenous nations and Canadian governments to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ sovereignty and self-determination over their territories and affairs.

“This is a long-term commitment between Indigenous Peoples and regardless of what party you’re in or the colonial state, regardless of what affiliation you have.”

It’s about creating space “to be First Nations, to be Indigenous, and to be in a place that respects our identity and respects who we are,” Teegee added.

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