Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
The thousands who attended Pope Francis’s mass at the Basilica of Ste. Anne-de-Beaupré this morning were not expecting yet another apology from the pontiff. But many had hoped they would be wrong.
Some of them wanted an apology that, they said, would recognize the broad institutional failings of the Catholic Church for its part in Canada’s abusive residential schools system, instead of casting the blame on some bad priests and nuns, and the government officials who turned their backs to their appalling behaviour.
Among the attendees was Kathryn Lambert of New Brunswick, who sat in her pew before the mass lost in thought about the two years she attended a residential school in Nova Scotia in the mid-1960s, when she was a child. Lambert accepts that the Pope’s apologies made earlier in the week, including one made in Quebec City on Wednesday, were sincere – but feels they were not broad enough.
Before entering the church, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that Francis could have said more this week in his apologies. “I have heard directly from a number of leaders and members of Indigenous communities that they would have hoped that he would go further, but at the same time, they felt some comfort in hearing his words, " he said.
- Pope’s message of investigation into residential school abuse a ‘lost in translation’ moment, Vatican clarifies
- In photos: Pope Francis hosts his second mass on Canadian soil in Quebec’s capital city
- Pope Francis’s apology failed to acknowledge the Church’s full role in residential schools, Murray Sinclair says
- Opinion: For Pope Francis, apologizing came second to evangelizing
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Threat to Canadian electric vehicle industry dissipates with U.S. Senate deal
Democrats in the U.S. Senate struck a deal that appears to eliminate a threat hanging over the nascent electric vehicle manufacturing industry in Canada. The deal would amend Biden’s climate and health bill and change the terms of tax credits for electric vehicles that as previously written would have only applied to autos assembled in the United States.
The amended language does away with the made-in-America criteria and instead says the tax credit would apply to electric vehicles assembled “within North America,” which means not only the United States, but Canada and Mexico.
Canada’s auto industry and the Canadian government are celebrating the development. International Trade Minister Mary Ng had previously warned that a Buy-America-style tax credit would “serious and irreparable harm” to the Canadian automotive sector.
“Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief,” said Flavio Volpe, president of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.
Anxiety grows among Ukrainian farmers over fate of grain exports despite deal with Russia
Until Feb. 24, Ukrainian farmers couldn’t plant wheat fast enough. The country produced a record 32.2 million tonnes last year and farmers were on track to top that amount in 2022. More than 100 million people from regions across the world, including North Africa, the Middle East and Asia depended on Ukrainian wheat as a staple for their meals.
The war changed everything. Ukraine’s wheat exports are expected to fall by 41 per cent this year, according to an analyst at APK Inform, an agriculture consulting firm based in Dnipro. So much grain has been put in warehouses that prices for Ukrainian wheat and barley have fallen by more than half, making it virtually impossible for farmers to cover their production costs. Throw in the complications of trying to harvest in the middle of a war, the rising price of fuel and freight charges, and the future for Ukrainian agriculture is bleak.
That’s why so much is riding on the shipping agreement with Russia. The three Black Sea ports have been closed since the war began. Up until now, the only way to move grain out of Ukraine has been by truck, rail or through three small ports located on the Danube River. But all of that is slow and costly.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Ontario construction workers accounted for 1 in 13 opioid deaths in recent years, report finds: Researchers from the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network found that Ontarians who were working or previously employed in the construction industry made up 7.9 per cent of the total 5,386 opioid-related deaths during the 30-month period they investigated, even though those working in the construction industry represent 3.6 per cent of the province’s overall population.
Senior Mountie says he believes political inference was behind push to release details on guns in N.S. mass shooting: Chief Supt. Chris Leather testified that he believes political inference was behind RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki’s determination for police to release details on the guns used in the Nova Scotia mass shooting.
Jamie Irving named executive chairman of Post Media, Paul Godfrey to step down: At the end of the year, Irving, a member of the wealthy New Brunswick family, will take over as executive chairman of Postmedia Network Canada Corp. as board chair Paul Godfrey prepares to step down.
Cost estimate for Coastal GasLink pipeline soars 70 per cent to $11.2-billion: The pipeline project, which previously carried a price tag of $6.6-billion, has increased in cost due to scope increases, the impacts of COVID-19, and “other events outside of Coastal GasLink LP’s control,” TC Energy said in a statement.
Canada Soccer ‘mishandled’ sexual harassment allegations in 2008 against then-coach Bob Birarda, review finds: Birarda, a former women’s Vancouver Whitecaps and Canadian national youth team coach, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in February to three counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual touching while in a position of authority. The charges involve four teenage soccer players coached by Birarda over a span of 20 years between 1988 and 2008.
U.S. on the brink of recession as GDP contracts again in second quarter: Consumer spending is growing at its slowest pace in two years, business spending is declining, and the U.S. economy unexpectedly contracted in the second quarter: all raising the risks of a potentially looming recession.
Hockey Canada says it paid $8.9-million to settle 21 cases of alleged sexual assault since 1989: In the first public disclosure of how much Hockey Canada used their National Equity Fund to settle allegations of sexual assault, senior executives say nine settlements were paid out amounting to what was then worth $7.6-million, without documenting the claims through the national sports organization’s insurance policies.
The trading day ended with Canada’s main stock exchange up over 200 points, with U.S. stock markets closing in positive territory as well, as momentum continued following a three-quarters of a percentage point rate hike out of the U.S. Wednesday.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 202.15 points at 19,456.71, and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 332.04 points at 32,529.63. The S&P 500 index gained 48.82 points at 4,072.43, while the Nasdaq composite was up 130.17 points at 12,162.59.
The Canadian dollar traded for 77.91 cents USD, compared with 77.69 cents US on Wednesday.
For Pope Francis, apologizing came second to evangelizing
“On inspection, many found the Pope’s apology wanting. Others went further, denouncing what they saw as the Pope’s tone deafness in declaring, during his homily at the Lac Ste. Anne, Alta. pilgrimage on Tuesday, ‘how much good was done in this regard by missionaries who, as authentic evangelizers, preserved Indigenous languages and cultures in many parts of the world.’ After all, residential schools sought to eradicate those same Indigenous languages and cultures in Canada.” – Konrad Yakabuski
The global AIDS response is faltering, putting millions of lives in danger
“[We are] not moving fast enough to end the inequalities that drive pandemics. In some cases, we are also moving in the wrong direction, favouring tech monopolies instead of tech sharing, austerity instead of investment, clamping down on marginalized communities instead of repealing outdated laws and promoting and enabling inclusive, community-centred care. The COVID-19 crisis and the war in Ukraine have impacted the global HIV response, putting a growing number of countries and communities at risk.” – Winnie Byanyima
To escape our current travel hell, we need more airline competition
“For years, regulators have allowed competition in the airline sector to fall dramatically. Airlines promise that their collaborations will make the traveller’s experience more seamless. This is self-serving nonsense, since it is the airlines themselves that have created the friction ... With all these frustrations, what can a disgruntled passenger do? As it stands now, they have little opportunity to take their business elsewhere.” – Saul Klein
E-asy riders: Electric wheels take to city streets
E-scooters are catching on across the world as a fast, eco-friendly option for getting around. The range of electric-powered “micro-mobility” vehicles you might see on Canadian streets also includes electric-assist bikes, longboards, skateboards, sit-down scooters, and even unicycles. You can read all about these new modes of transportation – and the bumps in the road they’ve encountered – in this story on the subculture of micro-mobility vehicle users.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Ukrainian civilians are being taken from their homes and interrogated by Russian soldiers for weeks
Vitalii Donchevskyi and his wife, Valentyna Churikova, were at home sharing a meal when Russian soldiers burst through the front door. They were rounding up men and forcing them to undergo a process known as filtration.
Through filtration, Russian officials have been detaining Ukrainian civilians who aren’t suspected of any specific crimes in DPR or Russian facilities for days or weeks while authorities check their backgrounds and credentials. It has become a fact of life for residents of Donetsk’s Russian and DPR-held territories in the months since the start of the invasion, and has become a necessary step before civilians are allowed to leave their communities or move freely within them. But often, people suspected of having ties to the military or police – including Donchevskyi – are detained.
Human-rights groups say the way filtration is being practised in Ukraine is abusive and could be in violation of international standards. Even in cases where Ukrainians swept up in the dragnet aren’t captured or beaten, there is evidence that some of them are being taken to Russia against their will.
The Globe spoke with 12 Ukrainians who said they had undergone filtration. Many said they were interrogated about whether they were connected to anyone in the Ukrainian army or law enforcement, fingerprinted and photographed. Their phones and belongings were searched, and some said they were forced to strip to their underwear so authorities could inspect their tattoos or examine their bodies for evidence that they frequently carried rifles. Some, like Donchevskyi, were blindfolded and repeatedly beaten.