Ending forced sterilization, BoC gov. speaks after rate hike: In The News for July 14

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 July 14 …

What we are watching in Canada …

The Senate is expected to release recommendations today to end forced and coerced sterilization in Canada. 

The committee on human rights has been looking into the issue and is holding a press conference at 11 a.m. to talk about its new report.

In June 2021, the same committee released a preliminary report which found “this horrific practice is not confined to the past, but clearly is continuing today.”

The report says forced and coerced sterilization is under-reported and disproportionately affects Indigenous women and other vulnerable and marginalized groups.

Two Indigenous women filed a class-action lawsuit in Saskatchewan in 2017, alleging they were sterilized without consent and the following year more than 100 others joined. 

The committee’s preliminary work says survivors should be consulted and involved in creating the recommendations.

Also this …

Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem is set to speak at a webinar hosted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business today. 

The speech comes one day after the central bank raised its key interest rate by a full percentage point, marking the largest rate hike since 1998.

The rate hike signalled the bank was moving quicker to clamp down on soaring inflation, which reached a nearly 40-year-high of 7.7 per cent in May. 

In a news conference on Wednesday, Macklem said the supersized rate hike was necessary to avoid having to take even larger steps in the future and highlighted the importance of restoring “low, stable and predictable inflation.”

However, the faster approach the Bank of Canada is taking to raise interest rates is also raising concerns about the possibility of a recession, with RBC forecasting a mild recession next year. 

Macklem is speaking via videoconference. His remarks will be published online later this afternoon.

And this too …

A Muslim international relief charity is telling the Supreme Court of Canada the federal government should not be allowed to “shoot first and hold a hearing later” when it comes to levying administrative penalties.

Ottawa-based Human Concern International is asking the top court to review the Federal Court of Appeal’s refusal to freeze a government-imposed suspension — which prohibited the charity from issuing tax receipts — while a challenge of the penalty played out.

The Canada Revenue Agency levied the one-year suspension in July 2021 following an audit by the revenue agency’s charities directorate that flagged concerns about six initiatives.

The suspension has now expired, but HCI is still pursuing the matter in court, saying it has significant repercussions for the charitable sector as a whole.

In its application seeking a hearing in the Supreme Court, HCI says the rule of law in Canada will be “significantly diminished” if the court does not step in.

The charity argues federal agencies will be empowered to impose penalties before an airing of the issues — and prior to a determination of guilt.

The revenue agency accused HCI of improperly issuing donation receipts totalling more than US$307,000 on behalf of organizations administering the six projects in question — a practice known as third-party receipting. 

The initiatives included three education and health projects in India, education and skills development of orphans in Bangladesh, orphan support in Somalia and an education project in Kenya. 

What we are watching in the U.S. …

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. _ A wildfire that threatened a grove of California’s giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park was burning eastward into the Sierra National Forest on Wednesday.

The Washburn Fire is one of dozens of blazes chewing through drought-parched terrain in the Western U.S. It had increased in size to more than 17 square kilometres and was just 23 per cent contained.

The fire will continue to grow over the next few days, according to a fire update Wednesday night.

“The combination of continued warm and dry weather conditions along with the heavy accumulation of large fuels is creating the perfect recipe for the very active fire behaviour we are seeing,” the update said.

Meanwhile, firefighting preparations had already been underway in the national forest.

“We’ve brought in Sierra National Forest folks from the get-go, kind of anticipating that this may happen,” said Nancy Philippe, a fire information spokesperson.

Containment lines within the park, including along the edge of the grove, were holding, firefighting operations official Matt Ahearn said in a video briefing earlier in the day.

The fire had been entirely within the national park since breaking out July 7, when visitors to the Mariposa Grove of ancient sequoias reported smoke. Authorities have not said how the fire started and whether it involved a crime or some type of accident.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka _ Sri Lanka’s embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has left Maldives after fleeing his own country amid an economic collapse.

He boarded a Saudi Airlines plane on Wednesday that will take him to Singapore and then to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a Maldives government officials said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

With the country sinking into political chaos, Rajapaksa and his wife fled to the Maldives on Wednesday aboard an air force jet. He made the prime minister acting president in his absence _ a move that further roiled passions among a public that blames Rajapaksa for an economic crisis that has caused severe shortages of food and fuel.

Rajapaksa had promised to resign by Wednesday night, and since Sri Lankan presidents are protected from arrest while in power it’s likely he planned his departure while he still had constitutional immunity and access to a military jet. 

Sri Lankan protesters who occupied official buildings to push their demands for a new government said Thursday they would voluntarily vacate the offices while Parliament seeks a solution.

On Wednesday, protesters who were undeterred by multiple rounds of tear gas scaled the walls to enter the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the crowd outside cheered in support and tossed water bottles to them. Protesters took turns posing at the prime minister’s desk or stood on a rooftop terrace waving the Sri Lankan flag.

The protesters blame Rajapaksa and his powerful, dynastic family for leading the country into an economic abyss, but they are also furious with Wickremesinghe, whom they accuse of protecting the president. Many believe that his appointment in May alleviated pressure on Rajapaksa to resign.

Both leaders said after the protests escalated over the weekend that they would resign, but Wickremesinghe said he will not leave until a new government is in place. He has urged the speaker of Parliament to find a new prime minister agreeable to both the ruling and opposition parties.

On this day in 1976 …

The House of Commons passed a bill to abolish the death penalty. After debating the issue for more than two months, the bill was approved by a 130-124 vote. At the time, there were 11 men on death row awaiting the noose, although the last hangings had occurred in 1962.

In entertainment …

LOS ANGELES _ An appeals court on Wednesday ordered the unsealing of some documents in the criminal case against renowned director Roman Polanski, who has been a fugitive since pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl decades ago, a California prosecutor announced.

The court ordered the unsealing of the conditional deposition transcript of Roger Gunson, who was the original prosecutor in the Los Angeles County case, the county district attorney’s office said.

There was no immediate word, however, on when the documents would be made public.

Polanski, 88, who won a best director Oscar for “The Pianist” in 2003, remains a fugitive after pleading guilty in 1977 to unlawful sex with a minor and fleeing the United States for France on the eve of sentencing the following year.

Switzerland and Poland rejected bids to extradite him back to the United States and he continues to be feted in Europe, winning praise and working with major actors.

However, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him from its membership in 2018.

Did you see this?

WHITEHORSE _ Travis Delawski went out looking for gold but found something even more precious.

The miner for Treadstone Gold got in his excavator on June 21 just before lunch and set out for the river in Yukon’s Klondike fields where he began scratching the black earth.

“I put the ripper into the wall and popped it out and looked down,” he said during a briefing on Wednesday. “And there, something was looking at me.”

He hopped out of his machine for a closer look while calling his supervisor, Brian McCaughan, on the radio to report that he had “found a body,” he said.

At first, Delawski said he thought it was a buffalo.

“But then I got down and I looked kind of closer at it and it had a trunk. And then soon as that happened, I was like ‘Brian, it’s a baby woolly mammoth.”’

The Yukon government said the animal was found in the Tr’ondek Hwech’in traditional territory and is the most complete and best-preserved mammoth found in North America.

Tr’ondek Hwech’in elders named the mammoth Nun cho ga, which means “big baby animal” in the nation’s Han language.

Brian Groves, senior heritage manager for Yukon, said preliminary examinations show Nun cho ga was female and between 30 and 35 days old when she died. She was frozen in the permafrost about 30,000 years ago. The animal is about 140 centimetres long and has well-preserved hair, trunk and tiny toenails that haven’t been hardened.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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