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‘Eliminate the fraudsters’: Report delves into Indigenous identity at universities



SASKATOON — A report commissioned after controversy circled a health professor’s claims of being Métis says the University of Saskatchewan was unprepared for Indigenous identity fraud and uneducated on Indigenous people.

“Indigenous identity fraudsters have exposed the ignorance of USask with respect to Indigenous peoples,” says the report by Jean Teillet released Thursday.

The University of Saskatchewan contracted Teillet, a lawyer who specializes in Indigenous rights, to do an independent investigation before health professor Carrie Bourassa resigned from her position earlier this year.

Bourassa was placed on leave and suspended from her duties as a professor in the College of Medicinelast year, following a CBC report that her claims about being Métis did not add up.

Peter Stoicheff, the university’s president, said the report is not about Bourassa, because she is no longer an employee of the university.

“It looks that very difficult issue straight in the eye in a very useful way for the entire country,” Stoicheff said.

The report says the issue of Indigenous identify fraud is faced by universities and other institutions across the country, which have long relied on self-identification. Some universities have committed to enhancing policies around Indigenous identification, including the University of Saskatchewan, University of Manitoba and Queen’s University in Ontario.

It says universities did not anticipate and were not prepared for non-Indigenous people trying to take advantage of opportunities created for their Indigenous colleagues. And there was a general failure to recognize fraudsters and ignorance about how to identify Indigenous Peoples.

Teillet refers in the report to the cases of author Joseph Boyden and Michelle Latimer, a filmmaker and producer, who both had their Indigenous identities questioned in recent years.

The report lists red flags to help recognize Indigenous identity fraud, including conflicting stories, vague claims, repeated references to ceremony and claiming membership in a pan-Indigenous organization. It also says family stories or secrets and a reliance on stereotypes should raise concerns.

“This is not a proposal that the academy begin to police identity,” the report says.

“It is a proposal that the academy educate itself about Indigenous identity fraud performance patterns and take steps to eliminate the fraudsters.”

The report says asking for verification evidence is not determining whether an applicant is Indigenous. It is putting in place a process to ensure honesty.

Stoicheff said the report has recommendations for how the University of Saskatchewan should implement its new policy on Indigenous identity verification, which was put in place following the Bourassa controversy.

The policy, which was created by an Indigenous-led group and approved in July, requires people to present evidenceto support their identity if they are applying for employment or scholarships. The university said it is asking Indigenous communities to determine what evidence is necessary.

It has already faced criticism, with some people saying the document-driven approach is colonial and can leave out Indigenous people who have been disconnected from their communities by residential schools, adoption or the child-welfare system. Others have said the policy creates a burden that could discourage Indigenous students from applying for scholarships.

An Indigenous-led standing committee was created to help inform how the policy will continue to play out.

Airini, who goes by one name and is the University of Saskatchewan’s provost and vice-president academic, said the policy was developed by and for Indigenous people. She said the report shows that while the road may be bumpy, it is going in the right direction.

“We are seeing that it’s a confirmation that we are following good process,” she said.

The report and its recommendations are to be provided to the standing committee to help shape the policy on identification. It can also be used as a teaching tool for human resources and recruitment staff, Stoicheffsaid.

Stoicheff added that the reporthas important information for all universities that are looking to develop similar policies.

“This is an institution of learning and higher learning, and there is always a lot to learn.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2022.


Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press



Two-thirds of Canadians ‘desperately’ need interest rates to go down: MNP survey




CALGARY – A new survey says the Bank of Canada’s recent interest rate cut did little to change Canadians’ negative perceptions about their personal finances.

The MNP Consumer Debt Index, conducted quarterly by Ipsos, dropped six points from the previous quarter to 85 points, which it says signals increasingly negative views on respondents’ debt situation.

Two-thirds of respondents say they desperately need interest rates to go down, as more than half indicate they are concerned rates may not fall quickly enough to provide the financial relief they require.

The central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 4.75 per cent in June and economists expect another cut could be in store when it meets Wednesday for its next rate decision.

The MNP report found 46 per cent of Canadians are $200 or less away from failing to meet all their financial obligations, while three-in-ten say they already can’t cover their bills and debt payments.

Grant Bazian, president of MNP Ltd., says that with the prices of many daily necessities still high, “many have not seen the meaningful reduction in their monthly expenses needed to ease their financial burdens.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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The Simmering Feud Between Eva Mendes and Rachel McAdams



The 2004 romantic drama “The Notebook” continues to be a pop culture phenomenon, captivating audiences with its passionate love story between Noah and Allie, played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. But beyond the on-screen romance, rumours of tension between the actors and Gosling’s current partner, Eva Mendes, have added a layer of intrigue to the film’s legacy.


From Clashing Personalities to Real-Life Romance

While their undeniable on-screen chemistry led to a blockbuster performance, Gosling and McAdams reportedly had a tumultuous time during filming. “We inspired the worst in each other,” Gosling admitted to The Guardian. However, their initial animosity blossomed into a real-life romance in 2005, sending shivers down the spines of fans who had rooted for Noah and Allie.


Love Found, Love Lost

Their off-screen love story, however, wasn’t a fairytale. After two years, the couple went their separate ways. McAdams found happiness and a family with screenwriter Jamie Linden, while Gosling met his current partner, Eva Mendes, on the set of “The Place Beyond the Pines” in 2011. Together, they have built a life and share two daughters.


A Post-Breakup Conundrum: Maintaining a Friendship

While McAdams and Gosling’s romantic flame fizzled out, reports suggest they remained amicable post-breakup.  This friendly dynamic, however, is said to have shifted when Mendes entered the picture.


A Shadow of Jealousy? Unconfirmed Rumors of Tension

Unverified reports claim that Mendes is allegedly uncomfortable with McAdams being around Gosling.  Unnamed sources allege that Mendes discourages any interaction between the former co-stars, fearing it might upset her. This has reportedly limited Gosling’s ability to maintain a casual friendship with McAdams.

The validity of these claims remains shrouded in mystery.  Mendes and Gosling are known for their privacy, making it difficult to separate truth from speculation.



Beyond the Rumors: The Power of “The Notebook” Endures

While the rumors of off-screen tension add another chapter to the “The Notebook” narrative, the film’s enduring power lies in its timeless portrayal of love and loss. Whether Gosling and McAdams remained friends or not doesn’t diminish the on-screen magic they created. The film’s ability to resonate with audiences continues, reminding us of the intensity of first love, the pain of heartbreak, and the enduring power of memories.

The Notebook’s legacy is a complex one, weaving together a captivating on-screen love story, rumored off-screen tension, and a reminder of the film’s lasting impact on pop culture.

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Marketa Vondrousova withdraws from the Olympics. She won a silver medal in tennis in Tokyo




PARIS (AP) — Tokyo Olympics tennis silver medalist Marketa Vondrousova withdrew from the Paris Games on Monday because of a hand injury.

The 25-year-old from the Czech Republic won Wimbledon last year despite being unseeded and was the runner-up at the French Open — played at Roland Garros, the same site being used for tennis matches at these Summer Games — in 2019.

She is coming off a first-round exit at Wimbledon this month, the first woman since 1994 to lose her opening match a year after winning the title at the All England Club.

Vondrousova posted on social media about pulling out of the Olympics, saying that her focus now is on being ready for the U.S. Open, which starts in late August.

She was the runner-up to Belinda Bencic of Switzerland at the Tokyo Olympics three years ago.

Vondrousova is currently ranked No. 18 in the world and would have been seeded No. 12 in Paris. She was replaced on the Czech team by Katerina Siniakova in singles and Linda Noskova in doubles; Noskova will pair with 2023 French Open runner-up Karolina Muchova.

The draw for the Olympics tennis competition is scheduled for Thursday, and matches begin on Saturday.


AP Summer Olympics:

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