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Mary Simon named as Canada's first Indigenous Governor General – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
“Today, after 154 years, our country takes a historic step. I cannot think of a better person to meet the moment,” he said, adding that he sees Simon’s new position as one in which she “will help continue paving that path ahead, and we will all be stronger for it.”

Queen Elizabeth II approved the appointment, on Trudeau’s recommendation. Simon is currently Canada’s Governor General Designate and, once installed, will out-rank Trudeau in holding the second-highest federal office in Canada after the Queen.

Trudeau’s office told CTVNews.ca that Simon’s installation will happen “soon.”

Simon began her introductory remarks in Inuktitut, and went on to thank both Trudeau and the Queen for their confidence in her taking on this “very historic opportunity.”

“I believe we can build the hopeful future in a way that is respectful of what has happened in the past…If we embrace our common humanity and shared responsibility for one another, Canada’s greatest days are yet to come,” Simon said.

Simon’s appointment comes as Canada struggles with reconciliation and as more unmarked graves are discovered on former residential school grounds across the country, with Trudeau heading on Tuesday afternoon to a ceremony at the largest site of unmarked graves discovered to date.

Once a student at a federal government day school, Simon said she hopes to develop a relationship between Indigenous people and Canadians “where this will never happen again.”

From Nunavik, in northern Quebec, Simon has long been an advocate for Inuit rights and culture. She has worked as a radio host with CBC North and later served as chair of national advocacy organization Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the National Inuit Education Committee.

She has also worked alongside the federal government on several files over many years, including on the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), on the Charlottetown Accord, the repatriation of the Constitution, and during the implementation of Canada’s first land claims policy.

Simon was the first Inuk to be a Canadian ambassador, representing Canada both as the ambassador of circumpolar affairs and as the ambassador to Denmark.

Now, she will take on the role of the Queen’s representative in Canada.

SIMON ‘HUMBLED, AND READY’

Simon said Tuesday that she is “honoured, humbled, and ready” for the job. Noting the inspirational aspect of her appointment, Simon called it a step forward on the path towards reconciliation and a moment that she hopes all Canadians feel a part of as it reflects a “collective progress” towards a more just society.

“My appointment comes at an especially reflective and dynamic time in our shared history. During my time as governor general, I will work every day towards promoting healing and wellness across Canadian society,” she said, vowing to do her part in ensuring the country fully recognizes, memorializes, and comes to terms with atrocities of the past.

In offering some personal backstory, Simon spoke about her family and childhood—her mom is Inuk and her father “from the south,” a manager of a local Hudson’s Bay post—and acknowledged that she does not speak French but plans to learn.

Simon said that she was denied the chance to pick up the language when she attended day school as a child, but is determined to conduct her work in English, Inuktitut, and French.

She views her past experience as offering her the ability to act as a “bridge” between realities in Canada.

During her life she’s made headlines for speaking out on a range of issues including mental health, the seal trade, and dumping of sewage in Arctic waters, speaking up for the oft-marginalized voices in the North. It’s work that led her to be previously speculated as a potential pick for the job she’s now entering.

PLAYING A KEY ELECTIONS ROLE

While the position is largely ceremonial, Simon will play a crucial role in constitutional matters and within minority governments when it comes to questions of confidence.

Perhaps most notably, given the rampant speculation that a summer or fall election call is likely, the governor general has the power to dissolve Parliament and draw up the writs for a general election, on the advice of the prime minister.

Mary Simon

On Tuesday, the two said they had not yet discussed elections but that Simon understood the importance of her parliamentary responsibilities.

“I give due regard to these very important roles, but at this time, I have not talked about the election at all,” she said.

She also becomes the top commander of the Canadian Armed Forces, and during her remarks she thanked the troops for their work in fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic at home while maintaining operations abroad, and said she looks forward to meeting members of the military.

An Officer of the Order of Canada as well as a recipient of the Governor General’s Northern Award, Simon will now be in charge of granting these kinds of honours and medals of honour to others, and will be responsible for reading the speech from the throne, and swearing-in cabinet members.

REACTION TO NEW GG

The initial reaction to Simon’s appointment has been largely positive, with national Indigenous groups welcoming the choice, but voicing some caution.

“The federal government has made an excellent choice in selecting Ms. Simon as Viceregal representative of the Monarch. She has been a human-rights activist and outspoken champion of her people,” said the Native Women’s Association of Canada in a statement. “We must point out, however, that Ms. Simon is being asked to serve the senior role in what is still a colonial system of governance.”

It’s a tension that Simon acknowledged Tuesday, saying that she personally doesn’t view it as a conflict to have an Indigenous representative of the Crown.

“I do understand as an Indigenous person that there is pain and suffering across our nation… But when I was asked whether I would take on this important role, I was very excited,” she said. “This is what we call reconciliation, and it’s a lifelong experience.”

Political leaders also offered their congratulations to a woman who could soon become a key figure in their political futures.

“I would like to congratulate Mary Simon on her appointment as our country’s first Indigenous Governor General. This is an important day for both our country as a whole and particularly Indigenous peoples. The role of Governor General is important in unifying our country and bringing Canadians together. I wish her well in this role,” said Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole in a statement.

Taking to Twitter, calling her by her name in Inuktitut “Ningiukadluk” NDP MP for Nunavut Mumilaaq Qaqqaq said that: “The accomplishments of Inuit are often overlooked in Canada. It’s nice to see an Inuk leader being recognized with this position.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said in French that, while he does not view the role as a legitimate or democratic one, he hopes that the appointment would “make it easier for the Crown and Canada to admit the abuse suffered by aboriginal people.”

Trudeau, Mary Simon

Julie Payette, who Simon will be formally replacing, also offered her congratulations.

“It is the highest honour and the greatest responsibility our nation can bestow and I am confident that Ms. Simon will fulfill its many obligations with dignity and distinction,” she said in a statement to CTV News. “I have had the chance to meet Ms. Simon and I am at her disposal as she transitions into this vital role.”

A 6-MONTH REPLACEMENT SEARCH

Canada has been without an official governor general since late January, when Payette resigned from the role.

Payette, a former astronaut and engineer had been a controversial choice for governor general from the outset, and eventually left amid reports that she fostered a “toxic” work environment. Her departure came after a “damaging” independent review into workplace harassment allegations against her was conducted.

In the interim, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Richard Wagner has been acting as the administrator, assuming the powers of the role without taking the official title.

On Tuesday, Trudeau thanked Wagner for his interim assistance.

When the vacancy was created, O’Toole had called for Trudeau to consult other parties before nominating a replacement, given the dynamics of the minority Parliament. Instead, in March the government struck an advisory panel tasked with helping select the next governor general.

The panel was co-chaired by President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc and Janice Charette, who is filling in as Privy Council clerk. The other members included President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Natan Obed, Universite de Montreal rector Daniel Jutras, former secretary to the governor general Judith LaRocque, and interim Canada Post chair Suromitra Sanatani.

Trudeau was expected to receive the shortlist of prospective candidates by mid-June, according to LeBlanc. He recently told a House committee that the advisory panel hosted 12 meetings and the list of potential appointees for Trudeau to consider was “interesting.”

When the prime minister travelled to the U.K for the G7 two weeks ago, he spoke with Queen Elizabeth about the status of the process to choose a new governor general.

While at the time the vacancy was created, LeBlanc said that it would not take months to tap a replacement, the search and likely vetting process to pick the next governor general has taken half a year, after Trudeau came under fire for not properly vetting his last pick.

On Tuesday, he said that there were “close to 100 different names vetted and reflected on” before Simon rose to the top of the list.

With files from CTV News’ Sarah Turnbull

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Line 5 pipeline between U.S. and Canada could cause 'devastating damage' to Great Lakes, say environmentalists – CBC.ca

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An aging pipeline that carries oil along the bottom of the ecologically sensitive and turbulent Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet, is in such a state of disrepair it could burst at any moment and cause catastrophic damage to the Great Lakes, environmentalists warn. 

Line 5, a 1,000-kilometre-long pipeline owned by Calgary-based Enbridge, carries up to 540,000 barrels of oil and natural gas liquids a day from Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ont., where it is shipped to other refineries in Ontario and Quebec.

It’s at the centre of a politically charged dispute between Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who’s ordered what she calls the “ticking time bomb” to be shut down, and Canadian officials, including Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who’ve sided with Enbridge in insisting it’s safe to keep running.

“Over the past year, I have both written and spoken to the Governor to express my disappointment and stress the importance of Line 5 in ensuring economic, environmental and energy security to the entire Great Lakes Region,” Ford said in a statement to CBC News.

“Our government believes pipelines are a safe way to transport essential fuels across the Great Lakes, operating in accordance with the highest pipeline safety standards.”

Enbridge says Line 5 is safe and saves the hassle of transporting huge amounts of fuel by truck or train.

But Michelle Woodhouse, water program manager at Toronto-based Environmental Defence, said it’s time to put politics aside and cut through Enbridge’s “manufactured narrative.” She says the danger the pipeline poses to the Great Lakes is too risky to take “a gamble.” 

Line 5 has leaked oil before

Line 5 was designed in 1953 to have a lifespan of 50 years, or until 2003. Eighteen years later, it’s still running, and has had its fair share of problems, said Woodhouse. 

“This is a very old, deteriorating, dangerous pipeline that has already leaked significant amounts of oil into the surrounding lands and water that it crosses through,” she said.

Since 1953, Line 5 has leaked 29 times, spilling 4.5 million litres of oil into the environment, according to media reports.

The pipeline has also repeatedly violated safety standards, said the State of Michigan’s court filings against Enbridge in 2020. Recently, a ship’s anchor struck and damaged the pipeline in 2018 and contractors mistakenly damaged its supports in 2019, which wasn’t discovered for a year, Michigan’s complaint said. 

A television screen provided by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy shows damage to anchor support on the east leg of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline within the Straits of Mackinac. (Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy/The Associated Press)

A spill would cause “devastating damage” to Lake Huron and Lake Michigan’s shorelines, compromising drinking water, fisheries, businesses and homes, said Woodhouse. 

Dianne Saxe, the former environmental commissioner of Ontario and now deputy leader of the Ontario Green Party, said if Line 5 did leak in the Straits of Mackinac, it would create “an enormous cloud of pollution” that would disrupt intricate fish ecosystems and also flow downstream to Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. 

“It’s running under one of the most dangerous places in the Great Lakes, where there is highly turbulent waters,” Saxe said. 

A University of Michigan study from 2014 corroborates this. Researchers found strong currents in the straits, which switch directions every few days, would contaminate shorelines up to 80 kilometres away within a few days.

Enbridge says pipeline in good condition

Enbridge spokesperson Tracy Larsson said every year, the company inspects Line 5’s twin pipes that cross the Straits of Mackinac, which are made of “thick seamless steel” and have been shown to be in good condition. She also said that Line 5’s lifespan is determined by inspections and maintenance, not when it was built. 

Enbridge is also spending $500 million Cdn to build a tunnel through the straits to cover and protect Line 5. 

“Ultimately, the Great Lakes Tunnel is the common sense solution to meeting Michigan’s energy needs while protecting the Great Lakes, our communities and waterways,” Larsson said. 

However, the upgrade likely won’t be done for years, as President Joe Biden’s administration recently ordered a rigorous environmental review. 

Natural Resources Canada told CBC News the alternative to Line 5 would be shipping fuel on 800 rail cars and 2,000 trucks a day across Canada, plus 15,000 trucks in the U.S. 

“These options are less safe, more polluting, and more expensive,” NRC said in a statement.

Woodhouse called these figures “completely overblown” and said there’s capacity within Canada’s existing transportation system to transport the oil and natural gas to meet the region’s energy needs.

She said tankers and trucks should only be a temporary solution as Canada moves away from fossil fuels, as it has pledged to do in its climate commitments. 

“We know about where things are headed with climate change and global warming,” Woodhouse said. “We have to get things done ASAP. And so the fact that these corporations and their allies are doing things like signing deals that basically send a signal that we don’t care, it’s very unsettling.” 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

‘There is no co-operation’

Whitmer recently revoked the 1953 easement that had allowed Enbridge to run Line 5 through Michigan and gave the company a May 12 deadline to stop operations, although it has not been enforced. The two parties remain locked in a court-ordered mediation process that will wrap up in August, although it’s unclear when the dispute will be resolved.

Enbridge said in a news release earlier this year it has no intentions of shutting down Line 5, and that Whitmer’s actions are unlawful and ignore science and evidence. 

Whitmer’s administration maintains Michigan can’t trust Enbridge after another of its pipelines in the state ruptured in 2010, “causing one of the worst inland oil spills in U.S. history,” press secretary Bobby Leddy said in a statement.

“If Enbridge continues to operate the pipeline beyond the deadline, the state will seek to disgorge the company of its profits earned while unlawfully trespassing on state land,” Leddy said.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said if Line 5 is shut down, his city would lose up to 5,000 well-paying jobs. He said the action would also significantly impact communities across Ontario and Quebec that use the oil and natural gas to manufacture more than 600 products.

He said every time he’s attempted to raise his concerns with Whitmer, she hasn’t responded.

“The governor of Michigan has done incredible damage to the relationship between Ontario and Michigan,” Bradley said. “And that’s what’s disturbing. There is no co-operation when there should be.” 

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Cruising through Canada with a criminal record? – Canada Immigration News

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Attention all cruisers! Canada’s transport minister, Omar Alghabra recently stated that the country will soon open up to travellers by boat.

As of November 1, 2021, cruise ships and their passengers can enter Canada, if they comply with the Canadian government’s public health guidelines.

Contact a criminality expert at the Law Firm of Campbell Cohen

Canada, on both the West and East coasts, is a convenient and popular cruise stop. Boats to or from Alaska commonly dock in Vancouver or Victoria, while east coast ships visit the ports of Montreal or Halifax. Canada welcomes and values the cruise industry. The re-opening news should attract many tourists to come explore what the country has to offer.

By lifting the restrictions in November, the government aims to give the country’s tourism industry a boost leading up to the 2022 cruise season. The Canadian government itself notes that the cruise ship industry contributes $4 billion annually to the Canadian economy and supports approximately 30,000 jobs.

If you are one of the many tourists planning on entering Canada with criminal history, it is important to know that you can be denied entry at the border.

Canada has strict rules for people with criminal records. They are designed to keep the country and its people safe. Canada will take the foreign criminal offence and translate it into Canadian law. Factors such as what the offence is, how long ago the sentence was completed, and how many convictions a person has, all factor in. Since late 2018, a driving under the influence conviction means that a person is inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality. In theory, such a person is banned from Canada forever. However, there are ways to overcome inadmissibility.

Denial can take place at any point. It can occur at an airport for example, if you are flying from another country to Canada to get on a cruise leaving from Vancouver. It can also occur at your port outside of Canada. This is because Canada receives the passenger lists before the ship leaves for Canada. Lastly, it can take place at a port in Canada even if you plan on visiting for only a few hours.

How do I go on a Cruise with a criminal record?

The Canadian government offers short and long-term solutions to tourists who have a criminal record. Generally, there are three paths to resolving inadmissibility:

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP): This document grants temporary access to Canada for someone who is otherwise criminally inadmissible. If the traveler is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, they can apply for a TRP at a Canadian consulate or border. A TRP might be valid for a single day, or for up to three years. It may be good for only a single entry to Canada, or it may allow multiple entries. These elements will depend on the purpose of the visit to Canada. Reviewing officers use discretion when determining how long a TRP is valid for. The purpose for entering Canada is usually the most important factor. Cruise travellers are often suggested to apply for criminal rehabilitation.

Criminal rehabilitation: Criminal rehabilitation gives permanent admissibility to someone who was formerly inadmissible. Being eligible for criminal rehabilitation depends on several factors. These include:

  • the crime committed,
  • the sentence, and;
  • how much time has passed since sentence completion.

If you have been convicted of a crime or crimes in a foreign country, and more than five years have passed since you finished your sentence, you are likely eligible to apply for Canadian criminal rehabilitation. Criminal rehabilitation is a one-time solution that, unlike a TRP, never requires renewal.

Applying for a TRP can often be risky when attempting to enter for leisure purposes. This is because Canadian immigration officers may conclude that the importance of someone who has a criminal record stopping in Canada for a cruise does not outweigh the risks of allowing that person into the country.

Legal Opinion Letter: Another remedy to a potential criminal inadmissibility problem is a legal opinion letter. This is a document that a Canadian immigration lawyer prepares. The letter discusses a past charge or conviction, as well as the lawyer’s legal conclusions. The lawyer will identify the relevant Canadian law and explain why the person should be deemed admissible to Canada. A legal opinion letter can also be beneficial to those in a pre-sentencing situation before making a final plea. It can explain the different consequences of various pleas on the person’s ability to enter Canada.

Knowing Canada’s rules about tourists with criminal records is important. It can help individuals who have records understand what obstacles they may help, as well as what solutions are available.

Contact a criminality expert at the Law Firm of Campbell Cohen

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Discover your Canadian immigration options at CanadaVisa.com.

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world Tuesday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Chinese authorities have announced mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan as an unusually wide series of COVID-19 outbreaks reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.

The provincial capital of 11 million people in central China is the latest city to undergo city-wide testing. Three cases were confirmed in Wuhan on Monday, its first non-imported cases in more than a year.

China has largely curbed COVID-19 at home after the initial outbreak that devastated Wuhan and spread globally. Since then, authorities have tamped down and controlled the disease whenever it pops up with quick lockdowns and mass testing.

The current outbreaks are still in the hundreds of cases in total but have spread much more widely than previous ones. Many of the cases have been identified as the highly contagious delta variant.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that 90 new cases had been confirmed the previous day.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7:05 a.m. ET


What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Renewed concern over rising COVID-19 cases, delta variant: 

Despite Canada having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, that might not be enough to slow the spread of COVID-19 driven by the highly contagious delta variant. 2:34


What’s happening around the world

A visitor submits her documents at the reception to receive a shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo on Monday. (Stanislav Kogiku/The Associated Press)

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 198.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.2 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan will focus on hospitalizing patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19 and those at risk of becoming so while others isolate at home amid worries about a strained medical system as cases surge in Olympics host city Tokyo.

Pakistan’s top health official says his country for the first time has administered one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine across the country in the past 24 hours. The latest development comes days after Pakistan imposed a lockdown in the southern port city of Karachi and in other high-risk areas.

In the Americas, the U.S. states of Florida and Louisiana were at or near their highest hospitalization numbers of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, a trend driven by the still-spreading delta variant.

Nearly three out of four Americans above the age of 18 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disesae Control.

In Africa, Morocco will lengthen its night curfew as it tightens restrictions to counter a surge in infections.

In the Middle East, Iran on Monday reported 37,189 new cases of COVID-19 — a single-day high, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. The country, which has been hit hard by several waves of the novel coronavirus, also saw 411 additional deaths.

In Europe, France’s overseas territory of Guadeloupe will to go into a new lockdown for at least three weeks.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted to get the travel industry moving again with a simple user-friendly system to allow for trips abroad without importing new virus variants.

From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET

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