Moments before Pope Francis began leading mass at the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica outside Quebec City Thursday morning, two people made their way to the front of the altar to hold a brief, silent protest urging the pontiff to go further in his efforts for healing and reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada.
The protesters held up a large banner that read “Rescind the doctrine” with the Pope and other members of the clergy standing steps away.
The banner is a reference to the Doctrine of Discovery, which is inspired by centuries-old papal bulls that justified the colonization, conversion and enslavement of non-Christians and the seizure of their lands — and, scholars say, laid the foundation for Canada’s claim to land and the Indian Act.
Many members of Indigenous communities across the country were hoping the Pope would do more to speak out against this doctrine during his weeklong trip to Canada.
Sarain Fox, an artist and activist who took part in the protest, said the message was necessary following the Pope’s apologies this week which, according to her, were underwhelming.
“It’s important for us to be recognized as human beings so it’s not enough just to apologize. You need to talk about the root of everything,” said Fox, who is from the Batchewana First Nation near Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and whose aunt is a residential school survivor.
“Indigenous people are looking for action and our elders have very little time left to see that action.”
Once the ceremony got underway, the banner was then put on display outside the basilica.
Olivia Munoz, a Kanien’kehá:ka woman whose grandfather attended residential school in Brantford, Ont., came from Los Angeles because she wanted to represent the families of survivors.
“We’re like the third generation, and we feel the effects of what has happened to them,” she said. “It was a subject that we only heard one time spoken, and that was it. But I feel the pain. I feel their pain.”
WATCH | Pope Francis speaks of ‘burden of failure’ during Quebec mass:
Journey for reconciliation is ‘demanding,’ Pope says
During mass, Pope Francis reflected on how the faithful can at times feel a “sense of failure” for actions of the past, specifically related to Indigenous people in Canada.
“Brothers and sisters, these are our own questions, and they are the burning questions that this [Church] in Canada is asking, with heartfelt sorrow, on its difficult and demanding journey of healing and reconciliation,” the pontiff said.
“In confronting the scandal of evil and the body of Christ wounded in the flesh of our Indigenous brothers and sisters, we too have experienced deep dismay; we too feel the burden of failure.”
In addition to the Pope, members of the clergy took turns addressing the audience.
And three sisters from Pessamit on Quebec’s North Shore, Élisabeth, Jeannette and Solange Vollant, performed an offering hymn in Innu as the Eucharist was prepared.
WATCH | Offering hymn recited in Innu during preparation of eucharist:
There were about 2,000 people inside the basilica with several thousands more watching on large screens on the shrine’s grounds.
Seats inside the basilica were reserved for Indigenous participants, delegations from Eastern Canadian dioceses and some government officials.
The mass was also broadcast on the Plains of Abraham as well as in a number of movie theatres in the province.
Eucharist was handed out to those outside the basilica, as well as to those on the Plains of Abraham — although there was not enough for everyone on the plains to take part in the sacrament.
The Pope arrived in Quebec City Wednesday afternoon, and gave a speech calling for unity and healing from the historic Citadelle that evening.
In his speech Wednesday in Quebec City, the Pope said he wanted to express “deep shame and sorrow” for the residential school system in Canada, in which “local Catholic institutions had a part.”
While he stopped short of denouncing the Catholic Church as a whole and its role in creating that system, Francis brought up the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, saying it would inspire a commitment from Catholic communities to promote Indigenous cultures.
Pope already condemned ‘principles’ of doctrine, says spokesperson
In response to the criticism that the Pope didn’t say enough about the Doctrine of Discovery, Laryssa Waler, a spokesperson for the Papal visit, defended the pontiff’s apology.
She said the apology was “informed directly by the stories he heard from residential school survivors, elders, knowledge keepers and youth who travelled to the Vatican to tell their stories.”
She also said Pope Francis acknowledged different forms of abuse as well as “the memories, scars and open wounds that persist to this day.”
“The Holy Father also directly condemned many of the policies and principles that are commonly associated with the Doctrine of Discovery,” Waler said.
The spokesperson added that Canada’s bishops are working with the Vatican with the goal of issuing a new statement from the church about the doctrine.
A lawyer who specializes in Indigenous rights said the Pope explicitly denouncing the doctrine — especially while in Canada — would have major ramifications for the relationship between the federal government and Indigenous people, even if the church has already said it no longer supports the 15th-century papal bulls that inspired it.
“Because then, it puts pressure on the federal government to take direct action itself, legally, following up from the Pope’s statements,” said Bruce McIvor, a lawyer at the First Peoples Law firm, and a member of the Red River Métis.
“One possibility is the federal government could enact legislation specifically renouncing the Doctrine of Discovery and setting out a proposal for how they will engage with Indigenous people to chart a new path forward.”
Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools or by the latest reports.
A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
Mental health counselling and crisis support is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hope for Wellness hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.
Canada boosts capacity of key supply hub for weapons to Ukraine – CBC News
Defence Minister Anita Anand says Canada is boosting its capacity at a key transportation hub in Scotland, so weapons and other supplies can more easily be shipped to Ukraine and other countries in eastern Europe.
Canadian forces have been responsible for delivering four million pounds of cargo since March, and the Prestwick, Scotland hub will now be expanded into an air mobility detachment with a third CC-130 aircraft and 55 Canadian Armed Forces members present.
“We are expanding the ways in which we are assisting Ukraine and getting military aid to Ukraine by delivering even more aid,” Anand told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton in an interview airing Sunday.
CBC News reported earlier this week Ukraine has written to the Canadian government to request armoured vehicles, howitzers and winter clothing.
Canada has promised to deliver 39 armoured troop carriers, and Anand said she’d be meeting with industry partners in Canada to talk about the issue of supply.
Anand said NATO countries are all trying to strike a balance between arms shipments to Ukraine and maintaining supplies to their own armed forces.
“This is front and centre in my mind,” she said.
Canada must say yes to Ukraine: Rae
Canada has committed or delivered $626 million in military aid to Ukraine since February.
Asked about Ukraine’s list of weapons requests in an interview on CBC Radio’s The House that aired Saturday, UN Ambassador Bob Rae said Canada would be hard pressed to deny the asks.
“It may be a career-limiting move for me to say this, but I don’t believe we could say anything less than yes,” Rae said.
“That’s been my consistent advice to whoever, whoever, whoever is listening. Obviously, governments have to decide the pace at which they can do it.”
LISTEN | UN Ambassador Bob Rae discusses latest developments in Ukraine war:
Some NATO countries have struggled to strike the balance Anand described Sunday, due in part to a lack of robust inventory.
“Since the end of the Cold War, not only have allies considerably restructured their armed forces, they also don’t hold the stockpiles anymore that they used to have,” Christian Leuprecht, a political science professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, told CBC News earlier this week.
“And so, effectively, most of what you ended up giving away today comes out of your current stockpile. So this is equipment that you’re actually going to be actively short.”
The calls for more aid from Ukraine come as offensives in both the country’s east and south continue, but also as Russia announced a partial mobilization to bring hundreds of thousands more soldiers into its ranks. Russian President Vladimir Putin also threatened this week that Russia was prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend itself.
Russia also announced and rapidly began referendums in occupied Ukrainian territories.
Anand said Putin’s decision to raise the threat of nuclear war and mobilization were “acts of desperation.”
Atlantic Canada begins assessing, cleaning up damage from Fiona – CBC.ca
People across Atlantic Canada are beginning to assess the damage and clean up after post-tropical storm Fiona swept through the region Saturday.
As of 9 a.m., remnants of Fiona are over southeastern Labrador and have merged with a trough — a long region of low atmospheric pressure.
Fiona spent early Sunday morning moving inland in southeastern Quebec as a post-tropical storm, according to Environment Canada. It’s expected to dissipate over the Labrador Sea.
The agency said winds were at 80 km/h and all wind warnings associated with the storm have ended.
In Newfoundland, some homes were washed away or flattened, others were flooded, roads were washed out and people were evacuated. The damage was most striking in Port aux Basques, where boulders and debris were scattered across the community.
On Sunday morning, CBC meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler said the bulk of the damage in Port aux Basques was caused by storm surge.
The Salvation Army has co-ordinated an emergency shelter for people displaced from their homes in the Port aux Basques area at the local school.
In Nova Scotia, hundreds of thousands of customers were without power on Sunday, and the Canadian Armed Forces has been called in to help restore electricity.
Nova Scotia Power president Peter Gregg said in a statement Sunday that the utility knows “there will be customers who face outages for multiple days” given the damage created by the storm.
Two municipalities in Cape Breton declared a state of emergency. The fastest winds clocked in at 171 km/h in Arisaig, just north of Antigonish.
Ottawa has also approved Nova Scotia’s request for funding for disaster assistance to help municipalities repair damaged infrastructure, and to assist individuals and small businesses pay for uninsured losses
On Prince Edward Island, winds hit 150 km/h and almost 100 millimetres of rain fell, homes and businesses were damaged and flooded, and at one point about 95 per cent of Maritime Electric customers had lost electricity.
Premier Dennis King said Sunday that his province’s road to recovery “will be weeks or longer” since the damage may have been “the worst we’ve ever seen” from a tropical storm.
Residents in Charlottetown are now being asked to stay off the roads and shelter in place after the storm rushed over the Island.
In New Brunswick, roads were flooded, a bridge was destroyed and tens of thousands were without electricity. Residents there are also being asked to stay away from dangerous, storm-ravaged areas.
Bill Hogan, the province’s public safety minister, said it will take time to fully calculate the damage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona, but he expects help will be made available to affected residents.
Power outages are still widespread on Sunday morning, with more than 365,000 customers in the dark across the four Atlantic provinces, including more than 260,000 in Nova Scotia.
Officials across Eastern Canada set to begin assessing full scope of storm damage
After hammering Atlantic Canada, post-tropical storm Fiona has moved inland in southeastern Quebec, with Environment Canada saying the storm will continue to weaken as it tracks across southeastern Labrador and over the Labrador Sea.
As of 6 a.m. local time, nearly 267,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were still affected by outages, 82,414 Maritime Electric customers remained in the dark and more than 20,600 homes and businesses in New Brunswick were without power, with some provincial utility companies warning it could be days before the lights are back on for everyone.
Newfoundland Power reported outages affecting more than 3,600 customers, as high-end tropical storm force winds knocked down trees and power lines, although Environment Canada said winds would diminish in the morning.
In an early Sunday morning update, Environment Canada said strong winds continued over the northern Newfoundland, southeastern Labrador and parts of southeastern Quebec.
A wind warning remained in effect for the western part of the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, while storm warnings are in place for parts of the Northeast Gulf and Strait of Belle Isle marine areas.
As Fiona continued to weaken, government officials across Eastern Canada prepared to survey the full scope of the damage left behind.
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, along with several members of his cabinet, were scheduled to tour some of the hardest hit areas of Cape Breton by helicopter Sunday morning.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who cancelled his planned visit to Japan for the state funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, said he will visit as soon as possible, while noting he doesn’t want to displace any emergency teams who are focused on important work on the ground.
Defence Minister Anita Anand said Saturday members of the Canadian Armed Forces had begun preparing to respond before receiving the request for assistance from Nova Scotia, and troops will be deployed to other provinces that ask for help.
No details were provided on the number of troops being deployed, but Anand said reconnaissance was underway to ensure they go where and when they are needed most.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2022.
The Canadian Press
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