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Public monuments should represent history and reconciliation, not celebrate Canada’s colonization

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I have no objections to acknowledging important historical figures in public spaces, but that history — and those figures — should reflect the city and its people.

Almost as soon as the ink was dry on the Treaties, First Nations people were herded onto reserves and essentially erased from history. This lack of acknowledgement of our existence has created a racial divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

If we as a society are serious about creating a better future it should include all people. Keeping space for controversial figures, especially those who did not build this province, does nothing in terms of relationship building.

Regina is the only city in Western Canada to have a monument of Canada’s first prime minister. Saskatchewan has its own unique history. I would much rather see a monument of Tommy Douglas than of John A. Macdonald.

Better yet, what about something that finally acknowledges Canada’s hidden history?

Most people do not know Thomas Moore-Keesick by his name, but many will recognize his image. He has become the face of Indian Residential Schools.

On Aug. 26, 1891, eight-year-old Moore Keesick, along with his brother Samuel and his sister Julia, were placed in the Regina Indian Industrial School.

The school operated from 1891 to 1910. Moore Keesick was the 22nd student to register and became known as No. 22.

Moore Keesick was from the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation, located about 45 minutes northeast of Regina. He was the youngest child of Paul Desjarlais Sr. and Hannah Moore Keesick.

While at school he and Julia contracted tuberculosis. His sister died at the school, but he was sent home where he died at the age of 12.

The only reminder of the school is a small cemetery located west of Regina on Pinkie Road. This history would have been lost if the new landowner had not discovered the small cemetery and alerted the city.

A monument to this child may be more fitting for Regina than some of our current statues.

Macdonald doesn’t exemplify Canadian values

He was an alcoholic prone to binge drinking. A drunken Macdonald once puked in the House of Commons during a debate.

He was openly racist. Macdonald targeted First Nations, Métis, French and certain immigrant populations. He created the Indian Act and Indian Residential Schools. Macdonald had Métis leader Louis Riel executed for treason despite objections from French Canadians.

Macdonald resigned from office in 1873 after being accused of accepting bribes from businessmen seeking the contract to build the Canadian Pacific Railway.

In short, he did not exemplify the values Canadians pride themselves on today.

 

A statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, was toppled to the ground by demonstrators as a protest march calling for defunding of the police reached its end at Place du Canada in Montreal on Saturday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

 

Macdonald was re-elected and died in office in 1891. Saskatchewan didn’t become a province until 1905, which means Macdonald never represented this province — yet his stature stands tall in downtown Regina.

Over the summer a small group held a sit-in near the Macdonald monument. They wanted a meeting with the city to discuss removing the statue. Instead, a sign was placed at the base of the figure indicating the city was open to hearing from the community.

Dewdney another name not worth celebrating

Decolonizing Relations and the Buffalo People Arts Institute are pushing to remove any reference to Edgar Dewdney from public spaces. The city has agreed to public consultations, but no dates have been set.

Dewdney, a B.C. politician, was the first Insp. of Indian Affairs and in 1881, Macdonald appointed him Lt.-Gov. of the Northwest Territories.

Dewdney’s policies shaped the existing relationship between the federal government and Indigenous people.

He cleared the Prairies to make way for the transcontinental railway. Indigenous people and the buffalo were casualties of that pursuit. Many Chinese immigrants also lost their lives during construction of the railway.

As Lt.-Gov., Dewdney chose Regina as the capital of Saskatchewan. He owned land in the area and was criticized for his choice.

He never lived in Saskatchewan, yet one of Regina’s most popular streets is named after him, along with a park and pool.

On March 29, the city voted unanimously to act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions 94 Calls to Action and created Reconciliation Regina. Now is a great opportunity for the city to show its commitment to those calls to action.


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'BlueLeaks' data breach involved 38 Canadian police forces – CBC.ca

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Confidential law enforcement data belonging to 38 Canadian police agencies has been exposed by a group of so-called hacktivists targeting police in the U.S., Radio-Canada has learned.

The group Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets) published thousands of documents amounting to 269 gigabytes online in June. Members of the group say the documents were obtained from members of the hacker collective Anonymous. 

The leak came from cyberattacks on American police agencies or their suppliers. Information from police services across the U.S., including emails, training notes and expense reports, was published online.

The RCMP has confirmed it was one of the agencies affected by the leak. In a statement, the RCMP said the National Cybercrime Coordination Unit (NC3) and RCMP cyber intelligence led an investigation to determine the effect of the leak on various RCMP jurisdictions and other Canadian police agencies.

‘No secret information,’ RCMP says

The leaked information involving Canadian law enforcement did not have a major impact on sensitive operations and was generally related to “training, administration and unclassified material which is non-sensitive in nature,” the RCMP said in a statement. 

“We found that there was no secret information that was disclosed,” said Insp. Daniel Côté, the officer in charge of NC3. “All the information that was online was administrative in nature.”

The RCMP declined to identify the other Canadian police agencies involved, “for privacy and operational reasons.”

But Steve Waterhouse, a cybersecurity expert and former cybersecurity officer for the Department of National Defence, argued even administrative data can be damaging if it gets into the wrong hands. 

“It could be emails or phone numbers of police officers in that stash of information, and they can sell it or use it to physically harm or harass police officers’ families,” Waterhouse said.

Privacy commissioner notified 3 months later

The RCMP said it takes any privacy breach seriously and that past and current employees involved in the breach are being notified.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada received a report from the RCMP about the leak on Sept. 18, almost three months after it occurred.

In a statement, the office said it is reviewing the report and said the incident raises serious concerns, “given the sensitivity of the information involved.”

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Canadians' grocery bills are increasing; pandemic to accelerate the trend: report – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Canadians who have suspected their grocery bills have been rising over the years aren’t imagining it, according to a new report that found the price of food has been steadily increasing in the last decade – and the COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating this trend.

According to the report, which was released on Tuesday by Dalhousie University’s Agri-food Analytics Lab, the price of a typical grocery basket has increased by approximately 240 per cent since 2000.

While it’s expected the price of food will go up because of inflation, Sylvain Charlebois, a professor and senior director of the lab, said his team wanted to see how the food price index compared with the general inflation index or Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the past 20 years.

“The point of the report is to show that really over the last 10 years, at least, the food inflation rate has outpaced the general inflation rate,” he explained during a telephone interview with CTVNews.ca on Tuesday.

The report found that the overall cost of other products and services in the economy didn’t increase as much as food did during this time period.

Charlebois said the rising cost of food is actually the result of the agri-food industry playing “catch up” after a generation of discounted products.

“North America has been the realm of discounted food for quite some time. We are just coming out of an era in which we have been bent on buying the cheapest food products,” the report stated. “But things are different now.”

The researchers said consumers have more choice than ever now and because of that, they expect more innovation and quality when it comes to their food.

“There is certainly a price to pay for that. As a result, the industry has been catching up to our expectations by managing higher costs and passing some of the increases onto us,” the report said.

Charlebois said he expects the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate the pace of these food price increases because operation costs have gone up during the health emergency.

“We actually are expecting the average household in Canada to spend not just 9.1 per cent of their budget, but maybe 10.5, perhaps even 11 per cent,” he said.

REGIONAL VARIANCES

While the report found that every province and territory have had their consumer price indices outstripped by the food price index, some regions have seen more of a disparity than others.

Charlebois said households in Eastern Canada have had to spend more of their budgets on food than in other areas due to a lack of regionally based food processing and the higher logistical costs of serving some remote markets.

New Brunswick saw the biggest gap between the food price index and the general price index at 25.8 points, followed by Quebec (23.1 per cent), and Nova Scotia (21.3 per cent).

“It is especially in the last decade that the gap between the two indices has widened,” the report said.

To avoid food insecurity from the rising costs, Charlebois said he would like to see governments invest in controlled environment agriculture, greenhouses to produce food all year round, and increases in the processing capacity in the most affected regions.

SUGAR, PEANUT BUTTER REMAIN AFFORDABLE

While the rising cost of food may be unwelcome news for most Canadians, Charlebois said there are still several food items that appear to be impervious to the increases.

According to Statistics Canada, white sugar is almost the same price as it was 20 years ago in 2000 at $2.40 per two kilograms.

“Although there are only three sugar producers in Canada that control the market, Redpath, Lantic and Rogers in the West, the price of sugar has barely changed in the last two decades,” the report said.

Flour, too, has also remained fairly cheap, Charlebois said, with only a 38 per cent increase over the past two decades.

There has been even less of an increase in price for peanut butter over the years, according to Charlebois. He said peanut butter is only 5 per cent more expensive now than it was in 2000.

“I think it has a lot to do with competition,” he said. “The fact that there are a lot more brands and it’s been a little bit more competitive.” 

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Canada at 'crossroads' in battling COVID-19 as cases accelerate nationally, officials say – CBC.ca

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Canada is at a “crossroads” in its pandemic battle and the actions of individual Canadians will decide whether there’s a massive spike in COVID-19 cases coming, according to the latest projections from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

Federal health officials presented new modelling today that shows the epidemic is accelerating nationally. They warned that if Canadians don’t step up preventative measures, the virus could spread out of control and trigger a wave of infections bigger than the first one.

“With minimal controls, the virus is capable of surging into a very sharp and intense peak because most Canadians don’t have immunity to the virus,” Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam told a news conference in Ottawa today.

Short-term projections show there could be up to 155,795 cases and up to 9,300 deaths by Oct. 3.

If the current rate of infection is maintained, the epidemic is expected to re-surge — but if that rate increases, it is expected to resurge “faster and stronger.”

Rapid detection of new cases and a swift response to outbreaks are both key to controlling the pandemic, PHAC modelling documents show.

Tam said there has been a significant demographic shift in the caseload since June: instead of the virus disproportionately affecting elderly Canadians, most infections are now being reported in Canadians aged 20 to 39.

Tam and her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, are joined by Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand at the news conference.

CBC News is carrying it live.

The last modelling figures were released on Aug. 14. At that time, Canada’s top doctors said they were striving for a best-case scenario but preparing for the worst: a so-called “fall peak” of COVID-19 cases across Canada that would threaten to overwhelm the public health care system.

PHAC officials said they were aiming for a “slow burn” scenario, in which the number of cases remains low enough for the public health care system to keep ahead of the influx of patients.

But officials also were planning for a “reasonable worst-case scenario” — a fall spike in infections followed by ongoing peaks and valleys that put excessive pressure on the health care system.

The recent rise in cases coincides with the flu and cold season, which could put added strain on hospitals and other health resources.

Health care workers have been working on the front lines for months now and are now bracing for a possible spike in hospitalizations, prompting concerns about potential burnout.

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