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Russia maintains a Ukrainian killed journalist Darya Dugina as UN calls for a probe

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Moscow, Russia- Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has said that the UN is calling for an investigation to establish the facts behind Darya Dugina’s death.

The terrorist car bombing that killed Darya on Saturday has seen Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, saying that it shows the true nature of the Ukrainian State and cited that the UN Security Council will be briefed about it in an upcoming meeting.

“We have asked for an urgent meeting tomorrow on Zaporizhzhia, where Ukrainian provocations continue. The connection between their saboteurs and this murder is obvious, and has already been revealed by the FSB,” said Nebenzia.

The bomb that killed the 29-year-old journalist is believed to have been targeted at her father and philosopher Aleksandr Dugin.

Prior to the attack, Darya attended a festival outside Moscow with her father, as she was killed in an explosion of a bomb planted in her father’s Toyota SUV.

“As you know, in a terrorist act by the Nazi Ukrainian regime, my daughter Darya was savagely murdered before my eyes on August 20, while returning from the Tradition festival near Moscow. Darya was a beautiful Orthodox girl, a patriot, a military correspondent, a TV expert and a philosopher. Her speeches and reporting have always been profound, grounded and restrained. She never called for violence or war. She was a rising star at the beginning of her journey. The enemies of Russia killed here dishonourably, on the sly,” said Darya.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) has identified the suspect as Ukrainian national Natalya Vovk, 43. The FSB released a video on Monday showing Vovk entering the country in July with Donetsk People’s Republic license plates and in the company of her teenage daughter. Vovk was also registered as renting an apartment in the same Moscow building as Dugina, and hastily leaving the country on Sunday, crossing into Estonia with Ukrainian license plates and her hair a different colour. However, Ukraine has denied any official involvement with the bombing.

Last month, the British government imposed sanctions on Darya citing her as a frequent and high-profile contributor of disinformation in relation to Ukraine and Russia’s military operations in Ukraine on various online platforms. Prior to that, the United States had imposed sanctions on her in March, describing her as the chief editor of an English-language disinformation website.

Darya was not well known in Russia beyond ultranationalist and imperialist circles, but the widely read bloggers and commentators who knew her described her death as a tragedy and called for revenge.

 

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Young Indigenous leaders speak on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at Senate

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OTTAWA — Dr. Meghan Beals says she wants Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to resemble Remembrance Day.

The Prince Edward Island physician is one of five young Indigenous leaders who were in Ottawa Monday to speak to a Senate committee ahead of the federal statutory holiday this Friday.

Beals told senators that the day should include a moment of silence to remember the past and feature events in communities across the country to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ contributions to Canada.

“That’s really how I would see Truth and Reconciliation Day, is having something that during that day, we have community events, ceremonial events,” she told senators.

She suggested that at 10 a.m., people could take a moment of silence “for the children who have been found, or for lost individuals.”

She said it would also be important for Indigenous communities to spend time on that day “celebrating our culture.”

After their testimony to the Senate’s Indigenous Peoples committee, the young leaders were expected to meet with senators who are examining the federal government’s responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.

Friday marks the anniversary of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, meant to honour victims and survivors of Canada’s residential schools system.

Federal public servants and people who work in federally regulated sectors will get the day off, but most provinces have not recognized the day as a statutory holiday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

David Fraser, The Canadian Press

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MPs to study Access to Information system, federal ‘culture of secrecy’

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OTTAWA — The House of Commons information, ethics and privacy committee plans to look at Canada’s much-maligned access-to-information regime — the latest in a long line of studies of a system intended to make government more transparent.

Conservative MP Pat Kelly, the committee chairman, says the system is plagued by excessive delays and a culture of secrecy that has been “baking in for decades.”

The Access to Information Act allows people who pay $5 to ask for a range of federal documents — from internal emails and invoices to briefing notes and policy memos — but it has long been criticized as outdated and poorly implemented.

Federal agencies are supposed to respond within 30 days or provide valid reasons why more time is needed to process a request.

The law has not been significantly updated since its introduction 39 years ago, and many users complain of lengthy delays, heavily blacked-out documents or blanket denials in response to their applications.

The government says the performance standard for institutions is to respond to 90 per cent of access requests within the legislated timeline, including extensions.

Of 140 federal agencies that answered requests in 2020-21, 69 met this standard while 71 did not, principally due to “workload pressures within the organization,” the government says.

Problems with the access system have persisted for years, spanning both Conservative and Liberal governments, Kelly said.

“People still complain about about refusals, about the time backlog, and just about the general culture of secrecy,” he said. “And that has been a feature of the Canadian government for a very long time.”

Even so, Kelly accuses Justin Trudeau’s Liberals of failing to live up to their 2015 election promise to make government information open by default.

Federal officials have pointed to a growing number of access requests and the increasing complexity of applications.

“I think all the things that the government says in response to their critics are excuses,” Kelly said. “Surely they can they can figure this out, if there’s the will.”

Kelly is under no illusion that fundamental changes will take place overnight. “This has been baking in for decades,” he said. “You’re certainly not going to be able to flip a switch and instantly go from a culture of secrecy to a true culture of openness by default.”

Kelly said no hearing dates have been set as the committee is busy completing studies on facial recognition programs and RCMP use of surveillance technology.

The planned committee study comes as the federal government works to finish its own review of the access system that began more than two years ago.

Written and oral submissions to the federal review have called for expansion of the Access to Information Act, removal of numerous loopholes in the law, strict timelines for responding to requests and more resources to make the system work.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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Poilievre denounces Diagolon ‘losers’ over threat of sexual assault against his wife

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OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said Monday he has asked the RCMP to look into “disgusting” comments by the founder of a far-right group about sexually assaulting his wife.

Jeremy MacKenzie, the high-profile founder of the online group “Diagolon,” made the comments about Anaida Poilievre during an online video stream over the weekend.

The group includes members linked to the “Freedom Convoy” movement that took over downtown Ottawa for three weeks last winter, as all as others opposed to COVID-19 mandates.

Known for taking part in hours-long, rage-fuelled video streams, MacKenzie and others in the video were discussing the fact that Anaida Poilievre is originally from Venezuela.

MacKenzie is then heard to comment on her looks and say: “Let’s rape her.”

Poilievre, who was previously photographed shaking MacKenzie’s hand at a Conservative leadership campaign event in Nova Scotia, called MacKenzie and the other man in the video “dirtbags” and “losers” and said he will not tolerate people threatening his family.

“My office has referred these comments to the RCMP to assess whether criminal charges should be laid,” Poilievre said in a written statement posted to Twitter on Monday.

“This kind of garbage has no place in Canada. No one should face this abuse,” the statement said.

“People can attack my politics, they can call me names, they can protest my ideas and what I stand for,” he added. “But threatening my wife and family is appalling and I will not tolerate it. Leave my family alone.”

In an interview on Monday, MacKenzie said he had been talking for hours when he made the online video, was drinking and meant no harm when he made the comments about Poilievre’s wife. He also said he could not remember how she came up in the conversation.

“But I know for sure I didn’t mean anything in that context, like obviously I would never condone something like that, or infer something like that,” he said. He also described it as “just guys joking around, horsing around” and being “rude.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday no one should ever be subject to threats of violence and this kind of hatred is increasingly seen in public discourse.

“It’s important that we all stand up and condemn that, and we all look for ways to ensure that everyone feels safe in this country,” he said at a news conference in Ottawa.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

David Fraser, The Canadian Press

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