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Conversations beginning with Indigenous men and boys on cycle of abuse: Bennett



  • OTTAWA — A $200-million component of the settlement for abuses at federally run schools for Indigenous children should help address the long-term pain of male survivors, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said Thursday after a regional chief sounded the alarm this week about a lack of supports aimed at Indigenous men and boys.

    Nearly 200,000 Indigenous children attended more than 700 “Indian Day Schools” beginning in the 1920s. Unlike children at residential schools, day-school students got to go home at night, but many endured trauma, including, in some cases, physical and sexual abuse.

    On Tuesday, as the government announced plans to compensate people who attended the day schools with payments of up to $200,000, a regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations spoke candidly about the abuse he endured.

    Roger Augustine, who began attending a day school near Miramichi, N.B. at age six and is now regional chief for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, said he is “very concerned” about other men living with the aftereffects of abuse. He said he was bullied and beaten up constantly as a day-school student.

    There is increased awareness about the “very important” issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women after years of public indifference, he said, but he remains worried about young Indigenous men and boys who do not feel they can speak about what happened to them.

    “They’re out there, lost,” he said. “They don’t even know where they are going to get their food to eat that night.”

    Discussions led by survivors such as Augustine give men and boys permission to seek help, Bennett said Thursday in an interview, noting the federal government heard similar concerns during sessions held ahead of the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

    “I think these conversations are now becoming more out in the open,” Bennett said, point to the documented links among abuse and shame, substance abuse, violence and incarceration.

    Many day-school students had no idea they were being mistreated as children, Augustine said.

    “A lot of us, a lot of young people don’t know what it was, at the time, that was happening to them,” he said. “They didn’t know what they were faced with.”

    Bennett said Thursday she was moved by Augustine’s story and pointed to the $200-million investment the government is making in a “settlement corporation” for healing, education, and legacy projects in honour of day-school victims, which should include help for men who suffered and are suffering.

    On Wednesday, a group representing Indigenous day-school victims issued a statement expressing concerns about the compensation process, including that it believes each claimant should be allowed to choose a lawyer to assist him or her.

    In Halifax on Thursday, Bennett said survivors felt strongly they should not need lawyers to navigate the settlement process and they did not want to be retraumatized by a complex claims process.

    “This isn’t about defending yourself — it’s a paper exercise,” Bennett said. “Anyone who writes in their application about physical or sexual abuse will receive what they are entitled to.”

    For his part, Augustine said his healing will never be over.

    “You never stop,” he said. “PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and all the other things that you talk about, you grow up with it, you live with it and it never ends.”

    —with files from Michael MacDonald in Halifax

    —Follow @kkirkup on Twitter.

    Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

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    Scheer accuses Trudeau of ‘stacking the deck’ to get re-elected




  • OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the Liberals’ decision to name an anti-Conservative union to a panel that will decide which media outlets receive government funding is the latest example of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “stacking the deck” in his favour to get re-elected in October.

    Scheer told The Canadian Press today he believes the decision to include Unifor on the panel — which will determine eligibility for a $600-million bailout package —is unacceptable and will undermine the credibility of the panel’s work.

    Unifor has campaigned against the Conservative party and the union has recently published tweets calling itself Scheer’s “worst nightmare.”

    Scheer says this is the latest in a string of moves by Trudeau to give himself an upper hand ahead of the fall federal election.

    He also points to changes made to pre-election spending for political parties that impose restrictions that he says mainly affect the Conservative party, while no limits have been placed on government spending or travel in advance of the writ period.

    Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has defended Unifor’s place on the panel, saying the union represents over 12,000 journalists and media workers and has been included among other journalism groups to ensure broad representation from the industry.

    The Canadian Press

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    Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations




  • Toronto police say it’s “impressive” that they didn’t have to arrest anyone after the Raptors’ historic win on Saturday night sent thousands of celebratory fans careening onto the streets.

    The roar of fans cheering and chanting “We the North” and “Let’s go Raptors” flooded the downtown core after Canada’s sole NBA team earned a spot in the final for the first time in franchise history.

    On social media, videos emerged of fans running into intersections and dancing on top of streetcars and buses, but on Sunday, police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante confirmed that not a single arrest was made.

    “It’s impressive. It certainly is,” said Arrogante. “We’re amazed — police were there to keep the peace and that’s exactly what happened.”

    The festivities ramped up shortly after 11 p.m. when the Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94, becoming the Eastern Conference champions and advancing to the NBA Finals.

    Earlier in the day, fans lined up for hours to pack Jurassic Park, but a thunderstorm prompted Toronto police to post on Twitter that they wouldn’t open the fan zone on schedule because of safety concerns. The ban was lifted an hour later and Jurassic Park quickly overflowed with Raptors supporters who braved the rain to watch the game outside Scotiabank Arena.

    There was a heavy police presence as some fans got rowdy, but officers say everyone managed to stay out of trouble as the celebrations continued.

    Arrogante said officers were called to various spots around the city to assist with crowd control and directing traffic, but no one was arrested. She said she saw videos of fans dancing on streetcars but said there were no reported injuries, and in terms of arrests: “nothing came out of that,” she said.

    “It turned out better than it could have,” said Arrogante.

    She said police will be out again Thursday night when the Raptors play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 and she hopes fans will continue to have fun safely.

    Arrogante said fans planning on drinking should get a designated driver or take public transit.

    “We’re reminding anyone that is going to be celebrating or taking part in any events forthcoming of the playoffs, is to be respectful.”

    Alanna Rizza, The Canadian Press

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    may, 2019

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