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Expressing "great sorrow" and giving back the bonuses: In The News for June 7

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of June 7 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

The archbishop of Toronto expressed "great sorrow" Sunday for the abuse that took place at Canada's residential schools, though he insisted the prime minister was “unfair” in his calls for the Catholic Church to take more responsibility.

Cardinal Thomas Collins also said it was "very important" when Pope Francis held a moment of silent prayer Sunday in honour of Canadian Indigenous children who died at residential schools and the families who mourn them, despite the pontiff not offering an apology for the Church's participation in the schools.

Collins expressed sadness for the rampant suffering endured at the institutions, both in an interview with The Canadian Press and in remarks delivered at a service in Toronto. 

He said the Church as a whole has also owned up to its role in the system and chastised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for seeking further action.

"I would think that Mr. Trudeau and his government ... should join with us and with the Indigenous people in our journey together," Collins said in a telephone interview. "We want to work together. These types of sharp comments, which are not based on real fact, are most unfortunate."

As the Pope addressed his congregation Sunday in the heart of Vatican City, Collins was inviting his own assembly from Toronto's St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica to bow their heads and honour those who died in Canadian residential schools. 

The system targeted Indigenous children for decades, and some 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children were forcibly sent to the institutions where many suffered abuse and even death.


Also this ...

MONTREAL — Air Canada says its senior executives have chosen to return their 2020 bonuses in response to "public disappointment."

The airline says in a news release that the president and CEO, as well as executive vice-presidents of Air Canada, have volunteered to return their bonuses and share appreciation units. 

Former president and CEO Calin Rovinescu, who retired in February 2021, says he will also donate his share to the Air Canada Foundation. 

The statement does not include middle managers, whose bonuses made up more than $8 million of the $10-million bonus program, among those who are volunteering their bonuses. 

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland signalled her displeasure Wednesday over the multi-million dollar packages handed out to the airline's executives as the company negotiated a federal bailout, calling the bonuses "inappropriate."

In April, the airline and government agreed to a $5.9 billion loan package that includes money to help refund passenger tickets, but also capped executive compensation at $1 million until 12 months after the loan is fully repaid.

The government also paid $500 million for a six per cent stake in the country's biggest airline, which Freeland said was done to ensure taxpayers could benefit once Air Canada's revenue rises when regular travel resumes.

Freeland and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Canadians "are right to expect responsible corporate behaviour — particularly with respect to executive compensation — from companies receiving government financial support during the pandemic."


And this ... 

OTTAWA — Canada is scheduled to receive 2.4-million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week as more Canadians get their first and second jabs.

The shots are the only expected shipments in what should be a comparatively quiet week for vaccine deliveries.

Moderna shipped 500-thousand doses last week, with another 1.5-million shots due to arrive next week.

Ottawa is also expecting another million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of the month, though a detailed delivery schedule has not been confirmed.

The fate of more than 300-thousand shots from Johnson and Johnson that were first delivered in April remains unclear.

Health Canada is still reviewing their safety following concerns about possible tainting at a Baltimore production plant.

The federal government says more than 60 per cent of Canadians have received at least one dose, and the number fully immunized with two shots is growing.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — Bracing for political trouble, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Democratic colleagues that June will “test our resolve” as senators return Monday to consider infrustructure, voting rights and other stalled-out priorities at a crucial moment in Congress.

Six months into the party’s hold on Washington, with Joe Biden in the White House and Democrats controlling the House and Senate, there is a gloomy uncertainty over their ability to make gains on campaign promises.

As Democrats strain to deliver on Biden’s agenda, the limits of bipartisanship in the 50-50 Senate are increasingly clear: Talks over an infrustructure package are teetering, though Biden is set to confer again Monday with the lead GOP negotiator, and an ambitious elections overhaul bill is essentially dead now that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced his opposition Sunday.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

MULTAN, Pakistan — Two express trains collided in southern Pakistan early on Monday, killing at least 38 passengers, authorities said, as rescuers and villagers worked to pull injured people and bodies from the wreckage.

The pre-dawn collision took place in the district of Ghotki, in Sindh province. The Millat Express train derailed and the Sir Syed Express train hit it soon afterward, said Usman Abdullah, a deputy commissioner. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the derailment and the subsequent collision.

Cries for help pierced the night as survivors scrambled to get out and local villagers rushed to the scene to help. As daylight broke, up to 20 passengers remained trapped in the wreckage of the Millat Express and authorities were trying to arrange heavy machinery to rescue those still trapped, said Umar Tufail, a police chief in the district.

“The challenge for us is to quickly rescue those passengers who are still trapped in the wreckage," Tufail said. The death toll steadily rose through the morning, and hours later, Abdullah said it had increased to at least 38. Dozens were injured.


In entertainment ...

TORONTO — Even without a red carpet, the Juno Awards found ways to march generations of Canadian stars through their 50th anniversary celebration on Sunday night.

From Shania Twain and Celine Dion to Kaytranada and Justin Bieber, many of the country's most successful acts paid tribute to Canada's biggest night in music from a distance, though one of the glaring absences also happened to be the biggest winner.

The Weeknd was named artist of the year while his "After Hours" was named album of the year, but the Toronto superstar didn't show to accept his awards.

A few other winners were also absent from the Junos golden anniversary where the musical bits were pre-recorded but the acceptance speeches mostly live over webcam.

Shawn Mendes won the fan choice winner, but didn't log in to accept it. And while Justin Bieber performed "Somebody" from Los Angeles, he didn't turn up when "Changes" won pop album.

Another highlight was Anne Murray ushering Jann Arden into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

And Kardinal Offishall led viewers through a journey of Canadian hip hop history to mark the 30th anniversary of the rap recording category.

Buffy Sainte-Marie opened the show on a sombre note by addressing the recent discovery of what's believed to be the remains of 215 children buried at a former Kamloops, B-C, residential school.

She said while the news may be "shocking to some people and a revelation" it's not surprising to Indigenous people.



The federal government will issue a travel exemption to allow the winner of the NHL's all-Canadian North Division and an American counterpart to cross the border during the third and final rounds of the playoffs.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced the decision on Sunday.

"We felt confident we could take this decision, which will allow Canadians to enjoy one of their favorite pastimes, namely playoff hockey, while at the same time keeping everyone healthy and safe," Mendicino told The Canadian Press in an interview.

The decision represents the culmination of weeks of work by the NHL, which was required to come up a plan to protect the teams and public at large and getting approval for it from the Public Health Agency of Canada as well as provincial authorities.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2021

The Canadian Press

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