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Removing statues over racism and disturbing wildlife: In The News for Sept. 9

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 Sept. 9 …

What we are watching in Canada … 

OTTAWA — A new survey suggests that while Canadians are divided over removing statues of politicians who harboured racist views or pushed racist policies, many oppose the “spontaneous” toppling of statues of Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald.

The poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies follows the controversial tearing down and vandalism of a Macdonald statue in Montreal last month by activists angry over his anti-Indigenous views and policies.

Half of respondents said they oppose the idea of removing statues or monuments to politicians who espoused racist views or implemented racist policies while 31 per cent said they support such moves and 19 per cent did not know.

The divide was smaller when it came to streets, schools and other public institutions bearing the names of historic figures shown to have been racist, with 47 per cent against renaming them and 34 per cent in favour.

Yet 75 per cent of respondents to the poll conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies were against the Montreal-style “spontaneous” tearing down of Macdonald statues by activists while only 11 per cent said they were in favour.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the numbers suggests Canadians are more supportive of a deliberate process of dealing with such statues — and take a dim view of activists taking matters into their own hands.

The online survey of 1,529 Canadians took place Sept. 4 to 6. An internet poll cannot be given a margin of error because it is not a random sample.

Also this …

OTTAWA — Erin O’Toole will lay out a mission statement for the Conservative party today at his first official caucus meeting since he won the leadership race last month.

Hints of the tone and scope of his address to MPs, who will gather largely in person in Ottawa, were laid out in a Labour Day message posted to social media on Monday.

In it, O’Toole promises a “Canada First” economic strategy, which puts the wellness of families and higher wages, rather than GDP growth, at its core.

The populist message is expected to be reflected in his remarks to caucus as he moves forward with his promise to broaden the appeal of the Conservatives.

O’Toole took a step in that direction Tuesday with the unveiling of which MPs will serve as critics for the next session of Parliament, taking care to place visible minority, LGBTQ and female MPs on the front benches.

But today’s speech may also hold clues as to how his party will handle the potential showdown in Parliament after the minority Liberals present a throne speech on Sept. 23 that will trigger a vote of confidence.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

SHAVER LAKE, Calif. — Wildfires are raging unchecked throughout California, and authorities say gusty winds could drive flames with new ferocity.

Diablo winds in the north and Santa Ana winds in the south are forecast into Wednesday in areas where blazes already have grown explosively.

More than 14,000 firefighters are battling fires from the Sierra National Forest to San Diego.

Helicopters were used to rescue hundreds of people trapped in the Sierra National Forest, while in the south, people in a half-dozen foothill communities east of Los Angeles are being told to stay alert because of a fire in the Angeles National Forest.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry says a bombing in Kabul targeting the convoy of the country’s first vice-president killed 10 people and wounded more than a dozen others, including several of the vice-president’s bodyguards.

First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh suffered minor burns in the attack this morning. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing but the Taliban denied they were involved.

The Interior Ministry says the bomb went off as the vice-president’s convoy was passing through a section of Kabul with shops that sell gas cylinders. The blast ignited a fire that set ablaze a number of shops.

On this day in 2015 …

Queen Elizabeth became the longest-reigning British monarch, surpassing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who served for 63 years and 216 days from 1837-1901. The Queen began her reign upon the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952.

Business news …

TORONTO — The Bank of Canada will say this morning what it will do with its key interest rate at a time when there is very little economic drama for the first time in years.

The central bank’s key rate has remained at 0.25 per cent since March when COVID-19 lockdowns plunged the economy into crisis.

Governor Tiff Macklem said in July that the rate would stay at near-zero until the country is well into a recovery and inflation is back at the bank’s two per cent target.

Macklem has also said the central bank stands ready to do whatever is necessary to aid the economy as it recuperates from the COVID-19 crisis.

ICYMI …

A man is facing two charges after a cougar was allegedly harassed with a slingshot in Banff National Park.

Parks Canada says in a statement that its wardens received a report from the public on May 31 about a cougar being bothered by a visitor near Lake Louise, Alta.

Officials say the cougar was on the wrong side of the wildlife fencing along the Trans-Canada Highway when it was allegedly harassed.

Wardens were able to find and arrest one person after receiving a vehicle description and photos.

Charges were laid against a Saskatchewan man for disturbing wildlife in a national park and possession of a firearm — a slingshot is considered a firearm under the Canada National Parks Act.

In B.C., a fisher was fined $8,000 last month and banned from possessing explosives for three years after he threw an explosive device into a group of sea lions in March 2019.

Video footage posted to social media last year showed Allan Marsden throwing what is known as a “bear banger” off the side of a boat near Hornby Island in British Columbia.

The video showed a large number of sea lions that were swimming near the vessel become startled and then swim quickly away after the device exploded in their midst.

Marsden, a herring fisher, told The Canadian Press last year he threw the device to scare the sea lions away from his boat.

He pleaded guilty Aug. 24 to an offence under regulations of the Fisheries Act that prohibit someone from disturbing marine mammals unless they are specifically fishing for them.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 8, 2020

The Canadian Press


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