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A plea for more help and the Habs party gets rowdy: In The News for June 25

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 25 ... What we are watching in Canada ...

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 25 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Indigenous advocates in Canada are calling for more cultural and mental-health supports for residential school survivors as communities discover unmarked graves at former sites.

Front-line organizations working with Indigenous people say the need for in-person help has intensified in the past month since the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C., announced ground-penetrating radar had found what are believed to be the remains of 215 children buried on the grounds of a one-time residential school in Kamloops.

Cowessness First Nation in Saskatchewan announced Thursday that the same technology had indicated 751 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School.

Jason Mercredi, executive director of Prairie Harm Reduction in Saskatoon, said the disclosures are triggering “troublesome memories” for survivors. He said there has been an increase in visits to the safe consumption site from individuals looking for mental-health support.

“We can’t really keep up, and it’s tough because some of these folks have been successfully coping for a number of years,” said Mercredi, who is Denesuline and Métis.

Pandemic restrictions have limited the number of places offering face-to-face support, so workers have had to refer people to an outside support line, he said.

A national crisis line is available through the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and some groups are offering regional helplines.

The National Association of Friendship Centres, which represents more than 100 such gathering places across the country, would like to see intergenerational support as well.


Also this ...

MONTREAL — Rowdy fans outside the Bell Centre were already celebrating — cheering and launching fireworks — before the Montreal Canadiens beat the Vegas Golden Knights to advance to the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 1993 on Thursday.

Artturi Lehkonen scored in overtime as Montreal beat Vegas 3-2 to take the third-round series in six games, with the goal setting off wild scenes both inside and outside the Bell Centre.

Following the game, fans were temporarily forced to stay inside the arena due to safety concerns as the streets in the nearby area became raucous.

Police began firing tear gas into the crowd surrounding Bell Centre around 11:15 p.m. ET. Police spokesman Manuel Couture said police began trying to disperse the crowd after officers were assaulted and vehicles were vandalized.

Shortly before 2 a.m., riot police were still working to disperse groups of revellers in downtown Montreal, using tear gas several more times.

Couture said there had been several arrests, notably for assault and mischief. Police also ticketed some people for violating municipal fireworks regulations.

Thursday was also Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in Quebec, and there was more to celebrate than usual as the Canadiens now look to bring the sport's Holy Grail back over the border for the first time since Montreal's triumph 28 years ago against the Los Angeles Kings.

For some fans, the timing of the victory — coming as restrictions on social gatherings are being relaxed — only added to the joy.

“It feels good just to be around a bunch of people,” said Tony Camelio, who was celebrating downtown. He said he wasn’t even born the last time Montreal made it this far in the playoffs, but had purchased a new Canadiens sweater for the occasion.


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

SURFSIDE, Fla. — Florida fire teams worked through the night in hopes of finding survivors in the Miami-area building collapse that has left nearly 100 people missing. 

Only one death has been reported, but officials fear that number may skyrocket as they dig into the rubble of the Champlain Towers South. 

The 12-story building collapsed early Thursday. 

More than 100 people were accounted for, including 35 pulled from the wreckage. 

The Champlain drew people from around the globe, some to visit, some to live. 

South American officials said 22 people from four countries were missing, while Israel reported 20 missing citizens. 

There are also an undetermined number of Americans unaccounted for.


And this ...

WASHINGTON — A federal judge appeared skeptical of arguments to dismiss a defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems over baseless 2020 election claims made by Trump allies Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Lindell. 

The voting system company sued for $1.3 billion each after the trio claimed the company rigged the election for Democrat Joe Biden. 

Those claims, along with falsehoods from former President Donald Trump and others, helped spur a violent mob into storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a failed effort to stop the certification of Biden's victory.

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols heard arguments made by attorneys for Powell, Giuliani and Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, that the case should be dismissed.

The three persisted making the accusations even after government officials, both Republican and Democrat, and Trump's own attorney general said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Dominion's voting equipment was used in several key battleground states.

Their attorneys argued the speech was protected by the First Amendment, that Dominion should be considered a government agency because it provided voting equipment for elections and treated like a public figure. And in some cases, attorneys said, the statements made about Dominion were true — and therefore couldn't be considered malicious.

Nichols told the attorneys that the public debate over election security is "not the same as saying a particular company intentionally committed voter fraud."

Dominion attorneys said that the three made purposeful and specific false claims aimed at defaming the voting company and that the claims persisted even after their legal claims challenging the election failed.

The judge plans to rule at a later date.


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

SYDNEY — An Australian state leader says Sydney is going through one the “scariest” times of the pandemic as a cluster of the highly contagious delta variant infects more people. 

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she tested negative after her agricultural minister was confirmed infected with the virus. 

Sydney tightened pandemic restrictions on Wednesday, but Berejiklian says Australia’s largest city did not yet need to lock down further. 

The cluster was traced to an airport limousine driver suspected to have been infected while transporting a foreign air crew. It has grown to 36 cases.

“Since the pandemic has started, this is perhaps the scariest period that New South Wales is going through,” Berejiklian told reporters.

“It is a very contagious variant but at the same time we are at this stage comfortable that the settings that are in place are the appropriate settings,” she added.

Australian states have closed their borders to travelers either from parts of Sydney or from anywhere in New South Wales. And New Zealand has stopped quarantine-free travel from New South Wales for at least three days.


On this day in 1993 ...

Kim Campbell was sworn in as Canada's first woman prime minister. She held office for only 132 days due to the Conservatives' overwhelming loss in the federal election later that year.


In entertainment ...

TORONTO — A painting by Davie Bowie has gone from thrift-store oddity to six-figure fame.

A Toronto auction house says the painting by the rock star was found at a donation centre in northern Ontario. It fetched $108,120 in an online sale that closed Thursday.

Cowley Abbott says "D Head XLVI" drew interest from collectors around the world, driving up bids well past the pre-sale estimate of between $9,000 and $12,000. It also set an auction record for the musician-cum-artist.

The 1997 acrylic and computer collage is one of 45 works on canvas in Bowie's "Dead Heads" series depicting band members, friends and the rocker himself.

Cowley Abbott says the consignor purchased the portrait for $5 after finding it in a pile of second-hand goods in South River near North Bay, Ont.

The auction house says the winning bid was placed by a private U.S. collector. The price includes auction house fees.



TORONTO — Luxury parka maker Canada Goose Holdings Inc. will stop using fur in its products by the end of next year.

The decision announced by the company on Thursday comes as upscale department store chain Holt Renfrew said it will stop selling all animal fur and exotic skins within the same timeframe.

The parallel announcements follow a string of similar decisions in recent years by U.S. retailers like Macy's and brands like Gucci and Michael Kors. 

The removal of fur from fashion collections and store shelves signals a changing tide in the apparel industry as consumer concerns over animal welfare increase, industry experts say. 

"It's the right thing to do," said retail analyst Bruce Winder. "Frankly, I was pretty surprised that they still had fur in their products because if you look at what's happened in the U.S., there were a number of retailers and brands that took fur out of their stores quite a while ago, so there was a bit of a lag here in Canada compared to the U.S."

Ending the use of fur also allows brands and retailers to appeal to more consumers, said Farla Efros, president of HRC Retail Advisory.

"When it comes to brand growth, it's more about the younger generation, and there are so many more vegans in the world," she said. "This is really a great example of brand evolution for Canada Goose."

Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss said the decision will transform how the company makes its products.

“Our focus has always been on making products that deliver exceptional quality, protection from the elements, and perform the way consumers need them to,” he said in a statement.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2021

The Canadian Press