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 July 1 ...
What we are watching in Canada ...
Gov. Gen. Mary Simon says Canadians should work together to build an inclusive society in her official message to the nation to mark Canada Day.
She says Canadians should be kind to each other, learn from one another and listen to Indigenous Peoples, on whose land we live.
Simon is Canada's first Indigenous Governor General and was known for her Inuit advocacy work before being appointed to the role.
She says on Canada Day, Canadians should remember to keep working together and commit to a country where everyone truly belongs.
She adds Canadians should also have hope for the future and faith in their neighbours and friends.
The Governor General is due to give a speech at formal celebrations in Ottawa today, which will also be attended by the prime minister.
Also this ...
Ontario's gas tax will be cut by 5.7 cents per litre for six months starting today.
Legislation that passed this spring will also see the fuel tax, which covers diesel, cut by 5.3 cents per litre over the same period.
The government has said the tax cut will cost $645 million while it's in effect.
Premier Doug Ford says he would consider extending the measure past Dec. 31 if inflation is still high at the time.
The changes come as Ontarians contend with sky-high prices hovering at close to $2 per litre across the province.
It's expected to offer some relief to consumers but experts have said the impact of the tax cut may fluctuate due to external factors.
What we are watching in the U.S. ...
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. _ Emails and phone calls from same-sex couples, worried about the legal status of their marriages and keeping their children, flooded attorney Sydney Duncan's office within hours of the Supreme Court's decision eliminating the constitutional right to abortion.
The ruling last week didn't directly affect the 2015 decision that paved the way for same-sex marriage. But, Duncan said, it was still a warning shot for families headed by same-sex parents who fear their rights could evaporate like those of people seeking to end a pregnancy.
"That has a lot of people scared and, I think, rightfully so,'' said Duncan, who specializes in representing members of the LGBTQ community at the Magic City Legal Center in Birmingham.
Overturning a nearly 50-year-old precedent, the Supreme Court ruled in a Mississippi case that abortion wasn't protected by the Constitution, a decision likely to lead to bans in about half the states. Justice Samuel Alito said the ruling involved only the medical procedure, writing: "Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.''
But conservative Justice Clarence Thomas called on his colleagues to reconsider cases that allowed same-sex marriage, gay sex and contraception.
The court's three most liberal members warn in their dissent that the ruling could be used to challenge other personal freedoms: "Either the mass of the majority's opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.''
That prospect alarms some LGBTQ couples, who worry about a return to a time when they lacked equal rights to married heterosexual couples under the law. Many, fearful that their marital status is in danger, are moving now to square away potential medical, parental and estate issues.
In a sign of what could come, the state of Alabama already has cited the abortion ruling in asking a federal appeals court to let it enforce a new state law that makes it a felony for doctors to prescribe puberty blockers and hormones to trans people under age 19. The decision giving states the power to restrict abortion means states should also be able to ban medical treatments for transgender youth, the state claimed.
What we are watching in the rest of the world ...
KYIV, Ukraine _ Russian missile attacks on residential buildings in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa early Friday killed at least 18 people, including two children, authorities reported, a day after Russian forces withdrew from a strategic Black Sea island.
Video of the pre-dawn attack showed the charred remains of buildings in Odesa.
The deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Kirill Tymoshenko, said 18 people died, including two children. A spokesman for the Odesa regional government, Serhiy Bratchuk, said on the Telegram messaging app that another 30 had been injured.
Ukrainian news reports said the target of the missile attack was a multi-storey apartment building and a recreational area.
The assault comes after Russian forces pulled out from Snake Island on Thursday, potentially easing the threat to Odesa, it was initially thought. But they kept up their push to encircle the last stronghold of resistance in the eastern province of Luhansk.
The Kremlin portrayed the pullout from Snake Island as a "goodwill gesture.'' Ukraine's military claimed it forced the Russians to flee in two small speedboats following a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes. The exact number of troops was not disclosed.
Snake Island sits along a busy shipping lane. Russia took control of it in the opening days of the war in the apparent hope of using it as a staging ground for an assault on Odesa.
On this day in 1979 ...
The first Sony Walkman rolled off the assembly line.
In entertainment ...
NEW ORLEANS _ Essence's chief executive officer said she's been asked multiple times whether the Essence Festival of Culture is staying in New Orleans. On Thursday, Caroline Wanga ended any speculation, making the answer to that question very clear.
"The Essence Festival of Culture is never leaving the City of New Orleans,'' Wanga said repeatedly during a news conference held to welcome the in-person event back to the city after a forced break of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are embedded and born together,'' Wanga said of the brand's relationship to the city. "We need each other.''
The city's current contract with the festival runs through 2024. Discussions are currently being held regarding a contract extension, said John F. Lawson, deputy press secretary for Mayor LaToya Cantrell's administration.
Essence Fest started in 1995 as a one-time salute to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine. Known as "a party with a purpose,'' its original mission was to give back to the community through free seminars designed to enrich women's lives. Since then, Essence Fest has evolved into the world's largest celebration of Black women, culture and community, attracting more than 500,000 visitors in past years, officials said.
Before the pandemic hiatus sparked the festival's virtual birth, it had been held in New Orleans every year except in 2006 when it moved to Houston while the Superdome was being repaired following Hurricane Katrina. Its virtual experience has drawn more than 100 million views, organizers have said.
This year, they also noted it will be the first time they're offering a live component and the option to connect virtually. Hulu will be the official streaming platform for the festival, providing select programming, including panel discussions and nightly musical performances. The livestream will run Friday through Sunday from 7 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. CDT.
Since its inception, the festival has been a huge summer economic driver for the city. In past years, it's had a $200 million impact on city revenues and was expected to draw that or more this year, tourism officials said.
Did you see this?
OTTAWA _ The Royal Canadian Navy says it has relieved the commanding officer of a warship in the Pacific Fleet.
In a release Thursday night, the navy says it has lost confidence in the judgment of Lt.-Cmdr. David Dallin of HMCS Regina.
The navy says it took action after an incident that recently took place on another vessel during a naval training exercise.
Details of what happened were not released.
Commodore David Mazur, commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific, says in the release that the incident remains under investigation, but involved "inappropriate conduct.''
The navy says Cmdr. Meghan Coates has now assumed command of HMCS Regina, a Halifax-class frigate based at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, B.C.
"The RCN expects all its members to exercise institutionally appropriate judgment at all times, especially when in clear leadership or command roles,'' the navy said in the release.
The navy says Dallin will serve in other roles within Maritime Forces Pacific at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt until the conclusion of the investigation.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 1, 2022.
The Canadian Press