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Soaring gas prices, poll on Canadian abortion rights : In The News for May 11

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 May 11 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
The price of gas is seen as a motorist fills up at a gas station in Montreal on Friday, May 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

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 May 11 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Drivers can expect more pain at the pumps this morning as gasoline prices push new records. 

Natural Resources Canada says the average price across the country for regular gasoline hit 197.4 cents per litre on Tuesday for an all-time high.

The average price inched up slightly from 197.1 cents per litre on Monday, while prices are up more that twelve cents from a week ago.

Prices averaged about $2.23 a litre in Vancouver, while in Toronto prices averaged slightly under $2 a litre and in Edmonton the average was just under $1.30 a litre.

Gasoline prices have spiked as oil tops US$100 a barrel, in part because of supply disruptions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The higher prices also come as the reopening of the economy has led to high demand for gasoline that refiners have limited capacity to meet.


Also this ...

About four in five Canadian respondents to an online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies say they are in favour of a woman’s right to an abortion if she so chooses, while 14 per cent say they are opposed.

The poll offers a picture of how Canadians feel about the issue as the United States faces turmoil over the possible overturning of the right to have an abortion.

Seventy per cent of all respondents say they are concerned about the leaked draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, and almost half say they think the situation in the U.S. on the right to an abortion may have an effect in Canada.

Christian Bourque, Leger executive vice-president, says the high level of concern is interesting given the near-consensus shared among Canadians in supporting the right to choose.

The right to an abortion doesn't exist in Canada in the same way it is enshrined in Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision in the U.S.

Abortion is decriminalized in Canada because of a 1988 Supreme Court decision, but no bill has ever been passed to enshrine access into law and it's also not considered a constitutionally protected right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The online survey of 1,534 Canadians between Friday and Sunday cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.


And this too ...

The federal government is set to launch an online portal for Canadian businesses to donate to Ukrainians who need help to get set up in Canada after fleeing war in their country.

For now, the portal is designed to accept large-scale goods and services like housing, gift cards for high-priority items, transportation and jobs. 

Loblaws, Canadian Tire, Metro and Couche-Tard have already donated the equivalent of more than $400,000. 

The government says the portal is being launched today after Canadian companies expressed an interest in supporting people who have been impacted by the war in Ukraine.

Canada has opened the door to an unlimited number of Ukrainians and their families to work and study here for three years before deciding their next steps.

The portal is expected to be updated regularly with lists of priority items needed for families settling in Canada. 


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

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. _ The U.S. Interior Department says it will release a report Wednesday that will begin to uncover the truth about the federal government's past oversight of Native American boarding schools.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced an initiative last June to investigate the troubled legacy of boarding schools, which the government established and supported for decades. Indigenous children routinely were taken from their communities and forced into schools that sought to strip them of their language and culture.

Catholic, Protestant and other churches also led some of the schools, backed by U.S. laws and policies.

The Interior report was prompted by the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites in Canada that brought back painful memories for Indigenous communities. Haaland has said her agency's report will identify past schools, locate known and possible burial sites at or near those schools, and uncover the names and tribal affiliations of students.

The first volume of the report will be released Wednesday. The Interior Department hasn't said how many volumes were produced.

At least 367 boarding schools for Native Americans operated in the U.S., many of them in Oklahoma where tribes were relocated, Arizona, Alaska, New Mexico and South Dakota, according to research by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

Children at the schools often were subjected to military-style discipline and had their long hair cut. Early curricula focused heavily on vocational skills, including homemaking for girls. Some children never returned home.

Accounting for the number of children who died at the schools has been difficult because records weren't always kept. Ground penetrating radar has been used in some places to search for remains.

Later this week, a U.S. House subcommittee will hear testimony on a bill to create a truth and healing commission modelled after one in Canada. Several church groups are backing the legislation.


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

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine _ Ukraine's natural gas pipeline operator said Wednesday it would stop Russian shipments through a key hub in the east of the country, while its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said Kyiv's military had made small gains, pushing Russian forces out of four villages near Kharkiv.

The pipeline operator said Russian shipments through its Novopskov hub, in an area controlled by Moscow-backed separatists, would be cut beginning Wednesday. It said the hub handles about a third of Russian gas passing through Ukraine to Western Europe. Russia's state-owned natural gas giant Gazprom put the figure at about a quarter.

The move marks the first time natural gas supply has been affected by the war that began in February. It may force Russia to shift flows of its gas through territory controlled by Ukraine to reach its clients in Europe. Russia's state energy giant Gazprom initially said it couldn't, though preliminary flow data suggested higher rates moving through a second station in Ukrainian-controlled territory.

The operator said it was stopping the flow because of interference from "occupying forces,'' including the apparent siphoning of gas. Russia could reroute shipments through Sudzha, a main hub in a northern part of the country controlled by Ukraine, it said. But Gazprom spokesperson Sergei Kupriyanov said that would be "technologically impossible'' and questioned the reason given for the stoppage.

Zelenskyy said Tuesday that the military was gradually pushing Russian troops away from Kharkiv, while Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba voiced what appeared to be increasing confidence _ and expanded goals, suggesting Ukraine could go beyond just forcing Russia back to areas it held before the invasion began 11 weeks ago.

Kuleba told the Financial Times that Ukraine initially believed victory would be the withdrawal of Russian troops to positions they occupied before the Feb. 24 invasion. But the focus shifted to the eastern industrial heartland of the Donbas after Russian forces failed to take Kyiv early in the war.

Ukraine said Tuesday that Russian forces fired seven missiles at Odesa a day earlier, hitting a shopping centre and a warehouse in the country's largest port. One person was killed and five wounded, the military said. Images showed a burning building and debris _ including a tennis shoe _ in a heap of destruction in the city on the Black Sea.

One general has suggested Moscow's aims include cutting Ukraine's maritime access to both the Black and Azov seas. That would also give Russia a corridor linking it to both the Crimean Peninsula, which it seized in 2014, and Transnistria, a pro-Moscow region of Moldova.


On this day in 1984 ...

A federal law created the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS, to replace the RCMP when dealing with espionage and terrorism.


In entertainment ...

Charlotte Cardin doesn't need to explain why she's beaming as she sits down at the piano in her Montreal studio ahead of the Juno Awards.

There's plenty to smile about these days, considering she holds a leading six nominations at Canada's most prestigious music awards show this weekend, including artist of the year and single of the year for "Meaningless."

That puts her ahead of Justin Bieber and the Weeknd, who each have five nominations heading into an industry show Saturday, when the bulk of trophies will be handed out. The televised bash for marquee categories airs Sunday on CBC.

"I'm still trying to process it," she says, freely gesticulating near the keyboard — almost teasing that she might improvise and turn the conversation into a private concert.

"It's rare that female artists from Quebec receive as many nominations and are able to get that platform across Canada."

In 2021, Cardin's debut album, "Phoenix," made her the first Canadian female artist to spend two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Canadian album chart since Quebec's renowned diva Céline Dion, in September 2016.

The Junos, where she was nominated as breakthrough artist four years ago, is certain to introduce her to a whole new audience. Already, most of the stops on her 2022 international tour are sold out. "It makes me so proud to represent a female project, from Quebec but in English," she says.

On Sunday, she'll perform at the Junos, which airs live from Budweiser Stage in Toronto, with actor Simu Liu as host and performers that include Arcade Fire, Mustafa and Avril Lavigne.


Did you see this?

Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children says it has identified seven probable cases of severe acute hepatitis of unknown origin.

The research and pediatric hospital, also known as SickKids, says the mysterious cases were identified between Oct. 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022 and reported to Public Health Ontario.

Dr. Upton Allen, the hospital's division head of infectious diseases, said Tuesday that large children's hospitals such as his regularly see children with severe hepatitis and that the overall numbers "seems to be pretty consistent with what we've seen before.''

"But we're really carefully looking at those numbers in really great detail,'' Allen added.

World Health Organization officials said last week they had reports of almost 300 probable cases in 20 countries. More than 100 possible cases have emerged among children in the United States, including five deaths.

Allen could not say if the seven cases singled out by SickKids are different from what they would have seen in prior years.

"What we can say is that we have cases that fit the World Health Organization case definition. But we're not yet able to say definitively that these cases truly represent a new signal,'' he said.

SickKids said its infectious disease specialists were on the lookout for youngsters with liver disease symptoms that could include new onset of dark urine, pale stool and/or jaundice, which can turn the whites of eyes a distinctive yellow colour. Other key symptoms to look out for include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and joint pain.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2022.

The Canadian Press