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Photos for April 2016

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IMG_8503Canada has condemned the attacks on medical facilities in Syria that included a Canadian-supported clinic. “Canadians are outraged by the deliberate targeting of volunteers, humanitarian workers and medical personnel coming to the aid of the Syrian people,” said International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau in a statement April 29. “This violates international humanitarian law. The Canadian branch of a medical non-profit organization (UOSSM) blames the attacks in Aleppo on air strikes by Russian and regime forces. There were no casualties at the clinic but a spokesperson told CBC news there were people in the facility 15 minutes before it was hit. At least 60 people died in the air strikes in Aleppo.

IMG_8527Canada is “deeply concerned” by the passage of China’s new law regulating foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in China, says Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion. On April 28 China passed a new law restricting the work of foreign organizations and their local partners, mainly through police supervision. More than 7,000 foreign non-government groups will be affected, according to state news reports. “The new law appears to limit the space for civil society in China,” said Dion in a statement. “It might also constrain cross-cultural contacts between Canada and China, which benefit both our countries.” He urged Chinese authorities to provide “a safe, secure and just environment that allows NGOs to operate effectively in China.”

neveHuman rights groups including Amnesty International have asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cancel the $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. “To provide such a large supply of lethal weapons to a regime with such an appalling record of human rights abuses is immoral and unethical,” the groups said in a letter to the PM April 27. Alex Neve, the secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, said at a news conference in Ottawa that “mounting information” about Saudi forces’ human rights violations suggests Saudi forces will use Canadian-made light armoured vehicles against its own people. The previous Conservative government made the arms deal. Trudeau has said Canada must respect its contracts.

musical2The highlight of this year’s RCMP Musical Ride will be a special trip to London, England, to help mark Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday celebrations. The riders will participate in an equestrian-themed party on the private grounds of Windsor Castle. The Musical Ride will also perform at the Royal Windsor Horse Show from May 12 to May 15. The first recorded public display of the Musical Ride was in 1901, in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Hassan YussuffCanadian unions have renewed their call for comprehensive ban on asbestos. “Asbestos is the leading cause of work-related death in Canada, and with imports on the rise, the danger is increasing,” CLC president Hassan Yussuff said at a news conference in Ottawa April 22. “That’s why we are calling on the federal government to commit to a comprehensive ban on all kinds of asbestos and to outline its plans for doing so before Parliament rises for its summer recess,” he added. The call for the ban Canadian was highlighted at events across the country on April 28, the National Day of Mourning for workers killed, injured or made ill on the job.

IMG_7055The board of the National Capital Commission voted unanimously April 28 to approve the site of the proposed Memorial to Victims of Communism. The memorial will be built on the Garden of the Provinces near Christ Church Anglican Cathedral. The previous Conservative government had planned to erect the memorial on land adjacent to the Supreme Court of Canada but ran into stiff opposition from planners, municipal politicians and the public. A sculpture currently on the site is to be relocated.

 

IMG_2079Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto, speaks out against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 19 organized by Canadian religious leaders. Collins represented both the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and also the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience. “We stand together today, leaders within our respective faith communities – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – to express our grave concern over the decriminalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia,” the group said in a statement. “We believe that any action intended to end human life is morally and ethically wrong.”

 

IMG_2052Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto, speaks out against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa April 19 organized by Canadian religious leaders. Collins represented both the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and also the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience. “We stand together today, leaders within our respective faith communities – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – to express our grave concern over the decriminalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia,” the group said in a statement. “We believe that any action intended to end human life is morally and ethically wrong.”

IMG_2094Canadian religious leaders, including Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto  (centre) called on the federal government April 19, 2016 to protect the vulnerable, improve palliative care and protect freedom of conscience. The group, representing Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities held a joint news conference on Parliament Hill to express their “grave concern” over the decriminalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. “Together, with our diverse communities of faith, we are determined to work to alleviate human suffering in every form but never by intentionally eliminating those who suffer,” they said.

IMG_1979An opponent of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia demonstrates on Parliament Hill April 19 as religious leaders hold a news conference inside to express their “grave concern” over the decriminalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

IMG_2149Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett tells reporters April 19 the move to legalize physician-assisted suicide has no bearing on the suicide crisis involving young people in First Nations communities such as Attiwapiskat in northern Ontario. Bennett returned from a visit to Attiwapiskat a day earlier and said the issue of physician-assisted suicide was not raised by anyone.

aglukark2-2009Inuk singer-songwriter Susan Aglukark is one of seven Canadians to be presented with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in June. The 49-year-old Aglukark has spoken out on social issues such as the Inuit suicide rate which, according to Statistics Canada, is 11 times higher than the national average. The announcement of the winners was made April 14.

johnstonShown in this March 22 photo, Governor General David Johnston launched his new book “The Idea of Canada: Letters to a Nation” April 19 at the National Arts Centre. The event was presented by the Ottawa International Writers Festival.

 

queenQueen Elizabeth II, seen on her visit to Ottawa in 2010, is the longest-reigning monarch in British history.  She turns 90 on April 21, but she isn’t planning a major, fireworks-filled celebration to mark the happy occasion, the Associated Press reports. “Just a gentle stroll outside the grounds of Windsor Castle, the lighting of a beacon, and a night at home with family are all that are on the royal plate.”  The Queen will save the pomp and ceremony for her next birthday, says AP. The monarch gets two birthdays each year, one on the actual date of her birth, April 21, and one official birthday in June.

Wilson-Raybould1The federal government has introduced its long-awaited and controversial physician-assisted dying bill restricted to adults facing a foreseeable death. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould acknowledged that the bill will be “troubling” for some but not go far enough for others. Physician-assisted death will also be accompanied by a stronger palliative care strategy.

philpottThe federal government has introduced its long-awaited and controversial physician-assisted dying bill restricted to adults facing a foreseeable death. Health Minister Jane Philpott called it a “historic” day for Canada.

schadenbergShown at a March for Life rally in Ottawa in 2014, Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, says the coalition opposes “any form of euthanasia and assisted suicide.” In a news release after the federal government introduced its physician-assisted dying bill in the House of Commons April 14, Schadenberg said, “In all jurisdictions where assisted death is legal the laws lack effective oversight.”

supreme court

The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously ruled that Metis and non-status Aboriginals are ‘Indians’ under the Constitution. The ruling April 14 hands the federal government responsibilities for approximately 200,000 Métis and 400,000 non-status, off-reserve aboriginal people who have essentially no access to First Nations programs, services and rights.

chartier3

The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously ruled that Metis and non-status Aboriginals are ‘Indians’ under the Constitution. Metis National Council President Clement Chartier told reporters “As a people, as a nation, we have all the elements necessary now to move forward and engage meaningfully with the Government of Canada.” The court’s decision April 14 hands the federal government the responsibility of negotiating rights and treaties with thousands of Metis and Aboriginals living off-reserve.

 

lapierre-nov16 A funeral for former federal cabinet minister Jean Lapierre and five of his relatives is to be held Friday April 8 at St. Francis Xavier church in his hometown of Bassin in the Magdalen islands. Lapierre, his wife and three siblings were killed in a plane crash in eastern Quebec. They were en route to the funeral of Lapierre’s father, who died of Parkinson’s disease days earlier.

del mastro2Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro has been  jailed for one month and will spend four months of house arrest after losing his appeal of his election overspending during the federal election in 2008. Del Mastro was convicted of the Canada Elections Act offence in 2014 but was granted bail after launching an appeal.

faucherFormer Ottawa priest Jacques Faucher was convicted March 30 of sexually molesting three choir boys between 1969 and 1974. He was charged in February 2013 after five complainants reported they were molested b y Faucher at a parish in west Ottawa. He was acquitted on two of the charges. He is to be sentenced at a later date. In a statement Bishop Terrence Prendergast wrote, “I invite the faithful to pray with me that justice may be done and that healing and reconciliation will come to the victims.”

Wilson-Raybould1Federal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is to raise money for the Liberal Party at a $500 a head law firm event, the CBC reported April 5. News of the event came on the same day as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced she would end her involvement in private fundraisers and ask her ministers to do the same. The provincial Liberals have been accused of selling access to cabinet ministers at high-priced dinners and cocktail receptions for lobbyists, CBC reported.

leitch2Former Harper government cabinet minister Kellie Leitch has officially launched her bid for the Conservative leadership. “I’m looking forward to speaking with party members across the country — to hear directly from them and to share my ideas about what I believe we need to do to grow our movement and chart a course for our party to win in 2019,” she said in a statement April 6. Leitch, 45, was minister of labour and status of women in the Harper government.

bernier2Quebec MP Maxime Bernier is expected to file his leadership application to succeed Stephen Harper on April 7. The vote for the next Conservative leader is scheduled for May 27, 2017, but the party faithful are to gather in Vancouver May 26-28 for a policy convention.

sajjanDefence Minister Harjit Sajjan has announced the launch of public consultations as part of an “open and transparent” dialogue with Canadians and key stakeholders. In a statement released April 6, the defence department says the consultations are designed  “to inform the development of a new defence policy for Canada.” Sajjan said he looks forward to hearing from Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, “as they help inform the development of a modern defence policy that will support the CAF to effectively respond to a full spectrum of challenges – now, and into the future