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Residential school history and 'Transplant' success: In The News for Sept. 1

Last Updated Sep 1, 2020 at 3:14 am MDT

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson speaks to media during the Liberal cabinet retreat at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.They blighted Indigenous lives for more than a century. Now their creation is being formally recognized as one of the events that helped shape today's Canada The federal government has put residential schools on the official roster of National Historic Events. Two of the schools, one in Nova Scotia and one in Manitoba, have been named National Historic Sites — the first in Canada to be so marked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Sudoma

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. 1 …

What we are watching in Canada … 

The dark heritage of Canada’s residential schools is being formally recognized as one of the events that helped shape the country.

The federal government has put residential schools on the official list of National Historic Events.

Two of the schools — one in Nova Scotia and one in Manitoba — have been designated National Historic Sites.

Chief Dennis Meeches of the Long Plain First Nation near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba says it’s important to mark what happened at the school there.

He says the band, which owns the building and uses it for offices, hopes to open a national residential school museum on the site.

Jonathan Wilkinson, minister responsible for historic sites and monuments, says history has to tackle tough subjects as well as  happy events.

Ry Moran of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba says Canada still has a long way to go before it can claim to tell the whole story of Indigenous people. 

Also this …

OTTAWA — A new poll suggests most Canadians know very little about new Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole but his personal qualities and policy positions could eventually give his party a boost.

Fully 52 per cent of respondents said they didn’t know enough about O’Toole to say whether they have a positive or negative impression of the new leader, who took the helm of the Official Opposition one week ago.

Of those with an opinion, 21 per cent had a favourable impression while 18 per cent had an unfavourable impression.

Informed about various personal qualities — that O’Toole was born in Montreal, is bilingual and is a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces — a plurality of respondents said each attribute made them more likely to vote Conservative in the next election.

A plurality also said they’d be more likely to vote Conservative when informed that O’Toole is personally pro-choice, supports same-sex marriage, advocates a harder line against China, supports building new pipelines and is opposed to a carbon tax.

The fact that O’Toole was supported by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney during the leadership contest was the only negative, with a plurality saying that makes them less likely to vote Conservative.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

KENOSHA, Wis. — Some residents in Kenosha fear a planned visit by U.S. President Donald Trump days after unrest over a police shooting may stir more emotions.

Trump is scheduled to visit today, a week after authorities say a 17-year-old from northern Illinois shot and killed two protesters.

Demonstrators are calling for an officer to face attempted murder charges in the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The tension began Aug. 23 after a video showed a Kenosha police officer shooting Blake in the back. Blake is a 29-year-old Black man.

The city’s mayor said Monday that he believes Trump’s visit comes at a bad time, but others welcomed the trip.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

Russia’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed one million after authorities reported 4,729 new cases.

With a total of 1,000,048 reported cases up to today, Russia has the fourth largest caseload in the world after the U.S., Brazil and India.

Experts say the true toll of the pandemic is much higher than all reported figures, due to limited testing, missed mild cases and concealment of cases by some governments, among other factors.

The coronavirus pandemic has also brought hard times for many farmers around the world.

United Nations experts are holding an online conference beginning today to brainstorm ways to help alleviate hunger and prevent the problems from worsening with the loss of many millions of jobs.

Experts say disruptions due to outbreaks of the illness and restrictions on businesses and travel to control them run the gamut, from crops going unharvested by migrant workers unable to reach their jobs to transport problems to farm families selling livestock and equipment to survive.

On this day in 1937 …

Trans-Canada Air Lines made the first passenger and first international flight from Vancouver to Seattle.

Entertainment news …

When “Transplant” creator Joseph Kay conceived the idea for the series, the 2016 U.S. presidential election had just happened and thousands of Syrian refugees were resettling in Canada.

A story about a refugee Syrian doctor trying to form a new life in Toronto struck Kay as an apt and unique take on the medical drama genre.

And indeed, it became a hit with critics and audiences alike when it debuted on CTV last February.

Now, as the show debuts today on NBC, another presidential vote looms south of the border and the story seems just as timely, says Kay.

“We are aware that we’re airing in a season leading up to an election, and that forefront in our show is the topic of immigration, because it’s about a refugee,” the writer/showrunner/executive producer says.

“And I think that our show just takes what I would say is a very grounded and honest and relatable look at that story, tells it from the perspective of a refugee and an immigrant but also in a way that makes it universal.

“In the context of the election, it’s quite topical and relevant.”

Hamza Haq stars in the Montreal-shot show as Dr. Bashir (Bash) Hamed, who takes care of his young sister and redoes his medical residency in Toronto after fleeing war-torn Syria.

His sharp instincts developed from critical situations in his former homeland are a great asset, although sometimes considered unconventional, to the emergency department.

CTV plans to re-air the first season to align with the U.S. premiere.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2020

The Canadian Press