Tourism Agency Laid Off 9%

The Canadian Tourism Commission laid off nine percent of its employees due to Covid. Recovery from the pandemic will take at least four years, the agency said: “We are facing the spectre of an industry in deep crisis with many parts of it on the brink of collapse.”

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CBC Corrects “Hate” Article

The CBC has rewritten an online article by an Elections Canada information officer who called the Conservative vote “jarring” and questioned whether elderly white people all hated Muslims. The website story was posted nearly a month before it was corrected by management: “It was jarring to realize that many of the people who had seemingly been nice to me throughout the day had chosen to vote for the Conservative Party.”

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Fired Over Church Vax Claim

Canadian Blood Services, a non-profit agency regulated by the Department of Health, has fired an employee after he claimed religious exemption from vaccination. The health department had called mandatory immunization unconstitutional: “I was shocked. I was just devastated.”

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‘No Doubt Of CERB Abuses’

There is no doubt some Canadians abused one of the best-known pandemic relief programs, a senior Liberal MP said yesterday. Claims for $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit cheques were six times the number of Covid jobless: “That is an incredible percentage of the population.”

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Singaporeans To Control Port

The Republic of Singapore stands to gain a virtual monopoly over container handling at Canada’s fourth largest port. The buyout at the Port of Halifax is detailed in Federal Court records: “The proposed transaction is likely to result in the removal of a significant competitor.”

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Worries Over Mortgage Debt

A federal bank regulator warns of far-reaching consequences of any significant decline in housing prices. Mortgage debts are equivalent to 85 percent of Canada’s entire economy, said the Superintendent of Financial Institutions: “This means any significant fall in housing prices could have let to material credit losses for lenders.”

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Warnings On Cost of Living

The rising cost of living will be more persistent and long-lasting than officialdom admits, says a former chief economic analyst with Statistics Canada. “Containing inflation may not be a simple or short process,” wrote Philip Cross, senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa think tank: “Economists did not foresee the surge in prices.”

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Museums Against The Wall

Pandemic lockdowns may spell ruin for many Canadian museums, says a Department of Canadian Heritage report. Cabinet on Friday proposed millions in bailouts for federal exhibitions while warning local operators will take years to recover: “The sector was fragile before the pandemic.”

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A Poem: “Jack Of All Trades”

 

A man

is stopped by the police for

speeding and watching a

movie.

 

He is charged with distracted driving;

licence and vehicle seized.

 

This proves that men can

multitask.

 

If it weren’t for the

law.

 

(Editor’s note: poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, writes for Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday)

Review: The WWI Camps

Otto Boyko of Edmonton recalls the day he enlisted in the army during the Korean War, and went home to tell Mother he’d take basic training at Camp Petawawa, Ont. “Oh, that’s where your dad was held in the internment camp,” she said.

Another oldtimer, Andrew Antoniuk, remembered when his father bought his first car in 1937, he insisted on taking the family to see a clearing in the bush near Jasper, Alta. “He showed us the area where his eldest brother said he had worked clearing the forest in an internment camp,” said Antoniuk: “It didn’t mean that much, but now as I am reviewing the history, I see the place again and I think about it. Oh, my God.”

The Stories Were Not Told documents the First War internment of 8,579 people, most of them Ukrainians. Yes, detainees included women and children. Yes, men were shot trying to escape. Author Sandra Semchuk describes her work as an attempt at “gathering clues that have been emptied of meaning and forgotten”.

“While doing my research for this book, I found communities who did not want to speak about the internment at all,” writes Semchuk. “One man who refused to speak said, ‘Oh, I know what you are going to do.’”

Immigrants were forced from their homes as enemy aliens by a cabinet order signed October 28, 1914. Some 88,000 were initially required to carry ID cards and report monthly to police. One in 10 were then forced into labour camps. Two facts remain: Ukrainians’ detention served no military purpose whatsoever – the camps operated till 1920, long after the Armistice – and were not controversial at the time.

Semchuk notes Ukrainians were almost a sub-class of Canadian society, considered sturdy and dull-witted. Official documents likened them to livestock. One correspondent wrote then-Interior Minister Arthur Meighen in 1919 that Ukrainians could be “controlled as a lot of sheep”.

The Stories Were Not Told is a stark narrative. It is also beautiful. Semchuk is a skilled photographer whose works have appeared in the National Gallery. Readers are riveted by rare historic images of the camps, and before-and-after photographs that document the precise locations where detainees were held. “Barbed wire emerged from the core of a spruce tree at Castle Mountain and bound a cedar tree at Revelstoke, giving evidence to fact in time,” she writes.

Concealment of the WWI camps is no accident, Semchuk concludes. Cabinet in 1954 authorized the destruction of records from the Custodian of Enemy Property, and internees suppressed memories. “It was almost as if it was all a bad dream, a nightmare that would best be forgotten, certainly not something other Canadians would want to talk about with us, the victims,” Semchuk quotes one ex-child internee. “I can never forget what was done to my family and me.”

By Holly Doan

The Stories Were Not Told: Canada’s First World War Internment Camps, by Sandra Semchuk; University of Alberta Press; 352 pages; ISBN 9781-7721-23784; $34.99

Billed Thousands Before Oath

A new Liberal senator billed thousands for flights, meals and other costs charged as Senate business while Parliament was in recess, records show. Authorities yesterday defended expenses billed by David Arnot of Saskatoon when the Senate was adjourned and he had not yet taken the oath of office: “He was eligible.”

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Worst Climate Record In G7

Canada has the worst climate record in the G7, the  federal Environment Commissioner said yesterday. “Canada was once a leader in the fight against climate change,” said Commissioner Jerry DeMarco. “However after a series of missed opportunities it has become the worst performer of all G7 nations.”

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Seeks Repeal Of 1867 Law

Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson yesterday introduced a bill to repeal one of the few Confederation-era laws still on the books. Patterson described as “antiquated and elitist” a requirement that senators be landowners with at least $4,000 in paid-up equity: “Canadians should not be excluded from participating in the parliamentary process simply because they rent.”

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