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Canada pledges to review border policy regarding Indigenous nations





The federal government is pledging a review of border laws and their effect on Indigenous rights. 

One Liberal MP involved is calling the U.S./Canada border an “onerous imposition” and “undue burden” on Indigenous nations whose territory extends into both Canada and the U.S.

Marc Miller, parliamentary secretary for Crown-Indigenous Relations, says he believes the border has had the effect of “impeding on cultural and traditional activities, which include hunting, cultural exchanges and simple mobility.” 

He says the government is open to considering changes. 

“First Nations have — through no fault of their own — found their historic location divided by the Canada/U.S. border have faced significant challenges,” Miller said. 

Miller is the MP for Ville-Marie–Le Sud-Ouest–​Île-des-Soeurs in Quebec. The border crossing in nearby Cornwall, Ont., has now added signs in the Mohawk language

Canada Border Services Agency has trilingual signage at the border crossing in Cornwall, Ont. to include Mohawk. (Canada Border Services Agency)

Some animal parts, firearms forbidden under current rules

Current laws prevent cross-border hunting and the carrying of certain animal parts across the border, which has been a source of frustration in Yukon.

Miller acknowledged there is a safety risk to allowing weapons but says “we’re open to further discussion with communities” as the federal government considers change.

“There is an undertaking from this government to be more sensitive,” he said.

“There are certain things that can be addressed in a more sensitive fashion as opposed to imposing the hard letter of the law. If border services agencies are able to ascertain people without putting the gears on them, that is a significant step in the life of someone who regularly crosses the border.”

A written response from Crown-Indigenous Relations says the government is “recognizing that the border can present challenges to mobility, traditional practices, economic opportunities, as well as to family and cultural ties to Native American communities in the United States.” 

However laws haven’t yet changed. 

“The new measures do not change current laws around the cross-border movement of food, firearms, animal parts and other goods. These measures are intended to set a tone and clear direction for greater awareness and understanding of Indigenous issues at the border,” reads the response. 

Change on status cards will mean faster processing at border

The federal government is already pledging to speed up the process of people using Secure Certificate of Indian Status Cards to cross the border by making the cards machine-readable. 

The government is also pledging “cultural training” and says it will recruit more Indigenous people to work with border services.

Millar says there is no date yet for consultations. He says consultations will mark a “first step” on a complex process. 

“These aren’t for tomorrow,” Miller said. “It is a longer process if you need to change the law.”



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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa





With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV





A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence





Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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