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Residential school survivor in Rome for summit on sex abuse plans to ask Pope for apology





A First Nation woman who attended one of Canada’s most notorious residential schools is in Rome this week in hopes of getting the chance to meet with Pope Francis and personally demand he apologize for the abuse suffered by Indigenous children in the church-run schools.

Pope Francis called for this week’s summit in Rome so the Catholic Church could grapple with the widespread sexual abuse in the priesthood that has been systemically covered up by church officials around the world.

Evelyn Korkmaz, 60, who attended St. Anne’s Indian Residential School, which was in Fort Albany, near Ontario’s James Bay Coast, will participate in the summit as a member of a global group called Ending Clergy Abuse.

She is one of eight members chosen to speak on behalf of the group during a planned news conference on Wednesday.

“I’m going to be representing the spirit of my ancestors that were abused,” said Korkmaz, who lives in Ottawa. “And all the Indigenous people of Canada that were done wrong. So, to me, it’s a big burden to carry this.”

Korkmaz, who left for Rome on Saturday, said she has been told that Pope Francis will meet with representatives from only two groups who have travelled for the summit, which runs from Thursday to Saturday.

If she is picked, Korkmaz said she knows exactly what she’ll say.

“I’m gonna say, ‘I want a few words with you. You’re not handling this epidemic of abuse properly. You need to take control. You need to take accountability.'”

Watch: Evelyn Korkmaz explains why she wants the Pope to apologize for abuse at residential schools in Canada.

A First Nation woman, who attended one of Canada’s most notorious residential schools, is heading to Rome this week in hopes of getting the chance to meet with Pope Francis and personally demand he apologize for the abuse suffered by Indigenous children in the Catholic Church-run institutions in Canada. 4:09

Korkmaz said she will also demand the Pope apologize for residential schools in Canada, as was called for by a motion passed in the House of Commons last spring.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which probed the dark, more than century-long history of the schools, also called for an apology.

“He needs to come to Canada and apologize to the Indigenous people of Canada,” Korkmaz said. 

But the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has said the Pope doesn’t have plans to apologize.

Korkmaz points out the Pope has already apologized to other countries, such as Ireland and Chile, for sex abuse inflicted by priests.

“So why not Canada?” she said. “These abuses have taken place as far back as the 1800s. We still feel the effects today.”

Pope Francis called for the summit to be held this week so the Catholic Church can grapple with the issue of sexual abuse. (Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press)

She attended St. Anne’s Indian Residential School from 1969 to 1972, which was run by the Oblates and Grey Nuns Catholic orders. The Ontario Provincial Police investigated hundreds of abuse allegations from survivors of St. Anne’s in the 1990s leading to five convictions, including against two nuns.

Korkmaz said she was gang-raped at age 10 by other students, who themselves were victims of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the priests, nuns and workers at the school.

She was treated for her injuries by the nuns, who also doubled as nurses, but nothing was done to deal with what happened and police were never called, she said.

Evelyn Korkmaz, when she was 11 years old and attending St. Anne’s Indian Residential School. (Evelyn Korkmaz)

Korkmaz was initially denied compensation for the abuse she suffered at St. Anne’s under the system created by the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, finalized in 2006, known as the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). She appealed the decision and was eventually granted compensation.

“There was a point when, before all this happened, that I used to dance, skip, play hopscotch, do all the things a child is supposed to do,” she said. “But they tore that away from me and I became an adult in less than 20 minutes.”

‘I will take it to my grave’

Korkmaz said even if she doesn’t personally meet with the Pope, the journey will have been worth it. She will get the chance in Rome to tell her truth on the international stage.

And it’s a truth she hopes will never repeat itself.

“We must stand up, and stand up for our children, for the future generations,” she said.

Because, as a survivor, Korkmaz knows the pain never goes away.

“I feel the effects on a daily basis,” she said. “You can’t bury it. I will take it to my grave.”


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‘Babies who volunteer’ bring new life to seniors with care-home visits





Seniors in several long-term care homes around Ottawa have been getting special visits over the last year from newborn babies.

Organized by non-profit group “Babies Who Volunteer,” the visits look to enrich the lives of seniors with hour-long sessions of cuddling and play.

“Oh, I love it,” 85-year-old Jinny Maclean told CTV News. “We have lots of good things that happen here, but to me, this is the best.”

An Ottawa senior plays with a volunteer baby during a ‘Babies who volunteer’ visit.

The program was born last year, when Jessica Turner took her newborn daughter along to visit a friend’s parent, who had Alzheimer’s disease.

She put the newborn in the woman’s arm, who hadn’t spoken in years, and was surprised when she started singing to the child.

“Her daughter was amazed that she was hearing her mom speak again for the first time,” Turner said.

The organization visits dozens of long-term care facilities across Ottawa and Kingston, with 1,100 parents volunteering their children.

They hope that in time, they can expand to include school-aged children in the program.

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Cross: Vegans, please leave your meat obsession at the door





For those whose meatless Mondays have become fleshless forevers, deliverance is at hand. The veggie burger is here. Recent commercials by A&W tout the company’s Beyond Meat Burger and its Beyond Meat Sausage and Egger breakfast sandwich. Actors wax ecstatic over the product, exclaiming it “tastes exactly like meat.”

That meat memory is a big positive, apparently. So why not eat the real thing? Forget the foodie flim-flam.

If you believe eating meat is cruel, stresses the environment or contributes to chronic ailments, then why sculpt faux burgers, ribs, roasts and steaks out of veggies and grains to imitate the very animal flesh you profess to abhor? Seems counterintuitive to me.

As a species we evolved as omnivores, but I get it that you don’t eat meat. Go ahead, do you. What I don’t get is this obsession with creating stuff to look like meat. You gave it up, remember?

Sorting out the who’s who of anti-carnivores, there are vegetarians who choose vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts. Vegans, a higher order of vegetarian, do not eat any meat, or eggs, dairy or ingredients such as gelatin from animal collagen. There are pescatarians (from pesce, Italian for fish) who will eat fish, and ovo-lacto vegetarians who will consume eggs and milk products. Finally, there are flexitarians, who eat mostly plants and occasionally some meat or fish. Like when that meatatarian craving hits and you can’t face any more bluff beef or pretender pork.

In this file photo, customers stop to get a free vegetarian burger at a food truck in downtown Washington, DC. ERIC BARADAT / AFP/Getty Images

Canada’s re-vamped food guide recommends swapping out some meat, poultry and dairy for plant-based proteins. But the key is a balanced diet, not a meat boycott. European Union food regulations state, “labelling cannot be misleading as to a food’s primary composition” so the EU approved consumer labelling banning the use of meaty terms such as burger, escalope, hamburger, sausage and steak, in favour of “veggie disks” and “veggie tubes” to describe plant-based replicas. So, “vegan meat balls” is a no-no but “vegan balls” are fine. That wraps it up.

When we were kids, my cousins and I ate slices of fried bologna, which we jokingly called “tubular steak.” We all survived and are healthy. We now binge on SPAM, that spiced ham in a can with a key first conceived by Hormel Foods way back last century, followed by mouthfuls of Twinkies for dessert. Delish.

When we were kids, my cousins and I ate slices of fried bologna, which we jokingly called “tubular steak.” We all survived and are healthy.

All this substitution of fake flesh for the real thing has led to creative linguistics. A quick guide to speaking vegan includes “crumble” referring to a crunchy texture masquerading as bacon bits or ground beef. “Toona” is sham seafood from soy and veggie protein. A “flegg” is a non-egg made from flax meal and water. Soy or almond “milk” is a bogus bovine beverage of plant juice. Real milk comes from cows that eat plants. For Christmas, combine flegg with that beverage to make nutnog. It goes with that imposter gobbler called “Tofurky.” Should vegan bacon be called “vacon”? Or, is that just more phoney baloney? Is non-dairy cheese called “teese” or “sheese”? Whatever it is, it is not cheese. Sort of reminiscent of that venerable iridescent processed goop in a bottle called Cheez Whiz, isn’t it?

In the Ottawa area, the cleverly named Fauxmagerie Zengarry is up front about its products. It manufactures six flavours of all-natural artisanal cashew “cheese” or “fromage” at Alexandria in the Township of North Glengarry for those who “love cheese but not the dairy,” whether they are vegan or have milk allergies. It’s not real cheese and it doesn’t pretend to be. Hooray, honestly!

But by constructing copycat meat, vegetarians are secret meatarians. Just enjoy fruit and veggie fodder unaccompanied by reminders of past carnivore chow. Otherwise, cut the herbivore hype.

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Mapping the Glebe’s war dead — and turning it into music





An Ottawa military historian has mapped out all the people one local neighbourhood lost during the Second World War — and that map is being set to music this weekend at the Canadian Tulip Festival.

Dave O’Malley recently created a map of the soldiers, airmen and sailors from the Glebe who died during the the war.

He said he got the idea while working on a story about the Dambusters Raid — a legendary nighttime air mission in 1943 on German targets thought to be unassailable —  and realizing that one of the pilots who died on the mission was practically a neighbour.

“He lived on Powell Avenue, and I thought, he is just two blocks away from me,” O’Malley told CBC Radio’s All In A Day.

O’Malley said he started researching and found the pilot wasn’t alone. In fact, he uncovered hundreds of Glebe high hchool graduates who’d been killed in the war. And spotting the music on the map…. After a local historian pinned down the addresses of World War two soldiers who died in his neighbourhood, an Ottawa composer turned the map into music. 13:46

‘This happened all over Canada’

“I was blown away by how many airmen, soldiers and sailors were lost,” he said. “The very first service person of the Allies to die in the Second World War went to a Glebe high school.”

O’Malley used newspaper obituaries, church records and other documents to discover where all the soldiers had lived. At the time, obituaries would publish the names of the service member’s parents and their address.

In total, he tracked 472 men who lived in the Glebe and then died in the war.

O’Malley said it would have been the same story in any Canadian community at the time. 

“There is nothing special about the Glebe. This happened all over Canada,” he said.  

From left to right, Dave O’Malley, Gilles Maurice Leclerc and Julian Armour stand outside the CBC Ottawa studios. (Jessa Runciman/CBC)

Turning it into music 

Julian Armour, the executive director of this summer’s Music and Beyond festival, saw O’Malley’s map and his mind went to a different place.

He said seeing the dots laid out on the Glebe’s street grid made him think of music.

“You have lines on them and dots and that’s music,” he said. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is really powerful … we have to get some composers.'”

Armour had composer Gilles Maurice Leclerc take a crack at it, and he came up with a piece called Glebe North: Leaving Home.

“There were interesting melodic colours [in the map],” Leclerc said, noting that the way the dots stacked up on the lines of the map naturally led to certain harmonies.

He said composing the music made him think of the sacrifice those soldiers made.

“The memories of the soldiers leaving home — it is such a powerful image,” Leclerc said.

The piece debuted this weekend at the Canadian Tulip Festival in Commissioner’s Park. An interactive version of the map will also be on display.

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