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Pope Francis willing to reconcile with Canada’s Indigenous people, Vatican says

In line with one of the calls to action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Vatican is opening the door to apologizing to Canada’s Indigenous people for abuse at Catholic-run Indian residential schools. In a speech at a private gathering in Ottawa late last month, Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, the Papal Nuncio, assured guests that “Pope Francis is not against a gesture of reconciliation.” He went on to say that the Pope “is willing to seek together ways that can foster the desired process of healing and reconciliation with and among the Indigenous peoples in this country.” While the Anglican, Presbyterian, and United Churches – the other three denominations that ran residential schools – have all apologized, the Catholic Church has not.

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B.C. inks deals with 31 cannabis producers to supply legal marijuana and paraphernalia

The Liquor Distribution Branch – which will be the only legal wholesaler of cannabis in British Columbia – announced Wednesday that it has entered into memorandums of understanding with 31 licensed cannabis producers (for subscribers). The move will ensure that come legalization this October, the government-run legal cannabis stores can offer more than 150 strains, ranging in quality from cheap to high-end, along with a range of paraphernalia. LDB plans to sell products at prices that will compete with – and eventually stamp out – the illegal market. The branch also plans to apply for municipal approval of its first provincial marijuana store, in a Kamloops shopping centre.

Hydro One board, CEO step down amid pressure from Ford government

After extensive pressure from Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the entire board of the Ontario electricity transmission and distribution utility is resign ing. Its chief executive officer Mayo Schmidt is retiring immediately, with no severance pay. The new board will not be fully set until Aug. 15. Hydro One said in a news release issued the same day that it had agreed to “the orderly replacement of the board of directors” after discussions with the new government. Ford campaigned heavily on the promise to bring down high electricity rates in the province. However, in the past, Hydro One has objected to allegations that the company is responsible for increases in electricity prices, which are set by a public body, the Ontario Energy Board.

Venezuelan Canadians call out rising visitor-visa refusals

Venezuelan Canadians say family members attempting to visit Canada have experienced disproportionate refusal rates for visitor visas. The number of refused visitor-visa applications from the country has grown as the country’s political stability has worsened: The government refused 468 applications in March, 2018, for example, a drastic increase from its 216 refusals in November, 2016. The families of those refused call this intentionally discriminatory. Among them is Gabriela Prada, a Venezuelan Canadian living in Gatineau, whose mother and sister were refused visitor visas this year. “What they are saying is because you live in this place, we are rejecting you,” Prada said. However, the federal Immigration Department says there have been no visa-policy changes for Venezuelan nationals, and that applications from around the world are treated equally.

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