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Newsletter. Issue 2008-13. June 21, 2008

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49th International Eucharistic Congress - 2008

June 15th –22nd Quebec City, Canada

Rich and colorful opening ceremonies
It was an emotional moment for Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec City and host of the Congress, as he welcomed pilgrims from around the world as well as representatives from civil society. After speeches from the assembled dignitaries, in a message from the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, papal legate Josef Cardinal Tomko declared the 49 International Eucharistic Congress open.
Click for information -


Quebec needs Catholic values, says Cardinal Marc Ouellet
Church is open to 'moving forward'
Catholic News Service Toronto

Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who last year sparked controversy with his remarks about religion in Quebec society, said Catholics "need some more militance" to reaffirm "the values of our Catholic tradition in Quebec." The cardinal told Catholic media professionals at the Catholic Media Convention in Toronto May 30 that after 40 years of secularization in Quebec "the moment has come" for a new way of looking at the Church's historical role in society.

"There is a fear that the influence of the Church will return," he said during a question-and-answer session after he spoke about the media's role in the Church's evangelization efforts.

Christian roots
Answering a question about his October testimony to a provincial government-appointed commission looking at accommodating immigrants and their religious practices, the cardinal said he asked to address the commission.

"It was an opportunity to reaffirm the Christian roots" of Quebec, he said.

Ouellet told the commission: "The real problem is not that of the integration of immigrants.....

"The real problem in Quebec is the spiritual void created by a religious and cultural rupture, a significant loss of memory, bringing in its wake a family crisis and an education crisis, leaving citizens disoriented, demotivated, destabilized and prone to grasping at passing and superficial values." His written and oral testimony and a subsequent open letter of apology for the historical wrongs of the Church in Quebec created a media storm, but Ouellet said he saw them as a sign that the Church was "open to go forward," to turn the page and move on.
Signs of hope The cardinal told the media convention the Church's new evangelization begins with little steps, and he said Catholics should not succumb to "the temptation of immediately finding the great success."

He cited the small signs of evangelization he sees in Quebec:

  • A renewal of lay movements, especially for young people.

  • A strong catechetical movement to help replace religious education classes removed from public schools.

  • The "social testimony" of Development and Peace, which is based in Montreal.

  • "The help of immigrants" who are leading Catholics to rediscover the joys of pilgrimage to Quebec's many shrines.

  • The strong youth movement resulting from the 2002 World Youth Day being held in Canada. A core of young people is helping to organize the International Eucharistic Congress that begins in Quebec City June 15, he said.

Ouellet spoke briefly about the congress, calling it "a countersign to a culture that lives on fast food and quick fixes."


Apology to Former Students of Indian Residential Schools
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I stand before you today to offer an apology to former students of Indian residential schools. The treatment of children in these schools is a sad chapter in our history. For more than a century, Indian residential schools separated over 150,000 aboriginal children from their families and communities. In the 1870s, the federal government, partly in order to meet its obligations to educate aboriginal children, began to play a role in the development and administration of these schools. Two primary objectives of the residential school system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture.

These objectives were based on the assumption that aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as was infamously said, “to kill the Indian in the child”.

Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country. One hundred and thirty-two federally-supported schools were located in every province and territory, except Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Most schools were operated as joint ventures with Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian and United churches. The Government of Canada built an educational system in which very young children were often forcibly removed from their homes and often taken far from their communities.

Many were inadequately fed, clothed and housed. All were deprived of the care and nurturing of their parents, grandparents and communities. First nations, Inuit and Métis languages and cultural practices were prohibited in these schools. Tragically, some of these children died while attending residential schools, and others never returned home. The government now recognizes that the consequences of the Indian residential schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on aboriginal culture, heritage and language.

While some former students have spoken positively about their experiences at residential schools, these stories are far overshadowed by tragic accounts of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect of helpless children, and their separation from powerless families and communities. The legacy of Indian residential schools has contributed to social problems that continue to exist in many communities today. It has taken extraordinary courage for the thousands of survivors who have come forward to speak publicly about the abuse they suffered. It is a testament to their resilience as individuals and to the strengths of their cultures.

Regrettably, many former students are not with us today and died never having received a full apology from the Government of Canada. The government recognizes that the absence of an apology has been an impediment to healing and reconciliation. Therefore, on behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I stand before you, in this chamber so central to our life as a country, to apologize to aboriginal peoples for Canada’s role in the Indian residential schools system.

To the approximately 80,000 living former students and all family members and communities, the Government of Canada now recognizes that it was wrong to forcibly remove children from their homes, and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that it was wrong to separate children from rich and vibrant cultures and traditions, that it created a void in many lives and communities, and we apologize for having done this.

We now recognize that in separating children from their families, we undermined the ability of many to adequately parent their own children and sowed the seeds for generations to follow, and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that far too often these institutions gave rise to abuse or neglect and were inadequately controlled, and we apologize for failing to protect you. Not only did you suffer these abuses as children, but as you became parents, you were powerless to protect your own children from suffering the same experience, and for this we are sorry. The burden of this experience has been on your shoulders for far too long. The burden is properly ours as a government, and as a country. There is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian residential schools system to ever again prevail.

You have been working on recovering from this experience for a long time, and in a very real sense we are now joining you on this journey. The Government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks the forgiveness of the aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly.

We are sorry.

In moving toward healing, reconciliation and resolution of the sad legacy of Indian residential schools, the implementation of the Indian residential schools settlement agreement began on September 19, 2007. Years of work by survivors, communities and aboriginal organizations culminated in an agreement that gives us a new beginning and an opportunity to move forward together in partnership.

A cornerstone of the settlement agreement is the Indian residential schools truth and reconciliation commission. This commission represents a unique opportunity to educate all Canadians on the Indian residential schools system. It will be a positive step in forging a new relationship between aboriginal peoples and other Canadians, a relationship based on the knowledge of our shared history, a respect for each other and a desire to move forward with a renewed understanding that strong families, strong communities and vibrant cultures and traditions will contribute to a stronger Canada for all of us.

God bless all of you. God bless our land.


Ontario is introducing new legislation that would ease the way for internationally trained health care providers to practice in the province.
June 16, 2008

The legislation – Increasing Access to Qualified Health Professionals for Ontarians Act – will, if passed, change the mandate of all regulatory colleges to acknowledge that access to health care is a matter of public interest. Ontario has 23 regulated health professions.

This legislation is one part of a bigger plan to remove barriers for internationally trained doctors. Over the summer, the McGuinty government will also be working closely with The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario on regulation changes that would ease the transition to practice for foreign-trained doctors. The plan, based on the Report on Removing Barriers for International Medical Doctors by Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Laurel Broten, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, details five major recommendations on how to further increase the number of international medical doctors in Ontario.

This legislation is part of the government’s strategy to meet the needs of unattached patients, reduce wait times and provide older Ontarians with care closer to home.


“Ontario is a leader in Canada in providing opportunities for internationally trained doctors to practice medicine,” said George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “Through this new legislation and Laurel Broten’s plan, Ontarians’ access to a family doctor would improve as barriers for qualified internationally trained doctors are removed, allowing them to practise medicine sooner.”


  • More than 5,000 internationally trained doctors are practicing in Ontario, representing almost a quarter of the physician workforce

  • About 630 IMGs are currently in residency training

  • For the fourth straight year, more certificates were issued to IMGs than to Ontario graduates by The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO)

  • CPSO also reports the number of full practice certificates issued to IMGs this year was the highest in 20 years, marking the seventh straight year of an increasing number of certificates for internationally trained doctors.
    Find out how internationally-trained doctors can qualify for professional practice in Ontario.


Africans Call for Free and Fair Elections in Zimbabwe

Prominent African civil society leaders have united to call for an end to violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe ahead of the elections on June 27 2008. In this open letter, former heads of state, business leaders, academics and leading campaigners call for the presidential election to be conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner that allows the citizens of Zimbabwe to express freely their will. This is crucial for the interests of Zimbabwe, and for Africa as a whole. We invite you as individuals, and as representatives of civil society organisations to join our call by adding your signature to the letter. Go to to add your signature. Let your voice be heard. Thank you for your support.


High Food Prices Here For Another Five Years
Miriam Mannak

CAPE TOWN, Jun 12 (IPS) - Hundred million people worldwide -- mostly from developing countries -- may sink deeper into poverty when food prices continue to rise, the World Bank predicts.

‘‘The majority of those affected are living above the poverty line of one dollar a day. They will find themselves below this mark. That is worrisome,’’ said Danny Leipziger, the World Bank’s vice president for poverty reduction and economic management, at the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE). The meeting, themed ‘‘People, Politics, and Globalisation’’, took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from June 9-11. It was organised by the World Bank and the South African government’s treasury department.

Leipziger’s prediction comes in spite of the optimistic findings of the World Bank’s Global Development Finance report that economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is due to increase further this year. One of the findings of the report, launched at the ABCDE conference, is that while global economic growth will slow down from 3.7 percent in 2007 to 2.7 percent this year, various developing regions will see their economies grow.

Sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, is expected to increase economic growth with an average of 6.5 percent by the end of 2008 -- the highest growth rate the region has experienced in 38 years. Leipziger explained that the ‘‘figures in the report apply to the macro economy. Problems such as rising food prices hardly have an impact on a macro-economic level but are visible and noticeable at household level’’. The food prices will not continue to rise forever, said Leipziger: ‘‘They will drop eventually. According to our estimates it will take four to five years before the situation stabilises. However, that does not mean that the food prices will drop back to the level where they were a few years ago.’’

The drivers behind the surging food prices are numerous. What makes it difficult to find a solution to the problem is the fact that many of these drivers are interlinked, according to Professor Sheryl Hendriks, director of the African Centre for Food Security at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa.

‘‘The ever-increasing oil prices form part of the causes. When fuel goes up, food prices increase too,’’ she said. Another cause can be found on the supply side which does not meet the growing demand for food. The cultivation of crops for biofuel is one of the culprits.

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