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Radio ad claiming to debunk ‘myths’ of residential schools draws criticism

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A radio ad about the « myths » of residential school trauma that aired recently in Saskatchewan has prompted angry reactions across the province and online. 

The two-minute piece, which aired across multiple private radio stations, was made by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP), a Winnipeg-based think tank. It begins with a question: « are Canadians being told the whole truth about residential schools?

« We have been told that the residential school system deserves the blame for many of the dysfunctions in Indigenous society — abuse of alcohol and drugs, domestic violence and educational failures can all be blamed on the school system which did not finally end until the 1990s, » veteran prairie broadcaster Roger Currie says in the ad.

An ad for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, claiming to debunk « myths » about residential schools, is being criticized online. 1:54

« Myth: residential schools robbed native kids of their childhood. In fact the average stay was less than five years and the vast majority of Aboriginal youth never attended a residential school, » the ad says.

« Myth: the harm that was done to those attending residential schools has been passed on to today’s generation. In fact there is little evidence that abuse that was suffered by a grandparent had any affect on the academic success of the generations that followed, » it continues.

It was also posted to the FCPP’s Soundcloud account, but was removed on Monday. 

The spot ran once according to a spokesperson at Manitoba-based Golden West Radio, which operates stations in Swift Current, Humboldt, Moose Jaw, Estevan, Weyburn and Rosetown/Kindersley. 

It was a commentary that airs in a paid spot on Fridays, the spokesperson said. 

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard from more than 6,000 witnesses over six years and its final report in 2015 found that residential schools amounted to cultural genocide. Around 150,000 Indigenous children went to residential schools and it’s estimated around 6,000 children died.

In 2008, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to former students saying it was a sad chapter in Canada’s history and the policy of assimilation was wrong.

Listened ‘in disbelief’

Tammy Robert, a media relations specialist and blogger based in Saskatoon, heard the commentary in a coffee shop. 

« [I] sat there and listened to the entire thing, kind of in disbelief, » said Robert.

Robert said she was stunned at the presentation of residential school-related trauma as myths, and the use of the word « fact. » She said wrote a blog post about it.

« I’m an advocate for free speech and opinion but you have to be grounded in fact, and at this stage there’s not a chance that those were facts. That’s what struck me the most, » she said. 

Tammy Robert, who writes the oursask.ca blog, heard the ad in a coffee shop. (CBC News)

Robert said she thought the piece was especially problematic as it was airing in rural Saskatchewan, an area she believes has « a racism issue. »

« We’ve seen it play out time and time again and most prominently with the Gerald Stanley trial which created even more rural tension and racial tension in Saskatchewan. I just don’t see the point of [the broadcast], » Robert said.

The FCPP said in a statement its radio commentaries are « designed to reach a wider non-traditional audience » and that they’re based on the items published by the centre.

It said Currie, the man who voiced the piece, had « no editorial control » over the piece and was « simply a paid professional. » The statement did not address concerns raised in reaction to the ad. 

‘So egregiously wrong’

James Daschuk, an associate professor at the University of Regina who studies the health of Indigenous Peoples, said he was surprised FCPP developed the commentary that « undermines their credibility. » 

« To my knowledge, [the FCPP is] a legitimate, right-wing think tank, » he said. 

« I honestly do not understand why they would devalue their own brand by coming out with an advertisement that’s so egregiously wrong. » 

He takes particular issue with the spot’s allusions to scientific studies. 

« I would love to see those studies, » Daschuk said. 

« There is so much overwhelming evidence, it’s undeniable. The producers of that segment were knowingly turning their backs on the facts. » 

‘Not who I am’

Currie, who voiced the spot said he was « regretful » for his role and that he « made a bad call. » 

« That’s not who I am, » Currie said.

« I regret doing it. I apologize for any hurt and offence… that my participation may have caused. These are not my thoughts, but that’s not a real, valid excuse. » 

He said he’d had a business relationship with FCPP for a number of years, voicing commentaries on business ideas he described as « banal. »

When presented with the script about residential schools, Currie said he was hesitant but, in the end, took the word of FCPP president Peter Holle that the script was based on accurate research. Admittedly, Currie said, he didn’t know if it was true or not. 

« What can you say? » Currie said. « I have not read the Truth and Reconciliation report. Very few people have. » 

Currie says he’s ended his relationship with the FCPP and won’t accept work from them again.

‘Harmful, negative impacts’

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde issued a statement citing « overwhelming research and evidence that shows the harmful, negative impacts of residential school on First Nation children, families and cultures. » 

« Trying to downplay the impacts of the residential schools on the thousands of children that attended, and their families, is wrong and it’s shameful, » he said. 

Ry Moran, director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg, said the ad’s perspective is not surprising.

« Canadians are hanging onto this narrative that the residential schools system was good with a few bad apples in it. That’s not the case, » he said. 

Ry Moran is the director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. (Waubgeshig Rice/CBC)

« It was an inherently assimilative system, designed with the intent policy of forcibly converting Indigenous Peoples into something that they were not. » 

Moran said that’s why there is a National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, « to preserve the record of what happened in these residential schools … to ensure that the truth is documented and that we have the evidence for when people actually make assertions. »

With files from Lenard Monkman, Stephanie Taylor and The Canadian Press

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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