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In the news today: Phone calls convince some holdouts to flee fire

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Emergency Preparedness Harjit Sajjan meet with West Kelowna Fire Rescue Chief Jason Brolund to go over wildfire mapping at the fire hall in West Kelowna, B.C., Friday, May 10, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Hemens

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...

Phone calls convince some holdouts to flee fire

The mayor of a northern British Columbia community that's been evacuated for days due to a wildfire about two kilometres away says a renewed push has been made to get holdouts to leave.

Forecasts called for winds late Monday into Tuesday to blow the Parker Lake wildfire toward Fort Nelson — a risk that has triggered the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and the Fort Nelson First Nation to expand mandatory evacuation orders.

Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Mayor Rob Fraser says the municipality's emergency operations centre called as many people as they could, and managed to convince some more people to leave.

Fraser says he suspects about 50 of what he calls "civilians" are still in Fort Nelson, a community of about 4,700 people, but he says there's plenty of other essential and critical staff still in town.

Here's what else we're watching...

Canada can opt out of China-U.S. row: Philippines

The Philippines' foreign minister says he wants closer business and military ties with Canada.

Enrique Manalo says the two countries can help maintain the post-war order in the Indo-Pacific by maintaining peaceful relations with both the U.S. and China.

This from Manalo comes after he visited Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa this month to mark 75 years of bilateral relations, meeting with federal ministers for trade, immigration, aid and diplomacy.

His goal is to keep up the momentum that followed the Liberals' release of their Indo-Pacific strategy in late 2022.

Manalo says the relationship between the Philippines and Canada has improved in recent years, even as ties between his nation and China are strained at present moment.

Hockey players' sex assault case back in court

The sexual assault case of five former members of Canada's world junior hockey team is due back in a London, Ont., court today.

Dillon Dube, Carter Hart, Michael McLeod, Cal Foote and Alex Formenton were charged with sexual assault earlier this year in connection with an alleged sexual assault at a London hotel in 2018.

McLeod is also facing an additional charge of sexual assault for "being a party to the offence." 

All five players plan to defend themselves against the allegations and have opted for a jury trial. A trial date has not yet been set.

London police initially closed the investigation in 2019 but reopened it three years later. 

'Wilfred Buck' film profiles Cree 'star guy'

When Wilfred Buck looks up at the sky, he sees Indigenous history and even his own story reflected back at him, as though it were all written in the stars.

Buck, the eponymous Cree elder at the centre of Lisa Jackson’s new documentary, is known as “the star guy.” He’s an astronomy expert and educator – with a jovial spirit and a rascally sense of humour – who has spent the last couple of decades gathering Indigenous knowledge that has been passed down orally across generations. He connects the dots – or rather the Cree, Anishinaabe and Lakota constellations – between modern science and ancestral tales, and teaches communities about these ties with help from an inflatable planetarium.

“It’s cosmology and world views,” the 69-year-old Buck says over the phone from Winnipeg, where he resides, summing up what he has to offer.

“Wilfred Buck” director Jackson, a Toronto-based Anishinaabe filmmaker who is as cheery and wide-eyed about physics and the cosmos in a recent interview, says she was introduced to Buck’s work at an Indigenous astronomy presentation in 2017.

The film’s narration starts with an excerpt from Buck’s book that Jackson describes as “beat poetry” to kick off her doc’s “rock’n’roll journey”: “I am of the fresh-out-of-the-bush, partly civilized, colonized, displaced, confused, angry people, trained and shamed by teachers, preachers, doctors, nurses, law enforcement officials, movies, radio, and television programs to be a pill-popping, hard drinking, self-loathing, easily impressed, angry, nonconformist, maladjusted, disaffected youth of the ‘dirty-Indian’ baby boomer generation.”

Jackson describes her film – a co-production between the National Film Board and Jackson’s Door Number Three Productions – as a story about resisting colonization. It just happens to have “bell bottoms in the bush,” she says.

This romance novel isn't about Galen Weston

You would be forgiven for thinking Christina Lauren's latest romance novel stars a hunky reimagining of Loblaw chairman Galen G. Weston. 

The hero of "The Paradise Problem" is, after all, described as an heir to Weston Foods, the "heartless corporation his family built from the ground up."

But Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the best-selling American writing duo behind the book and the combined pen name, say Liam (West) Weston is not an analog for Galen Jr., and any similarities really are coincidental. 

"We did not know that there was a grocery family," said Billings. "We had no idea. Somebody told us this two weeks ago and we were like, 'Oh God, I hope that's not weird.'" 

Though the Weston connection wasn't deliberate, the writers said, there are several intentional nods to Canada in the book for their friends and readers north of the border. The heroine is named Anna Green, as in "Anne of Green Gables," and there's a special edition of the book that features a bonus scene in which West and Anna travel to Canada to get married. (Not a spoiler, as all romance novels end happily.

And while the parallels between the real-life Weston and the fictional West are clear — and the timing fortuitous, given that the book comes out in the midst of a Loblaw boycott — the similarities do end at a certain point.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2024.

The Canadian Press