By Diane Crocker
SaltWire Journalist

Later this week we’ll celebrate Canada Day and this country’s 155th birthday.

This time last year as the country mourned the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children at former residential school sites there were some, as you’ll see in my first story this week, who felt it wasn’t right to celebrate a country where such a tragedy could occur.

I wonder, has that feeling changed or do people still think there isn’t anything to celebrate?

In Newfoundland and Labrador, July 1 is also designated as Memorial Day to honour the soldiers in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment who lost their lives during the First World War at Beaumont-Hamel in France on July 1, 1916.

At 9:15 a.m. on July 1, 2016, 758 soldiers and 23 officers began their advance on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Just a half hour later, 85 per cent of the force was either dead or wounded.

On July 2, 1916, just 68 men reported for roll call.

As you celebrate or reflect on our country’s history on Friday, take time to also remember the men who did not make that roll call.

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Mixed feelings about Canada Day celebrations in Newfoundland and Labrador

Jordan Stringer won’t be celebrating Canada Day this year.

“Right now, I don’t feel right about that. That feels wrong to me,” the Corner Brook man said on Monday.

The uneasy feeling he gets when thinking about celebrating comes from what’s been happening with the discovery of the unmarked graves of Indigenous children at former residential school sites across the country.

It started in Kamloops, B.C., where the unmarked graves of 215 children were found, and last week another 751 were discovered in Saskatchewan.

From the first discovery to the latest one, a call by the Idle No More movement to cancel Canada Day has been spreading throughout the country.

Stringer is not Indigenous and didn’t know anything about that call when he voiced his thoughts on social media on June 24.

“And that was just me speaking emotionally, from my gut," he said. "How can we celebrate? Our country is mourning. Many of us feel shame and guilt.”

Cracking down on use of fireworks: Corner Brook OKs use on Canada Day and New Year’s Eve, permits required rest of year

Fireworks have long been a bone of contention for many municipalities, and Corner Brook is no different.

And as Coun. Bill Griffin said during a recent city council meeting on June 20, there are two issues at play: in July, it’s a fire issue, and on New Year’s Eve, it’s a noise issue.

To find balance and satisfy those who love and those who abhor fireworks, council approved a fireworks bylaw during the meeting.

Under the new regulations, residents can set off fireworks on New Year’s Eve and Canada Day, or the day immediately preceding and/or following each of these days.

Fireworks are not permitted on any other day of the year unless a permit is acquired from the city. So, if you want to celebrate a wedding, a birthday or a high school graduation with fireworks, you’ll need a permit.

Corner Brook teen says he feared for his own life before allegedly stabbing a young man in Grenfell Campus residence

A Corner Brook teen is claiming he acted in self-defence when he stabbed another young man in a residence apartment at Grenfell Campus earlier this year.

The 16-year-old boy’s identity is protected under the Young Offenders Act and there is also a publication ban in place on identifying his alleged victim, who was 19 at the time of the incident.

The boy’s trial on four charges — aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and possession of a weapon, believed to be a knife, for a dangerous purpose — had been held on June 7-8 and set over to Friday, June 24, for summations.

The boy is represented by Courtney Mills, and she told the court that the evidence heard during the trial is enough to meet the requirements for his actions to be considered self-defence.

Judge Kymil Howe will render her decision in the case on July 28.

That's it for this week

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