Pope holds Edmonton mass, Hockey Canada allegations : In The Information for July 26

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of July 26 …

What we are watching in Canada…

Tens of thousands of people are expected to fill Edmonton’s football stadium today to take part in a public mass with Pope Francis.

The pontiff is set to address Indigenous groups, residential and day school survivors, elders, knowledge keepers and Catholics during the roughly hour-long mass at Commonwealth Stadium.

Organizers say the event is taking place on the feast day of St. Anne who was the grandmother of Jesus and is a day of particular reverence for Indigenous Catholics.

Later in the day the pontiff is expected to travel to Lac Ste. Anne, northwest of Edmonton, to take part in the community’s annual pilgrimage, which regularly welcomes tens of thousands of indigenous participants.

The Pope’s second full day of events comes a day after he apologized to residential school survivors and their families for the role the Roman Catholic Church played in the cultural destruction and forced assimilation of Indigenous Peoples.

During an event in the community of Maskwacis, south of Edmonton, Francis begged forgiveness for the evil acts committed by members of the Catholic Church.

“In the face of this deplorable evil, the church kneels before God and implores his forgiveness for the sins of her children … I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous Peoples,” Francis said Monday through a translator at the community’s powwow grounds.

The pontiff said begging forgiveness is the first step and there must be a serious investigation into what took place. He also called the overall effects of the policies linked to residential schools “catastrophic.”

So this…

Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge is expected to appear before the House of Commons heritage committee today as the investigation into how Hockey Canada handled allegations of sexual assault continues.

Hockey Canada has been under fire since news broke in May that members of the 20-18 world junior team were accused of a group sexual assault after a gala event in London, Ontario.

Police did not press charges, but the woman at the center of the allegations south Hockey Canada, the CHL and the players this spring.

Hockey Canada settled the case for an undisclosed amount and the committee is now probing how it dealt with the allegations and the lawsuit.

MPs will also hear today from a partner at the law firm that conducted Hockey Canada’s investigation into the 20-18 allegations, and from officials at the sport’s national governing body on Wednesday.

Last week, news broke that players from the 2003 world junior team allegedly committed a group sexual assault during the tournament in Halifax.

Halifax police are investigating and none of the allegations have been proven in court.

What we are watching in the US…

WASHINGTON _ Former President Donald Trump will return to Washington on Tuesday for the first time since leaving office, delivering a policy speech before an allied think tank that has been crafting an agenda for a possible second term.

Trump will address the America First Policy Institute’s two-day America First Agenda Summit as some advisers urge him to spend more time talking about his vision for the future and less time relitigating the 2020 election as he prepares to announce an expected 2024 White House campaign.

“I believe it will be a very policy-focused, forward-leaning speech, very much like a State of the Union 5.0,” said Brooke Rollins, AFPI’s president. Composed of former Trump administration officials and allies, the non-profit is Widely seen as an “administration in waiting” that could quickly move to the West Wing if Trump were to run again and win.

Trump’s appearance in Washington _ his first trip back since Jan. 20, 2021, when President Joe Biden was sworn into office _ comes as his potential 2024 rivals have been taking increasingly overt steps to challenge his status as the party’s standard-bearer. They include former Vice President Mike Pence, who has been touting his own “Freedom Agenda” in speeches that serve as an implicit contrast with Trump.

“Some people may choose to focus on the past, but I believe conservatives must focus on the future. If we do, we won’t just win the next election, we will change the course of American history for generations,” Pence had Pence’s appearance was postponed because of bad weather, but he will be delivering his own speech Tuesday morning before the Young America’s Foundation not far from the AFPI meeting.

Trump has spent much of his time since leaving office fixed on the 2020 election and spreading lies about his loss to sow doubt about Biden’s victory. Indeed, even as the Jan. 6 committee was laying bare his desperate and potentially illegal attempts to remain in power and his refusal to call off a violent mob of his supporters as they tried to halt the peaceful transition of power, Trump continued to try to pressure officials to overturn Biden’s win, despite there being no legal means to decertify the past election.

On Tuesday, he plans to focus on public safety.

“President Trump sees a nation in decline that is driven, in part, by rising crime and communities becoming less safe under Democrat policies,” said his spokesman, Taylor Budowich. “His remarks will highlight the policy failures of Democrats, while laying out an America First vision for public safety that will surely be a defining issue during the midterms and beyond.”

What we are watching in the rest of the world…

KHIMKI, Russia _ American basketball star Brittney Griner returns Tuesday to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison if convicted.

The trial of the two-time Olympic gold medalist and Phoenix Mercury standout began July 1 but only four sessions have been held, some of them lasting only a few hours. In one of them she acknowledged that she was carrying vape canisters containing cannabis oil when she was arrested at a Moscow airport in mid-February, but said she had no criminal intent.

The slow-moving trial and her five months of detention have raised strong criticism among teammates and supporters in the United States, which has formally declared her to be “wrongfully detained,” a designation sharply rejected by Russian officials.

Griner was arrested amid high US-Moscow tensions ahead of Russia sending troops into Ukraine later that month. Some supporters contend she is being held in Russia as a pawn, possibly for a prisoner swap. American soccer notable Megan Rapinoe said last week “she’s being held as a political prisoner, obviously.”

However, even after the conflict broke out, Washington and Moscow brokered a prisoner trade in April when American Trevor Reed, imprisoned on a conviction of assaulting a police officer, was released in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian convicted in the US of drug smuggling .

The Russian Foreign Ministry last week lashed out at the US contention that Griner is being wrongfully detained and said Russian laws should be respected.

“If a US citizen was taken in connection with the fact that she was smuggling drugs, and she does not deny this, then this should be commensurate with our Russian local laws, and not with those adopted in San Francisco, New York and Washington, ” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “If drugs are legalized in the United States, in a number of states, and this is done for a long time and now the whole country will become drug-addicted, this does not mean that all other countries are following the same path,” she added.

Russian media have speculated that Griner could be exchanged for prominent Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, who is imprisoned in the United States, and that Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage, may also figure in an exchange.

On this day in 1958…

Prince Charles was proclaimed Prince of Wales by Queen Elizabeth.

In entertainment…

LOS ANGELES _ TBS is canceling “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” after seven seasons, removing a rare female voice from late-night TV, the channel said Monday.

In a statement announcing the cancellation, TBS said it has made “some difficult, business-based decisions” as part of its new programming strategy

TBS was part of WarnerMedia, which merged with Discovery Inc. last April to become the new Warner Bros. Discovery company.

Previously, TBS said it would not carry the second season of Nasim Pedrad’s sitcom “Chad” and was seeking a new home for it.

TBS praised Bee and other makers of “Full Frontal” for “groundbreaking work” and said it will explore ways in the future to collaborate with the cast and crew.

Representatives for the Toronto-born Bee, who was a producer as well as the host of “Full Frontal,” did not immediately respond to an emailed message seeking comment.

Bee and relative newcomers NBC’s Amber Ruffin and Showtime’s Ziwe have been among the few women to gain a weekly foothold in the realm long dominated by male hosts.

Did you see this?

OTTAWA _ Former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper has endorsed Pierre Poilievre to be the party’s next leader.

In a rare public return to party politics, Harper, who didn’t wade into the Tories’ 2017 and 2020 leadership races, released a short video on Twitter on Monday discussing his endorsement.

Harper says the contest to lead the party is filled with candidates, but one stands out.

The former prime minister says Poilievre served a strong minister under him when the Conservatives were last in power, before being defeated by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2015.

“In the past several years he’s been our party’s most vocal and effective critic of the Trudeau Liberals,” said Harper, who pointed to Poilievre’s championing of economic issues like inflation and debt. “He’s proposing answers rooted in sound Conservative ideas, but ones adapted for today’s realities.”

Harper’s endorsement comes with less than two months left in the race, and as party members are in the process of filling out their mail-in ballots.

The race to lead Harper’s former party has been characterized as a battle for its very soul and at times included some personal attacks between candidates.

Poilievre has been criticized by ex-Quebec premier Jean Charest, who is also a candidate in the leadership race, and others for having ideas and a tone that would make the Conservatives unable to win the next general election after three consecutive losses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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