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Day 3 of Pope visit includes public mass and visit to Alberta pilgrimage site

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EDMONTON — 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 an interpreter at the community’s powwow grounds.

For survivor Evelyn Korkmaz, the apology left her wanting more.

She said the Vatican needs to hand over the documents it has related to the identities of students who went to the institutions.

“It would give their families (and) loves ones closure. Everybody needs closure in order to heal and move on,” she said.

Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Chief Tony Alexis said the apology opened wounds that can’t just be left open.

“You can’t just say I’m sorry and walk away. There has to be effort. There has to be work, and more meaningful action behind it.”

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.”

Later in the week Francis is set to travel to Quebec City for meetings with Indigenous Peoples and to host another mass, and will also travel to Iqaluit.

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

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

 

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More evacuation orders in B.C. as heat wave aids lightning-triggered wildfires

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Several lightning-triggered wildfires have forced authorities in British Columbia to issue evacuation orders as the province’s southern and eastern regions swelter in a heat wave.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Island Pond fire about 17 kilometres south of Canal Flats, B.C., in the East Kootenay, was discovered Saturday and grew to 1.2 square kilometres overnight.

The Regional District of East Kootenay has declared a state of local emergency and issued an evacuation order for two addresses as a result, and has also warned another 65 properties to be prepared to leave on short notice.

Meanwhile, the Cariboo Regional District ordered residents on 29 parcels of land in the Kuyakuz Lake area covering 923 square kilometres to evacuate immediately, with five out-of-control wildfires burning nearby — four of which were confirmed to be lightning-caused.

The new evacuation orders come as the Shetland Creek fire about eight kilometres north of Spences Bridge, B.C., is holding at about 150 square kilometres in size.

The BC Wildfire Service dashboard says about 87 per cent of the more than 300 blazes burning in the province have been caused by lightning.

All evacuation orders and alerts linked to the Shetland Creek blaze in B.C.’s Thompson-Nicola region remain in place for communities such as Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Spences Bridge and the Ashcroft First Nation.

In the Central Kootenay, the community of Silverton, B.C., is on alert while 107 properties south of the village are under an evacuation order due to the nearby Aylwin Creek wildfire.

Aylwin Creek and nearby Komonko Creek remain at a combined size of 6.5 square kilometres, and Highway 6 south of Silverton remains closed due to wildfires burning nearby.

Environment Canada says the latest heat wave broke or matched the daily high-temperature records in 14 B.C. communities on Saturday, with Lytton reaching a high of 41.2 degrees — breaking a record of 40.6 degrees set in 1946.

Temperature records also fell in the B.C. communities of Cranbrook, Merritt, Princeton, Trail and Vernon, with all five communities reaching at least 36 degrees.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Why Ontario Premier Doug Ford is at war with the LCBO – BBC.com

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Why Ontario Premier Doug Ford is at war with the LCBO  BBC.com

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U.S. President Joe Biden steps aside as Democratic candidate, ending re-election bid

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WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden is removing his name as the Democratic candidate in the November election following weeks of mounting pressure over the 81-year-old’s mental acuity and ability to win the faceoff with Republican rival Donald Trump.

Biden says it has been his greatest honour to serve but he believes it is in the best interest of his party to stand down and focus solely on fulfilling his duties as president for the rest of his term.

Growing numbers of Democrats were urging Biden to drop out following a disastrous debate performance against Trump and multiple missteps on the world stage during the recent NATO leaders’ summit in Washington.

Biden told supporters Friday he was ready to get back on the road this week after recovering from COVID-19, which he contracted during a critical time for his campaign.

Biden criticized Trump’s acceptance speech at last week’s Republican National Convention, saying it presented a dark vision for the future, and indicated he would forge ahead with his own campaign.

But he issued a social media post on Sunday afternoon saying he would not be running, adding he will speak to the nation and provide more detail later this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

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