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In The News for May 24 : Trudeau heads to Winnipeg

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 May 24 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino (left) and Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair hold a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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 May 24 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to be in Winnipeg today.

Trudeau is set to meet with Indigenous high school students in the morning before making an announcement about protecting fresh water.

He is also scheduled to take part in a town hall in the evening.

The visit comes a day after a special rapporteur said a formal inquiry into foreign interference isn't needed.

Former governor general David Johnston says he plans to hold his own public hearings about the issue later this year.

Trudeau had asked Johnston in March to investigate the extent and impact of foreign interference in Canada, amid allegations China meddled in the last two federal elections.


Also this ...

A funeral is being held today for a mother and her child who were stabbed to death outside an Edmonton school.

Carolann Robillard, who was 35, and 11-year-old Sarah Miller, who had recently started using the first name Jayden, were killed in what police said was a random attack outside Crawford Plains School.

Officers shot the attacker moments after the stabbing on May 5.

The man died in hospital five days later.

Police have said the 33-year-old was the sole person responsible for the deaths.

They said the killer was known to police and had mental health issues and a record of assaulting children.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON _ Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and members of his antigovernment group will be the first Jan. 6 defendants sentenced for seditious conspiracy in a series of hearings beginning this week that will set the standard for more punishments of far-right extremists to follow.

Prosecutors will urge the judge on Thursday to put Rhodes behind bars for 25 years, which would be the harshest sentence by far handed down in the U.S. Capitol attack. Describing the Oath Keepers' actions as "terrorism,'' the Justice Department says stiff punishments are crucial to send a message to future possible instigators of political violence.

"The justice system's reaction to January 6 bears the weighty responsibility of impacting whether January 6 becomes an outlier or a watershed moment,'' prosecutors wrote in court papers this month. 

The hearings will begin Wednesday, when prosecutors and defense lawyers are expected to argue over legal issues concerning sentencing and begin hearing victim impact statements. Rhodes, from Granbury, Texas, and Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs _ who were convicted of seditious conspiracy in November _ will receive their sentences Thursday, and six more Oath Keepers will be sentenced later this week and next.

Rhodes and Meggs were the first people in nearly three decades to be found guilty at trial of seditious conspiracy for what prosecutors described as a plot to forcibly stop the transfer of power from then-president Donald Trump to U.S. President Joe Biden. Three co-defendants were acquitted of the sedition charge, but were convicted of obstructing Congress' certification of Biden's victory.

Another four Oath Keepers were convicted of the sedition charge in January during a second trial.

Prosecutors are seeking prison sentences ranging from 10 to 21 years for the Oath Keepers besides Rhodes. The judge canceled the sentencing scheduled this week for one defendant _ Thomas Caldwell of Berryville, Virginia _ as he weighs whether to overturn the jury's guilty verdict on two charges.

Prosecutors are urging the judge to apply enhanced penalties for terrorism, arguing the Oath Keepers sought to influence the government through "intimidation or coercion.'' Judges have so far rejected the Justice Department's request to apply the so-called "terrorism enhancement'' in the handful of Jan. 6 cases it has sought it in so far, but the Oath Keepers case is unlike any others that have reached sentencing to date.

More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes stemming from the riot. Just over 500 of them have been sentenced, with more than half receiving terms of imprisonment ranging from a week to over 14 years. The longest sentence so far came earlier this month for a man with a long criminal record who attacked police officers with pepper spray and a chair as he stormed the Capitol.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

BERLIN _ Authorities raided 15 properties across Germany on Wednesday and seized assets in an investigation into the financing of protests by the Last Generation climate activist group, prosecutors said.

Munich prosecutors said they were investigating seven people, ranging in age from 22 to 38, on suspicion of forming or supporting a criminal organization. They launched the inquiry following numerous criminal complaints they received since mid-2022.

Members of Last Generation have repeatedly blocked roads across Germany in an effort to pressure the government to take more drastic action against climate change.

In recent weeks, they have brought the traffic to a halt on an almost daily basis in Berlin, gluing themselves to busy intersections and highways. Over the past year, they have also targeted various art works and exhibits.

Their tactics have drawn sharp criticism. On Monday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he thought it was "completely nutty to somehow stick yourself to a painting or on the street.''

Prosecutors said the people under investigation are accused of organizing and promoting a campaign to "finance further criminal offenses'' by the group and collecting at least 1.4 million euros. Two of them also are suspected of trying to sabotage an oil pipeline that connects the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt with the Italian port of Trieste.

Wednesday's searches _ accompanied by orders to seize two bank accounts and other assets _ aimed to secure evidence on the membership structure of Last Generation and on its financing. There were no arrests.

Last Generation has acknowledged that its protests are provocative, but it argues that by stirring friction it can encourage debate within society about climate change.


On this day in 2000 ...

What was termed Canada's worst E-coli outbreak became public knowledge. Seven people died and 2,300 were sickened after drinking contaminated water in the southwestern Ontario community of Walkerton. A torrential downpour on May 12 had washed bacteria from cattle manure into a poorly planned and maintained town well. Residents began complaining of feeling ill on May 17, and the first death occurred five days later. A provincial inquiry blamed the chain of events on two town water officials, but also said spending cuts hurt the Ontario Environment Ministry's monitoring ability.


In entertainment ...

Toronto trivia titan Mattea Roach has made it to the final round of "Jeopardy Masters."

The Canadian writer and podcaster came in second and third in the two games on Tuesday's show, landing a spot in Wednesday night's final.

The tournament pit six recent super-champions against each other, including Roach, James Holzhauer and Amy Schneider.

Schneider was eliminated ahead of the semifinals, while Holzhauer is advancing to the final as well.

A different combination of competitors played two “high-stakes games” in each hour-long episode of the quarter- and semifinals. 

The three remaining champs will play each other twice in Wednesday night's final, which airs on CTV2.


Did you see this?

Daniel Brooks, a renowned Canadian theatre director who won a number of awards in a career that spanned over four decades, has died at 64.

A news release announcing his death says he died in Toronto on Monday after a long illness.

In his over 40-year career, Brooks was a director, writer, actor, producer and teacher, and frequently collaborated with other artists, including fellow Toronto natives Don McKellar and Tracy Wright, with whom he co-founded independent theatre troupe Augusta Company.

Brooks was nominated in 1992 for a Governor General's Literary Award in the drama category for "The Noam Chomsky Lectures," co-written with Canadian theatre artist Guillermo Verdecchia.

In 2001, Brooks was the winner of the inaugural Siminovitch Prize, which its website says recognizes artists who have made a significant creative contribution to theatre in Canada.

Brooks' family says a celebration of life will be held this summer.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2023

The Canadian Press