Ottawa appeals and Grey Cup glory; In-The-News for Nov. 25

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 Nov. 25.

What we are watching in Canada ...

OTTAWA — Lawyers will be in court today to argue the federal government's appeal of a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that ordered Ottawa to pay billions of dollars in compensation to First Nations children and their families.

In September, the tribunal ordered the federal government to pay $40,000 for every First Nations child who was inappropriately taken away from their parents after 2006. 

The Assembly of First Nations estimated that 54,000 children and their parents could be eligible for total compensation that could exceed $2 billion.

The ruling said the government "wilfully and recklessly" discriminated against Indigenous children living on-reserve by not properly funding child and family services.

The government has said it planned to appeal the damage award because the timing of the election campaign made it impossible to organize compensation by a Dec. 10 deadline.

Justice Department lawyers will ask the Federal Court for a stay of execution of the tribunal's order later this morning during the first of two days of hearings set aside for the case.

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Also this ...

CALGARY — Andrew Harris and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers earned some long-awaited Grey Cup redemption Sunday night.

Harris scored rushing and receiving TDs as Winnipeg stunned the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-12 before 35,439 spectators at McMahon Stadium for its first Grey Cup victory since 1990.

Harris put an exclamation mark on his stellar performance by becoming the first player ever to be named the game's top player and Canadian.

Harris, 32, of Winnipeg, is the first Canadian to capture Grey Cup MVP honours since legendary Ottawa quarterback Russ Jackson in 1969.

"That sounds good but the only trophy I want is the big silver one," said Harris, who upon signing with Winnipeg in 2016 made ending the city's Grey Cup drought his top priority. "It's surreal, it's amazing, it's a dream come true.

"I'm so proud to be a Winnipegger. I can't wait to get back and share this with all of them."

Added backup quarterback Chris Streveler: "The parade's going to be nuts."

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ICYMI (in case you missed it) ...

TORONTO — The goals are big for an all-transgender hockey team known as Team Trans.

For its Ottawa-based forward Kat Ferguson, that includes promoting education, awareness, and acceptance of transgender and gender non-conforming athletes in sport.

But mostly it's about providing a safe and fun atmosphere for players of all backgrounds to pursue their passion without fear of slurs, discrimination or violence.

Ferguson says Team Trans is believed to be the first ice hockey team comprised entirely of transgender men, transgender women and gender non-conforming athletes.

It's made up of a little over a dozen players from Canada and the United States.

They played their first game in Massachusetts and plan for others next year, including one in Toronto.

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

WASHINGTON — U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday fired the Navy's top official, ending a stunning clash between President Donald Trump and top military leadership over the fate of a SEAL accused of war crimes in Iraq.

Esper said he had lost confidence in Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and alleged that Spencer proposed a deal with the White House behind his back to resolve the SEAL's case.

Trump has championed the matter of Navy Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted of murder in the stabbing death of an Islamic State militant captive but convicted of posing with the corpse while in Iraq in 2017.

Spencer's firing was a dramatic turn in the fast-changing and politically charged controversy. 

It exposed fissures in Trump's relationship with the highest ranks of the U.S. military and raised questions about the appropriate role of a commander in chief in matters of military justice.

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

Newly revealed classified documents show that camps the Chinese government runs in the country's far west are not for voluntary job training, as Beijing says, but for forced ideological and behavioural re-education.

The documents lay out the government's deliberate strategy to lock up predominantly Muslim minorities to forcibly assimilate them and rewire their thinking.

They also show how Beijing is using a high-tech surveillance system to target people for detention, trying to predict who will commit a crime.

The documents were issued by a Communist Party body in charge of the security apparatus of China's Xinjiang region and were leaked to a consortium of journalists.

Experts say they are the most significant description yet of how the detention camps and mass surveillance work in the words of the Chinese government itself.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Nov. 25, 2019.

The Canadian Press