In the News

Jul 07, 2021

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s counterterrorism coordinator says his country has never faced terrorism challenge as tough as the homegrown variety. “This is the most dynamic, complex and rapidly evolving threat I think we’ve faced,” John Cohen told a virtual conference, explaining that it originates mainly from disaffected people radicalized by consuming inflammatory online misinformation.

Jul 07, 2021

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada suspects that the failure of a critical Bell Helicopter rotor pin caused the death June 28 of a B.C. pilot fighting forest fires in Alberta last week. In an emergency airworthiness directive, the board says failure of the component frees the rotor head and blades to separate from the aircraft.

Jul 07, 2021

Calgary-based TC Energy is trying to recoup more than $15 billion in damages from the U.S. over the administration’s cancellation of construction permits for the Keystone XL pipeline project. In a claim filed with the State Department, the company says the decision breached bilateral free trade rules.

Jul 07, 2021

Trying to deflect international condemnation of its own human rights record, China is urging the UN Human Rights Council to carry out a “thorough and impartial investigation” into Canada’s treatment of indigenous peoples after the remains of hundreds of children were found in former residential schools. “Simply apologizing is not enough,” Jiang Duan, China’s representative on the Geneva-based council, said July 6. “Canada must take actual actions to correct its mistakes,”

Jul 07, 2021

Haitian President Jovenel Moise was shot to death at home early today in an attack that also wounded his wife. “A group of unidentified individuals, some of them speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the president of the republic and thus fatally wounded the head of state,” Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a statement.

Jul 06, 2021

A decades-old and periodically revived proposal to upgrade passenger rail service between Toronto and Quebec City was brought back to life again July 5 by the federal government. Costing up to $12 billion and scheduled for completion by 2030, it would include some rights-of-way designated for passenger traffic rather than the current delay-plagued mix which gives goods traffic priority.

Jul 06, 2021

All 28 persons aboard an Antonov An-26 twin turboprop died in a crash in northeastern Russia today. It reportedly struck a cliff due to poor visibility en route to a village on the Kamchatka peninsula from the regional capital.

Jul 06, 2021

As various jurisdictions, including the U.S. and Britain, plan to ease mask and social distancing requirements even as the aggressive COVID-19 Delta variant spreads, the World Health Organization says local conditions must be considered. “That should only be done in the context of considering both the intensity of transmission in the area and the level of vaccine coverage,” says Dr. Mike Ryan, the Irish epidemiologist who heads the WHO Health Emergency Program.

Jul 06, 2021

Iceland says its experiment with a four-day week has been an “overwhelming success” as pay was not reduced, workers reported better work-life balance, and productivity was at least stable if not improved. Similar trials are under way in other countries, including Spain and New Zealand.

Jul 06, 2021

Sixteen members of three indigenous families have filed a constitutional challenge in B.C. Supreme Court over the federal government’s cancellation of their ancestors’ status in the 1800s. The government says the program was voluntary but the plaintiffs argue that their families, trying to keep children out of residential schools, were coerced.

Jul 06, 2021

Quebec Inuk Mary J. Simon was appointed today as Canada’s 30th Governor General. The former CBC North producer and announcer went on to become Canada’s first Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs in 1994 and was a lead negotiator for the creation of the Arctic Council. She also later served two years as ambassador to Denmark.

Jul 05, 2021

Effective today, Canadians and permanent residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer must quarantine for two weeks, and eligible air travellers are exempt from having to spend their first three days in Canada in a government-approved hotel. All must use the ArriveCAN app or web portal prior to departure to log COVID-19 vaccination details as well as the results of a negative test less than three days old. However, the Canada Border Services Agency says travellers ineligible to travel before today still would not be able to enter the country.

Jul 05, 2021

A fire which destroyed most of the southern B.C. town of Lytton last week, killing two residents, was probably human-caused and originated within the community. This is according to a B.C. Wildfire Service officer who stressed July 4 that the fire remains under investigation.

Jul 05, 2021

About 200 U.S. companies using the services of a Florida-based IT company, Kaseya, have been hit by a “colossal” ransomware attack. The cybersecurity company, Huntress Labs, says the July 2 hack by a suspected Russia group was spread through corporate networks which used Kasey’s software.

Jul 05, 2021

A former Toronto police officer has won a long fight with Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board over compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder accumulated during his 29-year career. Ralph Thistle, who was driven into poverty and homelessness since quitting the force in 2007, has received $630,000 from the Board, which waited more than nine months to settle after its own appeal tribunal approved his claim.

Jul 05, 2021

Facing widespread international condemnation of his country’s human rights record, Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed that any attempts by the West to interfere would mean “heads bashed bloody against a Great Wall of steel.” The Community Party leader also use the party’s centennnial celebrations last week to claim responsibility for the “great rejuvenation” of his country.

Jul 05, 2021

House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota, a Liberal MP, is facing a court challenge by the government over his approval of an Opposition motion demanding that the Public Health Agency of Canada hand over documents arising from the dismissal of two Chinese scientists at the country’s most secure virology laboratory. The government wants judicial confirmation that it has the legal authority to withhold the documents.

Jul 05, 2021

European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager expects a levy on hundreds of digital companies to offset some of the cost of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Commenting on an OECD agreement on a minimum 15 per cent tax, she said the European Union would follow suit but did not say at what rate.

Jul 05, 2021

As the World Health Organization plans the next phase of its investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are questions about the process. Some scientists, including within the UN agency, are pressing for an independent inquiry, saying that tensions between the U.S. and China undermine the WHO’s ability to find credible answers.

Jul 02, 2021

The Turkish government has officially withdrawn from an international treaty to prevent violence against women, a convention signed in Istanbul in 2011. President Tayyip Erdogan had announced the decision in March and this week a court rejected an appeal.

Jul 02, 2021

Ongoing protests across the country over the treatment of government-mandated but church-run residential schools for indigenous children saw two regal statues toppled in Winnipeg on Canada Day. One was a statue of Queen Victoria erected in 1904 in front of the Manitoba legislature, the other of Queen Elizabeth on the grounds of the Lieutenant Governor’s residence.

Jun 30, 2021

Two former allies of the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic were convicted June 29 of having aided and abetted crimes committed by Serb paramilitaries in a Bosnian town in 1992. Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic originally were acquitted in 2013 but that was overturned on appeal in 2015, setting the stage for retrial at the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague.

Jun 30, 2021

A Muslim former officer at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service says systemic racism and a lack of diversity constitute a national security threat at the agency. Huda Mukbil says she was treated as an internal threat and interrogated about her religion during her 15-year career as well as forced to cut ties with Muslim organizations.

Jun 30, 2021

The federal government’s omnibus budget implementation bill and a couple of key pieces of legislation were approved by the Senate only a few hours before adjourning June 29 for the summer. Other bills that cleared the Upper House included one to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century and another to amend the Broadcasting Act.

Jun 29, 2021

Persons who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are being advised by he World Health Organization to continue wearing face masks and follow social distancing measures as the highly infectious Delta variant spurs new outbreaks around the world.

Jun 29, 2021

The annual cost of dealing with natural disasters attributable to extreme weather now averages $1.9 billion or nearly five times as much as a decade ago, and Natural Resources Canada says current efforts to address the impact on infrastructure are “insufficient in the face of rapidly accumulating social and economic losses” and “the window to reduce increasingly severe impacts is rapidly closing.”

Jun 28, 2021

Catherine McKenna, first elected to the House of Commons in 2015 and now in her second cabinet post, has decided mainly for family reasons not to seek reelection in her Ottawa riding. She first held the Environment and Climate Change portfolio and was shuffled to Infrastructure. There is speculation that it could create an opportunity for former Finance Minister Mark Carney to return to Parliament.

Jun 28, 2021

A New Brunswick couple who “purposefully drove around the check stop” on the bridge to Prince Edward Island despite COVID-19 rules have been charged with various offences by PEI police. They were eventually found in Charlottetown where police say they were “uncooperative and would not identify themselves.”

Jun 25, 2021

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd, has been sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. Hours before the hearing, Judge Peter Cahill denied Chauvin's motion for a new trial, saying his attorney failed to prove either abuses from the court or prosecutorial or juror misconduct.

Jun 25, 2021

With U.S. plans to withdraw 4,000 troops from Afghanistan well on track, nearly 1,000 are expected to stay, mostly providing diplomatic security but also helping Turkish forces to protect Kabul Airport until its NATO ally sets up a formal security arrangement.

Jun 25, 2021

A European Council rejection of a French-German proposal for direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin has prompted the Kremlin to suggest that a “fragmented” European Union is problematic “fragmented.” A Kremlin spokeman said today that Putin generally is “interested in improving working relations” but that “the European position is fragmented, not always consistent and sometimes unclear.”

Jun 25, 2021

Sending a strong message that Canada will not tolerate hate-based violence, the Government of Canada has placed four new terrorist entities, which includes one individual, on the Criminal Code list.

Jun 25, 2021

A Canadian government report into the January 2020 downing of a Ukraine International Airlines flight minutes after it had taken off from Tehran International Airport faults Iranian authorities’ “recklessness, incompetence and wanton disregard for human life.” However, in the absence of full cooperation from Iran, the June 25 report does not say the missiles which shot down Flight PS791 were fired deliberately. Fifty-five 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and 53 others with links to Canada were aboard.

Jun 24, 2021

Contemplating the almost inevitability of future coronavirus or other pandemics, the Public Health Agency of Canada is reported to have reorganized and assembled a security and intelligence section mandated to provide more effective warnings about future outbreaks.

Jun 24, 2021

A draft report prepared for the UN concludes that climate change will fundamentally reshape life on Earth, presenting major societal and strategic challenges in the coming decades even if greenhouse gases are tamed. It warns about, among other things, ecosystem collapse, species extinction, more disease and severe coastal flooding before mid-century.

Jun 24, 2021

The suspected remains of 751 people, believed to be mainly indigenous children, have been found at the site of a former church-run residential school in Saskatchewan. Confirmed by an indigenous group June 23, the latest development adds to a growing national and international debate sparked by the earlier find of 215 children’s remains at a similar school in British Columbia.

Jun 24, 2021

Various countries have introduced prize-winning lotteries, Thailand a cow, Indonesia live chickens and Washington state a “joint for a jab”, but the Netherlands’ COVID-19 vaccination incentive is a taste of the country’s early herring harvest. The seasonal treat is usually auctioned off but now is offered to anyone lining up for due to constraints on public gatherings.

Jun 23, 2021

A provincial court judge in Sarnia, Ont., has sentenced a U.S. resident 75 days in jail for speeding across the border from Michigan and giving the finger to officers before an hours-long police pursuit in May. In sentencing Benjamin Fleece, the judge noted that he had already been sentenced in London to 30 days plus three years probation.

Jun 23, 2021

The House of Commons adjourned for a two-month summer recess today with party leaders trading shots which some see as a harbinger of a fall election. The adjournment followed approval of several key minority Liberal government bills which now go before the Senate. A fall election would come only halfway through the Liberals’ 2019 mandate but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the current parliamentary session has become toxically unproductive.

Jun 23, 2021

The government wants the Federal Court to prohibit disclosure of documents related to the dismissal of two researchers from the country’s Level 4 virology laboratory in Winnipeg. The Public Health Agency of Canada has refused to heed a Conservative demand for the documents, resulting in the agency’s president being formally censured by the House of Commons. In seeking the court’s cooperation, the government is challenging a long-held principle that the House has unfettered power to demand the documents regardless of security or privacy concerns.

Jun 23, 2021

The National Capital Commission reported today that the cost of restoring the Prime Minister’s official residence and five other culturally and historical properties would be $175 million over 10 years. The properties have deteriorated due to decades of underfunding by successive governments concerned about public perceptions. The estimate for the PM’s residence alone is $36.6 million.

Jun 23, 2021

Despite opposition by the government, a Federal Court judge gave a green light today to a class-action lawsuit which alleges that the RCMP in Northern Canada systematically brutalized indigenous peoples. Justice Glennys McVeigh explained that “the claims do not ask if an RCMP officer illegally assaulted a class member, but rather whether the operations of the RCMP create a system where illegal assaults happen.”

Jun 23, 2021

Members of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command will be conducting routine training in the vicinity of the Connaught Ranges, West of Ottawa, on 25 June 2021, between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

Jun 23, 2021

Thirty-three Internet domains linked to Iran’s state media have been “seized” by the U.S. Justice Department in what it said June 22 is an attempt counter Iranian propaganda and disinformation. Several domains already stated that their sites had been shut down in the U.S. but they remained operational in other countries.

Jun 23, 2021

The nearly five million Canadian children younger than 12 face a summer without at least one doze of COVID-19 vaccine, says an Ottawa-based lobby group. Health Canada recently approved one vaccine for older children but Children’s Healthcare Canada points out that “the pandemic is far from over for children.”

Jun 23, 2021

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced, effective 7 July 2021, that the Government is expanding mandatory firearms licence background checks to cover the lifetime of an applicant. The plan also reinstates the requirement to seek Authorization to Transport for restricted and prohibited firearms to most locations.

Jun 23, 2021

The RCMP is investigating possible “serious terrorism offences” by a Canadian citizen who became known as the “voice of ISIS” for narrating execution videos. An RCMP affidavit unsealed in court June 22 says it had reason to believe that Mohamed Khalifa from Toronto, in custody in Syria after being captured in 2019 by Kurdish forces, had committed four offences.

Jun 23, 2021

U.S. Army scientists working primarily on COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics are warning that that an even deadlier pandemic is a distinct possibility. “If we try to chase the viruses after they emerge, we’re always going to be behind,” says Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, head of the Walter Reed infectious diseases program. The approach being taken now involves nanoparticles through which ”we can place parts of different coronaviruses on to the same vaccine to educate the immune system about different coronaviruses all at the same time.”

Jun 23, 2021

Despite increased ransomware and other cyberattacks, U.S. companies evidently are reluctant to invest in appropriate protection until they are directly affected. Concerned about the potential for economic and strategic harm, the National Security Agency and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency say businesses need detailed resilience plans, including manual overrides when automated controls fail.

Jun 23, 2021

Efforts by the Canada Revenue Agency to counter tax evasion by the wealthy have resulted in no charges being laid. Responding to an opposition MP’s questions, the CRA says that more than 6,770 audits of wealthy Canadians over six years resulted in 44 criminal investigations but no charges were laid in the two cases sent for prosecution.

Jun 23, 2021

A Canadian national has been deported to the Netherlands from Taiwan to stand trial on charges that he oversaw a global methamphetamine cartel. Lawyers for Tse Chi Lop, who was arrested in Amsterdam in January and detained on a 2019 Australian warrant, say he was deported illegally as part of an international scheme to ensure a long sentence in the Dutch court.

Jun 23, 2021

More than $61 million worth of cocaine, crystal meth and marijuana were seized June 22 in what Toronto’s police service says is its largest “international drug takedown.” Twenty persons are facing charges after a six-month investigation in cooperation with other services, including the Ontario Provincial Police and Canada Border Services Agency.

Jun 22, 2021

The Transportation Safety Board reportedly withdrew its lead investigator from a fatal 2019 derailment in B.C. after Canadian Pacific Railway threatened to sue the investigator and the TSB over his suggestion that the RCMP should look into potential criminal negligence. When the Board refused to follow up, the investigator went public, prompting the legal threat and resulting in an apology by TSB Chair Kathy Fox.

Jun 22, 2021

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened the arrest of citizens who refuse COVID-19 vaccinations. “There is a crisis being faced in this country,” he said June 21. “If you don't want to get vaccinated, I'll have you arrested and I'll inject the vaccine in your butt.” With a population of some 108 million, the country has reported more than 1.3 million confirmed cases and at least 23,749 deaths.

Jun 22, 2021

There is an urgent need for the federal government to safeguard its reserves of rare earth minerals used in strategic and consumer applications, says a parliamentary committee. “This study should be a wake-up call,” it says. “It has been made abundantly clear that the overarching issue within this industry is the fact that the federal government has created a business environment where Canada will be unable to meet the growing global demand for critical minerals and, therefore, be reliant on other countries to meet our needs.”

Jun 21, 2021

Public Health Agency of Canada President Iain Stewart appeared before the bar just inside the House of Commons today, having been summoned in a rare procedural move for failing to turn over documents about the firing of two scientists at Canada’s highest security lab. Haines, who insists that he is prevented by law from releasing the documents, stood silently for some 30 minutes before being permitted to leave, leaving MPs to continue a political squabble over the issue.

Jun 21, 2021

An Ottawa-based workers-rights group, Above Ground, reports that Canadian measures designed to block imports of goods from countries which employ forced labour are often ineffectual. Moreover, unlike in the U.S., getting information about offending importers is frustrated by regulations.

Jun 21, 2021

Quarantine restrictions are to be eased, beginning, July 5 for fully-vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada as long as they test negative for COVID-19. Announcing the relaxation today, the government said that with few exceptions, vaccinated foreigners still would be quarantined.

Jun 21, 2021

The NATO Communication and Information Agency plans to procure new cyber defence systems as part of a sweeping upgrade. Starting in early 2022 and worth a projected €27 billion to contractors, the project includes new firewalls, penetration testing tools, and other defensive technologies.

Jun 21, 2021

Deaths in Brazil attributed to COVID-19 topped 500,000 on the weekend, second only to more than 601,000 in the U.S., as experts warned that the situation will continue to deteriorate due to delayed vaccinations and the government’s refusal to back social distancing measures. President Jair Bolsonaro has insisted from the outset that concerns were overblown.

Jun 21, 2021

Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line veteran of Iran’s judiciary, has been elected as the country’s next president, effective in August when the moderate leader Hassan Rouhani’s term expires. Raisi, who oversaw the abduction and secret execution of political prisoners, also is seen as a likely successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Jun 21, 2021

When Donald Trump arbitrarily withdrew the U.S. from a multinational nuclear accord with Iran in 2018 and imposed crushing economic sanctions, there were suggestions that it would backfire, entrenching conservative hard-liners in Tehran for years to come. Their concerns evidently were justified.

Jun 21, 2021

Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, is calling on the U.S. and its allies to “wake up” to the threat still posed by Iran even as talks continue about reviving a nuclear agreement. He says Iran’s “regime of brutal hangmen” is determined to have nuclear weapons despite repeated denials out of Tehran.

Jun 21, 2021

Madam Justice Rosalie Abella, retiring from the Supreme Court of Canada at the mandatory age of 75, has been considered as the country’s foremost activist judge. While not the first jurist to so categorized, she definitely has pushed the court-knows-best doctrine when it comes to shaping social policy in an era when legislatures are widely seen as mishandling that portfolio.

Jun 18, 2021

More than 20 countries, with Canada in the forefront, are preparing to demand “meaningful and unfettered access” to China to investigate “credible reports” of widespread human rights violations against a Muslim minority in Xinjiang province. They are expected to deliver their demand June 21 to the UN Human Rights Council headquarters in Geneva.

Jun 18, 2021

Canada’s border with the U.S. will remain closed to non-essential travel until July 21and restrictions on visitors from other countries also are being extended by an additional month. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair used social media today to confirm the government’s decision, adding that more details would be forthcoming June 21 on easing restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians and others currently unable to return to or visit Canada.

Jun 18, 2021

A federal government push to regulate online services such as Netflix in much the same way it oversees conventional broadcasters is encountering stiff resistance in the Senate. Most feel that the government’s draft legislation, Bill C10, introduced last November, requires more detailed study. Conservative Leo Housakos referring to conversations with others, says “there doesn’t seem to be any momentum to . . . rubber-stamp this.”

Jun 18, 2021

A House of Commons committee is suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic has disclosed flaws in the unemployment insurance system, saying in a June 17 report that EI “no longer reflects the realities of today's labour market.” The committee chairman says that when the pandemic erupted, “the system didn't have a chance of covering off the people that were thrown out of work through no fault of their own.”

Jun 18, 2021

As the RCMP is pressed to be more sensitive to racial issues and other, a House of Commons committee says the government should consider ending contract policing by the RCMP. “A transformative national effort is required to ensure that all . . . racialized people . . . are not subject to the discrimination and injustice that is inherent in the system,” the committee says in a June 17 report.

Jun 18, 2021

The World Economic Forum says putting a price on carbon-based fuels is an effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and global pollution. Moreover, it says carbon taxation can generate significant revenues which then can be used to address the economic harm from fossil fuels. It cites, among others, British Columbia’s implementation of a tax in 2008 as “a textbook example” of how to tackle the issue.

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