In the News

Aug 30, 2022

Several candidates for the leadership of the United Conservative Party in Alberta say they have received death threats and other abuse over the course of the campaign. Calling for more “civility in public life,” one of the candidates said some threats originate from people seeking publicity and that their actions encourage copy-cat behaviour.

Aug 30, 2022

International Trade Minister Mary Ng has confirmed a formal challenge under the auspices of the trilateral free trade agreement of “unwarranted and unfair” U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber. Explaining that she would prefer a negotiated settlement of the long-running dispute, Ng pointed out August 29 that the duties harm industry and consumers on both sides of the border.

Aug 29, 2022

A B.C. judge has accused a conservation group of using frontline protesters as “sacrificial lambs” in blockades designed to draw attention to the group’s broader political agenda. In granting a conditional discharge to a 30-year-old who participated in repeated demonstrations against old-growth logging, Provincial Court Judge Laura Bakan called him “a person whose personal attributes are easily preyed on”, but a spokesperson for the group dismissed the judge’s comment as “speculation” to get the accused off lightly.

Aug 29, 2022

In the decades since the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia’s relationships with the West were often tense but economic ties remained robust. Since its invasion of Ukraine in February, Russia and its politicians and business sectors have been targetted by a range of sanctions which have dramatically changed many relationships but the sanctions have had arguably mixed results.

Aug 29, 2022

Before life as he knew it turned upside down with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Mohammad Fahim Rahmani worked with the Canadian embassy in Kabul. Evacuated to Canada with his family nearly a year ago, he has been receiving federal support which is now about to run out. The Toronto resident is being advised to pack up and move to a shelter even as his parents’ permanent residence paperwork languishes in a long processing queue.

Aug 29, 2022

A federal task force created to improve service at airports as well as passport and immigration offices said today that increased staffing is yielding improvements. However, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller, a task force co-chair, admitted that “we’re not out of the woods yet.”

Aug 29, 2022

After months of tests, troubleshooting and repairs, NASA's long-overdue Artemis-1 moon launch with an uncrewed capsule was scrubbed early today due to problems with one of the massive launch vehicle’s rockets. “This is a very complicated … system and all those things have to work,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “You don't want to light the candle until it's ready to go.” That now is expected to be September 2 at the earliest.

Aug 29, 2022

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s response to profanity-laden abuse during a visit to Alberta is that it was simply “wrong” and that “nobody, anywhere, should have to put up with threats and intimidation.” Ironically, her male attacker said the Alberta-born minister didn’t belong there.

Aug 29, 2022

The California Air Resources Board, an environmental bellwether within the U.S. and elsewhere, has unveiled regulations designed to prohibit the sale of new gasoline-fuelled cars and light trucks by 2035.

Aug 29, 2022

An estimated 4.34 million cubic meters of natural gas is being flared daily by Russia at a new Gazprom liquification plant near its border with Finland even as it threatens to limits shipments to Europe this winter. The burn-off is considered an “environmental disaster” as it emits some 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide a day.

Aug 29, 2022

Michelle Bachelet, the Chilean politician who has been UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2018, says she is under “tremendous pressure” over a report on repression of Muslim minorities in China. She said there has been “substantial input” from Beijing and that a number of countries, including North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba want the report cancelled.

Aug 29, 2022

Four people have been arrested in Australia after more than $140 million worth of illegal drugs were discovered in a vintage 1960 Bentley shipped from Canada. Police in New South Wales said border officers received a tip which led to the discovery of methylamphetamine and cocaine hidden in the classic automobile.

Aug 29, 2022

Michelle O'Bonsawin's appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada as its first indigenous member has been formally confirmed by the Prime Minister's Office. Asked about her priorities during a meeting with parliamentarians last week, she said that she is “a judge first and an indigenous person and a mother and a Franco-Ontarian afterwards.”

Aug 29, 2022

Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. is suing sued New York-based Pfizer Inc. and its German partner, BioNTech, for alleged patent infringement in developing the first U.S.-approved COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna said in its U.S. District Court filing that its competitors had copied technology Moderna developed years before the pandemic.

Aug 29, 2022

Annoyed by the inclusion of an expression of “grave concern” about Europe’s largest nuclear power station, in Ukraine, Russia has blocked adoption of a declaration by a delayed United Nations conference about renewal of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The accord is reviewed by its 191 signatories every five years, and participants in the previous review, in 2015, also failed to reach an agreement.

Aug 25, 2022

Myanmar's military government has Britain’s former ambassador, Vicky Bowman, and her husband, a Burmese artist and former political prisoner. The junta accuses her of breaking visa rules and her husband with helping her to stay in Myanmar.

Aug 25, 2022

Described by some as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brain” and by others as a “harmless cult figure,” hard-core nationalist Alexander Dugin became the focus of renewed interest when his daughter died in a car-bombing outside Moscow last weekend. There is growing speculation that Dugin may have been the target, given his prominent advocacy of the invasion of Ukraine and Russian expansionism in general.

Aug 25, 2022

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is in the Canadian North this week for an unprecedented tour of defence installations. Officials say the visit is meant to highlight that the region is a security priority, in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and issues related to climate change.

Aug 24, 2022

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced today that Japan will restart more idled nuclear plants as it considers next-generation reactors and sustainable options, a decade after the Fukushima disaster saw the country’s nuclear industry shut down. He also said officials had been instructed to come up with plans by year’s end, including how to gain “the understanding of the public” of such a major policy shift.

Aug 24, 2022

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has told a public inquiry into a mass shooting in Nova Scotia two years ago that the federal police force needs to improve communications with the public but also internally. At issue is whether there had been political pressure on investigators to provide more detail of the situation that led to the 22 murders by a man posing as a police officer.

Aug 24, 2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants Canada to increase its shipments of liquefied natural gas to Europe in a bid to reduce reliance on Russia, but a lack of infrastructure and an unproven business case stands in the way. “We are creating the atmosphere for very direct talks between the business sectors of Canada and Germany,” he said August 23 during a visit to Toronto. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had already expressed skepticism about the economics.

Aug 24, 2022

The prospect of having to move back into offices after working mainly from home from the past couple of years due to the pandemic evidently isn’t sitting well with many federal government employees. Their unions say that while some welcome the idea or are happy with a hybrid approach, most want to continue working from home as another coronavirus wave builds.

Aug 23, 2022

The federal government is being bombarded by U.S. politicians and business lobbies to scrap the contentious ArriveCAN app in an attempt to address cross-border travel delays. Nearly 1,500 emails have been sent to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and other MPs since the Canadian American Business Council launched a “Travel Like it's 2019” campaign two weeks ago.

Aug 23, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled plans today for a team which he said will focus on countering Russian disinformation and propaganda. The initiative is part of a package of new measures, including extended sanctions, designed to support Ukraine and punish Russia for invading Ukraine six months ago with global repercussions.

Aug 23, 2022

A Ukrainian agent is being blamed by Russian counterintelligence for the weekend car-bombing death of the daughter of one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies, a claim Kyiv dismisses as “fiction.” Darya Dugina was the daughter of Alexander Dugin, a political theorist who advocates for a Russian global resurgence. Both were attending an event outside Moscow and had planned to return by car but the father reportedly changes his plans at the last minute.

Aug 23, 2022

Xiao Jianhua, a Chinese-born Canadian who disappeared from Hong Kong in 2017 has been sentenced in China to 13 years in prison for alleged financial offences involving his company’s dealings with a Shanghai bank. Canadian consular officials were not permitted to attend his trial in July.

Aug 23, 2022

In the final months of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s administration in 2015, the federal government agreed to “forever discharge” Catholic entities from their promise to raise $25 million for residential school survivors. Although, a court ruling that July had obliged the Catholic entities to pay $79 million, partly through “best efforts” to raise $25 million for the survivors, only about $3.5 million was raised.

Aug 22, 2022

Indonesian President Joko Widodo says his Russian and Chinese counterparts both plan to attend November’s G20 meeting in Bali. He says he has been assured that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping would attend the first summit since Russia invaded Ukraine six months ago and since China ratcheted up tensions over Taiwan, potentially setting the stage for a confrontation with the U.S. and its G20 allies.

Aug 22, 2022

While police apparently are downplaying the issue, an omission by the federal government when it updated Canada's drug laws and legalized cannabis several years ago is seen as problematic in hundreds of cases across the country. Exemptions from prosecution of police who must commit crimes while working undercover, adopted in the 1990s, were not updated and the government has given notice that the omission “may jeopardize law enforcement operations” and has actually frustrated some investigations.

Aug 22, 2022

Users of iPhones, iPads, iMacs and some older iPods are being advised to update their operating systems after Apple disclosed two vulnerabilities which could give hackers “full admin access” to the devices. Issued last week, the disclosure evidently received little attention outside of technical publications and Apple explained only that the problem has been discovered by an anonymous researcher.

Aug 22, 2022

Salma al-Shehab, a doctoral researcher at Leeds University in Britain, has sentenced by a Saudi Arabian court to 34 years in prison for spreading “rumours” and retweeting dissidents’ comments. Detained while on a family vacation in January 2021, days before she planned to return to Britain, she is a member of her homeland’s Shia minority which has long complained of systematic discrimination in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Aug 22, 2022

Pakistani police have filed terrorism charges against former prime minister Imran Khan. The charges relate to a speech Khan gave in Islamabad on Saturday in which he vowed to sue police officers and a female judge and alleged that a close aide had been tortured after his arrest.The ousted PM continues to hold mass rallies as he seeks to return to office.  The Pakistani judiciary has a history of taking sides in power struggles between the military, government and politicians.

Aug 19, 2022

For months, Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted that his country’s economy is flourishing despite sanctions, the withdrawal of global companies and a shortage of manufacturing materials. Economists and ordinary Russians evidently disagree, suggesting that Putin’s stance is akin to the storied fake villages constructed in by a Crimean governor, Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin, to disguise the dilapidated reality during a visit in the late 1700s by Empress Catherine II.

Aug 18, 2022

Using the “current global context” shaped by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the government of Argentina is resurrecting its claim to the Falkland Islands in the remote South Atlantic. Guillermo Carmona, the minister responsible for the “Islas Malvinas”, is visiting his country’s neighbours to drum up support. Having fought a short undeclared war with Argentina in 1982, Britain points out that the archipelago’s nearly 4,000 residents prefer to remain British.

Aug 18, 2022

Although she hated “giving airtime . . . to these imbeciles,” the mayor of Peterborough, Ont., Diane Therrien, offered some advice involving “sex and travel” to a group of men who tried to arrest local police on the weekend. They had been directed by a B.C.-based conspiracy theorist to make citizens’ arrests but instead several found themselves taken into custody on a variety of charges.

Aug 17, 2022

A senior RCMP officer who alleged political meddling in the investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting is defending his position. Chief Superintendent Darren Campbell told a parliamentary committee August 16 that he had a “distinct recollection of the content” of a conversation with Commissioner Brenda Lucki in which he said she had promised the government information linked to pending gun-control regulations.

Aug 17, 2022

Intelligence officers warned the government that if police were used to disperse the “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa earlier this year, according to a redacted memorandum made public through an Access to Information request. The February 24 “threat highlight” advised that extremist “influencers” would leverage the outcome of the protests for recruitment and propaganda and that ideologs likely would “encourage violent revenge or as further evidence of government ‘tyranny’.”

Aug 17, 2022

The utility of the ArriveCAn app rolled out by the federal government early in its campaign against the coronavirus pandemic is open to question as other countries have been using it for non-health immigration reasons. Canadian officials haven’t said they would like to follow suit, but Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has acknowledged that “it has technological capacity beyond that to really shrink the amount of time that is required when you're getting screened at the border.”

Aug 17, 2022

With a new school year looming and summer holidays winding down, Quebec Premier François Legault has announced that residents aged 75 or older could book another coronavirus vaccination immediately. Those aged at least 60 as well as anyone 12 or older who are considered vulnerable could begin booking August 22 and that all others over the age of 18 will be eligible a week later. “More people will be inside, there will be more contagion,” he said August 16, calling the immunization effort so far a success. “It's a really good time to be launching a massive vaccination campaign.”

Aug 17, 2022

Having expelled each other’s ambassadors in May 2018 over Israel’s killing of 60 Palestinians during protests in the Gaza Strip, Turkey and Israel have agreed to renew their diplomatic ties. “Upgrading relations will contribute to deepening ties between the two peoples, expanding economic, trade, and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office confirmed today. However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the move did not mean Turkey would abandon the Palestinian cause.

Aug 17, 2022

Some13 per cent of Canadians predominantly speak a language other than English or French, according to 2021 data released today by Statistics Canada. It also reports that at least 25 per cent of Canadians reported having at least one “unofficial” first language, predominantly South Asian languages such as Hindi or Punjabi.

Aug 17, 2022

An Ontario man who fled Afghanistan amid the threat of a militant takeover says his life has been endangered by his motorcycle’s dealer-issued licence plate, 1S1S6, which resembles ISIS. He says the province refused to change it until he was nearly killed after receiving death threats as a supposed supporter of the terrorist organization.

Aug 17, 2022

Dramatic political developments in the U.S. evidently constitute a “virus” which is affecting how Canadians handle their politics. While some elemental shifts south of the border may be increasingly reflected on the left end of Canada’s political spectrum, there’s a perception that the other end of the spectrum might have contracted Republican “fever”, the symptoms of which include endemic obstructionism.

Aug 16, 2022

Salvors are trying to drain fuel from a fishing vessel which sank in U.S. waters August 13 just east of Vancouver island, their task complicated by the wreck having shifted into deeper water. There are fears that leaking oil will foul the feeding grounds of resident Orcas already listed as endangered. An oil sheen estimated to be several kilometres long now covers waters west of San Juan Island.

Aug 16, 2022

Microsoft has published new details about suspected Russian hackers who have carried out cyberespionage attacks against NATO government organizations, think tanks, and defence contractors since at least 2017. The company’s Threat Intelligence Center said August 15 that it has “taken actions to disrupt campaigns” launched by the group.

Aug 16, 2022

The Central Intelligence Agency and its former director are the targets of a lawsuit filed August 15 in New York by a group of journalists and lawyers. They say they were placed under surveillance when they met in London with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that the CIA’s activities violated their privacy rights by recording conversations and copying data from their phones and computers.

Aug 16, 2022

A survey conducted as part of an internal Canada Border Services Agency evaluation indicates that racism has been an issue for visitors arriving by air. A quarter of frontline officers reported witnessing colleagues’ discrimination based wholly or partly on the travellers’ race, nationality or ethnicity.

Aug 16, 2022

Canada's annualized inflation rate fell to 7.6 per cent in July, the first time in 12 months that the rate has decreased from the previous month. Statistics Canada said today that lower gasoline pricing was the key factor.

Aug 15, 2022

Deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, already sentenced to 11 years in prison on alleged corruption charges, faces the prospect of six additional years today after a closed-door trial by the country’s military rulers. Her lawyers have been ordered not to disclose details of the latest trial of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate whose government was overthrown in a February 2021 coup.

Aug 15, 2022

Salman Rushdie, the Satanic Verses author subjected to a religious fatwa issued by Iran’s leader in 1989, is being blamed by Iran for a nearly fatal attack against him in New York last week. A foreign ministry official said today that Rushdie had “exposed himself to public indignation” by insulting Islam and “crossing the red lines of 1.5 billion Muslims” and that “no one has a right to blame the Islamic Republic of Iran” for the attack. The 24-year-old attacker, who pled not guilty, is identified as the U.S.-born son of Lebanese immigrants.

Aug 15, 2022

Canada is giving fully-vaccinated travellers entering through the land border a one-time exemption from fines or quarantine requirements if they unknowingly fail to submit the required health documents through the ArriveCAN app. Canadians citizens, permanent residents, persons registered under the Indian Act, and foreign nationals are eligible.

Aug 15, 2022

The Senegalese embassy in Ottawa is vigorously defending one of its diplomatic staff who was arrested by police in neighbouring Gatineau, Que. It alleges she was beaten by police who were assisting a bailiff trying to seize property in compliance with a court order. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has weighed in with a generic statement against police brutality but Gatineau police say the woman struck one officer in the face and bit another before she was restrained.

Aug 15, 2022

London’s Heathrow Airport, a major global hub, will continue to cap the number of departing passengers to 100,000 daily until October 29. When first announced in July, the cap was supposed to expire September 11 but worker shortages remain an issue.

Aug 15, 2022

Even as Europe’s security architecture has evolved since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine six months ago, and Sweden and Finland seek NATO membership, Austria continues to sit on the fence. A member of European Union and partner with NATO in various ways, including sending aid and non-lethal weapons to Ukraine, the government’s stance reflects the fact that 80 per cent of Austrians don’t want to join the military alliance.

Aug 15, 2022

New data show that 10,064 Canadians died with medical assistance in 2021, a 32 per cent increase from 2020. A third annual federal report shows that 3.3 per cent of all deaths in Canada last year were assisted and that all jurisdictions reported increased rates with the highest in B.C. and Quebec at 4.8 and 4.6 per cent respectively.

Aug 15, 2022

A record-breaking drought in much of Europe and Britain is causing major supply problems for electricity utilities. Hydroelectric generation has fallen by some 20 per cent since 2021 and output from nuclear power stations, which rely heavily on river or lake water for cooling, is down 12 per cent. A major environmental downside is that coal-fired stations’ output has risen by 11 per cent.

Aug 12, 2022

Having lost access to Russia’s space launch facilities in neighbouring Kazakhstan, the European Space Agency has begun discussions with SpaceX and potentially other service providers. about using their facilities. “There are two and a half options that we're discussing,” ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher has confirmed. The other prospects include Japan and India but he considers the U.S. company “more operational.”

Aug 12, 2022

The National Health Service in Britain is working with the National Cyber Security Centre to investigate a recent ransomware attack on a vendor which provides information technology services to more than 1,200 NHS facilities. The vendor says it isolated all healthcare environments where the attack was discovered August 4.

Aug 12, 2022

The parliament in Latvia is calling on its NATO allies to impose more comprehensive sanctions on Russia, which it has formally designated a “state sponsor of terrorism” over its invasion of Ukraine. “Latvia recognises Russia's actions in Ukraine as targeted,” it said August 11, also calling for increased western military, financial, humanitarian and diplomatic support.

Aug 12, 2022

Cory Moore, a former Canadian military officer who helped to develop the Afghan National Army’s legal branch, says a group of lawyers and others who supported his work have been “left in the dark” by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. He is pressing the department to to accelerate its processing of the claims by 12 individuals and their families who fear Taliban reprisals.

Aug 12, 2022

A death threat against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an election campaign stop last year has resulted in two charges against an Ontario man. Court documents show that Thomas Dyer of Kitchener has pleaded guilty.

Aug 11, 2022

Two containers of World Vision Canada “therapeutic food” aid destined for Afghanistan have been blocked by federal legislation, passed by Parliament in 2013, which prohibits deals with the Taliban under threat of imprisonment. The charity’s director says it’s “time for Canada to take action by decriminalizing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to save lives before it is too late.” The UN Security Council said last December that “humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs” would not violate UN sanctions.

Aug 11, 2022

New requirements imposed by the CRTC mandate the CBC to dedicate at least 30% of its spending on independent English programming to producers who self-identify as Indigenous, official language minorities, visible minorities, disabled or LGBT. This will rise to 35% in 2026. Diversity spending thresholds on CBC’s French side will start at 6.7% in 2023 and scale up to 15% in 2026.

Aug 11, 2022

Police in Ontario, working with Canadian and U.S. border agents, said August 10 that 22 members of a criminal network involved in the drug trade face more than 400 charges. The investigation also uncovered a pipeline for the flow of illegal firearms entering Canada from the U.S.

Aug 11, 2022

Federal Court of Canada is being asked by two dozen plastics manufacturers to stop the government’s plan to ban several single-use plastic items such as drinking straws. The Responsible Plastic Use Coalition had already filed suit last year in a bid to overturn the government's decision to designate plastics as “toxic” materials under the auspices of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Aug 09, 2022

During an appearance before a parliamentary committee August 8, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and senior RCMP officers defended the long-standing use of “spyware” during dozens of investigations. Among other things, the committee was told that the technologies’ use “is always “limited”, time constrained and never for mass surveillance.

Aug 09, 2022

The FBI executed a search at former U.S. President Donald Trump’s resort in Florida August 8 as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified material. The National Archives, mandated to collect and sorting presidential material, had already recovered at least 15 boxes of White House records from the property.

Aug 09, 2022

Insisting that it remains committed to its strategic arms control treaty with the U.S., Russia is suspending inspections of its facilities. Citing the coronavirus and western sanctions, the foreign ministry said August 8 that “Russia is now forced to resort to this measure as a result of Washington’s persistent desire to implicitly achieve a restart of inspections on conditions that do not take into account existing realities.” It also accused the U.S. of trying to create “unilateral advantages and prevent Russian inspections of U.S. facilities

Aug 09, 2022

NATO membership for Finland and Sweden is seven countries short of ratification as of today, five weeks after Canada was the first of the 30 alliance members to ratify the request in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and generally growing regional belligerence. The Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and Portugal have yet to decide, with Hungary and Turkey expected to be the last to complete the process.

Aug 08, 2022

There has been a 72 per cent jump in hate crimes targeting religion, sexual orientation and race since the start of the pandemic, according to Statistic Canada. A comparison of 2019 and 2021 data shows that crimes targeting religion, sexual orientation and race rose respectively by 67, 64 and six per cent.

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