In the News

Jul 29, 2020

A federal inquiry into a Nova Scotia mass shooting in April has been announced by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair. The provincial government initially planned a standard review but eventually bowed to pressure from families of the 22 victims with political support in Ottawa.

Jul 29, 2020

Health Canada has approved, subject to conditions, a drug for treatment of some COVID-19 victims. Remdesivir, brand-name Veklury, is manufactured by Gilead Sciences Canada but is in short supply worldwide and approved only for use in hospitalized adults and adolescents weighing at least 40kg.

Jul 29, 2020

A Kingston, Ont. teenager has pled guilty to four terrorism-related offences in connection with what police say was a pressure-cooker bomb plot. He was charged after two homes were searched by local police following a tip from the FBI.

Jul 29, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued for public comment a draft regulation for carbon dioxide emissions from larger commercial aircraft. Matching standards adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization in 2017, the rule would apply retroactively to new designs begun this year and from 2028 onward to current models.

Jul 29, 2020

The International Air Transport Association says airline travel will not rebound to pre-corona virus levels until at least 2024 and that this year will see a larger decrease than previously forecast, particularly for long-haul service. Slow containment and regional flare-ups of COVID-19 in the U.S. are cited for the revised outlook.

Jul 27, 2020

In the third such case in recent months, the Ontario government’s Special Investigations Unit is dealing with a police officer’s refusal to meet with the watchdog agency or provide case notes about a fatal shooting. The officer killed a 62-year-old man who evidently was in mental distress, but the SIU says that provincial legislation contains no legal compulsion for police to cooperate.

Jul 27, 2020

The U.S. consulate in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is shuttered after Bejing ordered its closure. The move was in response to the U.S. administration's order last week that the Chinese consulate in Houston due to alleged intelligence agents’ attempts to stead intellectual property.

Jul 27, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. should abandon its 50-year engagement with China. Accusing it of lying, cheating and stealing its way to power and prosperity, he is calling on allies to “induce” change by forcing the Chinese Communist Party to change direction or face isolation. 

Jul 24, 2020

The UN Security Council has been warned that an environmental catastrophe in the Red Sea is likely if a 46-year-old oil tanker held by rebels in war-torn Yemen is not dealt with. The leaking vessel holds an estimated 183,000 cubic metres of light crude, four times the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill that contaminated coastal regions of Alaska and British Columbia.

Jul 24, 2020

The impending retirement of Army Gen Jonathan Vance as Chief of the Defence Staff, which he announced 23 July, is prompting speculation that the Liberal government would like to appoint a female successor. However, there evidently is a shortage of potential candidates with one of the two most experienced women set to retire herself and the other a relative unknown outside the Department of National Defence.

Jul 23, 2020

Responding to a number of controversial “wellness check” incidents involving the RCMP, Michelaine Lahaie, head of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission, says officers tend to have a “command and control” approach when dealing with “non-compliant” persons. She says this has led to an “unreasonable use of force in apprehending persons in crisis.”

Jul 23, 2020

The U.S. State Department has told China to close its consulate in Houston due to security concerns and ostensibly to prevent the theft of intellectual property. Beijing called the directive, which is to take effect 24 July “political provocation.”

Jul 23, 2020

The Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, designed to block visitors from entering either country from the other and seeking asylum, violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In handing down her decision, Federal Court Justice Ann Marie McDonald has given the government six months to respond.

Jul 23, 2020

China has launched a Mars mission from its Wenchang spaceport on Hainan Island. It should enter Mars orbit next February but is not expected to deploy its Tianwen-1 (Questions to Heaven) rover to the planet’s surface for at least two months afterward.

Jul 22, 2020

The government has confirmed that Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan received a COVID-19 briefing from military intelligence staff 10 days before it was discussed by the Prime Minister’s incident response team. The briefing 17 January took place 17 days after the World Health Organization learned of initial outbreaks in China. 

Jul 21, 2020

Five days of often fractious and intense negotiation between European Union leaders ended 21 July with an agreement to spend €750 billion to rescue their economies from the impact of COVID-19. It will be funded by the EU’s first collective sale of bonds with the proceeds distributed as grants rather than repayable loans.

Jul 21, 2020

A military intelligence team collected information from individual Canadians’ social media accounts in Ontario, ostensibly to help the Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed temorarily to long-term care facilities as a COVID-19 response. However, critics, including from within the CAF, are reportedly concerned that the now suspended data-mining was unethical and borderline illegal.

Jul 20, 2020

David Mulroney, Canada’s ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012, says that rather than developing an overarching strategy for China, Canada should take a “more modest” approach to the relationship, focusing on “being clear in our thinking about what … its likely intentions are.” Done effectively, he says in a broad-ranging interview, “it would make clear that China is an increasingly adversarial state that sees Canada as a rather unimportant country.”

Jul 20, 2020

Britain suspended an extradition treaty with Hong Kong 20 July in protest of a new Chinese security law imposed on the former British colony. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the decision in Parliament in response to concerns that anyone extradited to Hong Kong from Britain could be handed over to Beijing. The announcement came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was preparing for a two-day visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Jul 20, 2020

Cockpit voice recorder data from the Ukrainian airliner shot down by Iran in January has been downloaded by a team of investigators in France, including experts from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada who will help with data analysis. Iran handed over the CVR and Flight Data Recorder during the weekend after months of discussion.

Jul 20, 2020

European Union leaders broke off nearly four days of talks at dawn 20 July amidst unproductive ideological haggling on a proposed €1.85-trillion financial deal and COVID-19 recovery fund. However, they were expected to resume later in the day.

Jul 20, 2020

The United Arab Emirates' mission to Mars, Al-Amel (Hope), has been launched from Tanegashima spaceport, Japan, the start of a 500-million-kilometre journey to study the planet's weather and climate. Expected to arrive next February, it is one of three Mars launches set for this month with the U.S. and China planning to send surface rovers.

Jul 17, 2020

A bipartisan bill to create a national cyber director’s office, currently before the U.S. House of Representatives, has been called possibly redundant and financially wasteful. The notion of a director was supported by the Cyberspace Solarium.

Jul 16, 2020

The Canada Border Services Agency reports that more than 10,000 U.S. citizens have been turned away at the border since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Nearly half had wanted to shop or visit for recreational purposes. More than 800 other foreign nationals also were barred from entering between late March and mid-July.

Jul 16, 2020

Results of a national Angus Reid Institute poll published 16 July indicate that a growing number of Canadians are concerned about contracting COVID-19 – rebounding to 59 per cent after declining for three months. However, only 20 per cent of the latest respondents say they always wear a mask in public and while 35 per cent do so most of the time, 32 per cent rarely wear one and 13 per cent never do so. Support for mandatory masking varies regionally.

Jul 16, 2020

Canada, Britain and the U.S. have accused Russian state-backed hackers of trying to steal intellectual information from university and pharmaceutical industry researchers working on development of a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s unclear whether the hacking succeeded but Russia has rejected to allegation.

Jul 15, 2020

With tens of thousands of legal proceedings postponed due to COVID-19 and a 2016 Supreme Court ruling that set firm limits on trial lengths, Justice Minister David Lametti says he is prepared to introduce draft legislation designed to keep charges from being tossed out due to delays. The court ruling did consider the prospect of delays due to illness and exceptional events but there is no statute setting out how exceptions apply.

Jul 15, 2020

Stressing that it was “not turning our back to the West,” the financially-strapped government of Lebanon has reached out to China for support. Its currency has lost some 80 per cent of its value against the U.S. dollar in recent months, bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund faltered, and international donors have refused to unlock $11 billion pledged in 2018.

Jul 14, 2020

The Canada-U.S. agreement to limit cross-border traffic is being extended by another month, to 21 August, and government officials indicate that further extension is likely due to the sharp resurgence of COVID-19 in most U.S. states. “We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said after he and President Donald Trump had discussed the situation 13 July. “Every month, we have been able to extend the border closures to all but essential goods and services and those discussions are ongoing.”

Jul 14, 2020

A White House to strip international college students of their visas if their coursework was entirely online due to COVID-19 constraints has been withdrawn by the administration. Two influential universities immediately filed suit last week but a judge explained 14 July that negotiations had resulted in the government restoring students’ flexibility in how they handled coursework.

Jul 14, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on President Donald Trump 13 July to think twice before imposing import tariffs on aluminum. Some U.S. smelter owners and operators have been calling for new protectionist measures. The PM said it would be “a shame” to see this kind of action so soon after a new North American free trade pact came into effect and “at a time where we want our businesses and our manufacturers to get going as quickly as possible.”

Jul 14, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have apologized for not removing themselves from cabinet discussions about granting WE Charity a sole-sourced contract to run a student volunteer program. The contract was cancelled after it was disclosed that both had family members involved with the charity.

Jul 14, 2020

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the federal government is preventing companies such as Apple and Google from working with the provinces to improved their COVCIDS-19 contact tracing app. Alberta's version uses Bluetooth technology to identify other nearby smart phones with app installed but the provinces Chief Medical Officer of Health says it doesn’t work on iPhones unless the phone is unlocked and the app opened, a situation which could breach personal privacy.

Jul 14, 2020

The Public Health Agency of Canada is deploying staff at 36 points of entry in a bid to improve COVID-19 screening of visitors. The decision follows a virus resurgence in many U.S. states and a decision by the federal government to ease entry restrictions.

Jul 14, 2020

In an attempt to curb China’s growing presence in the South China Sea, the U.S. administration has formally rejected most of Beijing’s significant maritime claims which have been challenged by other nations around the region. U.S. policy hitherto had been that disputes be resolved peacefully through the UN, but Secretary of State Mike Pomeo said 13 July that the U.S. now “stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law.”

Jul 14, 2020

An interim U.S. ban on federal agencies contracting with entities which use equipment from Chinese telecommunications and surveillance companies could cost the government $11 billion in its first year, according information in the 14 July Federal Register. Beginning 13 August, government contracting officers, who can issue waivers in emergencies, will required bidders to confirm compliance with the new rule.

Jul 14, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 deaths and confirmed cases surge in many parts of the U.S., President Donald Trump’s evidently is undercutting its trusted coronavirus expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Among other things, White House staff have posted recordings from earlier this year to suggest that Fauci is an unreliable source of advice but the postings exclude his qualifying remarks about how the pandemic outlook was shifting.

Jul 14, 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered the removal of Huawei equipment from Britain’s 5G network by 2027. The U.S. has been pressing Britain as well as Canada and other allies to exclude the Chinese telecom giant on grounds of national security.

Jul 14, 2020

Having already been collecting vehicle data at border entries since 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection now is incorporating third-party license plate reader data from local governments, law enforcement and the private sector. A CBP “privacy impact statement” published last week noted that the technology “may also capture . . . drivers and passengers” images.

Jul 14, 2020

Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly rejected an 11th-hour legal challenge, a 47-year-old convicted murderer was executed by lethal injection 14 July at a penitentiary in Indiana. Daniel Lewis Lee was the first of three federal death row inmates scheduled for execution this week, the first federal executions in more than 17 years.

Jul 13, 2020

Global Affairs Canada says giving unredacted Canadian Security Intelligence Service documents to Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers could put Canadian lives at risk and undermine Canada-China relations.

Jul 13, 2020

The downing of a Ukrainian airliner shortly after takeoff from Tehran International Airport 8 January is being attributed to a breakdown in communications between an improperly aligned Revolutionary Guard missile battery and its command centre. Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority said in a weekend report that the battery crew also misidentified the airliner as a threat.

Jul 13, 2020

Even as Taliban leaders preparing for formal peace talks with the Afghan government seem to be prepared for conciliation on on democracy, human rights and power-sharing, hard-core militants in the country’s eastern districts are still talking about overthrowing the government. The chief concern is that even if a peace deal is struck, entrenched differences among the militants could mean a return to widespread violence.

Jul 13, 2020

Poland's conservative President Andrzej Duda evidently has been elected by a narrow margin to a second five-year term in a weekend election, defeating Rafal Trzaskowski, the liberal mayor of Warsaw. The state electoral commission says voting in 99.07 per cent of districts in the NATO member state showed Duda with 51.21 per cent support against Trzaskowski’s 48.79 per cent.

Jul 13, 2020

An Amnesty International request that an Israeli spyware company be stripped of its export licence has been rejected by an Israeli court. AI says NSO Group’s technology has been used by foreign governments to target dissidents and journalists. Tel Aviv District Court ruled that there is insufficient evidence to prove AI’s claims.

Jul 12, 2020

Ottawa Nepean communities in the vicinity of the Connaught Ranges will see multiple helicopter flights and hear blank ammunition fire during training tonight. 

Jul 10, 2020

It has been disclosed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, mother and brother received payments totalling nearly $300,000 over the last four years by WE Charity, a youth-support group the government had awarded a $900-million contract to manage a student funding program. The government subsequently withdrew the contract, which is being investigated by the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Jul 10, 2020

China is being accused by the Commerce Department of dumping fibre-optic cables as well steel and aluminum into the U.S. market. Nazak Nikakhtar, the assistant secretary for industry and analysis, said 9 July that while the metals imports are already subject to tariffs, fibre-optics technology should be a national security concern because the country which controls the cables can control access.

Jul 10, 2020

With a U.S.government-wide ban looming on contractors' use of Chinese telecommunications equipment, industry lobbies are pressing the administration for more time to adjust. The National Defense Industrial Association and the Professional Services Council want the 13 August deadline delayed by a year, saying the government should be focusing on recovering from the economic impact of COVID-19.

Jul 10, 2020

Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden has laid out a $700-billion COVID-19 economic rescue plan for the U.S., saying the “Build Back Better” initiative would spur a manufacturing and technology jobs boom. He also said 9 July that President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic had “come with a terrible human cost and a deep economic toll.”

Jul 10, 2020

An investigation into leaks of classified and unclassified material to news media from within his department and others has been ordered by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper during a Thursday hearing. “All those things … hurt our nation’s security,” he told a House of Representatives committee 9 July. “They undermine our troops, their safety; they affect our relations with other countries.; they undermine our national policy.”

Jul 10, 2020

U.S. Army Gen Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, says the Department of Defense is taking a close look at how National Guard operations could be complicated in situations where police are dressed and equipped like troops. The decision was prompted by controversy over whether Guard personnel had recently helped to remove protestors near the White House and Milley told Congress 9 July that it is critical to have “a clear definition between that which is military and that which is police.”

Jul 09, 2020

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are suing the U.S. administration over a directive which would strip foreign students of their visas if their coursework has shifted online due to COVID-19. The measure announced 6 June by the White House is seen as an attempt to put pressure on institutions to reopen campuses despite the continued spread of the pandemic in many states.

Jul 09, 2020

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic challenger to President Donald Trump in the Nov. 4 U.S. elections, has said he will prohibit U.S. industries from “abetting repression and supporting the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.” However, it’s being pointed out that untangling the web of cooperation established over the years evidently won’t be a straightforward initiative.

Jul 08, 2020

Espionage and theft of intellectual property by China present the “greatest long-term threat" to the future of the U.S., according to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The stakes could not be higher,” he says. “China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world's only superpower by any means necessary.”

Jul 08, 2020

The federal deficit is projected at $343 billion in the current fiscal year, boosting cumulative indebtedness to $1.2 trillion, according to a Fiscal Snapshot released 8 July by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. “Some will criticize us on the cost of action,” he said, referring to the sundry COVID-19 support packages offered by the government. “Those who would have us do less ignore that, without government action, millions of jobs would have been lost, putting the burden of debt onto families and jeopardizing Canada's resilience.”

Jul 08, 2020

The Canada Border Services Agency lost track of 37,400 foreign nationals who had been ordered out of the country up until April 2019, the Office of the Auditor General reports after a coordinated review with the Immigration and Refugee Board and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Some had been in the CBSA for several years, including failed asylum seekers, criminals, national security risks and visitors who had overstayed their visas.” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said 8 July that the immediate focus is on the “most concerning” cases.

Jul 08, 2020

Pyotr Verzilov, a Russian activist and Kremlin critic, has been arrested for failing to report that he also has Canadian citizenship from having lived in Toronto as a boy. Russian legislation passed in 2014 requires declaration of dual citizenship, a move critics have said is part of a government campaign to encourage nationalism.

Jul 08, 2020

The third in a planned constellation of 10 U.S. third-general global positioning system satellites has been launched by SpaceX on behalf of Lockheed Martin. It eventually will orbit at some 21,000 kilometres.

Jul 08, 2020

Federal Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister have been photographed without COVID-19 masks at Toronto International Airport in violation of the airport’s pandemic control. An aide to Sheer says he removed it only for a telephone call while Pallister said he had lifted his to chat with friends, a mistake he says won’t be repeated.

Jul 08, 2020

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a staunch opponent of measures to prevent and contain COVID-19, tested positive 6 July for the virus. His country has the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the world, second only to the U.S. Bolsonaro also said he was taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial championed by President Donald Trump despite no supporting evidence of its effectiveness and the risk of serious side-effects.

Jul 08, 2020

President Donald Trump has formally moved to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization, as he threatened in May while accusing the WHO of being Chinese-controlled. Actual withdrawal of participation and funding would take effect in July 2021, a move which Robert Menendez, leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relation Committee, says “leaves Americans sick and America alone.”

Jul 07, 2020

Members of the public will see a larger number of military vehicles on the roads between Canadian Forces Base Borden and various units across Ontario on 8 July 2020.

Jul 07, 2020

>New York-based Clearview AI, pending the results of federal and provincial privacy investigations, is not making its facial recognition software available in Canada. The company came under scrutiny earlier this year when it reported having collected billions of images from the Internet. Its last client in Canada was the RCMP.

Jul 07, 2020

Citing unspecified “frequent violent actions” by Canadian police,China has warned its citizens to exercise caution in travelling to Canada. The advisory was posted on social media 6 July by its embassy in Ottawa. Bob Rae, the newly-appointed ambassador to the UN, calls the warning “bizarre” and suggests it should not be taken seriously.

Jul 07, 2020

Former military journalist Ivan Safronov, who joined the Russian space agency less than two months ago as an advisor to its director general, has been arrested for treason. Roskosmos says the arrest was not related to his job with the agency. Russian state security has accused Safronov of passing on information to an unspecified NATO member.

Jul 06, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t joining Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and President Donald Trump in Washington 7 July to celebrate the new North American trade agreement. “While there were recent discussions about the possible participation of Canada, the Prime Minister will be in Ottawa this week for scheduled Cabinet meetings and the long-planned sitting of Parliament,” a spokesperson explained. Also, Trudeau told reporters he is concerned about rumourfs of new U.S. aluminum and steel tariffs.

Jul 06, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent condemnation of China’s new security law for Hong Kong has drawn a predictably sharp response from Beijing. A foreign ministry spokesman said 5 July that Canada should “stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s other internal affairs in any way so as to avoid further damage to China-Canada relations.”

Jul 06, 2020

Veteran federal and Ontario politician Bob Rae, 71, has been appointed Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations. He replaces Marc-Andre Blanchard who has served since April 2016 and who had indicated earlier that he would be leaving. Rae, 71, most recently served Trudeau as a special envoy for humanitarian and immigration issues.

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