In the News

Feb 16, 2022

Four Alberta men in custody after an RCMP raid in Coutts Feb. 14 are accused of plotting to murder police and nine others face weapons and mischief charges in the connection with the protest at a border crossing with Montana over mandatory coronavirus vaccinations. Southern Alberta RCMP Chief Superintendent Trevor Daroux said Feb. 15 the raid had yielded firearms, ammunition, extended magazines and protective gear.

Feb 16, 2022

The European Court of Justice ruled today that EU member states can be blocked from receiving financial support if they are non-compliant with the bloc’s laws. Hungary and Poland, the countries most directly affected due to their drift away from democratic values, had filed suit against the initiative.

Feb 16, 2022

Members of the Ottawa coronavirus vaccination protest that has kept the capital at a standstill for nearly three weeks say the government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act is a scare tactic. Nevertheless, details of the government’s sweeping response, released late Feb. 15, include fines of up to $5,000 for individual offences and prison terms up to five years. They also are excluded from Parliament Hill and surrounding streets, official residences, war monuments, airports, harbours, border crossings, piers, lighthouses, canals, interprovincial and international bridges, hospitals and vaccination sites, trade corridors and utilities infrastructure.

Feb 15, 2022

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has effectively given truckers clogging the capital’s core until the weekend to leave the area as the protest against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations neared the end of its third week. “No one wants to see another weekend like the last three,” he said today. “And I'm assured by my discussions with the police that they fully appreciate that.” Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said the Emergencies Act has given the government “the tools to do what needs to be done.”

Feb 15, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that despite his country’s military buildup along its border with Ukraine, he does not want war in Europe but remains adamantly opposed to the idea of his neighbour joining NATO. “We need to resolve this question now,” he said after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “We hope very much our concern will be heard by our partners and taken seriously.”

Feb 15, 2022

The federal government plans to do away with pre-arrival coronavirus PCR tests for fully vaccinated travellers at the end of the month. Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Feb. 15 that travellers may opt for a rapid antigen test approved by their country of origin 24 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival in Canada. The government also is downgrading its advisory that Canadians avoid non-essential travel for the time being.

Feb 15, 2022

A key border crossing between Alberta and Montana, blocked for two weeks by a protest against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations, reopened today. RCMP said the last demonstrators had left peacefully and one organizer said they would have “loved to stay” but felt it was everyone’s best interests to leave.

Feb 15, 2022

After it had been blocked for several days by protests against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations, the Pacific Highway border crossing between B.C. and Washington state was back in business today. During the protest, the RCMP, who arrested more than a dozen persons, had had diverted traffic to other crossings.

Feb 15, 2022

Peter Sloly resigned as Ottawa Police Service Chief today amid criticism of his acknowledged inability to control of the trucker blockade which has paralyzed the capital’s downtown core for three weeks. The Police Services Board called the “embarrassing” a “carnival of chaos.” Deputy Police Chief Steve Bell will be interim Chief for the time being.

Feb 15, 2022

Russia said today that some of the 130,000 troops massed along its border with Ukraine would be returning to their bases after participating in exercises. There were no details but Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “we’ll believe . . . when we see troops pulling out.”

Feb 15, 2022

Even as one of the organizers of the ongoing protest in Ottawa against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations vowed Feb. 14 not to yield in the face of the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said it worries about legislative overreach. It said it does not believe the “high and clear” threshold for invocation has been met and its executive director warned that it “threatens our democracy.”

Feb 14, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that Canada is providing Ukraine with $7.8 million worth of weapons and ammunition as it faces the prospect of a Russian invasion. He also said the government is increasing its financial support with a new $500 million loan atop $120 million offered in January.

Feb 14, 2022

Federal invocation of the Emergencies Act in response to blockages by opponents of mandatory coronavirus vaccination isn’t sitting well with several provinces. The premiers of Quebec and the three Prairie provinces each decried the move which also will see the federal government track down the source of donations to the protests as well as going after individual truckers’ assets.

Feb 14, 2022

RCMP in Alberta today arrested 11 members of a “small organized group” of armed protesters participating in a blockade at the province’s border with Montana, a key crossing for trade in both directions. Executing a search warrant on three vehicles, officers found 13 long guns, several handguns, a large quantity of ammunition and high-capacity magazines, body armour and a machete. “The group was said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade,” the RCMP said.

Feb 14, 2022

For the first time since it replaced the War Measures Act in 1988, the Emergencies Act was invoked today by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a move to clear out a massive coronavirus protest which has paralyzed Ottawa’s core for more than three weeks. The PM informed provincial and territorial leaders of what he described as a time-limited and geographically-targetted initiative which would not impinge on Charter rights or involve the military. The legislation authorizes the federal government to prohibit travel within a specified area, remove personal property, and fine or detain protestors.

Feb 14, 2022

Although Ontario plans to end its coronavirus “passport” program March 1 and capacity limits on indoor public settings will be eliminated, current mask requirement would remain in effect. The government said today that it would “lift proof of vaccination requirements for all settings (but) businesses and other settings may choose to continue to require proof of vaccination."

Feb 14, 2022

The approximately 260 Canadian military trainers deployed to Operation Unifier in Ukraine have been “temporarily” moved to Poland amid growing concerns about a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Canadian embassy in Kyiv has relocated to the western city of Lviv near the Polish border.

Feb 14, 2022

Even though the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s main operational focus is abroad, two Democrat members of the Senate intelligence committee say it has conducted warrantless dometic surveillance through a newly disclosed program. They have called for declassifying details of the program which senior intelligence had denied under oath to Congress. The CIA released one declassified report last week but withheld another, citing the need to protect “sensitive tradecraft methods and operational sources.”

Feb 14, 2022

With work on installation of a transatlantic submarine telecommunications cable for Facebook set to begin as soon as this week off southern Nova Scotia. However, the Atlantic Groundfish Council says “consultation here was largely non-existent” even though the area is being considered for “protected” designation and the fishing industry had proposed an alternate route.

Feb 14, 2022

The Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit was reopened late Feb. 13 after police, acting on a court injunction, ended a blockade by protesters objecting to mandatory coronavirus vaccinations. The bridge has a daily bilateral trade flow worth hundreds of millions of dollars daily and politicians on both sides of the border decried the economic impact of the protest.

Feb 11, 2022

Ontario Premier Doug Ford today invoked an immediate stage of emergency in response to truck convoy protests that have disrupted a key border crossing between Windsor and Detroit. “While these emergency orders will be temporary, we have every intention to bring new legislation forward that will make these measures permanent in law,” he said. In addition to all border crossings, the legislation would apply to airports, ports and railways and failure to comply could mean stiff fines or jail time.

Feb 11, 2022

The trade-disrupting blockade of the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit has prompted Elissa Slotkin, a member of the House of Representatives from Michigan, to call for less reliance on Canadian imports, particularly those within a tightly-integrated cross-border automobile industry. “When our manufacturing is outsourced too much, we end up paying the price,” she says. “It doesn’t matter if it's an adversary or an ally — we can't be this reliant on parts coming from foreign countries.”

Feb 11, 2022

President Emmanuel Macron announced Feb. 10 that his country plans to build up to 14 new nuclear reactors in a bid to reduce greenhouse gases and provide a buffer against volatile energy prices. Plans for an initial six reactors are confirmed and Macron said eight more are being considered. Construction is to begin in 2028 with a view to commissioning by 2035.

Feb 10, 2022

The Canadian government was urged by the U.S. administration today to legislate an end to the trade-disrupting blockade of the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit by opponents of mandatory coronavirus vaccinations. Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg proposed the measure and offered unspecified help in calls to their counterparts, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

Feb 10, 2022

Dozens of SpaceX communications satellites were knocked out of orbit by a solar geomagnetic storm a day after being launched Feb. 3. The company said “each satellite achieved controlled flight” before the storm hit at least 40 of them.

Feb 10, 2022

Ottawa’s police service, international airport and a city council meeting evidently were targetted today by groups opposed to mandatory coronavirus vaccination. The police said their 911 and non-emergency lines were flooded with illegal calls. Meanwhile, protesters circled around the airport’s main access ring for two hours, causing ground traffic delays but not affecting aircraft departures or arrivals, and the council meeting was hacked briefly.

Feb 10, 2022

Canada's population grew at a faster rate than most of its economic peers in the past five years, reaching to more than 36.99 million last May 11, census day, despite a deceleration attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. Growth since 2016 was 6.2 per cent, nearly double that of the other G-7 members and faster than during the five previous years.

Feb 10, 2022

Even though many truck drivers are owner-operators, companies which employ many of them are unhappy with their corporate logos appearing in coronavirus protest rallies. They are reacting to their names and logos having been posted on an Ottawa-based website.

Feb 10, 2022

Scientists at the British-based JET Laboratory claimed a major breakthrough in their quest to develop practical nuclear fusion which ultimately could yield virtually unlimited amounts of low-carbon low-radiation energy. By squeezing together two forms of hydrogen together, they reportedly produced 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds, more than double their previous record yield in tests conducted in 1997.

Feb 10, 2022

Fifty-five of the wealthiest countries are being pressed by the World Health Organization to come up with the equivalent of US$23 billion to support its efforts to stop the coronavirus pandemic in low- and middle-income countries. The WHO said Feb. 9 that the funds would go to its Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator program which develops and distributes tests and treatments.

Feb 10, 2022

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said Feb. 9 that his government will begin easing some coronavirus restrictions next week, the first of a three-stage attempt to return to normalcy. “The more we let COVID control our daily lives, the longer we will see the negative impacts, especially on our children and in our seniors,” he said.

Feb 10, 2022

The ongoing blockade of the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit by vaccine protesters forced Ford to shut down its engine plant in Windsor and reduce operations at its assembly plant in Oakville west of Toronto. The bridge carries 25 per cent of all trade and manufacturers on both sides of the border are reporting supply-chain issues.

Feb 09, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron says he reassured by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a recent visit to Moscow that there would be “no deterioration or escalation” in Russia’s troop buildup along its border with Ukraine. assured him that Russian forces would not ramp up the crisis near Ukraine's borders. However, the Kremlin has said that any suggestion of such a guarantee was not “right.”

Feb 09, 2022

The U.S. Justice Department has announced the seizure of more than $3.6 billion in stolen cryptocurrency and the arrest of a New York couple it accused of conspiring to launder the proceeds. Officials linked the recovered amount to a hack of a virtual currency exchange nearly six years ago. “The message to criminals is clear: cryptocurrency is not a safe haven,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said. “We can, and we will, follow the money, no matter what form it takes.”

Feb 09, 2022

Premier François Legault says Quebec intends to lift nearly all coronavirus-related public health restrictions by mid-March as a step toward learning to live with the virus. Several measures, including mandatory masking in restaurants and private home gatherings, are to be lifted this weekend but mask requirements and the vaccine passport would remain in effect for the time being.

Feb 09, 2022

Nearly three months after Canada blocked shipments of Prince Edward Island potatoes to the U.S. due to concerns about a fungus found on a couple of farms, the U.S. is permitting shipments to Puerto Rico. The territory, which has no domestic potato farming, normally gets at least 80 per cent of its potatoes from PEI which, in turn, account for about a quarter of the province’s potato exports. Since the fungus can affect yields, the rest of the U.S. market remains closed for the time being.

Feb 09, 2022

Effective today, Alberta scrapped its proof-of-vaccination system and gave notice that next week, masks would not be required of students in school and children younger than 12 would not require masks at any time. Premier Jason Kenney said his plan charts a path to “move on from a widespread pandemic response, to get our lives back to normal.”

Feb 09, 2022

Joel Lightbound, a Liberal MP from the Quebec City region since 2015, broke rank in his caucus this week by criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and provincial governments for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic and a spate of protests against mandatory vaccinations. “I fear that this politicization of the pandemic risks undermining the public's trust in our public health institutions,” he said. “This is not a risk we ought to be taking lightly.”

Feb 08, 2022

Delegations from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, France, Germany and the U.S. were meeting with Iranian officials in Vienna today for a ninth round of talks about salvaging Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal which the U.S. walked away from in 2015. U.S. economic sanctions remain a key hurdle as Iran continues to ramp up developments it says are for peaceful purposes.

Feb 08, 2022

Traffic entering and leaving Canada across the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit, Mich., was blocked Feb. 7 by Canadian demonstrators opposed to mandatory coronavirus vaccination. Organizers said they had no plans to leave.

Feb 08, 2022

Anti-vaccine mandate protesters are again preventing traffic from crossing the Alberta-Montana border in both directions. Drivers of trucks and other vehicles began their blockade Feb. 5 in solidarity with protests elsewhere. Having compromised international trade and stranding travellers, the organizers agreed to a single open lane last week only to shut it down again Feb. 7.

Feb 08, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on the organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” to wind up their protest which has paralyzed downtown Ottawa for more than a week. They were “trying to blockade our economy, our democracy and our fellow citizens' daily lives,” he said during an emergency parliamentary debate Feb. 7. “The people of Ottawa don't deserve to be harassed in their own neighbourhoods.”

Feb 08, 2022

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Feb. 7 that U.S. Republicans who support some Canadians' opposition to mandatory coronavirus vaccinations should mind their own business. The politicians who support the various trucker-led convoys include former President Donald Trump who said Prime Justin Trudeau has “destroyed Canada with insane COVID mandates.”

Feb 07, 2022

Christians tread where GoFundMe won’t After GoFundMe announced that it had frozen at least $8 million in donations to the “Freedom Convoy” that has paralyzed downtown Ottawa for 11 days, a U.S.-based Christian crowdfunding organization has raised more than $3.5 million as of today. The development is raising concerns about possible foreign interference, among other things.

Feb 07, 2022

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says the COVID-19 virus pandemic response is shifting to a stage where it could be handled like other seasonal illness such as influenza. “What we need to do . . . is recognize this virus is not going to disappear,” she said Feb. 5. “We do need to get back to some normalcy” which means “learning to live with the virus.”

Feb 07, 2022

Candice Bergen, the Manitoba MP who is interim leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Commons, advised senior caucus members last week not to tell members of the anti-vaccination convoy to leave Ottawa. She said in an email that because the mood of the protest “may shift soon,” the Official Opposition should “make the protests the prime minister’s problem” in seeking a peaceful solution to the blockade.

Feb 07, 2022

Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson has quit the Conservative caucus because it had not condemned the trucker anti-vaccination convoy that had paralyzed the capital for a week. He said on the weekend that he is “very disappointed that I have not seen in our current leadership a condemnation of the continued lawless occupation, hostage-taking of the downtown core in the heart of our parliamentary democracy.”

Feb 07, 2022

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is pressing the government to prohibit Nazi, Ku Klux Klan and Confederate symbols. “It’s very clear what they stand for and it’s very clear they should not have any place in Canada,” he said Feb. 7 “Hate is very much like a fire; once it’s allowed to take hold, it spreads and it starts consuming everything.”

Feb 07, 2022

Diversity, Inclusion and Youth Minister Ahmed Hussen says the federal government will introduce new draft legislation he says will address racial and religious hatred, adding that “seeing symbols of hate right across the doorstep of our Parliament” during the protests against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations was “unbelievable and should be condemned.” A previous bill, C-36, was generally seen as problematic on several fronts.

Feb 04, 2022

The entire North American supply chain is being frustrated by a lack of U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking assets on the Great Lakes, according to a coalition of shipping interests. “The men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard do the best they can with the resources they are provided, says Jim Weakley, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force and the Lake Carriers’ Association. “Unfortunately, they do not have enough icebreakers to keep the system operating efficiently.”

Feb 04, 2022

The Ottawa Police Service said today that it will increase its presence and further restrict access to the city's downtown core as it prepares for another weekend of noisy protests by anti-vaccination activists. The OPS “surge and contain strategy” will involve traffic control barricades and more aggressive law enforcement, including downtown neighbourhood patrols to address residents’ concerns about protesters’ abusive behaviour.

Feb 04, 2022

The Quebec legislature is essentially surrounded by provincial police in anticipation of the arrival of a weekend “freedom convoy” opposed to mandatory coronavirus vaccinations. A convoy organizer said Feb. 3 that the weekend protest is not designed “to jam up the city” but simply to be “heard.” Premier François Legault said protests are acceptable but that the capital’s residents must not be prevented from “functioning normally.”

Feb 04, 2022

Lithuania’s decision to accept a Taiwanese “representative” in Vilnius has backfired badly for the Baltic state which used to do more than $500 million in annual business with China. There was immediage diplomatic recalls but China also has delisted Lithuania from its customs register, which means, according to Deputy foreign Minister Mantas Adomėnas, that “anyone who tried to declare cargo coming from Lithuania would simply not find this country on the database.”

Feb 04, 2022

California-based GoFundMe has been asked to explain “as soon as possible” to a House of Commons committee how it would manage releasing more than $10 million donated to the antivaccination protest which has shut down central Ottawa for more than a week. Among other things, the committee said Feb. 3 that it wants reassurance that donations are “not being used to promote extremism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism and other forms of hate, which have been expressed among prominent organizers for the truck convoy.”

Feb 03, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that using the military to end the anti-vaccination protest which has paralyzed the capital’s downtown core and spread into nearby neighbourhoods is “not in the cards” for the present. “One has to be very, very cautious before deploying military in situations engaging Canadians,” he said, explaining that the government had received no request for military intervention.

Feb 03, 2022

A proposed European Commission plan to designate nuclear and natural gas power plants as “green energy” sources if they meet “sustainable investment” targets is proving politically divisive. “I cannot understand the decision,” says Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, supporting a proposed challenge in the European Court of Justice. Luxembourg has said it would join the lawsuit.

Feb 03, 2022

The U.S. plans to keep the International Space Station operating until the end of 2030, after which it will be moved out of the orbit it has occupied since 2000 and allowed to crash into the South Pacific at “Point Nemo”, the furthest point from any land at 48.52.6S 123.23.6W. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Jan. 31 that it will instead rely on commercially-operated platforms.

Feb 03, 2022

The deaths of at least 19 migrants due to exposure this week in a Turkish town near the Greek border as a winter storm blanketed the region has each counry blaming the other. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Feb. 2 that the migrants from an undetermined third country were stripped of their shoes and clothing before they were turned away by Greek border officials.

Feb 03, 2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in Kyiv today for talks with his counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, about possibly mediating between Ukraine and Russia.

Feb 03, 2022

A fund-raising initiative which has generated more than $10 million on behalf of trucker protests against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations was suspended Feb. 2 by the GoFundMe platform, which generates its own operation with transaction fees. There have been concerns about foreign contributions, prompting California-based GFM to ensure the support “complies with our terms of service and applicable laws and regulations.”

Feb 02, 2022

Ottawa police reported today that they had arrested a third person in connection with threats and comments made on social media as the massive truckers’ “Freedom Convoy” continued to paralyze the downtown core and spill into neighbourhoods. “We want to be very clear, both for the current demonstrations and any planned demonstrations: Illegal activity will not be tolerated,” the police said.

Feb 02, 2022

More RCMP officers were called up today to help deal with a blockaded southern Alberta crossing into Montana cause by truckers protesting mandatory coronavirus vaccination. RCMP were prepared to make arrests Feb. 1 as the protest began its fourth day but backed off due to safety concerns as vehicles sped through roadblocks to join the blockade.

Feb 02, 2022

The World Health Organization says that a recently discovered subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus confirmed in 57 countries. Epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on the pandemic, said Feb. 1 that initial data indicated that the subvariant was found to have “a slight increase in growth rate” but that there was “no indication that there is a change in severity.”

Feb 01, 2022

Quebec Premier François Legault has abandoned a tax he proposed a month ago on people not vaccinated against the coronavirus. “I understand that this divides Quebecers and right now we need to build bridges,” he said today. “My role is to try to bring Quebecers together to stay united as a people.

Feb 01, 2022

In his first public comments about the Ukrainian situation since December, Russian President Vladimir Putin today accused the U.S. of trying to spark armed conflict. “Their most important task is to contain Russia’s development,” he said. “Ukraine is just an instrument of achieving this goal.”

Feb 01, 2022

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says he welcomes a vote on his leadership after 17 months on the job. “I'm not going anywhere and I'm not turning back,” he said in a Jan. 31 statement. “It’s time for a reckoning. To settle this in caucus . . . once and for all.” He challenged two particularly strident Eastern Ontario MPs, saying “there are two roads open to the Conservative Party of Canada. One is the road of Randy Hillier and Derek Sloan. It is angry, negative, and extreme. It is a dead end.”

Feb 01, 2022

Amnesty International said in a report today that Israel’s laws, policies and practices against Palestinians constitute “an institutionalized regime of oppression” which amounts to apartheid, the defunct South African racist policy now considered a crime against humanity under international law. Israel said it “absolutely rejects all the false allegations” in the report which it said fuels “the fire of anti-Semitism.”

Feb 01, 2022

A new law making coronavirus vaccination mandatory for Austrians over the age of 18 goes into effect Feb. 3, a first in Europe where several countries have introduced mandates for the elderly or medical staff. EU and Constitution Minister Karoline Edtstadler says it is “justifiable . . . interference with human rights” because vaccination is the only way back to “a normal life.”

Feb 01, 2022

The U.S. and European allies appear on the cusp of restoring the deal that limited Iran’s nuclear program, but a State Department official said Jan. 31 that it now is up to the new government in Tehran. The cost of relief from international sanctions would be dismantling much of Iran’s nuclear production equipment.

Jan 31, 2022

Effective today, 65,000 Belgian government employees are free to disconnect from work by not responding to email or phone calls after regular hours as the government addresses what it sees as a blurring of the line between work and personal lives that has occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. There will be backups in place but Public Administration Minister Petra De Sutter believes the new approach will improve efficiency

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