In the News

Apr 09, 2020

Divisions within the European Union over how member states deal with COVID-19’s economic impact are seen by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte as an existential threat to the EU. His warning comes as Italy and others press more fiscally-conservative member states to assume more debt through so-called “corona bonds.”

Apr 09, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin is pressing on with creating a domestic internet as his administration gives his internet and media regulator more authority to make that happen. One journalist notes that the communications ministry, which “used to be the only agency that opposed the most odious legislative initiatives to regulate the network," now will “toe the government line.”

Apr 08, 2020

Former Vice-President Joe Biden is now the presumptive Democratic Party nominee to challenge Donald Trump for the U.S. presidency in November. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race 08 April with no realistic path to the nomination after a series of lopsided losses to Biden in key state votes in the past couple of months.

Apr 08, 2020

The ongoing and politically-contentious scramble to secure personal protective equipment is giving procurement gurus a chance to say “I told you so.” Successive federal governments have been pressed to develop a list of strategic sectors not dependent on foreign suppliers but, as pointed out recently by Health Minister Patty Hajdu, the call has been essentially ignored. Now Alan Williams, a former Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) at the Department of National Defence, is joining the debate, saying that “we've been totally negligent.”

Apr 08, 2020

Technical issues with a recent webinar have prompted the body tasked with implementing the U.S. Department of Defence’s cybersecurity certification to rethink its approach. The webinar ended abruptly 06 April before the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Accreditation Body could present content needed for the “national conversation.” The body’s chairman has confirmed that a restructured approach would be published “shortly.”

Apr 08, 2020

The increasingly popular Zoom videoconferencing application, already the focus of concerns about its security, has been banned from government operations in Taiwan. The decision was taken in response to some Zoom proceedings having been routed through China, which still considers Taiwan as a “rogue state” rather than an independent nation.

Apr 08, 2020

An unidentified Israeli has been indicted on charges of spying for Iran and conspiring with that country’s intelligence apparatus to recruit Israeli Arabs for terrorist attacks. Shin Bet says that when he was arrested in March, the man was in possession of an encryption device and that he had been in contact with a Lebanese member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Apr 07, 2020

The head of a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee overseeing U.S. COVID-19 relief funds is being ousted by President Donald Trump less than a week after he was appointed by an inter-agency group of officials. Glenn Fine, the acting Defense Department inspector general since before Trump took office in 2016, is being replaced by Sean O’Donnell, his counterpart at the Environmental Protection Agency. When he was at the Justice Department, Fine earned a reputation for independence in the aftermath of the September 2011 terrorist attacks.

Apr 07, 2020

After President Donald Trump railed on social media about Minnesota-based 3M exporting personal protective equipment to Canada and Latin America, the company has struck a deal with the White House that should resolve the issue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 06 April that that Canada had been having problems for weeks with incomplete or non-delivery of COVID-19 countermeasures.

Apr 07, 2020

President Donald Trump has given a new committee 120 days to complete national security reviews of foreign telecommunications providers’ proposed operations within the U.S. The executive order issued 04 April comes as the Trump administration tries to balance national economic priorities against a crackdown on Chinese service providers considered security threats.

Apr 07, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care in a London hospital after his COVID-19 symptoms worsened. While he has received “oxygen support,” Johnson was not on a ventilator, and his Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, is standing in.

Apr 07, 2020

As the federal government continues to weigh its options on 5G communications, the Chinese telecom giant Huawei has donated more than a million masks, 30,000 goggles and 50,000 pair of gloves to Canada’s COVID-19 campaign. This was after Health Minister Patty Hajdu had confirmed that chronic underfunding had left Canada’s stockpile of personal protective equipment ill-equipped to handle a pandemic.

Apr 07, 2020

At a time when tensions between Russia and its Arctic neighbours are increasing, its interests and ambitions in the region for at least the next 15 years are essentially unchanged. A new paper from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, comparing Russia’s latest policy framework with one published in 2008, indicates that the Arctic remains the main resource base for economic growth.

Apr 06, 2020

Police in Tunis are using at least one home-grown robot to ensure that residents of the Tunisian capital are complying with a COVID-19 lockdown. Developed by Enova Robotics and using thermal imaging and lidar, the four-wheeled unit enables monitoring personnel to ask pedestrians to present ID and other documents to justify their presence outdoors.

Apr 06, 2020

President Donald Trump has dismissed Michael Atkinson, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community who first alerted Congress last year to the whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment trial. Trump told Congress 03 April that he had lost confidence in the official, who was appointed in May 2018, and who was immediately put on administrative leave until his dismissal became official in 30 days.

Apr 05, 2020

As the Canadian Armed Forces prepares to respond to requests for assistance from federal, provincial or municipal governments, local residents can expect to see military personnel and vehicles from on the roads as they travel to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden on Monday April 6, 2020.

Apr 02, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is “realistic” to expect that measures to control COVID-19 could remain in effect “for a number of more weeks, perhaps more months.” Government modelling suggests that a best-case scenario indicates that current measure continue “until at least July.” Trudeau says that while social distancing and self-isolation are effective, vigilance and more public cooperation are key to beating the pandemic.

Apr 02, 2020
Health Minister Patty Hajdu suggests that decades of government underfunding are responsible for a current shortage of emergency gear needed to combat COVID-19. Shortages of masks and other equipment have forced the government to try to secure supplies in a competitive global environment.
Apr 02, 2020

The U.S. was warned in 2017 that it lacked adequate medical supplies and bedspace to deal with a novel corona virus outbreak. The Department of Defense predicted in a report that “the most likely and significant threat is a novel respiratory disease” of a type common around the world.

Apr 01, 2020

The next UN climate change summit, scheduled for Glasgow, Scotland, in November, has been been postponed to sometime in 2021 due to concerns about the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was announced 01 April by British Business Minister Alok Sharma, who was to preside over the 26th annual gathering.

Apr 01, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants Parliament recalled again to deal with proposed legislation which would provide for additional financial support for Canadians and businesses economically impacted by COVID-19. Meanwhile, Finance Department officials expect the support to be available in three to six weeks.

Apr 01, 2020

Corrections Canada and the National Parole Board have been asked by Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to consider early release of some inmates due to concerns about COVID-19 in crowded facilities. The potential health impact on prison staff also is a key consideration.

Apr 01, 2020

While NATO is not a humanitarian relief agency, Elisabeth Braw, who directs the Modern Deterrence program at the Royal United Services Institute in London, says it could play a key role in tacking the COVID-19. Although not the kind of “attack” foreseen in the alliance’s treaty, it is nonetheless the worst national security crisis to hit any of its member states. She suggests its “formidable” resources could play a pivotal role in not only dealing with this enemy while also proving NATO’s worth as a mutual defence alliance.

Apr 01, 2020

Hungary’s parliament has given Prime Minister Viktror Orban’s government the power to rule by decree for as long as the country’s COVID-19 state of emergency remains in effect. Among other things, the legislation provides for prison terms for spreading false information or interfering with efforts to contain the outbreak.

Mar 31, 2020

The growing uncertainty about the extent of the potential spread of COVID-19 has prompted the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries to cancel this year’s CANSEC trade show, scheduled for 27-28 May. CADSI President Christyn Cianfarani said 31 March the organization took the decision only after exploring “every possible option” with the City of Ottawa, the industry and contractors.

Mar 31, 2020

Former public safety minister Ralph Goodale has been appointed special adviser to the federal government as it continues to tackle Iran’s missile attack on a Ukrainian International Airlines flight in January. All 176 persons aboard, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 Canadian permanent residents died. “The families and loved ones of the victims deserve to know how and why it happened," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

Mar 31, 2020

A federal wage subsidy announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is designed to cover 75 per cent of wages and salaries, is being made available to all employers which can demonstrate sharp drops in revenues attributable to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the PM warned 30 March that while the program largely relies on an honour system for eligibility, there would be “serious consequences” for employers who try to “game” the program.

Mar 31, 2020

Muscovites woke up to a COVID-19 lockdown 30 March, part of an Russian government attempt to prevent the spread of the novel corona virus. President Vladimir Putin warned regional politicians that they would be personally responsible for the availability of beds, ventilators and other key equipment.

Mar 31, 2020

A formal framework for safeguarding 5G telecommunications in the U.S. has been released by the administration. Its seven-page policy document sets out President Donald Trump’s “vision for America to lead the development, deployment, and management of secure and reliable 5G communications infrastructure worldwide, arm-in-arm with closest partners and allies.”

Mar 31, 2020

In a letter to Department of Defense leaders, a group of major suppliers is warning that the DoD’s cybersecurity plan could actually create risks by creating an atmosphere of confusion. They contend that key elements of the plan lack sufficient clarity and predictability.

Mar 30, 2020

The huge numbers of employees working from home due to COVID-19 concerns, away from their employers’ IT resources, evidently are being targeted anew by fraudsters. False messages about employment insurance claims or from bogus health-related companies and government agencies are being used to steal personal data or to spread malware.

Mar 30, 2020

Domestic intercity or interprovincial airline or train travel by anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms is prohibited as of noon 30 March. Announcing the federal government’s decision, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government’s preference is for Canadians to “stay home if it’s not absolutely essential” to travel. Interprovincial bus service is a provincial jurisdiction.

Mar 29, 2020

With its "Foundations of State Policy in the Arctic to 2035", Russia is seeking to persuade more people to live in its energy-rich Arctic regions as part of a 15-year strategy plan signed by President Vladimir Putin.

Mar 27, 2020

The Conservative party has suspended its leadership race indefinitely in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and has shelved a membership vote scheduled for 27 June. “It is no longer possible to meet the deadlines necessary to process memberships and donations, or print, process and count ballots in time,” the party said 26 March.

Mar 27, 2020

Flooded with thousands of phone calls and emails from Canadians stranded abroad by governments’ border closures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Global Affairs Canada is operating around the clock with extended resources. Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne says that “on any given day we likely have somewhere around 200 to 250 people and volunteers from across the department who are contributing their time and their energy."

Mar 27, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, having tested positive for COVID-19, is self-isolating at his official residence while continuing to oversee his government’s handling of the novel corona virus outbreak. He made his statement shortly before health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that he too has tested positive.

Mar 27, 2020

The Bank of Canada reduced its key lending rate to 0.25 per cent 27 March in what Governor Stephen Poloz described as a bid to cushion the economic shock of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now at its “effective lower bound,” the rate has been reduced three times from 1.75 per cent at the beginning of the month.

Mar 26, 2020

Career diplomat Kirsten Hillman was confirmed 26 March as Canada’s new Ambassador to the U.S. A former assistant deputy minister at Global Affairs Canada, she was appointed Deputy Ambassador in 2017 and had been acting ambassador since the resignation last summer of her predecessor, David MacNaughton. Hillman was central in the 13 months of negotiations for the new North American trade pact.

Mar 26, 2020

The prospect of U.S. troops being stationed at the border with Canada is constrained by an 1878 act of Congress. The original Posse Comitatus Act limited federal use of the Army to enforce domestic policies at home and a 1956 amendment added the U.S. Air Force. Last updated in 1981, it does not apply to the Navy or Marine Corps nor does it prevent state-level use of National Guard personnel on home soil.

. . . but there are legal constraints
Mar 26, 2020

The prospect of U.S. troops being stationed at the border with Canada is constrained by an 1878 act of Congress. The original Posse Comitatus Act limited federal use of the Army to enforce domestic policies at home and a 1956 amendment added the U.S. Air Force. Last updated in 1981, it does not apply to the Navy or Marine Corps nor does it prevent state-level use of National Guard personnel on home soil.

Mar 26, 2020

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was charged in absentia by the U.S. 26 March for alleged drug trafficking. Charges also have been laid against other members of his government as well as intelligence officials and members of the Colombia-based FARC rebel group.

Mar 26, 2020

A seven-page document released by the U.S. administration sets out its strategy for 5G telecommunications infrastructure “arm-in-arm with closest partners and allies.” Its release marks the administration’s initial move to meet requirements in new legislation President Donald Trump signed earlier this week.

Mar 26, 2020

The answer, apparently, is a lot. It’s being reported that U.S. insistence on calling COVID-19 the “Wuhan virus” scuttled plans for a statement by the G7 Economic Summit countries to issue a joint statement on their campaign against the novel corona virus. Other foreign ministers disagreed when Secretary of State Mike insisted the virus be referred to by the name of the Chinese city where the outbreak began.

Mar 25, 2020

Effective at midnight 25 March, most travellers returning home to Canada are legally required to self-quarantine for 14 days, the only exception being essential workers. Confirmed by Health Minister Patty Hajdu, the measure designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 is the government’s response to situations in which some returnees essentially ignored requests that they go into voluntary self-isolation.

Mar 25, 2020

Federal legislation designed to provide an array of financial support to companies and Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic received Royal Assent 25 March. The House of Commons had passed Bill C-13 earlier in the day after opposition concerns about government fiscal over-reach had been addressed. The Senate passed it a short time later before referring it to the Governor General for final approval.

Mar 25, 2020

The U.S. government executive branch is now legally obliged to develop a strategy for securing 5G and subsequent generations of communications technologies. President Donald Trump signed off on the Secure 5G and Beyond Act even as his administration continues to press its allies to eschew foreign companies such as China’s Huawei.

Mar 25, 2020

The House of Commons has passed a bill to enact the government's $82-billion COVID-19 economic aid package and referred it to the Senate for approval. However, Bill C-13’s parliamentary progress wasn’t as smooth as the government had hoped because opposition parties objected to extraordinary powers it would have given the government through to 2021.

Mar 24, 2020

A day after India grounded all domestic air travel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that as of midnight 24 March, there will be “a total ban” on residents leaving their homes for three weeks. It was unclear, however, how citizens could have access to food and other necessities.

Mar 24, 2020

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said 23 March that there is “a special place in hell” for hoarders and fraudsters capitalizing on the COVID-19 crisis. Calling it “completely un-Canadian,” he promised that offenders would “face the full force of the law.”

Mar 24, 2020

Even as various state governments intensify their crackdown on COVID-19, President Donald Trump said 23 March that “America will again, and soon, be open for business.” He had used social media a few hours earlier to state that “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself” and that “we will make a decision” by the end of the month.

Mar 24, 2020

Chinese officials said 24 March that the COVID-19 lockdown in Wuhan, the original epicentre for the global viral pandemic, will be partly lifted 08 April and that travel restrictions in the rest of Hubei province will be lifted earlier for demonstrably healthy residents.

Mar 24, 2020

Having failed to convince feuding Afghan presidential foes to resolve an ongoing dispute over who should lead their country, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced a $1 billion cut in aid this year. He also said in a 23 March statement that a similar amount would be cut in 2021 and that all other programs and project funding would be reviewed.

Mar 23, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 23 March that Canadians should “go home and stay home” as well as practise social-distancing if they don’t want to contribute to the spread of COVIS-19. “If you choose to ignore that advice…you’re not just putting yourself at risk, you’re putting others at risk.” He also reiterated that nothing is “off the table” in terms of enforcement measures to curb large groups. “Enough is enough,” he said. “People need to stay at home as much as possible.”

Mar 23, 2020

Britons who continue to assemble in large groups as diagnoses and deaths from COVID-19 continue to increase have been warned of “further measures” unless they heed their government’s advice on social distancing. “If you don’t do it responsibly,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said 22 March, “we will have to bring forward further measures.”

Mar 23, 2020

The German government is prohibiting public “gatherings” of more than two people as it steps up efforts to contain COVID-19. Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a televised address 22 March that “our own behaviour” was the most effective way to slow the infection rate. The only exceptions to the are groups from the same household or the gathering is work-related.

Mar 23, 2020

The Communications Security Establishment says it has taken down a number of fraudulent COVID-19 sites spoofing the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada Revenue, and most recently, Canada Border Services Agency. The RCMP says fraudsters posing as the PHAC have told targets that they have tested positive for the virus and should provide credit card information to obtain prescription medicine.

Mar 23, 2020

President Donald Trump, scheduled to host a G-7 economic summit at Camp David in June, now says it will be a videoconference because of COVID-19. His spokesman also says other G-7 leaders’ virtual meetings, like one earlier this month, can be expected in April and May.

Mar 23, 2020

As the incidence of COVID-19 continues to grow in the U.S., National Guard personnel have been deployed in the three hardest-hit states: New York, California and Washington. The federal government is covering the entire cost rather than the usual 75 per cent.

Mar 23, 2020

A former national security advisor to the British government is recommending that plans to complete an integrated review of defense, security, foreign policy and development should be put on hold. Peter Rickets echoes others in warning a parliamentary committee that the review, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in December, will suffer from being rushed.

Mar 23, 2020

The federal government is considering criminal penalties for travellers who ignore COVID-19 self-isolation recommendations on their return to Canada. Health Minister Patty Hajdu says “every measure in our toolbox” is being considered, including “monetary penalties up to and including criminal penalties” provided for in the Quarantine Act.

Mar 23, 2020

A quorum of approximately 30 Members of Parliament are being back to the House of Commons 24 March for a brief sitting to adopt a package of emergency measures designed to address the economic impact of COVID-19.

Mar 21, 2020

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the spreading COVID-19 outbreak reinforces a critical need for continued defence and security investments even as the virus impacts government budgets. “You have to remember that when NATO allies agreed to invest more in defense, they did so because we live in a more uncertain, unpredictable world,” he says. “By investing more in our security and armed forces, we’re providing surge capacity for all our societies to deal with unforeseen events.”

Mar 21, 2020

The Chief of the Defence Staff says the Canadian Armed Forces is preparing for continued outbreaks of COVID-19 for up to a year or more.  Gen Jonathan Vance says in a planning directive, which he calls a “worst-case scenario”, that calls for assistance will come from all levels of government and the private sector. He also says that rather than have the public think of armed troops during a crisis, “people need to see the response as more akin to a humanitarian response.”

Mar 20, 2020

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN from January 2017 to December 2018, has resigned from Boeing’s board of directors after the company sought government financial support as its business suffers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The former Governor of South Carolina, who was appointed as U.S. envoy by President Donald Trump and joined the Boeing board in early 2019, says she opposes any bailout “as a matter of philosophical principal.”

Mar 20, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 20 March that asylum-seekers trying to enter the country away from official border crossings will be returned to the U.S., part of a government-wide effort to contain COVID-19. Migrants have continued to arrive in a steady flow at one point in Quebec and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that although they do not represent a higher public health risk, monitoring and isolating them would be problematic. Trudeau said they are mostly persons who are legally in the U.S.

Mar 20, 2020

The number of “phishing” attacks against the public and private sectors evidently has increased since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Many are targeting employees working from home on virtual private networks as the coronavirus offers online thieves a “huge opportunity.”

Mar 19, 2020

The U.S. has imposed additional economic sanctions on Iran even as it offers to help Tehran to do deal with COVID-19. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. will maintain efforts to choke off Iran’s oil and is blacklisting three Iranians and nine South African, Hong Kong and Chinese “entities” for trading in Iranian petrochemicals.

Mar 19, 2020

Details are still being finalized with the U.S. but the border is expected to be closed to tourism and other non-essential travel late Friday. In the meantime, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 19 March, the government is working with airlines to facilitate Canadians’ return as soon as possible.

Mar 16, 2020

Effective 18 March at noon and with a few exceptions, Canada will permit entry only of citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families as part of a more restrictive approach to dealing with COVID-19. The exemptions confirmed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 16 March include air crews, diplomats and Americans. He also announced that arrivals from overseas will be processed only through Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver international airports.

Mar 16, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is “not taking anything off the table” when it comes to tackling the spreading COVCID-19 outbreak. Closing the borders to international travellers and making self-isolation were among the options discussed at a weekend cabineg meeting.

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