In the News

Nov 03, 2020

Be sure to check out the Senate of Canada building during Remembrance Week. The old train station, which once welcomed soldiers returning from war, will be illuminated every night with images of red poppies to honour those who lost their lives in war. 

Nov 03, 2020

Convicted in October 2019 for his part in the scam orchestrated by cyber criminals in China, which targeted the City of Ottawa’s treasurer and convinced her to send $128,000 to a fictitious U.S. firm two years ago, Elvin Lewis Jr., 54, has asked a judge to release him while he awaits sentencing. Claiming he is not a flight risk, he cited COVID-19 risk in his affidavit to be released. 

Nov 03, 2020

The Canadian Forces has spent more than $1 million to train its operatives on "behaviour modification" techniques for use in Canada. Examples include the mission to manage public perception surrounding Op Laser (COVID response) and the more bizarre mission that had our military creating and disseminating fake news and forged letters to warn the Nova Scotia public that wolves were causing problems in the province (which was untrue).

Nov 03, 2020

The RCMP plans to update training on how to de-escalate confrontations and to counter internal racism. “I’ve been listening; I’ve been learning,” Commissioner Brend Lucki told a parliamentary committee Nov. 2. The RCMP, which provides contract policing services in many provinces and the northern territories, has been under intense scrutiny in recent months.

Nov 02, 2020

Criticism that government guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic has been confusing has prompted Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, to explain that the advice has had to evolve alongside the science. Meanwhile, she says, “public health has always had key messages that were exactly the same.” These included social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and wearing masks.

Nov 02, 2020

The British government’s latest COVID-19 lockdown is officially due to end in a month but a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet isn’t discounting the prospect of an extension. Michael Gove says it is his “fervent hope” the latest initiative would end as hoped but that government would be “obviously guided by the facts.”

Nov 02, 2020

Citing “protests and demonstrations” in several U.S. cities, Australia is advising its citizens to avoid travelling to the U.S. However, if travel is necessary, it urges them to “avoid areas where protests are occurring due to the ongoing potential for violence” and to stay in touch with their embassy.

Oct 30, 2020

The B.C. Supreme Court judge hearing the case against Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive facing extradition to the U.S., has agreed to consider defence counsel arguments that the U.S. has misled Canada by omitting key elements of the case. Noting that a stay of proceedings is possible if Meng’s lawyers succeed, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said Oct. 29 that there is an “air of reality to Ms. Meng's allegations of abuse of process in relation to the requesting state's conduct.”

Oct 30, 2020

The U.S. is not ruling out further sanctions against Turkey if it makes its Russian anti-aircraft missile system fully operational. “Sanctions is very much something that is on the table,” says Assistant Secretary of State R. Clarke Cooper. “Operationalizing such an asset . . . incurs further risk of sanctions and further risks of restrictions.”

Oct 30, 2020

Rather deploying to Antarctica to support an annual resupply mission to the U.S. research stations, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Polar Star will be in the Arctic this winter in what the USCG says is a mission to protect maritime sovereignty and security. “The Arctic is . . . a region of growing national importance,” says VAdm Linda Fagan, commander of USCG Pacific.

Oct 29, 2020

During the televised news conference after a virtual EU-Canada Leaders Meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau condemned the recent terror attacks in France. "The criminals, terrorists, the cold-blooded murderers who perpetrated these attacks do not represent Islam. They do not get to define Muslims in Canada, in France, or anywhere around the world.

Oct 29, 2020

A knife-wielding attacker shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in what French officials described as a terrorist act at a church in the French city of Nice this morning. Within hours of the Nice attack, police killed a man who had been shouting "Allahu Akbar" and threatening passersby with a handgun near the southern French city of Avignon. Also on the same day, an Afghan national trying to board a tram with a 30cm knife was arrested in the southeastern French city of Lyon.

Oct 29, 2020

Three Brockville police officers have received a departmental commendation for their calm professionalism in coordinating a multi-point safety response while coaxing a suicidal woman down from her perch on a railway overpass.

Oct 29, 2020

The on-again off-again search for Jordan Naterer, who was headed out for a solo overnight hike along the Frosty Mountain Trail southeast of Hope, BC, has been called off again. Naterer was reported missing on October 10th, and his Newfoundland family is continuing the search with their own funds. 

Oct 29, 2020

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says fiscal stimulus and deficit spending are necessary to sustain the economy through the “coronavirus recession” and would be cut back only after widespread vaccination reins in COVID-19. She says “we have a moral imperative, but also a hard economic imperative … to provide our people and our businesses with a bridge to get through to the other side.”

Oct 29, 2020

The Bank of Canada plans to maintain its benchmark interest rate at 0.25 per cent at least until inflation returns to two per cent, which it says isn't likely until 2023. It also expects the Canadian economy to shrink by 5.7 per cent this year before beginning a slow rebound.

Oct 29, 2020

Australian research has identified 41 elections and seven referenda in which cyber-enabled foreign interference has been reported over the past decade, including an uptick since 2017. “Digitisation of election functions has dramatically widened the attack surface available to those who seek to disrupt democracy,” it says. “This has in large part been facilitated by the pervasive and persistent growth of social media and networking platforms.”

Oct 29, 2020

Faced with a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in many regions, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a second national lockdown until at least the end of November. Effective Oct. 30, most persons will be permitted to leave their homes only for essential work or medical reasons.

Oct 28, 2020

In a violation of U.S. election law, a member of the Canadian Senate, Lynn Beyak, donated to the Republican National Committee earlier this year, a move her office says was an “error”. Officially a resident of Dryden, Ont., she provided an address in New York on the donation form.

Oct 28, 2020

A class-action lawsuit filed against Facebook by two Calgary residents will seek $1,000 damages each on behalf of more than 600,000 other Canadians whose personal data may have been improperly used for political purposes. The suit also asks the Federal Court to order the social-media giant to bolster its security practices.

Oct 27, 2020

Veterinarians have started to detect leishmania in Canadian and U.S. dogs. This dangerous parasite can cause a flesh-eating disease in both animals and humans. Some forms of the disease can lead to severe disfigurement or even death. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are affected every year, but the parasite has largely remained out of North America, until now. The disease has been detected in dogs in 2 provinces and 18 states so far.

Oct 27, 2020

The Federal Court of Appeal has granted a request from the federal government to temporarily suspend a lower court’s decision that would have scrapped the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States at the end of January. By accepting the government’s application, the court is maintaining the status quo at the border, meaning asylum seekers will still be sent back to the U.S.

Oct 27, 2020

With NDP and Bloc Québécois support, the Conservatives succeeded in giving the House of Commons health committee a mandate to investigate the federal government's COVID-19 pandemic response. A motion approved by a vote of 176 to 152 authorizes the committee to call on the Liberals to disclose documents and to have key ministers testify.

Oct 27, 2020

Two Toronto federal constituencies remain in Liberal hands after Oct. 26 byelections. Toronto Centre candidate Marci Ien captured 42 per cent of the vote while, in York Centre, Ya'ara Saks won with 45.7 cent of the vote. The Liberals had captured more than 50 per cent of the vote in each riding in the 2019 general election.

Oct 27, 2020

Two Toronto federal constituencies remain in Liberal hands after Oct. 26 byelections. Toronto Centre candidate Marci Ien captured 42 per cent of the vote while, in York Centre, Ya'ara Saks won with 45.7 cent of the vote. The Liberals had captured more than 50 per cent of the vote in each riding in the 2019 general election.

Oct 27, 2020

B.C. Premier John Horgan evidently is on track to a legislative majority after an Oct. 24 general. He had a 41-seat minority government in the 87-seat legislature but indications are that his New Democratic Party would capture 55 seats in the latest vote once mailed ballots had been counted.

Oct 27, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has acknowledged that it uses a commercial database to track persons in the U.S. without legal warrants. Several Senators say the arm of the Department of Homeland Security has refused to provide legal justification.

Oct 27, 2020

The Chinese foreign ministry is planning to impose sanctions on Boeing’s defence division?, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and “revelevant American individuals” for supplying weapons to Taiwan. However, a ministry spokesman gave no further details.

Oct 27, 2020

A pledge by French President Emmanuel Macron to defend his country’s state secularism has prompted his Turkish counterpart, to call for a boycott of French products over what he considers “oppression against Muslims.” The interaction between the two NATO members follows the murder of a teacher in retaliation for his displaying contentious cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. 

Oct 26, 2020

The Angus Reid Institute says a new national poll indicates that nearly 40 per cent of Canadians believe there is a “serious problem” with how police interact with non-white people. However, calls in some communities to “defund” police are not widely endorsed.

Oct 26, 2020

A retired U.S. career diplomat says that Secretary of Statre mike Pompeo and his immediate predecessor, Rex Tillerson, have undermined and ultimately “weaponized the institution for the Trump administration’s domestic political objectives.”

Oct 26, 2020

A federal pilot program in Alberta will assess the feasibility of using rigorous COVID-19 testing and monitoring of visitors to reduce the legal requirement for 14-day quarantining. Beginning next week, the program will apply at the Coutts land border crossing with Montana and at Calgary International Airport.

Oct 26, 2020

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde wants RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to resign for having defended officers’ handling of a dispute between commercial lobster-fishers in Nova Scotia. Lucki says she has no plans to step down.

Oct 26, 2020

The U.S Coast Guard is deploying enhanced response cutters in the Western Pacific. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien says China’s “illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and harassment of vessels operating in the exclusive economic zones of other countries in the Indo-Pacific threatens our sovereignty, as well as the sovereignty of our Pacific neighbors and endangers regional stability.”

Oct 26, 2020

Roman Waschuk, Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine from 2014 to 2019, says Canada’s presence in Eastern Europe shows that while we have military “bite” there, it could benefit from added “bark” in regional discussions.

Oct 26, 2020

A number of national security court cases could be undermined if information about intelligence-sharing is compelled during testimony, according to a briefing note prepared for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. The question essentially pits the Canadian Security Intelligence Service against the Department of Justice.

Oct 26, 2020

RCMP and Border Services Agency officers who detained Hauwei executive Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 are to be grilled by defence lawyers. They characterize the Canadian permanent resident’s arrest as part of a plan to violate her Charter rights in a bid to have her extradited to the U.S.

Oct 26, 2020

Five days of talks in Geneva have yielded a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement between Libya's warring factions. UN envoy Stephanie Williams, former Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, says that “all military units and armed groups on the front lines shall return to their camps” and that this would be “accompanied by the departure of all mercenaries and foreign fighters . . . within a maximum period of three months.”

Oct 23, 2020

After a record 41,622 confirmed COVID-19 cases in one day, the French government is imposing a curfew on two-thirds of its population. Night curfews were introduced in Paris and eight other cities a week ago, but 38 more cities and regions are joining them – a total of 46 million people.

Oct 23, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin says nearly 5,000 people have been killed in the fighting between Azeri and Armenian forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. He also has called on the U.S. to help with arranging a peace agreement in the region which is part of Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic with a large ethnic Armenian population.

Oct 23, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there is no substance to a debunked conspiracy theory that governments are preparing “internment camps” for COVID-19 victims. “We need to . . . resist people who would sow chaos within our communities and our democracy.”

Oct 23, 2020

A House of Commons subcommittee report stating that China’s treatment of Uighurs living in Xinjiang province amounts to a policy of genocide has described by Beijing as “blatant interference in China’s internal affairs.” The report says that persecution of the Muslim minority is designed to "eradicate Uighur culture and religion” but a Chinese foreign ministry official dismisses the “so-called genocide” as “a rumour and a farce fabricated by some anti-Chinese forces.”

Oct 23, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is being pressed by Democrats in the House of Representatives to pull out of the November G20 virtual summit being hosted by Saudi Arabia. They said it would be “an unfit and inappropriate” host due to its history of stifling dissent.

Oct 22, 2020

As indicated a day earlier, the European Union removed Canada 21 Oct. from a list of countries not subject to incoming travel restrictions due to COVID-19. The EU initially listed 15 countries, including Canada, deemed to be low risk but that assessment has been upgraded. The list is not binding on individual EU members.

Oct 22, 2020

The Israeli-developed EZ Raider electric-powered personal transportation system for security personnel and soldiers will soon have an autonomous version for added capability of transporting soldiers or security personnel and equipment through rough and off-road terrains.

Oct 21, 2020

An attempt by the Conservatives to reopen a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the WE Charity controversy was defeated in the House of Commons 180-146 on a vote of confidence. The Bloc Québécois sided with the Official Opposition but the New Democratic and Green parties supported Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s year-old Liberal minority rather than force a mid-pandemic winter general election

Oct 21, 2020

The president of the International Crisis Group has called for China to release Canadian Michael Kovrig, the ICG’s northeast Asia expert arbitrarily detained since December 2019. Robert Malley, who served as a special assistant to U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, made the pitch during a UN Security Council briefing attended by China’s foreign minister.

Oct 21, 2020

European Union officials are understood to be preparing to block Canadian visitors due to growing COVID-19 concerns. Officials review the situation every two weeks and multiple reports say they have deleted Canada, Tunisia and Georgia from the EU’s approved list but added Singapore.

Oct 21, 2020

Shrinking sea ice in the Arctic, resulting in a longer navigable season, is accelerating a race among global powers for control over its waters and resources. China and Russia have been particularly assertive.

Oct 21, 2020

The National Security Agency has issued an advisory that Chinese-connected adversaries are targetting vulnerable U.S. systems. “It can be hard to prioritize patching and mitigation efforts,” says NSA Cybersecurity Director Anne Neuberger. “While these vulnerabilities are already public, they’re still being successfully leveraged by malicious cyber actors,” highlighting the need for action.

Oct 21, 2020

Most U.S. government employees believe that working remotely will persist in a post-pandemic environment but that managing IT systems will be a challenge. This is according to an independent survey of 300 workers, 82 per cent of whom indicated they expect to work from home three days a week or more going forward.

Oct 20, 2020

The Azeri and Armenian foreign ministers are scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington this week in an attempt to quell the territorial dispute in Nagorno-Karabakh, part of Azerbaijan with a large Armenian population. It is not clear, however, whether the two ministers will themselves meet as well as independently with Pompeo.

Oct 20, 2020

Six members of the Russian intelligence apparatus are accused by the U.S. of carrying out a series of high-profile cyberattacks.They included interfering with U.S. and French presidential elections and a British investigation into the use of a nerve agent, as well as causing power outages in Ukraine.

Oct 20, 2020

U.S. officials in China, Cuba and Russia say their own government is covering up a series of mysteries events which they say have had serious health impacts. Among other things, there are accusations that foreign technology has targeted their embassies, resulting in memory loss, headaches, vertigo and blurred vision.

Oct 19, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House COVID-19 task force and a leading infectious disease expert, has been labelled by President Donald Trump as “a disaster” because of his candour about the U.S. administration’s mishandling of the pandemic. “People are tired of hearing Fauci and . . . all these idiots who got it wrong,” he said during an Oct. 19 conference call with campaign staff. ““Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him.”

Oct 19, 2020

Humanitarian relief workers with the UN and other organizations are increasingly at risk in many regions as state and non-state actors using violence to achieve their objectives. Their protection remains an ongoing and critical challenge.

Oct 19, 2020

Concerned about the environmental impact of growing use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic, the Canadian government has challenged industry to come up with products that won't end up in landfills. A key challenge is transforming contaminated materials into “valuable materials that can further be used in manufactured products.”

Oct 19, 2020

As the second wave of COVID-19 surges, Prime Minister Justin has indicated that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel even after the current edict expires in November. On the other hand, playing to voters in the run-up to the U.S. election in little more than two weeks, U.S. President Donald Trump has continued to suggest the border would reopen sooner rather than later.

Oct 19, 2020

The homes of senior French Health Minister Olivier Véran and his national health agency director are among several raided by police as part of an investigation of their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The raids were in connection with a court-ordered inquiry into complaints by physicians and the public that the government had been criminally negligent.

Oct 19, 2020

As much of the world struggles with COVID-19, China evidently is proving that a robust response can be economically beneficial. Third-quarter growth of 4.9 per cent reportedly brings China back to pre-pandemic growth levels.

Oct 19, 2020

The European Aviation Safety Agency has declared the Boeing 737 MAX “safe” and is predicting return to service in the European Union by year’s end. U.S. and Canadian regulators have yet to sign off on recertification after control issues resulted in two crashes in late 2018 and early 2019.

Oct 16, 2020

The Canadian government’s projected deficit has ballooned the most among major economies, thanks to the plethora of support programs rolled out in response to COVID-19. However, an outside report suggests that could be good in the short term because, among other things, the labour market is much stronger than in the U.S.

Oct 16, 2020

Modern DNA technology has enabled Toronto police to positively identify the killer of a nine-year-old girl in 1984. Another man was arrested and erroneously imprisoned for three years until his acquittal in 1995, also due to DNA evidence.

Oct 16, 2020

The union representing RCMP officers is back in salary negotiations with the government after they were delayed due to COVID-19. “Our membership has shown their patience with respect to this process and I'd ask them and the public to obviously realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint,” says National Police Federation president Brian Sauvé.

Oct 16, 2020

In the second such case, senior executives of a U.S. company were permitted to enter Canada for non-essential purposes without having to quarantine for 14 days. Costco President Craig Jelinek and another executive visited by private jet in August. “Their travel was deemed to be essential when it should not have been,” says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who had ordered tighter control after the first case was uncovered, also in August.

Oct 16, 2020

The World Health Organization’s chief scientist says hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine to be available quickly and widely are optimistic. Her reasoning is based on the sheer number of proposed vaccinations and she expects prioritized access to limited quantities when they do become available.

Oct 16, 2020

European Union leaders want British PM Boris Johnson to extend his deadline for winding up post-Brexit trade talks. Rather, they say, he should “make the necessary move” to having new “intensive” talks concluded by the end of the month.

Oct 15, 2020

The two Canadians detained by China since December 2018, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, recently received virtual consular support from Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador in Beijing. Even so, Global Affairs Canada remains “deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention . . . and continues to call for their immediate release.”

Oct 15, 2020

For the first time since January, Canada's ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, was recently granted virtual consular access to Robert Schellenberg, a Canadian facing the death penalty. Convicted of involvement in methamphetamine smuggling, he was initially sentenced to 15 years but that was changed to the death penalty in a retrial. “Canada continues to call for clemency,” Global Affairs Canada says.

Oct 15, 2020

Two Ontario men found guilty in 2015 of terror-related charges arising mainly from plot to derail a Via Rail train travelling between Canada and the U.S., will not be getting a new trial. The Supreme Court of Canada was ruling on a government challenge to a provincial court’s call for a new trial on grounds their original jury had been selected incorrectly.

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