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Archive for Canada

Newsline: Canada’s ambassador to U.S. unconcerned about 2020 election disrupting Canada’s economy

Canada’s top diplomat in Washington says she has no concerns about disruptions to Canada’s economy should the results of the U.S. presidential election be delayed — or contested. “I can’t say that we do,” Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman told CBC Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton. “The United States often does not have final results on election night. We even saw that in midterm elections just two years ago where … several seats took quite a while … for those votes to get counted.” “We are confident that these systems are going to work,” she said in an interview on Barton’s new show, Rosemary Barton Live. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/us-election-canadas-economy-1.5785647) More than 90 million Americans have already cast ballots in the 2020 election, a record turnout driven, in part, by a surge in mail-in voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But every state has different rules about processing and counting mail-in ballots, and many will not have a final count by the end of election day on Tuesday.

Newsline: Canadian Ambassador to U.S. says there is no justification to change border restrictions

Canada’s Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman said there is no justification to ease the Canada-U.S. land border restrictions any time soon. Speaking to CTV’s Power Play, Hillman stressed that either country is not prepared to loosen border restrictions before 2021. “The way we’re seeing the virus progress — at this time there’s no justification for changing in any significant way the measures that are in place,” Hillman said. (https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/canadian-ambassador-to-u-s-says-there-is-no-justification-to-change-border-restrictions-1.5169099) The Canada-U.S. border closure agreement was set to expire on Oct. 21, but the Canadian government announced an extension until at least Nov. 21. When asked if the Canadian embassy is getting any pushback from the U.S. regarding restrictions, she said both Canada and the U.S. are satisfied because the measures are doing what they are intended to do — limit the spread of COVID-19. “I have conversations with the U.S. administrations probably every couple of weeks on the issue of the border, and the issue of the measures we have in place,” said Hillman. “The measures were designed to limit non-essential travel, while still allowing the free flow of commercial travel and trade and essential travel and essential workers,” she said. The current agreement on the U.S.-Canada border closure to non-essential travel was first imposed in March and has been renewed every month since. Tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited, although trade and commerce are exempt, as are certain family members and loved ones who can make a case on compassionate grounds to be allowed into Canada.

Newsline: China complains to Canada after media skewers ambassador’s comments on Hong Kong

China said Monday that it has complained to Canada for allegedly condoning anti-China comments that appeared in Canadian media following controversial remarks made by the Chinese ambassador. Ties between the countries are at their lowest point in years amid China’s outrage over Canada’s detention of a top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Last week, China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, branded pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as violent criminals and said if Canada grants them asylum it would amount to interference in China’s internal affairs. “If the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport-holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes,” Cong said last week in a video news conference from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa. On Saturday, the Toronto Sun published an editorial calling on Cong to either apologize or leave Canada. “It’s not enough for the Trudeau government to publicly scold Cong,” the paper said. “If he won’t apologize and retract his threats, boot him back to Beijing.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian did not identify specific comments that he said resulted from a deliberate misinterpretation of Cong’s remarks, but said Canadian leaders “did not verify, but also condoned the anti-China comments spreading across the nation and made groundless accusations against China.” (https://www.cp24.com/world/china-complains-to-canada-after-media-skewers-ambassador-s-comments-on-hong-kong-1.5150627) “We express strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to it and have lodged solemn complaints with the Canadian side,” Zhao told reporters Monday at a daily briefing.

Newsline: China complains to Canada after media skewers ambassador’s comments on Hong Kong

China said Monday that it has complained to Canada for allegedly condoning anti-China comments that appeared in Canadian media following controversial remarks made by the Chinese ambassador. Ties between the countries are at their lowest point in years amid China’s outrage over Canada’s detention of a top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Last week, China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, branded pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as violent criminals and said if Canada grants them asylum it would amount to interference in China’s internal affairs. “If the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport-holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes,” Cong said last week in a video news conference from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa. On Saturday, the Toronto Sun published an editorial calling on Cong to either apologize or leave Canada. “It’s not enough for the Trudeau government to publicly scold Cong,” the paper said. “If he won’t apologize and retract his threats, boot him back to Beijing.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian did not identify specific comments that he said resulted from a deliberate misinterpretation of Cong’s remarks, but said Canadian leaders “did not verify, but also condoned the anti-China comments spreading across the nation and made groundless accusations against China.” (https://www.cp24.com/world/china-complains-to-canada-after-media-skewers-ambassador-s-comments-on-hong-kong-1.5150627) “We express strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to it and have lodged solemn complaints with the Canadian side,” Zhao told reporters Monday at a daily briefing.

Newsline: China ambassador makes veiled threat to Hong Kong-based Canadians

China’s ambassador to Canada has appeared to threaten Hong Kong-based Canadians if Ottawa offers asylum to protesters from the territory. Cong Peiwu made the comments at a news conference on Thursday where he also accused Canada of being an “accomplice” to the US in detaining Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou. Canada is among several countries that suspended extradition agreements with Hong Kong in response to Beijing’s imposition of a sweeping national security law in June. Dozens of MPs recently called for Canada to offer “safe harbour” to pro-democracy protesters fleeing Hong Kong, prompting the warning from Cong. “We strongly urge the Canadian side not to grant so-called political asylum to those violent criminals in Hong Kong, because it is interference in China’s domestic affairs, and certainly it will embolden those violent criminals,” Cong said. “If the Canadian side really cares about the stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport holders in Hong Kong, and a large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes.” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/16/china-ambassador-makes-veiled-threat-to-hong-kong-based-canadians) When asked if his words were a threat, Cong reportedly replied: “That is your interpretation.” Canadian foreign affairs minister, François-Philippe Champagne, said Cong’s comments were inappropriate and he had instructed the ministry to call in the ambassador for a meeting. “The reported comments by the Chinese ambassador are totally unacceptable and disturbing,” Champagne told the Globe and Mail.

Newsline: China denies ‘coercive’ diplomacy with Canada

China denied it had taken two Canadian men hostage, and repeated a call for the release of a Huawei Technologies Co Ltd executive held in Canada who faces extradition to the United States amid a long-running diplomatic dispute. Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese citizen, was arrested in Vancouver in late 2018 on a bank fraud warrant issued by U.S. authorities. Meng has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition in a Canadian court. Shortly after Meng’s arrest, Beijing detained two Canadians on national security charges and halted imports of canola seed. Tensions flared again this week when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would work with allies to fight China’s “coercive diplomacy.” He warned that arbitrary arrests, repression in Hong Kong and putting Muslim minorities in detention camps added up to “not a particularly productive path. That earned him an official rebuke from the Chinese government. “There’s no coercive diplomacy on the Chinese side,” Cong Peiwu, China’s envoy to Ottawa, said in a video news conference on Twitter. “Those two Canadian citizens have been prosecuted because they were suspected of engaging in activities which endanger our national security.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-canada-diplomacy/china-denies-coercive-diplomacy-with-canada-urges-release-of-huawei-executive-idUSKBN2702IM) Cong went on to say Meng and the arrests of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were “not related” and that it was Canada that used “coercive measures” by arresting Meng when “she was breaking no Canadian law at all.”

Newsline: Canada’s Ambassador to China granted virtual consular access to detained Canadians

Dominic Barton, Canada’s Ambassador to China, was granted virtual consular access to Michael Spavor, a businessman, on Friday and to Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, on Saturday, the Canadian government said. “The Canadian government remains deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of these two Canadians since December 2018 and continues to call for their immediate release,” Global Affairs Canada, which manages the government’s diplomatic and consular relations, said. (https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/11/asia/canada-ambassador-china-access-spavor-kovrig-intl-hnk/index.html) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Donald Trump discussed on the phone the issue of two Canadian citizens detained in China since late 2018 and to whom China granted rare consular access on Friday and Saturday, the Canadian government said. Trudeau thanked Trump in a phone call on Saturday for the United States’ support in “seeking the immediate release of the two Canadian citizens arbitrarily detained by China,” the prime minister’s office said in a readout statement of the call. The statements did not give more information. The White House had no immediate comment on further details about the call. China arrested Canadian citizens Kovrig and Spavor in late 2018 and later charged them with espionage. Their arrests had come soon after Canada had arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, on a US warrant. The relations between Canada and China have since been tense.

Newsline: Canada says former ambassador to US violated conflict-of-interest law

A top Canadian ethics official announced that a former ambassador to the U.S. violated a conflict-of-interest law, ordering nine senior government officials to halt all business with him for a year. Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion said in an order Wednesday that former Ambassador David MacNaughton, an ally of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, broke the law as part of his work Palantir, which he joined in a senior role after leaving his ambassadorship last year. (https://thehill.com/policy/international/516787-canada-says-former-us-ambassador-violated-conflict-of-interest-law) Dion said MacNaughton worked earlier this year to speak or arrange meetings with several public office holders to offer Palantir’s free help with coronavirus response, an effort the ethics watchdog said violated a law that “prohibits former public office holders from acting in such a manner as to take improper advantage of their previous public office.” “Mr. MacNaughton has acknowledged, with the benefit of hindsight, that these communications and meetings, to the extent they could have furthered the interests of Palantir, were contrary to section 33 of the Act,” Dion wrote. The ethics watchdog first opened his probe in June on the urging of a member of Parliament, though MacNaughton has maintained he’s done nothing wrong.

Newsline: Russian foreign ministry complains to UK, US and Canadian embassies for flying the rainbow flag

The foreign ministry in Russia made a formal complaint to the UK, US and Canadian embassies in Moscow for flying the rainbow LGBT+ Pride flag during Pride Month. Russia’s infamous “gay propaganda” law bans any positive depiction of LGBT+ people. Anyone found guilty of sharing such information with minors can be sentenced to heavy fines or up to 15 years in prison. A diplomatic source told TASS that the UK embassy in Moscow had received a protest note from the Russian foreign ministry for displaying the LGBT+ Pride flag, which it raised towards the end of June. (https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/07/29/russia-pride-flag-foreign-ministry-complaint-uk-us-canadian-embassy-rainbow-lgbt/) State Duma lawmaker Vasily Piskarev confirmed that protest notes had also been sent to the Canadian and US embassies in Moscow, which also displayed rainbow LGBT+ Pride flags.

Newsline: Former ambassadors warn of unwelcoming signs for investors in Mexico

Mexico needs to do more to create a welcoming environment for foreign investors, three former ambassadors said. Speaking during a virtual forum on the future of North America beyond the coronavirus pandemic and the ratification of the new free trade pact between Mexico, the United States and Canada, former U.S. ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson said the Mexican government is failing to demonstrate that it really welcomes foreign investment. (https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/former-ambassadors-warn-of-unwelcoming-signs-for-investors/) Jacobson, ambassador between 2016 and 2018, said that Mexico needs to establish a level playing field on which foreign investors and their capital are not unfairly disadvantaged. Jacobson’s remarks came two weeks after her successor, Ambassador Christopher Landau, said that it’s not a good time to invest in Mexico. Specifically citing recent changes to energy policy, Landau said that the federal government failed to keep its pledge not to change investment rules that were in place when it took office in late 2018. The “uncertainty” created by the government could be a barrier to increased investment, he said. Speaking at the virtual forum, former Canadian ambassador Pierre Alarie expressed a similar sentiment, asserting that clear rules and a stable political environment are paramount to attracting foreign investment.