South African Olympic track and field athlete Caster Semenya lost her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to stop taking hormone suppressants to control her naturally occurring high levels of endogenous testosterone. Semenya is diagnosed with Hyperandrogenism, a difference in sexual development (DSD), that see her body produce remarkably high levels of testosterone for a biological woman. It’s a stunning development in the controversy surrounding biological categorization and definition in the sport world. I empathize with Semenya because unlike many athletes at the Olympics, she did not seek out an exogenous substance or method to improve her performance. She did not take banned substances to give her an edge over her competitors. But even worse, Semenya’s position has now been taken up by activists on all sides regarding the inclusion of trans athletes in formal competition.
Those who believe women’s sport are endangered by the inclusion of trans women in competition seized upon the ruling to push their political agenda. Those who argue that trans women should be allowed to compete, regardless of their level of biological transition, are decrying the verdict as sexist and opening the door to further discrimination against trans athletes. The problem is that the Semenya case does not confirm either side, but it does confirm the difficulty in trying to pin down the complicated problem of fairness in sport over this issue.
To the anti-trans women participation crowd, Semenya is wrongly described as a transgender athlete. An entire segment on Fox and Friends incorrectly followed this path. In this false scenario, Semenya is seen as representative of men who try to game the system by transitioning in order to win medals and accolades that escaped them when competing against the same sex. But Semenya is not that person. To the pro-trans women’s participation crowd, this is a sign that the control of women’s bodies, and those who choose to identify as women, is still the name of the game in sport. It’s the gender verification testing issue played out all over again. Female athletes used to be subject to embarrassing physical examinations of their bodies to prove they were indeed female. But Semenya is not your ordinary female athlete. She is an atypical female with a diagnosed condition that does place her on the high end of the talent spectrum, especially for her sport of mid distance track and field running. Both sides want to use Semenya as their flag to wave, but she’s not their token. And her case says something against both sides.
The CAS ruling goes against the pro-trans women’s participation crowd by appropriately using biological metrics to determine eligibility in women’s sport. The fact there is no biological restriction against trans men who wish to compete (outside of local legal jurisdictions where competitors are forced to compete as their sex assigned at birth) testifies to this reality. There are biological factors in sport performance. Testosterone is one hormone that is linked in part to athletic performance. In the 1970s, Communist countries, best exemplified by East Germany, pumped their female athletes with many performance enhancing drugs, including Testosterone. These female competitors trounced the competition and made a mockery of fair competition. It’s not unreasonable or unscientific to use testosterone rates as one measure of biology to test female athletes. It may not be desirable or the most accurate, but it’s not on par with the biological sexism that has historically barred women’s participation in sport. The CAS referenced this reality in their statement regarding discriminating against women like Semenya. From a BBC report, “CAS found that the rules for athletes with DSD were discriminatory – but that the discrimination was “necessary, reasonable and proportionate” to protect “the integrity of female athletics.” Given that intersex individuals like Semenya are a tiny minority of athletes, the IAAF argued and the CAS agreed that discrimination in this instance upholds fair play.
But the Semenya case also does not prove the case for the anti-trans women’s participation crowd. This is not an instance of a regulatory body adjudicating the tough issues of trans women’s participation and the necessary biological requirements that must be made. This is a case of an intersex individual. The IOC has not budged on its updated requirements for female transitions and their hormonal level of suppressed endogenous testosterone. Furthermore, this ruling shows that whether the individual is trans or intersex, there are still clear social stigmas against these individuals. The fact that Semenya is receiving negative attention as a trans women, when she is a biological women, shows bad faith amongst some who hold this position. It gives further ammunition to those who argue about the social conditions of gender and the patriarchal domination of women’s bodies across the spectrum. It’s not an argument I would make, but you can see how these reactions to Semenya embolden the other side.
In the end, the CAS ruling clearly shows that biology is an important consideration for fairness in sport. For those who want to remove any biological restraints on competition, meaning that those who simply identify psychologically as the opposite sex without any corresponding physical transition, this ruling stands directly in their path. It is clear refutation that gender is socially constructed. But this case also displays the messiness that intersex individuals live with in the sport world. Caster Semenya was born with a condition that does give her an advantage over her competitors, but is it unnatural in the same way a man who transitions after puberty has over the female field of competitors? It’s a much harder question. Rather than use Caster as a mark to use against your ideological opponent, try to empathize with her position. It’s difficult to say to an individual that your biology restricts you, unless you artificially alter it negatively, from competing as you were born. It may be the right decision for fairness, but that doesn’t mean Caster doesn’t deserve respect or compassion.
The world’s largest and most efficient oil producer has continued to gain in the stock market.
According to CNN, “the stock gained 10% for a second consecutive day, reaching 38.70 riyals ($10.32) per share before giving up some of its gains.”
The gains are not surprising as Aramco produces twice as much oil as all of the oil sands and was the most profitable company in the world last year, earning $111 billion in net income.
From those profits, Aramco has promised to pay an annual dividend to shareholders of at least $75 billion until 2024.
The company has gained almost $300 billion in value since its shares became available on the Riyadh stock exchange on Monday, pushing it towards the $2 trillion valuation originally aimed at by the Saudi Monarchy.
The company now sits comfortably ahead of Apple, the world’s second-largest company.
The Conservatives have won a majority under the leadership of now British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In victory, Johnson declared a “new dawn” in Britain, while noting that he had been given an overwhelming mandate to get Brexit done.
“A new dawn rises on a new day and on a new government,” Mr. Johnson told party supporters early Friday morning. “Getting Brexit done is now the irresistible, inarguable decision of the British people… We will get Brexit done on time, by the 31st of January, no ifs, no buts, no maybes.”
While votes continue to be counted in some races, Johnson’s Conservatives have won 364 seats giving them a majority of almost 80 seats in the House of Commons.
These are the best results for a winning party since 1987, while also being the worst showing for labour since 1935.
In response to the massive defeat, Jeremy Corbyn stated that he would not lead the party in the next election.
“This is obviously a very disappointing night for the Labour party with the result that we’ve got,” Mr. Corbyn said after winning his seat in north London. “I will discuss with our party to ensure there is a process now of reflection on this result and on the policies the party will take going forward.”
Following his announcement, reports have said a leadership race will be held early next year.
While Labour dropped, ensuring a steady Brexit, the SNP managed large gains winning 48 out of 59 seats in Scotland, setting the nation up for a second independence referendum.
Nicola Sturgeon the leader of the SNP stated in her speech that “Johnson has no mandate whatsoever to take Scotland out of the EU.”
In response to the election results, the pound rose by more than 2% on Thursday, sending the signal that markets now believe an exit from the EU is now guaranteed.
The jump placed the Pound Sterling at a 19-month high versus the dollar-its strongest levels against the euro since after the 2016 Brexit referendum.
British stocks also showed signs of increase with the benchmark FTSE 100 gaining 1.5% in early trade while the FTSE 250 index of midsize British companies added more than 4%.
Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou may be one step closer to freedom from her ankle bracelet and house arrest in her Vancouver mansion now that a B.C. judge approved her lawyers’ application this week for more documents to be released, which could potentially reveal more coordination between Canadian and American authorities in the lead up to her arrest on Dec. 1 of 2018.
“When you drill down, the defence is saying, ‘You are not disclosing everything to us. We think that you knew about Meng Wanzhou was coming to Canada… and the US intelligence agencies, commercial agencies knew she was coming, so you cooked something up to sucker punch her,” Christopher Hicks, Toronto criminal lawyer and founding partner of Hicks Adams LLP who’s not involved in Meng’s case, said to The Post Millennial.
“They’re asking for a whole bunch of material. If it really does exist, and they’re going to get their hands on it, it could be explosive.”
Meng, whose father founded the Shenzhen-based company, was first arrested from the extradition request of the US authorities who are accusing her of fraud, breaking the rules of sanctions against Iran.
The Globe and Mail published a lengthy article, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Meng’s arrest, which included Canadian and American sources claiming the plan to arrest Meng came together very last minute, with only a day’s notice given to Canadian authorities that the US wanted her arrested when her flight landed in Canada.
This narrative of very short notice, Hicks says, could crumble depending on what is found in the new documents Meng’s counsel has forced the authorities involved to produce, including the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and RCMP.
The Globe and Mail article also paraphrased part of an interview with Scott Kennedy, China expert of Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, who told the newspaper there were three ways this international fracas between the two most powerful nations in the world could be resolved: “Canadian courts could say the U.S. has not provided proof to warrant an extradition, and set her free; Huawei can negotiate a plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department that leads to a withdrawal of the extradition request; or a deal between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi could lead to her freedom.”
But legal experts such as Hicks, as well as Meng’s own all-star legal counsel, would argue there’s a fourth alternative that’s a distinct possibility. If Meng’s Charter rights are found to have been violated in the three hours she was detained before being arrested, she could be set free and the evidence gathered from her electronics found inadmissible.
In affidavits and notes from RCMP and CBSA officers already in the court record, and obtained by The Post Millennial, there are several parts of the execution of the arrest of Meng that the defence alleges the Canadian authorities failed in their duty to perform due process.
The first point of contention is that the CBSA did not tell Meng her rights when they detained her (which Meng’s lawyers’ are arguing was under false pretense) for a customs inspection.
“Never mind if you’re under arrest, if you’re a suspect, and the police are talking to you, they have to tell you that you have your rights,” said Hicks.
“You’re supposed to arrest someone, not sucker them into making statements, or handing over their electronic information.”
RCMP officers’ notes show the initial plan to arrest Meng would have involved an RCMP officer arresting her on the plane as soon as it landed at Vancouver International Airport.
On the morning of Dec. 1, the day of the arrest, the RCMP and CBSA devised a new, revised plan, in which Meng would first be detained by the CBSA.
Her lawyers assert this last-minute new plan ended up violating the court order in the warrant, which called for Wanzhou’s “immediate arrest” upon arriving in Canada.
Affidavits and notes from Canadian authorities also reveal that during that detention period CBSA officers gathered evidence, including Meng’s and her business associates electronics, which they then passed along to the RCMP who were working on behalf of US authorities instructions. The RCMP also provided mylar bags–special foil bags to preserve the contents of electronics from intercepting signals of remote devices that are capable of wiping or altering the contents–to the CBSA.
The CBSA also compelled Meng to provide her password to her phones and then passed this information along to the RCMP. According to documents authorities’ communications before the court, Meng was arrested seven minutes later by the RCMP after giving her password to the CBSA officers, who didn’t look at the contents of her electronic devices for their customs inspection, but instead retrieved them for other means.
During the September court hearing a Crown Prosecutor admitted it was a “mistake” by the CBSA officers to share the password with the RCMP.
The court documents also reveal that the CBSA withheld her luggage despite their being no customs violations found because the officers were coordinating with the RCMP who went up the chain of command to the Canadian Department of Justice to see if the FBI wanted the luggage.
The defence also argues that Meng repeatedly asked why she was being detained by the CBSA but wasn’t given the real reason behind the supposed routine custom inspection or told her Charter rights.
Meng’s defence team also asserts the officers’ affidavits are leaving out key, unfavourable information, which led to the latest court application for further documnetation being approved by the judge.
“So the arrest warrant was for an immediate arrest,” Richard Kurland, a lawyer and federal policy analyst not involved in the case, said to the Vancouver Courrier in October. “Immediate means immediate means immediate. It doesn’t mean after she gets off the plane. It doesn’t mean after she collects her luggage. It doesn’t mean after her customs examination, and it doesn’t mean after several hours of questioning. That’s not immediate.”
Former Liberal deputy prime minister John Manley recently said in an interview that Canada should have avoided detaining Meng through “creative incompetence” by purposefully bungling detaining her, letting her slip away to her destination in Mexico.
In light of the evidence presented thus far in the court, and more possible records of coordination between Canada and US authorities being revealed in the near future, the intended or unintended bungling of the arrest of Meng could ultimately be what gets Canada out of its current predicament with China; a predicament that has thus far led to stiff trade sanctions against Canadian farmers and the retaliatory arrests of former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, still stuck in harsh conditions in Chinese prison cells.
Private school perks was internal matter forcing Scheer's resignation before media leak, says insider
News the Conservative Party paid for private schooling of outgoing leader Andrew Scheer’s children was never intended for public consumption, but precipitated Scheer’s resignation, according to a 21-year-old, nascent party insider and co-founder of #ScheerMustGo.
“Spare me the spiel about your family. We all know what this was really all about and when (Scheer) saw the writing on the wall, he thought he would bow out,” Anthony Koch told The Post Millennial late Thursday afternoon, hours after Scheer’s House of Commons announcement that he was stepping down.
About the same time Scheer was addressing the Commons about his departure, Global News’ Parliament Hill bureau chief Mercedes Stephenson Tweeted that his resignation was over “party money to pay for his children’s private school education.”
Following Question Period, Conservative MP Ed Fast – who declined a critics role in Scheer’s Opposition benches; a symbolic rebuke of the party leader – said the private schooling perk “is a party matter” and that Scheer’s exit was dignified.
“All I will say is (Scheer) did it with dignity and grace and I expect I’ll have more to say in the coming days and weeks,” said Fast.
“He is putting the party first, the interests of Canadians first and the interests of his family first. And that’s why very much appreciate how he did it and all the credit.”
Conservative Tim Uppal, who made a comeback in the 2019 election by knocking out Liberal-incumbent and former Industry Minister Amerjeet Sohi, suggested Scheer’s exit was a foregone conclusion.
“I was surprised on the timing. I didn’t know about it but I wish him well. I respect that he’s taking time out to be with his family,” Uppal said.
“I came into work thinking it was just a regular day and things have definitely changed.”
Asked about the party picking up the Scheer family’s private school bill, Uppal would only say that “the party’s statement addressed that quite well.”
Shortly after Stephenson’s tweet, the Conservative Party’s executive director Dustin van Vugt issued a statement that Scheer “began to inform members of his staff earlier this week about his decision to resign.”
Van Vugt’s statement described the private school perk as “normal practice for political parties”.
“Shortly after Mr. Scheer was elected leader…I made a standard offer to cover costs associated with moving his family from Regina to Ottawa,” writes van Vugt.
“This includes a differential in schooling costs…all proper procedures were followed.”
But the way #ScheerMustGo co-founder Koch describes it, the information was floating around Conservative ranks for some time and was allegedly given to former Conservative MP and minister John Baird, who is currently conducting an internal review of the losing campaign.
“Initially it was divulged to Mr. Baird,” claims Koch, who said it came from former Scheer staffers.
“The path they wanted to take was give it to Baird and have the pressure be internal, have (Scheer) leave and then that way it doesn’t have to be this big media extravaganza. Unfortunately, other people had other ideas and that faction won out – that’s why it started to get sprinkled around.”
Baird was unreachable for comment prior to publication of this story.
As for Koch’s involvement with the party, he has worked for Conservative MPs in the past, including interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose; touted as a possible successor to Scheer.
The young Conservative and McGill University student said he never supported Scheer and instead worked on Dragon’s Den TV personality Kevin O’Leary’s leadership campaign and then for Maxime Bernier’s.
O’Leary ultimately bowed out of the race, while Scheer eventually won a narrow victory over Bernier.
Despite winning the popular vote and leading the Conservatives to a bigger seat share in the October general election, Scheer’s popularity has topped out, according to Koch who began working on the campaign to oust him “the day after” Trudeau won his minority government.
“And today, I’m a happy man,” said Koch.
According to Koch, he’s the youngest Conservative party member among a core group of 15 #ScheerMustGo enthusiasts who began making inroads and gathering support from likeminded Conservative caucus MPs that Koch declined to name.
“The greatest advantage that Andrew Scheer had going into the last election was that nobody knew who he was. The problem is, over the course of the election people got to know him and if you look at any available polling information, the more people saw Mr. Scheer, the lower his favourability rating went,” said Koch.
“And especially in parts of the country where we needed to win to have a chance of forming government. So it was clear going into a next election, he wasn’t going to have that advantage.”
New Democrat MP Alexandre Boulerice said how media coverage of Scheer’s resignation unfolded on the Hill “looks like an internal party fight.”
“The last nail in the coffin was this story, taking money from the Conservative party to help pay for the private school of his children,” Boulerice told TPM after Question Period.
“The only ones who had this private information was Conservatives, so the only ones who could leak it to the press were the Conservatives…this is something that can happen in a party but when it’s secret and you don’t tell it to the caucus or the members, it can come and backfire like this.”
During his resignation address to the House of Commons, Scheer said putting his family first weighed heavily on his decision before thanking his Conservative colleagues.
“We have accomplished a lot on both the government and opposition sides of the benches. Most importantly, we have kept our party united and strong,” said Scheer.
“That is why I felt it was appropriate to speak to my friends and colleagues today in the House of Commons about one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made.”