Peacekeeping promise fulfilled: Canada to send transport plane to Uganda
One of three promises made to the UN at a peacekeeping summit is finally being fulfilled.
So far, only one promise has been fulfilled, reports the National Post, with this being “the deployment of a unit of helicopters and military personnel to help with medical evacuations in Mali.”
More than 13,900 apparent opioid-related deaths occurred between January 2016 and June 2019, while more than 17,000 were hospitalized.
According to a report by the Public Health Agency of Canada released on Wednesday, between January and June 2019, there were 2,142 apparent opioid-related deaths, making opioids a more dangerous killer than vehicle accidents.
While heroin, as well as prescription drugs, have had an impact, the bulk of the deaths have been caused by illegal drugs such as fentanyl which are extremely deadly.
The Public Health Agency also found that Western Canada continues to be the most affected while Ontario has also seen a rapid rise.
In their statement, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, and Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, say the opioid overdose crisis is complex and will take time to fix.
“To have a significant and lasting impact, we need to continue working together on whole-of-society changes,” they say. “This includes addressing the stigma that surrounds substance use, implementing further harm-reduction measures and reducing barriers to treatment. It also means continuing to work together to better understand and address the drivers of this crisis, such as mental illness, and social and economic factors that put Canadians at increased risk.”
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.
Public opinion is growing skeptical on promoting more and new economic ties with China, Canada’s second largest trading partner after the US, according to an Angus Reid poll.
The survey polled 1,499 Canadians and found that Canadians’ positive views of trade with China are starting to wane. The now yearlong imprisonment of two Canadians by Beijing was a recent development in the changing attitude towards the super power.
Many Canadians responded with concerns for human rights in China, and seven-in-ten felt the rule of law should take greater precedence in our relationship. That number is up from the last time Angus Reid polled Canadians on the issue back in February 2019, when 62 percent of people said the same.
In 2015, the poll found that 62 percent said that we should increase trade ties with China in the future, that number dropped by 40 percent this year, now only 22 percent of people feel that way.
Two thirds of Canadians now hold an unfavourable view of China, a number that was only 51 percent back in 2018.
Ottawa has had close ties with Beijing in the past due to the country’s roaring economy needing lots of natural resources.
During Chretien’s time as Prime minister he sent many large delegations of cabinet ministers and government officials on trade junkets to China.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited China on a state visit back in 2017 in an attempt to kick-start free trade talks with Beijing but the trip was ultimately unsuccessful.
Trade only looks increasingly bleak with the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
Ninety percent of respondents said China can’t be trusted on human rights and the rule of law.
The overall views on trade with China were mixed. While respondents were more likely to acknowledge that trade with China has a negative impact on our economy and communities they also felt it was to Canada’s economic benefit as a whole.
The highest level of negative sentiment towards China’s restrictions on beef and canola export came from Alberta and Saskatchewan, the two provinces affected most by the restrictions.
The future of trade was a close split in terms of Canadians optimism towards the relationship. Fifty-four percent of respondents to the poll said that the current diplomatic spat will sort itself out and things will go “back to normal.” While the other forty-six percent felt the relationship is in long-term trouble.
There are moments when it begins to become clear that there has been a sea-change in public opinion.
And with it now being a year since Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arrested and held hostage by communist China, such a moment has arrived.
The clearest example is what happened to Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, who Tweeted what he apparently thought would be an innocuous photo of his meeting with China’s ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu.
Bowman was absolutely slammed for the Tweet, which went so far as to “thank” the ambassador for the meeting and mentioned working on “human rights,” while completely ignoring China’s horrific human rights record and failing to mention anything about Canada’s detained Citizens.
Bowman was totally ratioed, with over 500 comments and just a couple-dozen retweets. Bowman was slammed by some MPs, and even by Canada’s former ambassador to China.
But it was the response of regular Canadians that really stood out. People from across the political spectrum were outraged by Bowman’s fawning weakness.
The response reflected something that has been bubbling below the surface among Canadians: A real awakening to the danger posed by communist China, and a sense that enough is enough.
We Canadians are generally an easy-going people, but we have a strong inherent sense of right and wrong. And while the Canadian political and business elites may be able to overlook China’s actions, the Canadian People are not overlooking it.
Canadians have turned against China’s communist government, with surveys showing 90 percent having a negative view of the government led by Xi Jinping.
Whether it’s the destruction of freedom in Hong Kong, holding Canadians hostage, putting millions of Uighurs in concentration camps, forced organ harvesting, or the Orwellian surveillance state, Canadians are looking at China and seeing a country that simply doesn’t share our values, and is in many ways hostile to Canada itself.
There was a time when someone like Brian Bowman could have gotten away with his fawning Tweet, but that time has passed. Sooner or later, Canada’s elites will be forced to realize that they can’t hide the truth about China’s government, and they can’t suppress the real views of Canadians.
The pressure is mounting for a tougher approach to China, for reducing our reliance on China, and to move towards a political and economic decoupling from the ruthless communist State. Whether it starts happening now or down the road, the demands of the Canadian People will be translated into policy one way or another.