Even before an international summit on the North Korean nuclear crisis begins, foreign ministers who’ll be in attendance admit a diplomatic solution is impossible without two countries that won’t be there. China and Russian won’t be represented at the summit in Vancouver, and both countries have criticized the summit as too focused on sanctions and not enough on dialogue. A senior Canadian official who provided a background briefing to reporters says the meeting is about enforcing sanctions rather than seeking a long-term solution, which the official acknowledge would need to include Russia and China.
Observers have suggested the summit risks angering China, particularly if the United States pushes for “provocative” measures to disrupt shipments to North Korea. American officials had previously said Russian and China supported the summit, but China has since written off the event as “meaningless” and Russia’s foreign minister says any suggestion his country supports the summit is an “outright lie.” In fact, Russian and Chinese officials turned down an offer to be briefed by Canada on what happens at the talks.
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With a deadline just two months away, the federal government has yet to reach agreements with any of the provinces or territories to hand out $33-billion in infrastructure money over the next decade. Federal, provincial and municipal officials insist they’re optimistic deals are within reach, but key issues — namely the formula that will determine what share each level of government will cover — remain unresolved. The second round of the Liberal government’s infrastructure program will focus on large projects, including transit and green infrastructure.
The federal government wants Catholic groups that ran residential schools to allow former students who settled abuse cases to file their court documents with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. That permission is needed before documents related to cases settled before the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement can be housed at the centre in Winnipeg, which is chronicling the schools’ tragic legacy.
Kevin O’Leary‘s failed campaign to lead the federal Conservative party is still more than half a million dollars in debt. Mr. O’Leary’s plan to repay the money includes a fundraiser featuring Shark Tank co-stars Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran.
The main plaque at the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa will specifically point to six million Jews as the main target of the Nazis, while also referencing “other groups” targetted. An earlier version of the dedication plaque drew widespread condemnation in Canada and around the world for failing to mention Jews as the prime target of the Second World War genocide. The updated wording will be officially unveiled in the spring.
B.C.’s Premier is calling on witnesses to come forward after a weekend shooting in Vancouver that killed a 15-year-old boy who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The teen was driving along Vancouver’s busy Broadway corridor Saturday night when at least two people exchanged gunfire. Premier John Horgan says police will have all the support they need, and he’s encouraging anyone who saw the shooting or knows anything about it to speak with investigators.
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on NAFTA: “This writer has long suspected that the Liberals and Conservatives would, eventually, fall out over the NAFTA talks, that the falling-out could become a key election issue, might even prompt an election on that issue. But so far, the very opposite is happening.”
André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on marijuana convictions: “The PM needs to be reminded that one of the principal reasons legalization makes sense is having a criminal record is a lot worse for a person’s health than smoking pot.”
Glen Hodgson (The Globe and Mail) on guarding against floods: “In short, Canada’s system for managing flood risk is a patchwork, a legacy built up over time.”
Thomas Davidoff, Joshua D. Gottlieb and Tsur Somerville (The Globe and Mail) on fixing the Vancouver housing market: “Housing affordability in Vancouver suffers from both demand and supply-side pressures. Demand growth is high while both geography and regulation restrict housing supply. Of what land developers could use, zoning limits where and how. A long and arduous permitting process slows the supply response to increases in demand.”
Chinese authorities are acknowledging the country is sending non-state actors to apply pressure against suspects overseas — something critics argue runs counter to Canadian law. The tactic came to light after a former Chinese judge, Xie Weidong, says he was visited in the middle of the night by people seeking to either intimidate him or force him back to China. Mr. Xie has been the target of a lengthy corruption investigation by Chinese prosecutors, who defend the tactics.
President Donald Trump‘s reported vulgar comments deriding African countries have sent U.S. diplomats scrambling to repair the damage. The fallout has included condemnations from the African Union, African diplomats at the United Nations, and South Africa’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who said the comments were “hugely offensive.” Senior U.S. diplomats in South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana have been hauled into government offices for formal protests, after similar action in several other African countries.
The controversy surrounding Mr. Trump’s comments about African countries and Haitian immigrants overshadowed events marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as the president publicly insisted he is not a racist. King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, criticized Trump: “When a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like Norway, I don’t even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is.”
Right-wing voices in the United States are seizing on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s position that pro-life groups should be excluded from hundreds of millions of dollars in federal job grants. Mr. Trudeau has said pro-life groups that oppose abortion are out of step with Canadian society. That’s prompted fierce criticism in right-wing media such as Fox News and from a former staffer in the Trump White House.
Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Donald Trump and immigration: ” If Mr. Trump somehow believes a points system like Canada’s will filter out the people he doesn’t like based on their race, he’s just wrong.”
Len Edwards (The Globe and Mail) on the North Korea summit: “As important as curbing North Korea’s nuclear plans are, we should hope that foreign ministers at the Vancouver Conference, led by Ms. Freeland, will still take time behind closed doors to look at the options for diplomatic formats and longer-term solutions beyond the nuclear issue.”
Gordon Ritchie (The Globe and Mail) on NAFTA: “The situation remains high-risk, particularly given the President’s regular unpredictability. This risk, in and of itself, significantly raises the cost of doing business for Canada’s exporters. As an open economy, we (and the Mexicans and the Americans themselves) will pay a penalty for this disruption.”
David Shribman (The Globe and Mail) on Trump’s critical week in Washington: “Mr. Trump was not, to be sure, the first president to seek a new start, although his initiative came earlier than other chief executives’ initiatives; most of these undertakings have occurred late in presidential terms, when crises mounted and when the country grew weary, or contemptuous, of presidential decisions and style.”