Canada is the only member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network that has not formally blocked Huawei from 5G networks but it has effectively done just that, delaying a decision long enough to force telecom companies to exclude the Chinese gear maker.
The strategy allows Canada to keep on the right side of both China and the United States as they tussle over Huawei, say six well-placed sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
Canada and its Five Eyes allies — the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia — are under pressure from fellow member the United States to squeeze out Huawei on security grounds.
5G networks offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than 4G networks and are expected to power everything from telemedicine and remote surgery to self-driving cars.
Canada has been mulling whether to disbar the firm’s next-generation equipment for the better part of two years, brushing off increasing signs of industry impatience.
In June, Bell Canada and rival Telus — two of the biggest wireless providers — teamed with Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia to build fifth-generation (5G) telecoms networks, ditching Huawei for the project despite using Huawei 4G gear.
“The absence of a solution will eventually settle all problems,” said a source directly familiar with the approach taken by the Liberal government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Rogers, Canada’s other large wireless operator, announced in 2018 it was using Ericsson 5G equipment.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration said it would further tighten U.S. restrictions on Huawei, aimed at cracking down on its access to commercially available chips.
Operators in Canada feel the U.S. curbs mean they have no choice but to sideline Huawei in 5G networks, at least for now, say the sources, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.
“They’ve done the political calculus and said ‘The best thing for us is to do nothing and if we do nothing we don’t upset the Chinese, we don’t upset the Americans’,” said a source familiar with what government officials are saying.
Staying on the right side of China has become an important consideration. Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is fighting extradition to the United States since Canadian police detained her in December 2018.
In response, Beijing arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, charging them with espionage. Canada says gaining their freedom is a top priority.
“If it weren’t for the two Michaels, Canada would have already said it would not be using Huawei 5G technology,” a diplomatic source said. Government officials deny the fate of the two men is linked to 5G.
In 2018, both Australia and New Zealand blocked service providers from using Huawei 5G equipment.
To be sure, Canada will one day make a decision. Two other people who have consulted with Canadian officials say they think it is only a matter of time before Ottawa unveils a ban.
But a source directly familiar with government thinking stressed that Ottawa had not yet come to a firm conclusion and would not be rushed, adding that officials were taking their time to avoid Britain’s predicament.
The British government said last month it would ban Huawei from 5G networks by ordering companies to remove the equipment by 2027. In January, it had initially said Huawei could have a limited 5G role.
“That underscores why you need to get this right and why you only get one chance … we don’t want to find ourselves in a situation like the Brits where we’re having to go back and put the toothpaste back in the tube,” said the source.
The office of Canada Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains — who is formally charged with making a decision on Huawei and 5G — said in a statement that it could not comment on a particular company. It did not say when an announcement would be made.
A Bell spokesman noted that in May, Chief Executive Officer Mirko Bibic said he had no insights into government thinking on Huawei and 5G. Telus did not respond to a request for comment.
Huawei said in a statement that it believed Ottawa “when it says it is taking the time to make a considered decision.”
Source: – Global News
Canada at 'crossroads' in battling COVID-19 as cases accelerate nationally, officials say – CBC.ca
Canada is at a “crossroads” in its pandemic battle and the actions of individual Canadians will decide whether there’s a massive spike in COVID-19 cases coming, according to the latest projections from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
Federal health officials presented new modelling today that shows the epidemic is accelerating nationally. They warned that if Canadians don’t step up preventative measures, the virus could spread out of control and trigger a wave of infections bigger than the first one.
“With minimal controls, the virus is capable of surging into a very sharp and intense peak because most Canadians don’t have immunity to the virus,” Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam told a news conference in Ottawa today.
Short-term projections show there could be up to 155,795 cases and up to 9,300 deaths by Oct. 3.
If the current rate of infection is maintained, the epidemic is expected to re-surge — but if that rate increases, it is expected to resurge “faster and stronger.”
Rapid detection of new cases and a swift response to outbreaks are both key to controlling the pandemic, PHAC modelling documents show.
Tam said there has been a significant demographic shift in the caseload since June: instead of the virus disproportionately affecting elderly Canadians, most infections are now being reported in Canadians aged 20 to 39.
Tam and her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, are joined by Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand at the news conference.
CBC News is carrying it live.
The last modelling figures were released on Aug. 14. At that time, Canada’s top doctors said they were striving for a best-case scenario but preparing for the worst: a so-called “fall peak” of COVID-19 cases across Canada that would threaten to overwhelm the public health care system.
PHAC officials said they were aiming for a “slow burn” scenario, in which the number of cases remains low enough for the public health care system to keep ahead of the influx of patients.
But officials also were planning for a “reasonable worst-case scenario” — a fall spike in infections followed by ongoing peaks and valleys that put excessive pressure on the health care system.
The recent rise in cases coincides with the flu and cold season, which could put added strain on hospitals and other health resources.
Health care workers have been working on the front lines for months now and are now bracing for a possible spike in hospitalizations, prompting concerns about potential burnout.
Canada sees 1,307 new COVID-19 cases, marking highest daily increase since early May – Global News
Canada added 1,307 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, fueling worries that the country could be headed towards a second wave of the virus.
Provincial and territorial health officials also said 11 new fatalities had occurred, bringing Canada’s death toll to 9,228.
Monday marked the third straight day the country has reported more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19.
The new infections also reflect the highest daily increase since May 6 when more than 1,400 new cases were reported.
Ontario reported 425 new cases of the virus on Monday, and health officials said two more people had died.
The new infections bring the province’s total caseload to 47,274.
Since the pandemic began, a total of 3,580,343 tests have been administered in Ontario, and 41,146 have recovered after falling ill.
Quebec saw 586 new cases of COVID-19, and provincial officials said two more people had died after testing positive for the virus.
The new fatalities bring Quebec’s death toll to 5,804.
Coronavirus: Canadians should ‘redouble their efforts’ at preventing COVID-19 spread as national case count rises, Tam says
However, 59,131 have recovered from the virus, and more than 2,067,000 tests have been conducted.
New Brunswick added two new cases of the virus on Monday, but health officials confirmed no additional deaths had occurred.
So far, 191 people have recovered after contracting the virus, and 70,268 have been tested.
Health officials in Nova Scotia reported no new cases and said no new deaths had occurred.
A total of 1,021 people have recovered after contracting COVID-19 and 89,014 tests for the virus have been conducted in Nova Scotia.
Newfoundland did not report any new cases of the virus on Monday, either, and health authorities said the province’s death toll remained at three.
Thus far, 38,118 tests for the virus have been administered, and 268 people have recovered.
The latest data released by Prince Edward Island on Sept. 15 said the province has seen a total of 57 cases of COVID-19 but no deaths.
Saskatchewan health officials said seven new cases of the novel coronavirus were detected, but no one else had died.
The province has seen 24 deaths since the pandemic began.
A total of 1,645 have recovered after falling ill with the respiratory illness, and 173,764 tests for the virus have been conducted in Saskatchewan.
In Manitoba, 22 new novel coronavirus infections were detected, and health officials said two more people had died.
Since the virus was first detected 1,227 have recovered from COVID-19 infections.
Over 165,990 people have been tested for the virus in Manitoba.
Further west in Alberta, 137 new infections were reported, bringing the province’s case count to 16,739.
Health officials also said one new death associated with COVID-19 had occurred.
Since the pandemic began, 1,215,672 people have been tested for the virus, and 15,024 have recovered.
British Columbia health authorities reported 128 new cases of the novel coronavirus, and said four additional deaths had occurred since Friday.
Coronavirus: Dr. Tam explains what ‘manageable levels’ of COVID-19 in Canada might mean
The new infections bring the province’s total case load to 8,079. However, 5,797 have recovered from the virus.
So far, 455,395 tests for COVID-19 have been administered in British Columbia.
All five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories are considered to be resolved.
Health authorities have administered a total of 4,732 tests for the virus in the territory.
Similarly, in the Yukon, all 15 people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus have recovered.
The latest data released by health officials on Thursday said 3,049 people have been tested for the virus.
Nunavut has seen three cases of the virus, however, each have been tied to workers from other parts of the country.
The territory says the infections will be counted in the totals for the workers’ home jurisdictions, meaning Nunavut still considers itself free of COVID-19 cases.
Global cases top 31 million
The United States remained the epicentre of the virus on Monday, with more than 6.8 million confirmed cases.
As of 8 p.m. ET, COVID-19 had claimed 199,816 lives in the U.S.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Student visa limbo leaves thousands unable to start school in Canada – CBC.ca
Gustavo Camelo is one of thousands of international students stuck in limbo, ready to start college or university but missing one thing — a Canadian student visa.
The delays in documentation are due to travel restrictions brought in to protect Canadians from the spread of COVID-19. A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said the ministry is trying to smooth the process and reduce delays for international students.
International education as a sector contributes $21 billion a year to the Canadian economy.
Camelo completed his undergraduate degree at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and was all set to start his masters degree in chemistry at the University of Victoria this month.
He and his partner rented a $1,800-a-month Victoria apartment and couldn’t wait for September.
But then came COVID-19. The border closed and new rules came into play for student visas as of March 18.
Even international students approved before March are not automatically allowed to travel to Canada. Foreign nationals with a valid study permit or letter of introduction dated before March 18 may still be denied entry if their reason for travelling is deemed “discretionary.”
Students must prove it’s necessary for their program for them to be on campus.
Approved for online studies
When Camelo applied on May 15, he said he faced a 27-week wait for processing. So far he has only been approved to begin studies online, but he said he needs to be on campus to do research in order to complete the program. He said if he doesn’t get to Victoria soon, he could lose his spot in the program.
IRCC confirmed there are delays and, right now, restrictions are not being eased — that will depend on how well the virus is contained.
“In regards to processing times, COVID-19 has meant significant challenges continue to affect processing timelines and we are doing our best within existing limitations. Because there are so many different variables involved, we are unable to provide specific timelines at this time,” a spokesperson said Monday in an email.
“It’s very stressful. It’s hard to have your plans frustrated,” Camelo said in a phone interview from the U.K., where he and his dual-citizen partner, Tom Crocker, are waiting for word from Canada.
In July, the pair spent thousands of dollars on flights from Brazil and Canada to meet up in London, as the U.K. was one of the only places they could get in and face only a 14-day quarantine.
They had been separated since December 2019 and the border restrictions kept being extended.
“The U.K. is the only country that has its borders open for anyone,” said Crocker.
After reuniting at an Airbnb in London, where they quarantined for 14 days, the couple are staying with Crocker’s family near Dorchester until they can finally move back to B.C., where Camelo’s British-born partner has lived for a decade.
Camelo said he has about a month before he loses his spot in the UVic program, despite his acceptance and the fact that he’s paid his tuition.
“I can lose the offer for sure. The university is expecting me to get there in a month or so. No one knows exactly what’s going to happen,” he said.
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