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Canada had to make ‘heartbreaking decisions’ in response to Ukraine: Trudeau – Global News



Canada has had to make “heartbreaking decisions” when confronted with images of bombed hospitals and schools in Ukraine, civilian casualties and the Ukrainian president’s passionate plea for a no-fly zone, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies, including Canada, have denied President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request to close the skies over Ukraine due to concerns that it would cross a red line and potentially spark a world war-scale conflict.

“These are heartbreaking decisions and choices that we have to make,” Trudeau said Wednesday, speaking at a news conference in Alliston, Ont., to announce new supports for Canada’s automotive sector.

Read more:

Trudeau to join Biden, NATO leaders in Brussels for summit on Ukraine war: source

The prime minister added a no-fly zone may not prevent the mass destruction inflicted on Ukraine, as he said Russia has moved away from dropping bombs from planes over the country’s airspace toward cruise missiles fired from a distance.

The head of the NATO military alliance said Wednesday member countries are united in their belief that they should not deploy forces on the ground in Ukraine or in the country’s airspace.

“We see death, we see destruction, we see human suffering in Ukraine, but this can become even worse if NATO took actions that actually turn this into a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference.

A defiant Zelenskyy, clad in his trademark olive-green military T-shirt, evoked some of the darkest memories in American history Wednesday as he urged members of the U.S. Congress to shutter the skies over his besieged country.

Click to play video: 'Russian forces advances closer to Ukraine capital Kyiv'

Russian forces advances closer to Ukraine capital Kyiv

Russian forces advances closer to Ukraine capital Kyiv

Zelenskyy, one day removed from a similar address to a joint session of Parliament in Ottawa, reminded his audience of how Americans felt after Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But he called out more inspirational moments as well, referencing the powerful words of Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have a dream,” he said in Ukrainian, according to a live translation of his remarks.

“These words are known to each of you. Today I can say, I have a need: a need to protect our sky. I need your decision, your help, which means exactly the same you feel when you hear the words, ‘I have a dream.”’

Zelenskyy also came armed with a moving multimedia presentation _ a video compilation of peaceful, family-friendly images of the people and places of Ukraine, interspersed with the images of destruction, desecration and death that have dominated airwaves around the world for the last three weeks.

The president delivered part of his virtual address to U.S. lawmakers in English, unlike his speech entirely in Ukrainian to Canada’s Parliament on Tuesday.

Well aware how unpalatable a NATO-enforced no-fly zone has already proven both on Capitol Hill as well as in other nations, Zelenskyy proposed an “alternative”: provide military aircraft that Ukraine can use to protect itself from the ceaseless Russian bombardment.

“You know how much depends on the battlefield on the ability to use aircraft _ powerful, strong aviation to protect our people, our freedom, our land, aircraft that can help Ukraine, help Europe,” he said.

“You know that they exist and you have them, but they are on Earth _ not in Ukraine, in the Ukrainian sky.”

He was presumably referring to the 28 Soviet-made MiG-29 fighters that are currently stationed in Poland, which had been on offer until the Pentagon pulled the plug on that plan last week.

A few hours later, President Joe Biden signed an order authorizing the State Department to provide $800 million worth of assistance to Ukraine, including anti-aircraft systems like Stinger missiles, drones and munitions, shoulder-mounted anti-tank armaments, as well as shotguns, machine-guns, grenade launchers and other small arms “to equip the Ukrainians, including the brave women and men who are defending their cities as civilians.”

Click to play video: 'Applications for special visa program for Ukrainians fleeing war coming ‘very soon,’ says Trudeau'

Applications for special visa program for Ukrainians fleeing war coming ‘very soon,’ says Trudeau

Applications for special visa program for Ukrainians fleeing war coming ‘very soon,’ says Trudeau

The latest package comes on top of an additional $200 million in weapons and ammunition for Ukraine that the president authorized on the weekend, as well as a $13.6-billion security assistance package for the region that was included in the appropriations bill he signed on Tuesday.

“I want to be honest with you _ this could be a long and difficult battle,” Biden said.

“But the American people will be steadfast in our support of the people of Ukraine in the face of Putin’s immoral, unethical attacks on civilian populations. We are united in our abhorrence of Putin’s depraved onslaught, and we’re going to continue to have their backs as they fight for their freedom, their democracy, their very survival.”

Notably, Biden made no explicit reference to the idea of a no-fly zone.

For his part, Trudeau said Canada has responded with weapons shipments and other equipment sent to Ukraine, including cameras for surveillance drones, to help Ukraine protect its skies.

“We’re going to continue to get as much equipment as we have, that they can use, as possible,” he said.

Zelenskyy and Trudeau spoke again Wednesday, the Ukrainian president said on Twitter. Zelenskyy said they spoke about the importance of Tuesday’s address to Parliament and he thanked Trudeau “for the significant support in the war with Russia.” He said the antiwar coalition needs to be stronger. “The common goal is peace in Ukraine,” Zelenskyy wrote.

A readout of the call said Trudeau thanked Zelenskyy for his powerful speech to Parliament on Tuesday and commended his exceptional courage and leadership, “which have been inspirational for Canadians and for people around the world.”

It said Trudeau updated Zelenskyy on the delivery of aid to Ukraine from Canada.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced Wednesday Canada would prohibit Belarusian aircraft from entering Canadian airspace in retaliation for the country’s support of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Trudeau plans to travel to Brussels next week to discuss further support for Ukraine with other NATO nations.

Click to play video: 'Ukrainian President Zelenskyy welcomed with long round of applause in House of Commons'

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy welcomed with long round of applause in House of Commons

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy welcomed with long round of applause in House of Commons

He said the discussion will centre on how to protect lives in Ukraine and globally.

Defence Minister Anita Anand was already in Brussels Wednesday for a meeting with her NATO member counterparts to discuss the conflict.

Stoltenberg also pressed NATO military commanders to increase military spending to at least two per cent of their countries’ gross domestic product, and tasked with providing options to improve their long-term defensive posture.

“We face a new reality for our security, so we must reset collective defence and deterrence for the longer term” Stoltenberg said, adding that they need to think about all domains, including land, air, sea, cyber and space.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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Russian vodka, caviar and diamonds on new Canadian sanctions list



OTTAWA — Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly announced a fresh wave of sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime on Friday including a ban on importing Russian vodka, caviar and diamonds.

The ban on the import of certain luxury goods from Russia will tighten the net on the country’s elite and covers alcoholic drinks, fish and seafood.

Canada is also banning the export of cigarettes and alcoholic drinks to Russia, as well as designer clothing, training shoes and sportswear.

The sanctions package, covering goods worth $75.7 million in 2021, includes a ban on the export of jewelry, art and even kitchenware from Canada to Russia.

Canada is also imposing a ban on products that could be used in the production and manufacture of weapons by Russia.

Joly also imposed sanctions on 14 more people, including oligarchs with links to the Russian president’s regime and their family.

They include billionaire Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB agent who bought two major newspapers, the Evening Standard and Independent, in the United Kingdom. He also finances Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s leading opposition newspaper.

Gleb Frank, owner of one of Russia’s largest fishery companies, and son of Sergei Frank, former minister of transport and former CEO of Sovcomflot, Russia’s largest shipping firm, is on the new sanctions list.

So is Gleb Frank’s wife Ksenia Frank, the youngest daughter of oligarch Gennady Timchenko, an associate of Putin. She lives in Switzerland and attended Edinburgh University in the U.K.

Elena Timchenko, wife of Gennady Timchenko, is also on the latest sanctions roll.

David Davidovich, the “right-hand man” of oligarch Roman Abramovich, is also hit by sanctions. Abramovich is selling Chelsea, the British Premier League soccer club, after being caught in an earlier wave of sanctions.

The fresh tranche of financial penalties came as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland wrapped up a round of talks with G7 counterparts in Germany, as well as with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Freeland announced Canada is extending an additional $250-million loan to Ukraine, bringing Canada’s total financial support for the war-torn country to $1.8 billion. The loan comes on top of military support and weaponry for Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters from Germany, Freeland said other G7 nations were interested in following Canada’s lead in making legislative changes allowing the confiscation and sale of Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine.

Current laws only allow the government to freeze assets and accounts of sanctioned individuals. But Canada’s budget implementation bill sets out its intent to enact a law that would broaden the current sanctions regime to allow for the seizure of their assets.

Freeland said other G7 countries had lots of questions about “the seizure of Russian assets and using them to help pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine” and were interested in following Canada’s lead.

She said Canada has an opportunity “to lead by example and show what can be done.”

“There was a lot of interest in what Canada is doing,” Freeland said.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 1,000 individuals and entities from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

“The Putin regime must, and will, answer for their unjustifiable acts,” said Joly.

“Canada, together with our allies, will be relentless in our efforts to maintain pressure on the Russian regime, until it is no longer able to wage war. We are unwavering in our support for Ukraine and its people.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2022.


Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press

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Smaller telcos could feel the pinch after Ottawa prohibits use of Huawei’s 4G gear



Experts say smaller, independent telecommunications companies will be hurt the most by a federal government decision to ban China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE from involvement in Canada’s 5G wireless network, in a move that will also eventually prohibit their products from existing 4G services equipment.

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Thursday that the government will not be reimbursing the companies which need to remove this equipment from their networks by Dec. 31, 2027.

Telecom experts say smaller companies like Ice Wireless, which serves northern Canada and partnered with Huawei in 2019, as well as British Columbia’s rural internet provider ABC Communications, which also partnered with Huawei in 2019, could be negatively affected.

“We’re not talking companies that are flush with cash. They are going to have to stop investing in the technology that they have in place and somehow come up with the money to replace the equipment over the next five years,” telecom consultant Mark Goldberg said in an interview.

“It’s a bigger deal for the smaller players, proportionate to their resources,” former Telus chief financial officer Robert McFarlane said in an interview.

McFarlane noted the United States’ creation of a fund to provide subsidies to rural carriers working with Huawei when they had banned the company, something Canada hasn’t established.

Canada’s biggest telecom companies, including Telus Corp. and Bell Canada parent BCE Inc. will likely be able to absorb the costs associated with having to pull out 4G Huawei gear, the experts said.

Telus and BCE each said in 2020 that they would be moving away from Huawei and working with Sweden’s Ericsson as a supplier for their 5G networks.

The experts also said Rogers Communications Inc., whose partnership with Ericsson began in 2018, is an even better position.

Even though rural internet provider Xplornet Communications Inc. announced in 2020 that it would no longer be relying on Huawei for its equipment, it could face financial hurdles as it transitions from 4G to 5G because it doesn’t have the same cash reserves as Canada’s major players, they add.

Huawei Canada has reacted to Ottawa’s move, saying that it is “an unfortunate political decision that has nothing to do with cybersecurity or any of the technologies in question.”

Huawei Canada added that the ban on its equipment and services could lead to “significant economic loss in Canada and drive up the cost of communications for Canadian consumers.”

In an interview Thursday, Huawei Canada vice-president Alykhan Velshi said that it would be “reckless and irresponsible” for the Canadian government to ask the company to stop supporting its existing equipment in the 5G network, noting that there are around 10,000 cellphone sites across Canada that have Huawei technology in them.

He also said that more conversations need to be had between Huawei and Ottawa.

ZTE also provided its thoughts on the decision in a statement saying that the company “reject(s) the premise of this announcement,” calling it “highly speculative.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department says it welcomes Canada’s decision to ban China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE from its next-generation mobile networks.

In a statement, the U.S. says it supports efforts around the world to ensure consumers and customers can trust their wireless networks and providers.

It says it will continue to collaborate with Canada and other allies to ensure shared security in the 5G era.

“We welcome Canada’s decision,” the State Department said in writing Friday in response to a query from The Canadian Press.

“The United States supports efforts to ensure countries, companies, and citizens can trust their wireless networks and their operators. We continue to collaborate with allies like Canada to ensure our shared security in a 5G future and beyond.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2022.


The Canadian Press

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Trudeau pledges more action on cybersecurity following decision to ban Huawei from 5G



OTTAWA — A day after the federal Liberals banned Chinese firms Huawei Technologies and ZTE from helping build Canada’s 5G networks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said more must be done to secure critical systems against threats.

The government is working closely with big financial institutions as well as other companies across the country to protect vital networks from malicious attackers, Trudeau said Friday at an event in Quebec.

Canada will do more, whether through legislation, new spending or “better and stronger partnerships,” he told reporters.

Trudeau seemed undaunted by the fact Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin raised the spectre of retaliation over Canada’s 5G decision at a press briefing Friday.

“Without any solid evidence, the Canadian side cited vague security risks as a pretext to exclude relevant Chinese companies from its market,” Wang said.

“This move violates the market economy principle and free-trade rules and severely harms the Chinese companies’ legitimate rights and interests.”

Trudeau conceded Canada’s 5G policy “may well lead to challenges of the World Trade Organization.”

“But we feel that it is extremely important to stand up for Canadian protection, Canadian interests and Canadian safety. That’s why we took this decision and we stand by it.”

The Liberal government made it clear this week that the long-awaited 5G decision is only a first step in an era of perpetual cyberattacks, ransomware operations and efforts by criminal hackers and state-sponsored players to pilfer information or sabotage key infrastructure.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Thursday the government would table legislation to protect critical infrastructure in the finance, telecommunications, energy and transport sectors.

In addition, Mendicino’s mandate letter from the prime minister directs him to expand efforts to detect security risks in foreign research and investment partnerships, partly by increasing RCMP and security agency resources for this purpose.

Fen Hampson, a professor of international affairs at Carleton University, said legitimate network integrity concerns, as well as persistent pressure from the United States, helped forge Canada’s decision to exclude the Chinese vendors from 5G.

“Is this going to resolve our security problems, security concerns? Absolutely not.”

Much of the “hidden wiring” of the Canadian economy lies in private hands, and securing it poses a huge challenge, he said. “We need to do a lot more.”

Hampson ponders whether Canada is prepared for a major cyberattack against a seaport or machines in the oilsands that rely on remote-communication technologies.

“I think the short answer is no,” he said. “I mean, yes, we’re getting better at it. But it’s not just being able to thwart and deter those attacks, but how resilient are we?”

The latest federal budget earmarks $875 million over five years, and $238.2 million ongoing, for cybersecurity measures including programs at the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s electronic spy service, as well as more robust protection for small federal departments, agencies and Crown corporations.

The move is applauded as “utterly important” by Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, senior director for digital economy, technology and innovation at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

However, the chamber wants the government to turn next to helping the private sector bolster its defences.

Bahr-Gedalia said knowing how to predict and prevent problems in the digital sphere is essential.

“It is crucial for businesses to be secure and safe,” she said. “We really want to be ahead of the game, which is so important.”

The chamber is urging the government to spend $1 billion to protect Canada’s critical infrastructure, supply chains and businesses of all sizes from cyberthreats.

This will augment the more than $7 billion already being spent by the private sector on cybersecurity products and services, it says.

It is also calling for $300 million to accelerate the commercialization of such products and services in Canada, and $200 million to build Canada’s future cybersecurity workforce through education, talent development and retention programs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2022.


Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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