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Canada won't take foreign policy tips from China, minister says – CBC.ca

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Canada’s foreign affairs minister is doubling down on Canada’s position on its current standoff with China in the face of blowback from Chinese officials.

China’s foreign ministry said Friday that Canada’s attempts to secure the release of two citizens detained in China by involving other countries, including the United States, is “doomed to fail” and a “waste of time.”

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in response that Canada won’t take lessons on diplomacy from Beijing.

“The only one who [is] going to dictate the foreign policy of Canada is the Government of Canada,” he said in an interview with CBC Radio’s The House today.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told TVA’s Salut Bonjour program on Thursday that his government has asked the Trump administration to delay signing a final trade agreement with China until Beijing releases businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig.

Kovrig and Spavor have been in Chinese custody for over a year. They were arrested shortly after Canada detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on an extradition request from the United States. Her case is before the courts.

A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry took a shot at Canada for reaching out to Washington.

“If you pull chestnuts out of the fire for others, you will end up being the one getting burned,” Geng Shuang said.

Trading relationship in question

Despite the strident tone of China’s statements, it’s still Canada’s second largest trading partner. Reciprocal trade in goods between the two countries totals almost $100 billion each year, says Statistics Canada.

Champagne said Canada’s trade with the superpower doesn’t have to suffer because of the tensions caused by the consular cases. When asked if Canada could engage in trade with China and still push for the detained Canadians’ freedom, Champagne responded, “I think you can.”

Maintaining those ties is one thing — Prime Minister Trudeau told CBC News expanding them isn’t an option, given the current state of the relationship. On top of the detentions, China also halted imports of Canadian meat and canola earlier this year, causing huge issues for Canadian farmers.

“Until there is room to find that common ground, I don’t think that greater free trade with China is really something we can explore,” Trudeau told Power & Politics.

China takes no responsibility for the deterioration of the bilateral relationship. 

“The responsibility for the current difficult situation in China-Canada relations lies entirely with the Canadian side. Whoever started the trouble first should end it,” Geng said. The Chinese have indicated the standoff will continue until Meng is released.

Champagne said it’s time for a new framework for relations with China. So far, he said, Canada’s strategy of sticking to the “rule of law” argument in Meng’s case has come at a price, but Champagne maintains it was the right thing to do.

“When you believe in the rule of law, I don’t think you can pick and choose.”

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Alberta awards prize to essay that argues women should pick babies over careers

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EDMONTON — Alberta has awarded a prize to an essayist who argues the sexes are not equal and that women should pick babies over careers to avoid the province having to import more foreigners and risk “cultural suicide.”

The United Conservative government removed the essay from its legislature website Tuesday following an outcry of condemnation.

Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk — Alberta’s associate minister for the Status of Women and also the contest organizer and one of the judges — also distanced herself from the entire affair.

“The essay contest was intended to reflect a broad range of opinions from young Alberta women on what democracy means for them,” Armstrong-Homeniuk said in a statement.

“While the essay in question certainly does not represent the views of all women, myself included, the essay in question should not have been chosen.”

Armstrong-Homeniuk was not made available for an interview.

Her office declined to say who else sat on the judging committee and how and why the essay was chosen.

The contest advertised that essays would be judged by Armstrong-Homeniuk and other legislature members but did not specify names.

Armstrong-Homeniuk was appointed to the cabinet post in June but has been the face of the contest since it was introduced in February.

The “Her Vision Inspires” contest challenged women ages 17 to 25 to describe their ideas for a better Alberta.

The top two essays suggest ways to get more women, and the public in general, involved in public life.

The third-place winner — identified only as S. Silver — won a $200 prize to be spent at the legislature gift shop.

Silver’s essay posits that the governing mission of humanity is to reproduce itself, but that Alberta has lost its way to instead pursue “selfish and hedonistic goals.”

The solution, she argues, is to acknowledge that “women are not exactly equal to men.”

Society, she writes, should celebrate and embrace the birthing role of women and stop pushing them to put off prime procreation years while they “break into careers that men traditionally dominate.”

She says the idea that Alberta can put off procreation and instead “import foreigners to replace ourselves … is a sickly mentality that amounts to a drive for cultural suicide.”

Opposition NDP critic Rakhi Pancholi said Armstrong-Homeniuk owes the public a full explanation of how this view was not condemned but honoured and rewarded.

“Sexism, racism, hate — this is not what any government should be celebrating, yet increasingly these views are becoming acceptable in this UCP government, and even now applauded,” Pancholi told reporters.

Pancholi zeroed in on the “cultural suicide” reference, likening it to 1930s Nazi Germany urging women to be baby vessels to propagate the Aryan race.

“This is an absolutely reprehensible claim. It is a nod to the racist replacement theory that drives white nationalist hate,” she said.

The contest was run through the legislative assembly office, which is headed up by Speaker Nathan Cooper.

Cooper’s office, in a statement, said the contest was conceived and administered by Armstrong-Homeniuk in her role as regional chair of the Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians group.

“Neither the Speaker’s office nor the legislative assembly office were involved with the selection of the essays in any capacity, including who was on the MLA panel judging the contest,” said the statement.

“As soon as the content of the third-place winner was brought to the Speaker’s attention, he immediately made the decision for the content to be removed.

“The content is abhorrent and does not reflect the views of the Speaker or the legislative assembly office.”

Three candidates in the race to replace Premier Jason Kenney as party leader and premier also took to Twitter to criticize the award.

“It’s a disgrace that an essay saying women are not equal to men won an award sponsored by government. Women, and their contributions, are equally valuable and amazing whether we are moms or not. Can’t believe this needs to be said,” wrote Rebecca Schulz.

Rajan Sawhney followed up, writing, “Agree, Rebecca. Same goes for the comments about ‘foreigners.’ Alberta is the proud home of people from all over the world — from Ukraine, to the Philippines, and everywhere in between.”

Leela Aheer said, “Well, I read 1st and 2nd place (essays). Those were great! I’m not sure how the 3rd essay elevates women.”

Lise Gotell, a women’s and gender studies professor at the University of Alberta, said the essay perpetuates an essentialist, sexist and racist point of view stemming from the long discredited and outdated concept that a women’s role is to reproduce as a bulwark against immigration.

“The fact that it was chosen says a great deal about the views on appropriate gender roles being advanced by this government,” said Gotell in an interview.

“This essay reads like something that quite frankly could’ve been written in the 19th century.”

—  With files from Angela Amato in Edmonton

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022.

 

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Two miners trapped in Dominican Republic rescued with help from Canada

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OTTAWA — Defence Minister Anita Anand says two miners who were trapped in an underground mine for 10 days in the Dominican Republic have been rescued with the help of Canada.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Anand said the Royal Canadian Air Force transported mining equipment to Santo Domingo following a request for assistance from the Dominican government.

Two miners with the Dominican Mining Corporation, known as Cormidom, had been trapped since July 31 in an underground mine.

According to a news release from the Dominican Republic Embassy on Saturday, Canada was expected to send over a mining excavation system made up of machines, tools and various rescue technologies.

The statement says the equipment was provided by Machines Roger International, a mining company based in Val-d’Or, Que.

Anand thanked the Royal Canadian Air Force personnel involved in the mission who arrived in the Dominican Republic on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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Montreal mayor says independent investigation to examine Pride parade cancellation

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MONTREAL — An independent investigation will be held into Pride Montreal’s last-minute cancellation over the weekend of its emblematic parade, the City of Montreal announced Tuesday.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said on Twitter that organizers of the annual festival promised their full co-operation. The city will soon name someone to lead the inquiry who “understands and is sensitive toward LGBTQ+ communities and realities,” Plante spokesperson Catherine Cadotte said in an interview.

The mayor said she met on Monday with Pride Montreal organizers, who “accepted that an independent investigation shed light on the cancellation of the parade and make recommendations to ensure the success of future editions.”

Cadotte says the mayor requestedthe independent probe after Pride Montreal had initially announced it would conduct only an internal review into the embarrassing decision to nix the parade on Sunday, hours before it was to begin.

Pride Montreal spokesperson Nathalie Roy says the internal committee announced on Monday has been called off because the organization agreed to collaborate with the independent inquiry. “We will comment once the independent investigation is done,” Roy said in an interview Tuesday.

The independent inquiry will examine what led to the parade’s cancellation, which organizers have said was necessary because of a shortage of staff.

“A lot of information circulated over the last few days,” Cadotte said. “The organization experienced a situation in relation to logistic issues. The inquiry will determine precisely all the exact circumstances and steps that led to that decision.”

Although the city contributed $600,000 to this year’s festival — which ran from Aug. 1-7 and included concerts and other events — Cadotte said Montreal didn’t ask to be reimbursed. The festival was a success overall, she said, but the inquiry is “needed to re-establish trust in Pride Montreal.”

“The event is deeply important for Montrealers and its communities,” Cadotte said. “The mayor reiterated the importance of Pride Montreal and to celebrate and support diversity in Montreal, which is part of the city’s identity.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

 

Virginie Ann, The Canadian Press

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