Canadian Michael Spavor has been found guilty of espionage and sentenced to 11 years in prison by a Chinese court in a verdict that will further test the strained relationship between the Canadian and Chinese governments.
Spavor is also being ordered deported by the court, though it is not immediately clear if that will happen before or after the 11 year prison sentence is served.
Canadian Ambassador Dominic Barton, who attended Spavor’s hearing in Dandong, a coastal city near the border with North Korea, said he believes it will occur after he completes his sentence.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this decision after a legal process that lacked both fairness and transparency,” Barton said in a video address to diplomats and journalists gathered at the Canadian embassy.
Spavor was also convicted of illegally providing state secrets to other countries.
The United States embassy in Beijing also condemned the sentencing in a statement, saying that proceedings against Spavor and another Canadian charged with espionage were an attempt to “use human beings as bargaining leverage.”
The verdict and sentencing mark a significant new development in Spavor’s journey through the Chinese legal system, which Ottawa and other observers have decried for a perceived lack of transparency.
Trudeau condemns sentence
Ottawa has called repeatedly on the Chinese government to release Spavor and fellow Canadian Michael Kovrig, who were both detained in what is widely seen as an act of retaliation following the arrest of the Chinese business executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December, 2018
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the sentence “absolutely unacceptable and unjust.”
“Today’s verdict for Mr. Spavor comes after more than two and a half years of arbitrary detention, a lack of transparency in the legal process, and a trial that did not satisfy even the minimum standards required by international law,” Trudeau said in a statement early Wednesday.
Barton, who visited with Spavor following the verdict, said Spavor had three messages that he asked to be shared with the outside world: “Thank you for all your support,” “I am in good spirits,” and “I want to get home.”
Spavor was based in China but had extensive links with North Korea in tourism and other commercial ventures that brought him into contact with the isolated communist state’s leadership.
In a statement, Spavor’s family said they disagreed the charges and said the next step is to “bring Michael home.
“Michael’s life passion has been to bring different cultures together through tourism and events shared between the Korean peninsula and other countries including China and Canada,” the statement said. “This situation has not dampened, but strengthened his passion.”
The verdict in Spavor’s case was delivered at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday — Wednesday morning in China. The ruling also calls for the confiscation of approximately $10,000 of personal property.
WATCH | Former diplomat discusses impact of Spavor’s sentence:
The Spavor verdict arrived just over 24 hours after a different Chinese court upheld a death sentence for Robert Schellenberg, a Canadian convicted on charges of drug smuggling.
Canada and several of its international allies condemned that decision and have called on China to grant clemency in the case.
Ottawa maintains that Spavor and Kovrig, a former diplomat, were arbitrarily detained.
Kovrig’s trial concluded in March but it’s not clear when a verdict in his case will be delivered.
Meng, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, faces possible extradition to the United States for charges linked to violation of sanctions.
Her extradition hearings in Vancouver are currently in their last few weeks ahead of a ruling from a B.C. Supreme Court, expected sometime in the next few months.
Links to Meng
Earlier, during a news conference in Shenyang, China, where the Schellenberg verdict was announced, Barton suggested the cases are linked to Meng’s trial.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence these are happening right now while events are going on in Vancouver,” Dominic Barton told reporters Tuesday.
Speaking to Power & Politics Tuesday, Guy Saint-Jacques, a former ambassador to China, said that Canada should boycott next year’s Beijing Olympics over China’s handling of the Schellenberg case.
Schellenberg initially was handed a 15-year sentence before his punishment was upgraded to the death penalty following a retrial that lasted only one day.
The death sentence was delivered in January 2019, a month after Meng was arrested.
Canada condemns China’s conviction and sentencing of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MichaelSpavor?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MichaelSpavor</a> in the strongest possible terms. <br> <br>Complete statement here: <a href=”https://t.co/MfxoxRZL1s”>https://t.co/MfxoxRZL1s</a> <a href=”https://t.co/esYjnDTteU”>pic.twitter.com/esYjnDTteU</a>
Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau condemned the verdict.
“This decision is rendered after a legal process that lacked both fairness and transparency, including a trial that did not satisfy the minimum standards required by international law,” he said in a statement.
The European Union also formally called on China to grant clemency to Schellenberg. A spokesperson for the EU raised concerns about due process and “arbitrariness” in the case.
Canada’s Trudeau hammers main election rival’s COVID-19 approach
Opinion polls show Trudeau’s center-left Liberals are tied with the right-of-center Conservatives led by Erin O’Toole and appear set to fail in their bid to win a parliamentary majority in Monday’s vote.
Trudeau, 49, noted that O’Toole, 48, had praised Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s decision earlier this year to quickly lift public health restrictions in the Western Canadian province.
Kenney, who was a minister in former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government before the Liberals took power in 2015, backtracked this week after a surge in COVID-19 cases threatened to overload the provincial healthcare system. Kenney apologized and said he would introduce vaccine passports.
“The choices that leaders make in a crisis matter … just a few days ago Mr. O’Toole was still applauding Mr. Kenney for his management of the pandemic,” Trudeau told reporters in Montreal.
“That’s not the leadership we need in Ottawa to end this pandemic for good,” added Trudeau, who backs mandatory vaccine mandates. The Liberal leader heads a minority government that depends on the opposition to pass legislation.
A central element of Trudeau’s campaign pitch is that Canada needs a leader who is clear on the need for vaccinations to get through the pandemic.
O’Toole has repeatedly sidestepped questions about his earlier support for Kenney’s approach to COVID-19.
“As prime minister, I will work with all premiers, regardless of stripe, to fight against the pandemic,” he told reporters in Saint John, New Brunswick, saying Trudeau should not have triggered an election during a pandemic.
A fourth wave of COVID-19, driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, is continuing to surge mainly among the unvaccinated, Theresa Tam, the country’s chief public health officer, said in a briefing in Ottawa.
“Hospitalizations could exceed healthcare capacities in impacted areas,” she said.
Alberta and neighboring Saskatchewan have among the worst rates of COVID-19 cases per capita in Canada.
Trudeau said his government would send ventilators to Alberta. Liberal campaign organizers, citing unhappiness with Kenney, say their party could pick up three of Alberta’s 34 federal seats after being shut out in the traditionally right-leaning province.
With Saskatchewan hospitals nearing capacity, Premier Scott Moe imposed a mask requirement for indoor public spaces starting on Friday. By Oct. 1, provincial government employees must be vaccinated or submit to regular testing, and people must be inoculated or test negative to dine in restaurants.
OBAMA WEIGHS IN
How to handle COVID-19 has become a challenge for O’Toole. He supports inoculations, but says he prefers rapid testing to detect the virus rather than vaccination mandates.
The Conservatives are at risk of seeing some support leak to the right-wing People’s Party of Canada (PPC), which is feeding into public anger https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-mad-max-stokes-anti-vax-rage-could-help-trudeau-2021-09-14 over vaccinations and lockdowns.
PPC leader Maxime Bernier, who also was a minister in Harper’s government, attacked Kenney over his vaccine passport announcement. Bernier tweeted that he would go to the province “to join Albertans in their fight against this despot.”
A rolling Nanos Research telephone survey of 1,200 Canadians for CTV on Thursday put public support for the Liberals at 31.9%, the Conservatives at 30.3% and the left-leaning New Democrats at 22.4%.
Such a result could produce deadlock in which no party is able to form even a stable minority government. Trudeau triggered the election two years early, seeking to benefit from his handling of the pandemic, but the Liberals have not so far been able to shrug off voter fatigue.
Trudeau, however, got a big endorsement on Thursday from former U.S. President Barack Obama, who wished his “friend” all the best in the election.
“Justin has been an effective leader and strong voice for democratic values, and I’m proud of the work we did together,” Obama wrote on Twitter.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Writing by David Ljunggren; additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Paul Simao)
Politics Briefing: Post-debate Nanos poll shows the Liberals ahead in Ontario – The Globe and Mail
The travel patterns of the party leaders make one thing clear: Federal elections are won and lost in the Greater Toronto Area, Quebec and British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.
To provide a more in-depth look at those key battlegrounds, Nanos Research combined its daily polling data over the past five days to produce larger sample sizes for regional battles. The five days cover Sept. 10 to 14, meaning all surveys were conducted after the Sept. 9 English-language leaders’ debate.
The results show the Liberals are well ahead in the GTA, but are essentially tied with the Conservatives in the rest of the province. For Ontario as a whole, the Liberals hold a 10-point lead with 40 per cent support, followed by the Conservatives at 30 per cent, the NDP at 20 per cent, the People’s Party at 7 per cent and the Greens at 3 per cent. The province-wide numbers are based on a sample size of 588 and have a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
In Quebec, the Liberals are slightly in front at 32 per cent, followed by the Bloc Québécois at 28 per cent, the Conservatives at 18 per cent, the NDP at 15 per cent, the People’s Party at 4 per cent and the Greens at 3 per cent. That is based on a sample size of 447 respondents, with a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
In British Columbia, the Conservatives lead with 30 per cent support, followed by the Liberals at 28 per cent, the NDP at 26 per cent and the Greens and People’s Party tied at 8 per cent. That is based on a sample size of 300 respondents and has a margin of error of 5.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The polling data was collected as part of a daily tracking survey commissioned by The Globe and Mail and CTV News.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written with Bill Curry. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
TRUDEAU, O’TOOLE, SINGH CALL FOR APOLOGY OVER BILL 21 ENGLISH DEBATE QUESTION: All three major party leaders are calling for an apology from the consortium of media broadcasters that oversees the federal election debates over a question about Quebec laws during the recent English-language debate.
The question, posed by moderator Shachi Kurl to Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet during the Sept. 9 debate, has set off a firestorm of criticism in Quebec, including a unanimous call from the provincial National Assembly for a formal apology for the “hostile” views expressed “against the Quebec nation.” A report by the Globe and Mail’s election team is here.
CHRÉTIEN APPEARS ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Former prime minister Jean Chrétien made an appearance in support of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on the campaign trail, touting the Liberal government’s record as the party looks to gain ground in a competitive electoral race with less than a week to go until election day.
In a speech Tuesday evening to a packed room of about 400 supporters in Brampton, Ont., which is considered a key battleground, Mr. Chrétien spoke of the world being in turmoil and cited such issues as the impacts of climate change. The story by The Globe and Mail’s Kristy Kirkup is here.
TRUDEAU DEFENDS ONTARIO EVENT WITH 400 PEOPLE, SAYS ALL HEALTH GUIDELINES FOLLOWED: Mr. Trudeau is defending holding a packed campaign event in Brampton with 400 people on Tuesday evening, saying the event was in keeping with provincial guidelines despite criticism, including from Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole. Kristy Kirkup’s follow-up story is here.
SINGH SAYS CANDIDATES RESIGNING WAS THE ‘RIGHT DECISION’ AFTER ANTISEMITIC TWEETS SURACE: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that the resignations of two NDP candidates was the “right decision” after old Twitter posts recently came to light that were deemed to be antisemitic.
At a campaign stop in Windsor, Ont., on Wednesday morning, Mr. Singh was asked about Sidney Coles and Dan Osborne, two NDP candidates that were running in the ridings of Toronto-St. Paul’s and Nova Scotia’s Cumberland-Colchester, respectively. Both stepped down less than a week before election day, after old Twitter posts from each candidate resurfaced. The story by the Globe and Mail’s Menaka Raman-Wilms is here.
TRUDEAU WARNS PROGRESSIVES TO VOTE LIBERAL TO WARD OFF CONSERVATIVES, AS O’TOOLE COURTS QUEBEC: Mr. Trudeau appeared alongside the former leader of British Columbia’s Green Party on Tuesday to make a final attempt at appealing to progressive voters, arguing that the Liberals are the only party that can stop the Conservatives as election day draws near.
Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole sent a letter to Quebec Premier François Legault in an effort to ease concerns about the Conservative Party’s child-care plan, as the Tory Leader looks to court Quebec voters. Story by the Globe and Mail’s election team is here.
CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE APOLOGIZES FOR SPREADING COVID VACCINE MISINFORMATION: Manitoba Conservative candidate and incumbent Ted Falk has apologized after he was quoted in a local newspaper making the false claim that people are 13 times more likely to die from the Delta variant if they were double-vaccinated, compared to unvaccinated. The Canadian Press report can be found here.
TRUDEAU SAYS HE PLAYED NO ROLE IN DEAL WITH CHINESE GOVERNMENT PRESS THAT REPUBLISHED HIS MEMOIR: The Conservative Party is asking Canada’s federal ethics watchdog to reveal whether it scrutinized a 2016 deal where a Chinese state-owned publishing house republished Justin Trudeau’s private memoirs under the title The Legend Continues. Meanwhile, Mr. Trudeau distanced himself from the book deal and declined to explicitly say whether the ethics commissioner okayed the China book deal. Story by the Globe and Mail’s Steven Chase and Robert Fife is here.
NEW INFLATION NUMBERS SPILL INTO ELECTION CAMPAIGN: Canadian inflation surged in August at the quickest pace since 2003, jumping 4.1 per cent in August from a year earlier. The Globe and Mail’s Matt Lundy reports on the details here. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who has been raising inflation concerns throughout the campaign, said in a statement that Canada “is experiencing an affordability crisis” and Liberal and NDP policies will make it worse. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau suggested the situation is temporary and said his party is offering policies on housing and child care that will help lower costs for Canadians.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet campaigns in Montreal. Longueuil, Châteauguay, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Varennes and Mont-Saint-Hilaire.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole made an announcement and held a media availability in Jonquiere, Que., and is scheduled to hold an evening event with supporters in Orford.
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul holds a press conference in Kitchener, Ont., with Mike Schreiner, the leader of the Ontario Green Party, and mainstreets in Kitchener and Toronto.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made an announcement and held a media availability in Halifax.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh spoke to the media in Essex, Ont., and visited supporters in London. He was scheduled to visit supporters in Niagara Centre, Hamilton and Brampton and join a Twitch stream event with YouTuber Ryan Letourneau.
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on Maxime Bernier’s disgraceful election campaign: “Election campaigns are bruising, generally thankless affairs, in which the mood of the candidates is inextricably linked to the proximity of the finish line. That is, unless you have nothing to lose, then you can often enjoy the experience and get more exposure than you ever imagined – or frankly, deserved. Welcome to Mad Max Bernier’s world.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on why the Peoples’ Party of Canada should be represented in Parliament: “If PPC members fail to break through in Parliament, just as Mr. Bernier was unfairly denied representation in the leaders’ debates last week – they will find another way to be heard.”
Eric Reguly (The Globe and Mail) on how Norway’s election thrust climate to the political forefront and may be a taste of elections to come: “The Norwegian election might be a foretaste of elections to come as the planet heats up. The election result – the swing to the left partly propelled by heightened environmental awareness – signaled climate issues are entering the political mainstream, at least in western Europe, and are less divisive than they used to be. Canada is not quite there yet, but give it time. Wealthy Norway has the luxury of knowing that throwing fortunes at reducing emissions won’t hurt the economy, as it might in some other countries. Cries of hypocrisy as the oil revenue continues to fill Norwegian state bank accounts will not disappear any time soon. But give that time, too.”
Erna Paris (Contributor to The Globe and Mail) on why federal leaders’ sycophantic acceptance of Quebec’s Bill 21 is dangerous for all of Canada: “To back such legislation is not only hypocrisy on the part of Canadian leaders, but an affront to the fundamental commitments we espouse in this country. During the debate, it was striking to note that in the same breath as the main party leaders refused to challenge Quebec’s right to discriminate, they simultaneously mouthed their support for the Canadian shibboleths of human rights and equality.”
Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. Please note that it is not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.
Trump's Big Lie is changing the face of American politics – CNN
(CNN)The Big Lie is already tainting the 2022 and 2024 elections.
‘Democracy is not a football’
Democracy on trial in the midterms
How concerning is the latest COVID-19 Mu variant in B.C.? – News 1130
Latest: Some French health care workers suspended, no shot – North Shore News
Citi hires Milovanovic from Goldman to head Americas financials M&A group
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Business4 hours ago
Present Yourself as a ‘No Brainer’ to Hire
Economy3 hours ago
Canadian dollar falls as Canadian data shows economic momentum easing
Politics9 hours ago
Politics Briefing: Post-debate Nanos poll shows the Liberals ahead in Ontario – The Globe and Mail
Business3 hours ago
GM extends EV Bolt production halt to mid-October
Politics10 hours ago
Trump's Big Lie is changing the face of American politics – CNN
Investment23 hours ago
Why Canadians are still struggling to understand investment fees – The Globe and Mail
Art17 hours ago
'A very fundamental question': Is this the world's oldest example of art? – CTV News
News24 hours ago
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday – CBC.ca