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China announces sanctions on Canadians, including MP Michael Chong – CBC.ca

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China on Saturday announced sanctions on individuals and entities in Canada and the United States in response to sanctions imposed on Chinese citizens and groups over conditions in Xinjiang.

China sanctioned MP Michael Chong, who is also the Conservative Party’s foreign affairs critic. Sanctions were also placed on the House of Commons subcommittee on international human rights, according to the statement. 

China will also impose sanctions on the chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Gayle Manchin, and the vice-chair, Tony Perkins, the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

“The individuals concerned are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China, and Chinese citizens and institutions are prohibited from doing business with the relevant individuals and having exchanges with the relevant entity,” the ministry wrote. 

Canada joined the U.S., United Kingdom and European Union this week in imposing sanctions on four Chinese officials suspected of being responsible for the persecution of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province.

Beijing has pushed back against the sanctions, stating they are “based on rumours and disinformation.”

China’s response strengthens Canada’s position: Chong

Responding to the news on Twitter, Chong said Canada has a “duty to call out China.”

“If that means China sanctions me, I’ll wear it as a badge of honour,” he said.

Chong told CBC News that China’s response serves to strengthen Canada’s position. 

“They’ve drawn attention to the plight of the Uyghur people, they’ve drawn attention to China’s illegal crackdown in Hong Kong,” he said. “So these sanctions … will further rally the global community in taking a stand against these violations.”

The Ontario MP said he didn’t believe the measures would inhibit his parliamentary work and called for Canada to expand its own sanctions against China.

“I think the sanctions should be expanded to include officials who are responsible for the crackdown in Hong Kong and the violation of the 1984 joint declaration. I also think that new, more effective measures need to be introduced by the government to ban the import of products from China that have been produced using forced labour.” he said.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said on Saturday he was “proud of the work by MPs of all parties” in calling attention to the persecution of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

 

Ottawa urged to stop making payments to bank

The Conservatives this week called on the federal Liberal government to stop making payments to the Asian Infrastructure Bank in light of the ongoing detention and lack of transparency around the trials of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China. 

Chong said earlier this week that it’s unacceptable that Canada would send about $40 million US to the China-led agency. 

Activists and United Nations rights experts say at least a million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. The activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labour and sterilizations.

China has repeatedly denied all accusations of abuse and says its camps offer vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

CBC News has reached out to Global Affairs Canada for comment.

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Canada’s manufacturers ask for federal help as Montreal dockworkers stage partial-strike

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MONTREAL (Reuters) – Canada‘s manufacturers on Monday asked the federal government to curb a brewing labor dispute after dockworkers at the country’s second largest port said they will work less this week.

Unionized dockworkers, who are in talks for a new contract since 2018, will hold a partial strike starting Tuesday, by refusing all overtime outside of their normal day shifts, along with weekend work, they said in a statement on Monday.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Quebec’s 1,125 longshore workers at the Port of Montreal rejected a March offer from the Maritime Employers Association.

The uncertainty caused by the labour dispute has led to an 11% drop in March container volume at the Montreal port on an annual basis, even as other eastern ports in North America made gains, the Maritime Employers Association said.

The move will cause delays in a 24-hour industry, the association said.

“Some manufacturers have had to redirect their containers to the Port of Halifax, incurring millions in additional costs every week,” said Dennis Darby, chief executive of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME).

While the government strongly believes a negotiated agreement is the best option for all parties, “we are actively examining all options as the situation evolves,” a spokesman for Federal Labor Minister Filomena Tassi said.

Last summer’s stoppage of work cost wholesalers C$600 million ($478 million) in sales over a two-month period, Statistics Canada estimates.

($1 = 1.2563 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal. Additional reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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Canada scraps export permits for drone technology to Turkey, complains to Ankara

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OTTAWA (Reuters) –Canada on Monday scrapped export permits for drone technology to Turkey after concluding that the equipment had been used by Azeri forces fighting Armenia in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said.

Turkey, which like Canada is a member of NATO, is a key ally of Azerbaijan, whose forces gained territory in the enclave after six weeks of fighting.

“This use was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances given by Turkey,” Garneau said in a statement, adding he had raised his concerns with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier in the day.

Ottawa suspended the permits last October so it could review allegations that Azeri drones used in the conflict had been equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, the Canada-based unit of L3Harris Technologies Inc.

In a statement, the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa said: “We expect our NATO allies to avoid unconstructive steps that will negatively affect our bilateral relations and undermine alliance solidarity.”

Earlier on Monday, Turkey said Cavusoglu had urged Canada to review the defense industry restrictions.

The parts under embargo include camera systems for Baykar armed drones. Export licenses were suspended in 2019 during Turkish military activities in Syria. Restrictions were then eased, but reimposed during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Turkey’s military exports to Azerbaijan jumped sixfold last year. Sales of drones and other military equipment rose to $77 million in September alone before fighting broke out in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, data showed.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Gareth Jones and Peter Cooney)

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Investigation finds Suncor’s Colorado refinery meets environmental permits

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By Liz Hampton

DENVER (Reuters) – A Colorado refinery owned by Canadian firm Suncor Energy Inc meets required environmental permits and is adequately funded, according to an investigation released on Monday into a series of emissions violations at the facility between 2017 and 2019.

The 98,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in the Denver suburb of Commerce City, Colorado, reached a $9-million settlement with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) March 2020 to resolve air pollution violations that occurred since 2017. That settlement also addressed an incident in December 2019 that released refinery materials onto a nearby school.

As part of the settlement, Suncor was required to use a third party to conduct an independent investigation into the violations and spend up to $5 million to implement recommendations from the investigation.

Consulting firm Kearney’s investigation found the facility met environmental permit requirements, but also pinpointed areas for improvement, including personnel training and systems upgrades, some of which was already underway.

“We need to improve our performance and improve the trust people have in us,” Donald Austin, vice president of the Commerce City refinery said in an interview, adding that the refinery had already undertaken some of the recommendations from the investigation.

In mid-April, Suncor will begin a turnaround at the facility that includes an upgrade to a gasoline-producing fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) at Plant 1 of the facility. That turnaround is anticipated to be complete in June 2021.

Suncor last year completed a similar upgrade of an automatic shutdown system for the FCCU at the refinery’s Plant 2.

By 2023, the company will also install an additional control unit, upgraded instrumentation, automated shutdown valves and new hydraulic pressure units in Plant 2.

Together, those upgrades will cost approximately $12 million, of which roughly $10 million is dedicated to Plant 2 upgrades, Suncor said on Monday.

 

(Reporting by Liz Hampton; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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