Chinese prosecutors charged two detained Canadians with spying Friday in an apparent bid to step up pressure on Canada to drop a U.S. extradition request for a Huawei executive under house arrest in Vancouver.
Michael Kovrig was charged by Beijing on suspicion of spying for state secrets and intelligence. Michael Spavor was charged in Dandong, a city near the North Korean border, on suspicion of spying for a foreign entity and illegally providing state secrets.
The charges were announced by China’s highest prosecutor’s office in brief social media posts.
Both men have been held for 18 months. They were detained shortly after the December 2018 Vancouver arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei. The daughter of Huawei’s founder was arrested at the request of U.S. authorities who want her on fraud charges related to trade with Iran.
China has repeatedly called for the release of Meng, and has warned Canada that it could face consequences for aiding the U.S. in Meng’s case.
Fates linked to Meng
China has denied any link between her case and the lengthy detention of the two Canadian men, but outside experts see them as linked. Meng has been released on bail while her extradition case proceeds in court.
Meng is accused of lying to an HSBC executive in Hong Kong in August 2013 about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom, a company prosecutors claim was violating U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.
The U.S. claims Skycom was actually a subsidiary of Huawei and that HSBC and other banks placed themselves at risk of prosecution and financial loss by continuing to provide financing to Huawei based on Meng’s reassurances.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s billionaire founder, has denied the allegations.
Meng was released on $10 million bail and has been living for the past year and a half under a form of house arrest in one of two homes she owns on Vancouver’s west side.
In China, Kovrig and Spavor remain in solitary confinement. Neither man has been seen by Canadian consular officials since January.
Last month, a B.C. judge ruled the U.S. extradition case against Meng could proceed to the next stage.
WATCH | Meng Wanzhou leaves court after losing bid to stop her extradition:
Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes dealt Meng’s defence a significant blow by ruling that the proceedings should continue, as the case met the bar for so-called “double criminality” and that Meng’s alleged offence would be considered a crime had it happened in Canada.
Kovrig is a former Canadian diplomat who has worked as a senior adviser for International Crisis Group. ICG has previously said the accusations against Kovrig are “vague and unsubstantiated.”
Spavor, 44, is a businessman, originally from Calgary, who helped to arrange travel into North Korea.
Denied access to lawyers
China has also sentenced two other Canadians to death and suspended imports of Canadian canola, while saying those moves were also unrelated to Meng’s case.
Relations between Canada and China are at their lowest point since the Chinese military’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests centred on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.
David Malley, Kovrig’s former boss at International Crisis Group, said in an interview last December that his former employee was holding up in prison, basing his assessment on what he’s heard from Canadian officials who have visited him.
At the time, the two Canadians had been allowed about one consular visit per month by Canadian diplomats. But they have been denied access to lawyers and all others.
Bell and Telus shun Huawei
The tensions appear to be causing further harm to Huawei’s reputation in the Americas, with two of Canada’s three major telecommunication companies announcing earlier this month that they’ve decided not to use the Chinese tech giant for their next-generation 5G wireless network.
Bell Canada announced that Sweden-based Ericsson will be its supplier and Telus Corp. later announced that it had also selected Ericsson and Nokia.
Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies, but has long been seen as a front for spying by China’s military and its highly skilled security services.
The U.S. has urged Canada to exclude Huawei equipment from its next-generation wireless networks, saying Huawei is legally beholden to the Chinese regime. The United States and Australia have banned Huawei, citing concerns it is an organ of Chinese military intelligence — a charge the company denies.
Over 70% of Canada’s coronavirus cases have recovered as country adds 244 new diagnoses – Globalnews.ca
The number of novel coronavirus cases in Canada stands at 107,570 as of Sunday, and more than 70 per cent of those diagnosed have recovered, data shows.
As of Sunday afternoon, the country diagnosed 244 new cases while 71,467 of those diagnosed with the virus have recovered. Over 3.6 million people in Canada have been tested so far and 8,780 have died.
Those numbers are incomplete, however, as Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and all three territories did not provide updates.
Quebec, the province hit hardest by the novel coronavirus, recorded 114 new cases on Saturday for a provincial total of 56,521 cases. To date, 5,627 in Quebec have died from the virus while 25,862 have recovered.
In Ontario, the province hit second-hardest by the virus, officials reported 129 new COVID-19 cases for a provincial total of 36, 723 cases. More than 1.6 million residents have been tested so far while 88.6 per cent of all confirmed cases in Ontario have been resolved.
Several provinces have seen no new COVID-19 cases in days.
Manitoba recorded no new cases for the 12th day in a row on Sunday, surpassing its previous streak of five days in June. Of the confirmed and presumptive cases, 314 have recovered. Seven residents have died while just over 69,000 have been tested.
Officials in Nova Scotia said Sunday the province hasn’t reported a new case in five days and remains at 1,066. Sixty-three people there have died while 1,000 infected have recovered. Over 58,000 residents have been tested so far.
New Brunswick recorded no new cases since Thursday. On Sunday, officials said all but three of its 166 cases have recovered. Two people in the province have died from the virus while 46,502 have been tested so far.
Officials in Newfoundland and Labrador said Sunday the province hasn’t seen a new case in three days, while 258 out of the province’s 262 cases have recovered. Over 20,000 residents have been tested. Three people residing in N.L. have died.
Prince Edward Island reported its first newly confirmed case in three days on Sunday, bringing its total up to 34. Of those 34 cases, 27 have recovered.
Dr. Heather Morrison, the province’s chief health officer, said the woman who tested positive for COVID-19 may have been in contact with a man who tested positive for the virus after returning from Nova Scotia. As of Sunday, officials said 13,730 had tested.
Nunavut reported Friday the province was still free of COVID-19 after a test for its first presumptive case came back negative. The Yukon saw 11 confirmed cases while the Northwest Territories’ total remained at five. All known cases in the territories have recovered.
As of Friday, Alberta had seen 8,596 cases and 160 deaths while in Saskatchewan, officials reported a provincial total of 815 cases, adding 15 people had died from the virus.
British Columbia recorded 187 new deaths for a total of 3,028 confirmed cases on Friday. Nine cases are epidemiologically linked, which happens when a patient may have been in contact with one or more people who tested positive with the virus but has yet to be confirmed.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canada's largest Indigenous police force has never shot anyone dead – CTV News
In its 26 years of existence, officers with Canada’s largest Indigenous police force have never shot and killed anyone and no officer has died in the line of duty, despite a grinding lack of resources and an absence of normal accountability mechanisms.
It’s a record of which the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service is proud, especially in light of the recent uproar in North America over police killings and brutality involving Indigenous, Black, and mentally distressed people. It’s a record achieved in communities frequently in social distress, places where hunting rifles and shotguns are ubiquitous.
The key difference from urban, non-Indigenous policing, insiders and observers say, is the relationship building between officers and the people they serve.
“In the past, you might have been the only officer in there,” Roland Morrison, chief of NAPS says from Thunder Bay, Ont. “You would have no radio, you’ve got no backup, so you really effectively have to use your communication and talk to people. You have to develop relationships with the communities in order to have positive policing.”
Inaugurated in 1994, NAPS is responsible for policing more than 38,000 people in 34 communities, many beyond remote, across a vast, largely untamed swath of northern Ontario. Currently the service has 203 officers, about 60 per cent of them Indigenous, Morrison says. Its mandate is culturally responsive policing.
Erick Laming, a criminology PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, says people from First Nation communities — many with an ingrained suspicion of police given the brutal realities of generations of enforced residential school attendance — have a higher level of trust when officers are Indigenous.
In contrast, he said, new RCMP recruits with no such background might find themselves in Nunavut or Yukon confronted with significant language and cultural barriers.
“If you’re from the community, you have those lived experiences. You can relate to people. You just know how to deal with the issues,” says Laming, who is from the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation north of Kingston, Ont.
“If you don’t have that history, you can have all the cultural-sensitivity training in the world, you’ll never fully be able to fully integrate into that situation.”
Another example, he said, is the service in Kahnawake, Que., which calls itself the Kahnawake Peacekeepers rather than a police force.
While all officers in Ontario undergo the same basic training, the province’s nine Indigenous police services are fundamentally different from their non-Indigenous counterparts.
For one thing, they are not deemed an essential service, although federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said last month that policing First Nations communities should be. Nor are those in Ontario subject to the provincial Police Services Act, which mandates standards, including for an extensive oversight framework.
Now, the process for filing complaints against members of an Indigenous police force is ad hoc, although NAPS does have a professional standards branch and will on occasion call in Ontario Provincial Police. Officers have been disciplined, charged or even fired for excessive use of force.
Another difference is that Indigenous forces are completely reliant on the vagaries of government program funding — with Ottawa footing 52 per cent of the bill and provinces 48 per cent. The current operations budget for NAPS, for example, is around $37.7 million — more than its peers — with expenses approaching $40 million.
The upshot, particularly in years gone by, has been a dire shortage of officers and even of basic facilities and equipment that urbanites can scarcely imagine. In more than a dozen cases, Indigenous self-administered police services in Canada have simply folded.
Now retired, Terry Armstrong, who spent 22 years with Ontario Provincial Police as well as five years as chief of NAPS, says people would be shocked to find out just how poorly funded First Nations policing has been.
Armstrong recounts how a few years ago, in the Hudson Bay community of Fort Severn, Ont., a NAPS officer found himself dealing with a homicide. Besides having to secure three crime scenes and the body, the lone officer had to arrest the suspect and deal with a separate gun call. Bad weather prevented any forensic or other help flying in until the following day.
One thing he always stressed to newcomers as chief, Armstrong says, is the importance of treating people respectfully.
“Some day, they’re going to be your backup. When stuff goes south, you’re going to need people to support you,” he says. “If you’re going to be a dick … when you need help, they aren’t going to be there for you.”
One frigid afternoon in February 2013, the only on-duty NAPS officer in Kasabonika Lake First Nation in Ontario’s far north detained Lena Anderson, an intoxicated young mother upset over the apprehension of her daughter. The new detachment portable was unheated. The old holding cell was unusable because prisoners could escape through holes in the floor.
The arresting officer left Anderson, 23, in the caged back seat of his Ford 150 police truck for warmth while he went to get help from his off-duty colleague. Alone for 16 minutes, Anderson strangled herself.
The tragedy, combined with a threatened strike over working conditions by NAPS officers, caused an uproar. The situation, says Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, prompted his Nishnawbe Aski Nation to take a stand. Governments, he said, had to do better or face the far more daunting prospect of doing the policing themselves.
As a result, Fiddler says, a new funding agreement was reached in 2018 that allowed the hiring of 79 new officers over five years and critical infrastructure upgrades to detachments and poor or non-existent communication systems. Most importantly, he said, the deal set in motion pending Ontario legislation that would finally allow First Nations police services to opt in to the Police Services Act, putting in place solid standards and accountability mechanisms.
“That’s something our communities and citizens deserve.” Fiddler says. “If they have an issue with NAPS, there should be a forum for them to pursue their grievance.”
However, giving investigative authority to the province’s Special Investigations Unit or Office of the Independent Police Review Director must come with cultural safety built in, he says.
Stephen Leach, current review director, says his office is not yet involved in the opt-in process.
“My expectation is that once the Community Safety and Policing Act is proclaimed and the opt-in process is further along, then I would be involved in explaining how the public complaints process works, and listening to how it might have to be adapted to meet the needs of First Nations communities,” Leach says.
Stephen Warner, a spokesman for Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, confirmed the government was working on regulations to the new act. Part of the work, he said, was to set clear and consistent standards for policing delivery “informed by, and responsive to, the views of the communities that police are both a part of and serve.”
Toronto-based lawyer Julian Falconer calls the new legislation a game changer. Despite having devoted much of his career to holding police accountable, he says he has no qualms in representing NAPS.
Despite, or perhaps because of, their chronic lack of resources, Falconer says Indigenous police behave much differently from their urban counterparts. He cites the dearth of police killings and racist behaviours that have sown deep mistrust of policing among Indigenous, Black and marginalized groups.
“Mainstream policing has a lot to learn from Indigenous policing,” Falconer said. “The relationship between community and policing is so dramatically different.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 12.
Times are tough for Canada's self-proclaimed french fry capital – CBC.ca
For the past few years, Ottawa’s Carole Richard has made an annual pilgrimage with her friends to the small town of Alfred, Ont., to sample the local spuds.
The village of about 1,200 people on County Road 17 — about 70 kilometres east of Ottawa — is, after all, the self-proclaimed french fry capital of Canada.
“I like small fries like these, well-cooked, a little dry,” said Richard, pausing between bites at the Landriault Snack Bar. “They’re super good.”
These days, however, fried potato enthusiasts like Richard only have one local option for satiating their cravings. Of the multiple chip stands and canteens that once dotted the village, only one — the Landriault Snack Bar — still remains.
“When we [were] here 10, 11 years ago, there were four,” owner Bruce Forget recently told Radio-Canada in a French-language interview.
“They all disappeared quietly,” he said.
Some in Alfred trace the decline of the fry shacks to the arrival of a Tim Hortons franchise at the village’s entrance.
Others cite the 2012 completion of Highway 50 on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, which allowed motorists travelling between the National Capital Region and Montreal to bypass County Road 17 altogether.
There’s also the simple fact that the french fry business is hard work — one of the main reasons that Suzanne Villeneuve, owner of Miss Alfred, decided not to open her doors this winter.
Had she done so, her canteen would have celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.
“People can’t imagine [how busy it is],” Villeneuve told Radio-Canada in French, noting that all the food at Miss Alfred was homemade.
“It was 12 hours a day [six days a week]. On the seventh, you changed the oil and then finally took care of your own business.”
As for Forget, he agrees that running a fry shack is hard work — and is well aware that, when it comes to the village’s crispy claim to fame, he’s the only one left keeping it alive.
“I’m the last of the Mohicans,” he laughed.
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