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Chinese ambassador says COVID-19 co-operation not enough to fix relationship with Canada – CTV News



China’s ambassador to Canada says that while the co-operation between Canada and China on the coronavirus has been “good,” the overall relationship between the two countries remains tense for other reasons.

Reporters pressed Cong Peiwu on the status of the relationship at the CDA Institute’s Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence on Wednesday, asking if tensions have thawed as a result of increased communication between the two countries amid the outbreak.

Cong seemed to shoot down the suggestion.

“You know the outstanding issue for the bilateral relationship,” Cong told reporters, though he added that the co-operation in the fight against COVID-19 has been “appreciated” and is “good.”

“The public health sector is always an important part of our relationship,” he said.

Tensions between Canada and China plunged into a deep freeze following the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in December 2018. Canadian authorities arrested Meng in Vancouver after the United States requested her extradition.

Canada’s arrest of the executive in Vancouver infuriated China, which subsequently arrested Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in what the Canadian government has described as retaliation, though China insists otherwise. China also briefly banned the import of Canadian beef and pork, blaming it on a banned animal feed additive they claim was found in a shipment of Canadian pork.

It appeared as though the tensions may have begun to thaw when communication ramped up between the two countries as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told CTV Question Period last month that China has been responsive to conversations about the outbreak.

However, the Chinese ambassador signalled to reporters on Wednesday that the health-related discussions are separate from what he referred to as the “outstanding issue for the bilateral relationship.”

“But at the same time, we believe this kind of exchange and also the co-operation in terms of the fighting against the disease, of course, that’s good,” Cong said.

Cong denies Uighur concentration camps

The ambassador also continued to deny the existence of Uighur concentration camps in the Xinjiang region.

“There’s nothing like concentration camps in China, or particularly in the Xinjiang autonomous region,” Cong said in response to the moderator’s question about whether these camps hurt China’s ability to use soft-power responses to international tensions.

Former detainees and their loved ones told The Associated Press that what the Chinese government is calling vocational training centres are actually a sort of prison, where they force detainees to accept the ruling Communist Party and make them renounce Islam. Detainees have also alleged they were subject to indoctrination and torture.

Further to that, an international consortium of journalists published leaked classified documents which revealed a deliberate strategy to lock of the ethnic minorities – regardless of whether any crime had been committed.

Speaking to CTV News Montreal’s Marissa Ramnanan in December, Uighur-Montrealers said they continue to feel unsafe.

Still, Cong claimed the Chinese government struck up what he called “vocational training centres” in response to a spate of what he called “violent terrorist incidents” in the Xinjiang region.

“The purpose is to make sure those students there, they first got the chance to learn the laws and the regulation, and secondly they can master some basic skills so that they can get a chance to find jobs,” he said.

When the moderator pointed out that multiple credible publications like the Washington Post and the New York Times have reported on the concentration camps, Cong said there is “a lot of fake news.”

“Some of the Western medias can be misleading you know, so be careful,” he said.

‘No arbitrary detention’ of detained Canadians

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Cong was also pressed on the issue of the two detained Canadians, Spavor and Kovrig.

He insisted their detentions were legitimate, but would not say when China will publicly present evidence to back up the spying charges against the two Canadians.

“There’s no arbitrary detention of the two gentlemen you have mentioned,” Cong said.

He said the “competent authorities in China” are handling the case “strictly according to law” and called for Chinese judicial sovereignty to be respected.

When a reporter asked when China will present the evidence to back up those charges, Cong would not provide any clear indication of timing.

“If you would like to have further detailed information, you could refer back to the competent authorities in China, because we are following them according to our procedure,” Cong said.

As the two Canadians remain detained, reports of their rights being violated have been circulating. There are reports of lights being left on in their cells while they try to sleep and of Kovrig’s reading glasses being taken away.

Still, Cong insisted “their legitimate rights are guaranteed.”

With files from The Associated Press, CTV News’ Rachel Aiello and CTV News Montreal’s Marissa Ramnanan.

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Canada’s daily coronavirus case numbers drop to 675 as death toll surpasses 100 –



Canada reported an increase of 675 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday as the country continues its apparent downward trend in new case numbers this week.

The last time the country’s daily increase was in the 600s was on March 25, according to a Global News tally.

How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

The period of time between mid- to late-March marked the beginning of Canada’s COVID-19 outbreak, with thousands of new cases reported daily continuing as the norm in the country from April to May.

The low amount of reported cases followed yet another grim uptick, however, as deaths linked to the virus had clocked in at over the 100 mark today.

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A total of 103 new coronavirus deaths were reported on Wednesday, following just 31 and 69 deaths reported on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

George Floyd protests: How to stay safe while demonstrating during the coronavirus pandemic

George Floyd protests: How to stay safe while demonstrating during the coronavirus pandemic

Total cases of the novel coronavirus in Canada now number at 93,074 while today’s deaths bring the country’s toll to 7,498.

Ontario and Quebec continued to report the highest amounts of cases and deaths in the country.

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Ontario, which reported 338 new cases on Wednesday, has since surpassed Quebec in newly reported infections.

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On the other hand, Quebec — which remains the epicentre of the country’s COVID-19 pandemic — reported 81 deaths out of the total 103 that were announced today. Ontario added 19 to that figure.

Several other provinces announced additional COVID-19 infections on Wednesday as well.

British Columbia added another 22 cases to its provincial total, whereas Alberta announced 19 new infections.

Coronavirus outbreak: Expanded requirements for face coverings for transportation system workers

Coronavirus outbreak: Expanded requirements for face coverings for transportation system workers

The other provinces with new infections all numbered in the single-digits, however, with Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia announcing just one new case of the coronavirus each.

New Brunswick reported an increase of just two.

More to come…

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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No difference between racism in Canada and the U.S., activists say – CTV News



Some of Canada’s leaders have said that systemic racism does not exist in the country the way it does in the U.S. However, Canadian activists say the racism black people face in each country is no different.

Former Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday that racial tensions do not stop at the border.

“When people think about racism they look at what’s happening in the States and they put on these blinders, and they presume that racism… only exists when you can blatantly see it happening — when someone’s being choked with a knee, when someone’s being shot at, when someone is dying,” Caesar-Chavannes said. “That’s not the case of our reality every single day. Systemic racism, microaggressions exist in our institutions.”

Protests began last week in Minneapolis in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. The protests have since spread across other parts of the world and Canadians have joined in solidarity.

Despite a surge in anti-racism protests globally, Canadian author and activist Desmond Cole told CTVs Your Morning that is not a new movement in either Canada or the United States.

“Black people have literally been saying the same thing for generations and it feels like the desperation to be heard before — [that] we’re completely unable to live in this society — the desperation is what’s changing, but nothing that we’re saying is new,” Cole said in an interview on Wednesday.

Cole said that police are repeatedly sent to help when a crisis involves a black person because Canadians are still afraid of black people.

“We keep insisting that there’s no other way, but obviously somebody who’s trained in de-escalation, somebody who’s trained to talk to people, someone who doesn’t have a weapon, someone who can offer services and support, that person is obviously a better person to come and respond,” Cole said.

Cole said the federal government needs to look at other ways to help black people when they are in crisis rather than sending the police.

“When somebody is in crisis, what we do now is we say, ‘Let’s send several burly men with guns, who have a licence to kill to go and support somebody who may be in mental health crisis.’ We don’t care about the fact that maybe that person might be terrified of an armed response to their house.”

Caesar-Chavannes said racism in Canada can be seen daily when considering incarceration rates and health statistics.

“When you look at our health outcomes, when you look at our justice system and the overpopulation of our prisons with black and indigenous people, you have to really think about whether or not systemic racism does not actually exist in this country because I think it’s our lived reality every day,” Caesar-Chavannes said.


Caesar-Chavannes said politicians don’t have to look any further than the country’s Indigenous populations to understand that “racism has and continues to exist in Canada.”

Before steps can be taken to address racism in Canada, Caesar-Chavannes said there first needs to be “an accountability and an understanding [of] racism existing.” She said Canada’s leaders cannot throw around the term ‘anti-black racism’ without having concrete steps to help solve the issue.

“It needs to start with adequate, sustained and intentional funding for programs that address anti-black racism in a way that organizations [and] programs don’t have to keep seeking and looking for funding and jumping through hoops to get that funding,” Caesar-Chavannes said.

To do so, Caesar-Chavannes said “unusual suspects” — anyone who has “intersections of intersecting identities” — need to help drive these conversations forward and to suggest “ways for the government to actually create equity for equity seeking groups.”

Caesar-Chavannes explained that women, black women, Indigenous people, religious minorities and people with disabilities, among others, need to be part of the conversation to create change.

“We need to have those unusual suspects at the table. If you’re having the same conversations right now with the same people that you had conversations with two years ago, you need to really change and think about if you want, sustainable change and if you want lasting change — change that’s going to have a real impact with people on the ground,” she said.

At the beginning of the 43rd Parliament, Caesar-Chavannes shared on Twitter her 43 goals that she hoped to accomplish during the term, including increasing the number of black people in Cabinet, increasing the number of black staffers, and to understand that diversity is ubiquitous.

“We’ve not had an Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) or a Deputy Minister (DM) of black heritage, a black person, in any of those positions since the formation of our country. And I think the federal composition of our system needs to be reflective of the population that it serves and that includes on the bureaucratic side,” Caesar-Chavannes said in an interview with Your Morning.

She quit the Liberal caucus in March 2019 to sit as an independent after alleging that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had been hostile towards her.


Toronto community organizer and human rights activist Akio Maroon said in an interview with CTV News Channel that defunding the police would help address racism in Canada.

“Demilitarizing the police, defunding the police, that would be a start. I think Toronto’s police budget is $1.08 billion… And that is just way too much,” Maroon said on Wednesday. She added that that money could be spent elsewhere to better address the issue.

“The money that we are spending for law enforcement, we can move that money to mental health resources, we can have after school programs, we can educate our community members,” Maroon said. “There are other ways in which we could be looking at reinvigorating our justice system without this kind of carceral environment.”

In addition to the police, Cole said corporations can also be blamed for continued racism against black people, saying both of their powers should be disbanded.

While corporations including Nike, Ben & Jerry’s, Spotify and Amazon have taken to social media to share statements in support of anti-racism protests, Cole says they need to do more.

“Corporations have too much power like the police do. They are a huge part of this problem if not the main source of this problem, because all of this labour that poor people are doing is to serve these corporations while we die against it,” Cole said.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found that black people are at a higher risk of in-hospital death compared to white people.

“We’re living in a crisis right now where people are dying of a communicable disease that we have never seen before this year, and corporations are still forcing people to go to work for minimum wage,” Cole said. “Black people are disproportionately dying of COVID, working for these corporations instead of staying home.”

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Trudeau positions Canada as champion of co-ordinated global recovery plan –



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will continue today to make the case for a co-ordinated global response to cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world’s poorest countries.

He’ll be among the leaders and heads of state to deliver remarks during a virtual summit of the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS).

Among other things, he is expected to promise that Canada will partner with developing countries, which stand to be the hardest hit by the pandemic, and help to rally the world behind measures like debt relief to help them survive the crisis.

That is similar to the message Trudeau delivered last week while co-hosting a major United Nations summit, alongside UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Without a global co-ordinated recovery plan, the UN estimates the pandemic could slash nearly $8.5 trillion US from the world economy over the next two years, forcing 34.3 million people into extreme poverty this year and potentially 130 million more over the course of the decade.

While no country has escaped the economic ravages of the deadly novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, developing countries, already in debt distress before the pandemic, cannot afford the kinds of emergency benefits and economic stimulus measures undertaken in wealthy, industrialized countries like Canada.

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