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Former PM Brian Mulroney says Mikhail Gorbachev will be ‘sorely missed’

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OTTAWA — Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney says Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, was a “great man” who will be “sorely missed” on the world stage.

Gorbachev, who during his seven years in power made dramatic reforms that paved the way for the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, died Tuesday at a Moscow hospital at 91.

Mulroney said in an interview that while U.S. president Ronald Reagan gets a lot of credit for ending the Cold War without a shot, “it takes two to tango,” and Gorbachev was an indispensable leader on the other side.

“President Gorbachev will go down in history as an iconic leader and one who accomplished a great deal for humanity,” he said.

The former prime minister says he first met Gorbachev in March 1985 and found him to be a breath of fresh air compared to the “stuffy and stultified and un-visionary” Soviet leaders he was used to.

“He was quite charming and direct, alert, and you could tell then that he wanted to do business,” Mulroney said.

He remembers meeting with Reagan a few days later in Quebec City and telling the president that he expected Gorbachev to be an excellent interlocutor.

“I said, ‘you know, Ron, there’s a new game in town, here,’” Mulroney reminisced. “‘This is very much a fellow that we’re going to be able to get along with and accomplish things with.’”

Gorbachev’s approach to diplomacy forms a sharp contrast to the “bellicose, mediocre leadership that you see today in Moscow,” Mulroney added. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “exactly the antithesis of what Gorbachev wanted.”

Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his role in ending the Cold War and easing nuclear tensions, but he was derided at home as the Soviet Union fell apart. The country had fallen apart in his hands.

His power sapped by an attempted coup against him in August 1991, Gorbachev spent his last months in office watching republic after republic declare independence until he resigned on Dec. 25, 1991, and the Soviet Union wrote itself into oblivion a day later.

By the end of his rule, he was powerless to halt the whirlwind he had sown. Yet Gorbachev may have had a greater impact on the second half of the 20th century than any other political figure.

“I see myself as a man who started the reforms that were necessary for the country and for Europe and the world,” Gorbachev told The Associated Press in a 1992 interview shortly after he left office.

“I am often asked, would I have started it all again if I had to repeat it? Yes, indeed. And with more persistence and determination,” he said.

His run for president in 1996 was a national joke, and he polled less than 1 percent of the vote. In 1997, he resorted to making a TV ad for Pizza Hut to earn money for his charitable foundation.

But he was lauded outside of Russia and Mulroney said they deepened their friendship on the international speaking circuit. In more recent years, they would meet in Houston or New York or Montreal.

“I would see a fair amount of him. And I enjoyed him a great deal personally. We had a wonderful personal relationship,” he said. “I was witness to the fabulous relationship he had with his wife and family. He was, in my judgment, a great man.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 30, 2022.

— With files from The Associated Press.

 

The Canadian Press

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Iran protests: Canada sanctioning 'morality police' – CTV News

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Canada will be imposing new sanctions on Iran as a result of a continuing violent crackdown on protesters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

The sanctions will be levelled on “dozens of individuals and entities, including Iran’s so-called morality police,” the prime minister said.

“We’ve seen Iran disregarding human rights time and time again, and now we see with the death of Mahsa Amini and the crackdown on protests,” Trudeau said, referencing the death of a 22-year-old who was detained for allegedly violating the country’s forced veiling laws. Her death has sparked outrage and has prompted a wave of international demonstrations, seeing some women cut their hair or burn their hijabs in revolt.

“To the women in Iran who are protesting and to those who are supporting you, we stand with you. We join our voices, the voices of all Canadians, to the millions of people around the world demanding that the Iranian government listen to their people, end their repression of freedoms and rights, and let women and all Iranians live their lives and express themselves peacefully,” Trudeau said.

While no official notice of the new sanctions has been published by Global Affairs Canada, the prime minister noted they come in addition to outstanding measures Canada has taken against Iran.

In an email to CTV News, Adrien Blanchard, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said that Trudeau “announced Canada’s intention” to issue these sanctions, pledging more details “in due course.” 

Joly, as well as MPs from all parties, have spoken out about the escalating tensions and use of force against civilians in Iran, with the House of Commons unanimously passing a motion last week offering “solidarity to the women of Iran who are fighting for their rights and freedoms.”

With files from CTV News’ Michael Lee 

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Maine power workers cross border without incident to help in Nova Scotia

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OTTAWA — Nova Scotia Power says there were no issues delaying American power crews from crossing the border to help repair the electrical grid from the devastation of hurricane Fiona.

On Sunday, the utility company and Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston had both said an issue related to the controversial ArriveCan app was delaying power crews from crossing into Canada.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said this morning that the order making the app mandatory and requiring that foreign citizens be vaccinated to come to Canada will expire on Friday.

Power crews helping to restore electricity are considered essential workers and are exempt from the border measures.

In a new statement Monday afternoon, Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Jacqueline Foster says there was some confusion about the app but it is now confirmed there were no problems.

Versant Power says 15 line workers and two mechanics left Bangor, Maine, for Canada early Monday morning without issue, and Central Maine Power reports more than a dozen two-person crews and 10 support workers crossed the border without incident at around 7 a.m. Monday.

“We now know there were not any issues with ArriveCan,” said Foster. “Our contractor crews have made their way over the border and we are grateful to have them as part of our restoration efforts here in Nova Scotia.”

The Canada Border Services Agency reported that it cleared 19 power trucks at the Third Bridge border crossing in St. Stephen, N.B., just after 7 a.m. Monday. The CBSA said the average processing time was between 30 and 60 seconds per vehicle.

The ArriveCan app has been fodder for heated political debates for months and Conservatives have repeatedly demanded that the government shut it down.

During question period on Monday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre cited the allegations that ArriveCan delayed power crews to demand that the app be scrapped ahead of schedule.

He asked, “Will the prime minister suspend the ArriveCan app today, not Saturday, so that no more holdups happen at the border for those who are trying to help those in desperate need?”

Trudeau said he can “confirm that there were no delays at any border because of ArriveCan or otherwise.”

The utility company had said Sunday that crews were physically stuck at the border, but confirmed a few hours after question period on Monday that this had never been the case.

Foster suggested the error was a result of “confusion” after a concern arose Friday — before the storm actually hit — that crews from Maine might not be able to cross the border because of ArriveCan.

No New Brunswick border crossings reported issues over the weekend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

 

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Former top civil servant, medical association president appointed as senators

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OTTAWA — Ian Shugart, a longtime bureaucrat and the country’s top civil servant during the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been tapped for a seat in the Senate.

Dr. Gigi Osler, a Winnipeg surgeon, University of Manitoba professor and president of the Federation of Medical Women in Canada, is also set to become a senator.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the picks today after the two were recommended to him by the independent advisory board for appointments to the upper chamber.

Shugart, who will represent Ontario, stepped down as the clerk of the Privy Council in early 2021 to undergo cancer treatments and formally retired in May after a long public service career.

Trudeau also appointed him to the King’s Privy Council today, adding his name to a list that includes past and present cabinet ministers and people “honoured for their contributions to Canada,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Osler, who will represent Manitoba, became the first female surgeon and the first racialized woman to hold the presidency at the Canadian Medical Association in 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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