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Innovation minister mum on whether Canada will mirror U.K. with partial Huawei 5G ban

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Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains isn’t saying whether Canada will look to follow the U.K.’s decision to allow Huawei into non-core parts of its 5G networks.

Officials in the U.K. announced on Tuesday morning that they will allow the Chinese telecom giant to build some parts of their new spectrum but would bar it from working on “sensitive parts” of the infrastructure network. That comes despite warnings from the U.S. that the Chinese firm poses a spying risk and that it might not share intelligence with countries that decide to use its equipment in their development of 5G networks.

Canada is now the only member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance that has not made up its mind on whether to use Huawei in 5G development and Bains offered no insight when pressed by reporters on Tuesday as to when that decision — in the works for more than a year — could come.

“We have not made a determination at this moment,” said Bains, who was then asked why it was taking so long to make the decision.

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“We’re just being very thoughtful and very deliberate. We want to do our appropriate due diligence to make a decision that is in the best interests of Canadians, and we want to make sure that we go about it in the appropriate manner.”


The federal government launched a review in fall 2018 into whether Huawei poses a security risk.

But it has repeatedly delayed its timeline for announcing the results of that review, initially saying in May of last year it would come before the fall election but then in July 2019 saying the decision would not be made until after the election.

Since October though, there has been no indication of where the government is at and when a decision will come.

Bains said on Tuesday that the government is continuing to talk with its allies to understand the positions they are taking but would not say whether the U.K.’s path was one the Liberal government is considering.

“They’re an ally, and we’re engaged with them. We’re speaking with them, so of course we’re looking at what decisions they’ve made and how they plan to implement those decisions,” he said.

“But we’re not going to make a decision based on one particular jurisdiction, we’re going to look at what’s in Canadians interests.”

Until Tuesday, the U.K. was the last member of the Five Eyes apart from Canada that had not yet formally announced a decision on Huawei.

The U.S. has urged allies not to use parts from the company, citing Chinese laws requiring Chinese companies to spy for the government if asked to do so.

Huawei Canada has insisted it would refuse such a request and that its technology does not pose a threat.

Still, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand have all implemented bans on the use of Huawei in their 5G development.

New Zealand’s national security agency warned last year that it had identified “significant national security risks” associated with using the company’s technology.

 

Ward Elcock, former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), says he does not think that Canada should look to the U.K. as an example of a path forward and suggested the decision to bar Huawei from core parts of its network makes it clear the U.K. sees concerns.

“The British have clearly said the Chinese are a problem, Huawei is a potential problem, we’ll try and risk manage the system. That’s essentially what they’re doing,” he said in an interview with Global News.

 

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“Risk management is by definition admission that there’s a problem and that even if you are managing the risk, there may still be problems. It doesn’t seem to me that it’s in our interests to accept that risk.”

He added that the U.K. is in a different situation than Canada for several reasons: first, because its networks are not as closely tied to the American networks as Canada’s are; and second, that a British government facing down the market-roiling impact of a hard Brexit is likely looking to limit financial shocks as much as possible.

“We’re a relatively small player so they probably can push the envelope more than we can. They have a communications system that is connected, we have a communications system which is integrated with the American system. I think that makes our problem harder than it is for the U.K.,” he said.

“They’ve just had Brexit. They would like to keep the London financial market as vibrant as it has been over past years. They hardly want to irritate the Chinese.”

But Elcock said he doesn’t expect to see a similar decision from the Canadian government any time soon.

“Unless it is going to be a pro-Chinese decision — that could come sooner — but if it’s going to be a no, my guess is it won’t come soon because of the case of the Canadians detained in China,” he said, referring to the arbitrary detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor by China.

The detentions came in apparent retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou by Canadian authorities in December 2018 in response to an extradition request from the U.S., with which Canada has a longstanding extradition treaty.

The U.S. has since charged Meng and her company with 23 counts of skirting sanctions on Iran and corporate fraud.

Elcock says he thinks it’s clear what could happen to them if Canada were to issue a decision on Huawei that the Chinese government doesn’t like.

“I don’t think there’s not much doubt that, were we to allow Huawei not to compete in the 5G system, the reaction from China would not be positive.”

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Canadian military would be 'challenged' to launch a large scale operation: chief of the defence staff – CTV News

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OTTAWA –

Canada’s military forces are “ready” to meet their commitments should Russia’s war in Ukraine spread to NATO countries, but it would be a “challenge” to launch a larger scale operation in the long term, with ongoing personnel and equipment shortages, according to Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre.

Eyre told Joyce Napier on CTV’s Question Period in an interview airing Sunday that while the forces in Europe are “ready for the tactical mission they’ve been assigned,” he has larger concerns about strategic readiness. He said there’s a lack of people and equipment, and further concern around the ability to sustain a larger scale mission in the longer term.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are still struggling to retain staff, with nearly 10,000 fewer trained personnel than they’d need to be at full force, and equipment stocks below what they require.

“We’ve got challenges in all of those,” Eyre said, adding the numbers reflect what’s been “let slip over decades, as we’ve focused on the more immediate (needs).”

Eyre said Canada’s military would be “hard pressed” to launch another large-scale operation like it had in Afghanistan, as an example, without having to redistribute its resources around the globe, as threats evolve.

“The military that we have now is going to be increasingly called upon to support Canada and to support Canadian interests, to support our allies overseas, but as well at home,” Eyre said, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate change impacting the landscape in the Arctic, and an increase in digital and cybersecurity threats.

“It’s always a case of prioritization and balancing our deployments around the globe, not just with what, but when, and with who … and getting that balance right is something that that we’re working on,” he said. “Could we use more? Yeah, absolutely. But we operate with what we have.”

“We prioritize and balance based on what our allies need, and what the demand signals, just to make sure that we achieve the strategic effect the government wants us to achieve,” he also said.

Meanwhile Defence Minister Anita Anand said on CTV’s Question Period last week that Canada should “be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” and balance its NATO commitments with securing the Arctic and promoting peace in the Indo-Pacific.

Eyre said his number one priority is getting Canada’s armed forces up to full strength, with an attrition rate of 9.3 per cent between both regular and reserve forces, up from 6.9 per cent last year. The Canadian Armed Forces Retention Strategy was released just last month.

“We are facing the same challenge that every other industry out there is facing in terms of a really tight labor market,” Eyre said. “Every other military in the West is facing the same challenge.”

He explained the organization is working on streamlining its recruitment process, among other changes, to meet the increasing need, with the goal to get numbers up “as quickly as possible.”

“Ideally, would have been yesterday,” he said. “We’re looking at where we can accelerate the recruiting, the training, and optimizing our training pipeline.”

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World Cup 2022: How soccer is evolving in Canada – CTV News

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Soccer wasn’t really a thing when I was a kid. I grew up in the 1970s and ‘80s. Sure, we all had soccer balls. And we played a lot of what should be more accurately called, Kick and Run. But I – and all my friends – did not really know the rules, the teams or the players. We might’ve heard of Pelé, but not more than that.

We followed hockey, baseball, football (CFL and NFL) and basketball, in that order. I did occasionally watch soccer on TV, but that was because we didn’t have a lot of channels and the soothing English accents often lulled me to sleep.

Things are much different now. My 13-year-old son is a massive soccer fan. He plays on a team three or four times a week. His schoolmates include a lot of second-generation Canadians, whose parents came from soccer-obsessed nations. He watches Premier League and Championship League matches. He’s watches La Liga and Bundesliga. He watches World Cup qualifiers and could tell me the backstory on most of the players. In fact, he watches classic games on YouTube and plays FIFA22 on his PS4 and as a result, knows more about Pelé than I ever did. But, because of him, I now watch enough football to know a game is a match, a goalie is a keeper and I know which plays end up in corner kicks or throw-ins.

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I once asked him, “How well do you know the Germany national team?” and he said, “Not very well.” He then proceeded to name seven of their 11 starters. It’s a different world.

I still know almost nothing compared to the other soccer dads, but like millions of Canadians, I watched Canada’s qualifying matches and I know we have a great team, with some stellar players who are worth watching. The qualifying matches regularly beat both hockey games and CFL football when it comes to viewership.

But we should care about more than just the matches themselves. The World Cup is one of the biggest and most lucrative sports spectacles on Earth. This will be the first one hosted in the Middle East. And although Qatar may look shiny and new on TV, it’s mired in what many Western nations believe to be medieval and backwards policies on working conditions, LGBTQ2S+ and women’s rights.

Finding people to talk about it in Qatar is NOT easy. One of W5’s goals this week was to talk to migrant workers to describe how they were treated, their living conditions and their labour rights. Most were too afraid to talk to us.

And to confound things, there have been many stories of journalists being detained or arrested for reporting on migrant workers. Last week, a Danish reporter was live on TV from Qatar and when asked what things were like there, he directed his camera operator to pan left – revealing security officials in golf carts, who immediately tried to stop the live hit. The next day Qatari officials apologized, but the message was clear: we can stop you from reporting when we want. It’s a fascinating video that’s been viewed millions of times around the globe.

The Qatari government denies they’ve put any restrictions on media. In a tweet, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy says “several regional and international media outlets are based in Qatar, and thousands of journalists report from Qatar freely without interference each year.”

Not everyone is convinced. Qatar ranks 118 out of 180 countries in the 2022 Press Freedom index, published by Reporters Without Borders. Freedom House, which is a U.S.-based freedom watchdog, gives Qatar a 25 out of 100 score on Global Freedom, which includes freedom of expression. (Canada ranks 98 and the US ranks 83).

A Reuters Institute column from last week on press freedom in Qatar suggests authorities obscure press freedom laws, by hiding behind trespassing laws.

“One of the most common risks when doing journalistic work in Qatar is to be accused of trespassing. This is what Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani of Norwegian state broadcaster NRK were accused of when they were arrested by officers of Qatar’s Criminal Investigations Department in November 2021, while covering World Cup preparations. The journalists were held for over 30 hours before being released without charge. They deny they were filming without permission,” says the article.

A little insider info: I have personally written, “we don’t want you to get arrested, but…” at least twice in correspondence with our team in Qatar. I’ve never encouraged anyone to break the law of course, but sometimes doing our jobs leads police or security into thinking they have a duty (or at least a right) to stop you.

Where do we get our story ideas? You. Emails, DMs, letters and tweets get to us and we read them all. Share your story with us and you can help us make a difference at W5@bellmedia.ca.

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Don’t have a cow: Senator’s legen-dairy speech draws metaphor from bovine caper

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OTTAWA — Haven’t you herd? A dramatic tale of 20 escaped cows, nine cowboys and a drone recently unfolded in St-Sévère, Que., and it behooved a Canadian senator to milk it for all it was worth.

Prompting priceless reactions of surprise from her colleagues, Sen. Julie Miville-Dechêne recounted the story of the bovine fugitives in the Senate chamber this week — and attempted to make a moo-ving point about politics.

“Honourable senators, usually, when we do tributes here, it is to recognize the achievements of our fellow citizens,” Miville-Dechêne began in French, having chosen to wear a white blouse with black spots for the occasion.

“However, today, I want to express my amused admiration for a remarkably determined herd of cows.”

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On a day when senators paid tribute to a late Alberta pastor, the crash of a luxury steamer off the coast of Newfoundland in 1918 and environmental negotiators at the recent climate talks in Egypt, senators seated near Miville-Dechêne seemed udderly taken aback by the lighter fare — but there are no reports that they had beef with what she was saying.

Miville-Dechêne’s storytelling touched on the highlights of the cows’ evasion of authorities after a summer jailbreak — from their wont to jump fences like deer to a local official’s entreaty that she would not go running after cattle in a dress and high heels.

The climax of her narrative came as nine cowboys — eight on horseback, one with a drone — arrived from the western festival in nearby St-Tite, Que., north of Trois-Rivières, and nearly nabbed the vagabonds before they fled through a cornfield.

“They are still on the run, hiding in the woods by day and grazing by night,” said Miville-Dechêne, with a note of pride and perhaps a hint of fromage.

She neglected to mention the reported costs of the twilight vandalism, which locals say has cost at least $20,000.

But Miville-Dechêne did save some of her praise for the humans in the story, congratulating the municipal general manager, Marie-Andrée Cadorette, for her “dogged determination,” and commending the would-be wranglers for stepping up when every government department and police force in Quebec said there was nothing they could do.

“There is a political lesson in there somewhere,” said the former journalist.

Miville-Dechêne ended on what could perhaps be interpreted as a butchered metaphor about non-partisanship: “Finally, I would like to confess my unbridled admiration for these cows that have found freedom and are still out there, frolicking about. While we overcomplicate things, these cows are learning to jump fences.”

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

 

Marie-Danielle Smith, The Canadian Press

 

 

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