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Korea seeks to deepen trade ties as feds appoint panel on Indo-Pacific strategy



OTTAWA — Keung Ryong Chang, ambassador of South Korea, says he hopes Canada’s coming Indo-Pacific strategy will deepen the two countries’ already strong trade and economic ties.

The ambassador said Thursday that Korea, a leading producer of hybrid and electric cars, is strengthening investment in Canada, including in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles.

He also says, with the global popularity of K-pop and Korean films such as “Parasite,” there is room for greater cultural co-operation with Canada, including as a shooting location for pop videos and films.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly appointed a panel of advisers Thursday to help frame the government’s Indo-Pacific strategy, which aims to diversify Canada’s trade relationships in the region and reduce its reliance on China.


The panel, co-chaired by political scientist Janice Gross Stein, former Liberal foreign affairs minister Pierre Pettigrew and global advocate for women and girls Farah Mohamed, will focus on issues including trade and increased security in the region.

The advisory group also includes Rona Ambrose, the former interim leader of the Conservative party, as well as academics and a number of former Canadian ambassadors.

The appointments come days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned as provocative the buzzing by China of a Canadian plane involved in enforcing UN sanctions against North Korea.

“In the coming decades, developments in the Indo-Pacific region will have profound impacts on the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast,” Joly said. “Our intention is clear: Canada is committed to strengthening our presence and deepening our partnerships throughout the Indo-Pacific region.”

The minister was tasked, in her mandate letter, with developing and launching a comprehensive Indo-Pacific strategy to deepen diplomatic, economic and defence partnerships in the region.

Relations with South Korea will be a key element of the strategy.

Chang, who is based in Ottawa, said Korea is “hoping to deepen our strong trade and economic ties while closely co-operating on shared priorities such as energy, emerging technologies and climate change.”

He added that Canada and Korea have a “strategic partnership” and he expects further co-operation on “promoting peace, security, democracy and the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Korea is a leading exporter of electric and hybrid cars, including Hyundai and Kia models. The ambassador said Korean investments in electric-vehicle batteries in Canada would help develop “the Canadian EV ecosytem” and deal with the climate crisis.

With abundant raw materials and excellent geopolitical location, the Canadian market is valued highly, the ambassador said. “This is why Korea is strengthening investment in Canada with a focus on electric-vehicle battery production.”

The Canadian auto industry has warned that federal budget programs for electric vehicles and charging stations are not sufficient to reach the government’s ambitious sales targets.

The targets, published in April in a national emissions reduction plan, included the goal that one in five new cars sold in Canada will generate zero emissions by 2026. The goal is to have 60 per cent by 2030.

About five per cent of vehicles sold in the first nine months of 2021 were battery-electric or plug-in hybrids, compared with around three per cent in 2020.

Some consumers are experiencing long waits to buy electric cars whose production has been slowed by global supply-chain issues including the production of components from factories disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ambassador said Canada is among the countries experiencing the “K-wave” — or Hallyu — and that he hoped to see further cultural ties, including in broadcasting and video production.

The popularity of Korean culture abroad includes TV dramas, such as Squid Game, and K-pop, notably BTS, a boy band who performed at this year’s Grammy Awards.

The Korean film “Parasite” won best picture and best international feature film at the 2020 Oscars, with director Bong Joon-ho also scooping the award for best director and best original screenplay.

Several Korean films and videos have been made in Canada including the 2016 drama “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God,” filmed in Quebec City.

The ambassador said the drama did not air in Canada but led to a 60 per cent increase in the number of tourists from Asia visiting Quebec City in 2019.

Popular K-pop group Twice filmed its music video “Likey” in Vancouver, Chang noted, adding he expects “more filming will happen using the beautiful Canadian scenery for Hallyu content.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2022.


Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press


India tells Canada to remove 41 of its 62 diplomats: official




Canada needs diplomats in India to help navigate the “extremely challenging” tensions between the two countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday in response to demands that Ottawa repatriate dozens of its envoys.

India reportedly wants 41 of 62 Canadian diplomats out of the country by early next week — a striking, if largely anticipated, deepening of the rift that erupted last month following Trudeau’s explosive allegations in the House of Commons.

The prime minister bluntly spoke of “credible” intelligence linking the Indian government to the shooting death in June of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a 45-year-old Sikh leader India has long assailed as a terrorist.


The demand, first reported by the Financial Times, comes less than two weeks after the Indian government first called on Canada to establish “parity in strength and rank equivalence in our diplomatic presence.”

Canada has a much larger diplomatic corps in India, owing in part to the fact it’s a country of 1.4 billion people, compared to 40 million in Canada — about 1.3 million of whom are of Indian origin.

Trudeau would not confirm the reports Tuesday, nor did he sound inclined to acquiesce to India’s request.

“Obviously, we’re going through an extremely challenging time with India right now,” Trudeau said on his way to a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill.

“That’s why it’s so important for us to have diplomats on the ground, working with the Indian government, there to support Canadians and Canadian families.”

Canada, he continued, is “taking this extremely seriously, but we’re going to continue to engage responsibly and constructively with the government of India.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said largely the same thing.

“In moments of tension, because indeed there are tensions between both our governments, more than ever it’s important that diplomats be on the ground,” Joly said.

“That’s why we believe in the importance of having a strong diplomatic footprint in India. That being said, we are in ongoing conversations with the Indian government.”

During Tuesday’s daily briefing at the State Department, deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel was at pains to avoid exacerbating tensions any further.

“We are — and continue to be — deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau and we remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners,” Patel said, a message the U.S. has had on repeat for weeks.

“It’s critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice. We also have … publicly and privately urged the Indian government to co-operate in the Canadian investigation and co-operate in those efforts.”

Patel also demurred on the potential impact of an escalating tit-for-tat exchange of diplomatic staff on the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, a key element of U.S. efforts to mitigate China’s growing geopolitical influence.

“I certainly don’t want to get into hypotheticals,” he said. “As it relates to our Indo-Pacific strategy and the focus that we continue to place on the region, that effort and that line of work is going to continue.”

David Cohen, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, has already confirmed that the allegations were buttressed in part on intelligence gathered by a key ally from the Five Eyes security alliance, which includes the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, along with Canada.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s external affairs minister, confirmed last week that the subject came up in his meetings in Washington, D.C., with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser.

Trudeau’s allegation “was not consistent with our policy,” Jaishankar told a panel discussion Friday hosted by the Hudson Institute.

“If his government had anything relevant and specific they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. That’s where that conversation is at this point of time.”

Jaishankar went on to note that the issue of Sikh separatists living in Canada had long been “an issue of great friction,” notably after the 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182, the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history.

“In the last few years, it has come back very much into play, because of what we consider to be a very permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremists, people who openly advocate violence,” Jaishankar said.

“They have been given operating space in Canada because of the compulsions of Canadian politics.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2023.

With files from Mickey Djuric in Ottawa.


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In the news today: Regimental funeral today for B.C. Mountie, NDP victory in Manitoba – National Post



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All Flesh Redux



Director’s Notes, Stacey Christodoulou

MONTREAL October, 2023 – Combining polyphonic singing, dance, and theatre, All Flesh REDUX is a poetic journey through time and space. Part sing-a-long, Dadaist performance piece as well as a love letter to our planet, the work enfolds the public in an intimate theatre-in-the-round setting where humour, music, storytelling and movement reign. Bringing together the worlds of medieval composers Guillaume de MachautHildegard von Bingen and modern composer John Cage, the company’s creation contemplates the unknowable past and the unimaginable future, and asks what acts of faith are possible in an uncertain world. October 13-22, seating is limited.

Director Stacey Christodoulou: “We could never imagine that the themes we spoke about in 2019 would become reality. In a certain way the show was prophetic. However, I believe that the message of creating beauty as a form of resistance is even more important now. The weaving of medieval song, contemporary dance and text continues our company’s interdisciplinary approach and reminds us that throughout history people have responded to turmoil with innovation and art.”

With: ENSEMBLE ALKEMIA (Jean-François Daignault, Dorothéa Ventura and Leah Weitzner), Stéphanie Fromentin, Erin Lindsay, Vanessa Schmit-Craan, Lael  Stellick

Musical direction by Jean-François Daignault; scenograpy by Amy Keith; sound by Debbie Doe; costumes by Cathia Pagotto; lighting by David Perreault Ninacs and technical stage coordination by Birdie Gregor.


All Flesh REDUX

Studio Jean Valcourt du Conservatoire

4750, avenue Henri-Julien

Dates: Friday, Oct., 13, Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8pm; Sunday Oct. 14 at 3pm

Wednesday, October 18-Saturday, Oct. 21 at 8pm; Sunday, Oct. 22 at 3pm

Tickets/514 873-4032: $20, Students/Seniors: $15

Seating is limited

Website:  Instagram: @othertheatremtl  Facebook: othertheatre


Formed in 1991 by Artistic Director Stacey Christodoulou, The Other Theatre is devoted to contemporary creation. Working bilingually, their award-wining work has included adaptations, installations, theatre texts, and collectively written material performed in numerous venues in Montreal and abroad, including theatres, galleries, as well as a moving elevator.

Drawing inspiration from art forms other than theatre – dance, cinema, science, architecture, and the visual arts – the company presents evocative performances, grounded by thought-provoking texts.  From a creole Macbeth, to sci-fi with polyphonic singing, to the horror of H.P. Lovecraft, their original creations are thrilling and visually striking. They have also presented the work of International and Canadian writers, giving them their French-language premieres in Quebec. Exploring the large existential issues of the time, The Other Theatre aims to move audiences to greater emotional connection and reflection, bridging communities and languages to create a hybrid theatre that is reflective of the cultural richness of Montreal. They value and foster artistic exchange, both locally and internationally and share their artistic process in Canada, the US, Europe and Mexico, through mentorships, workshops and cultural mediation in local communities and schools.

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