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O'Toole warns Canadians not safe in China after court upholds death sentence – CBC.ca

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Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole today accused Beijing of using the death penalty for political purposes after a Chinese court upheld a death sentence for a Canadian in a drug case.

O’Toole also reopened the door to a Canadian boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics in China, warning the Chinese government’s recent actions demonstrate that Canadians are not safe in the country.

“I know how hard our athletes are training for Beijing,” the Conservative leader said during a news conference in Oakville, Ont. “But we are approaching a point where it won’t be safe for Canadians, including Olympic athletes, to travel to China.”

O’Toole’s comments came hours after the Higher People’s Court of Liaoning province in the northeast rejected an appeal by Robert Schellenberg, whose 15-year prison term on drug smuggling charges was increased to a death sentence in January 2019.

WATCH: Conservative leader says Canada should consider boycotting 2022 Beijing Olympics

Conservative leader says Canada should consider boycotting 2022 Beijing Olympics

8 hours ago

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole says Canada should consider boycotting the 2022 Beijing Olympics after Chinese courts upheld the death sentence for Robert Schellenberg on charges of drug smuggling. 1:31

That followed the December 2018 arrest of Huawei Technologies Ltd. executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on U.S. charges of lying to the Hong Kong arm of the British bank HSBC about possible dealings with Iran in violation of trade sanctions.

China also arrested and later tried two other Canadians — entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig — on spying charges in apparent retaliation for Meng’s detention. Critics have described their arrests as “hostage politics.”

Meng’s lawyers argue the case against the Huawei chief financial officer is politically motivated and say that what she’s accused of isn’t a crime in Canada. China’s government has claimed the arrest is part of U.S. efforts to hamper China’s technological development.

Huawei, a maker of network equipment and smartphones, is China’s first global tech brand and is at the centre of U.S.-Chinese tension over technology and security.

Canada’s federal government criticized Tuesday’s ruling upholding the death penalty for Schellenberg as arbitrary and the penalty as “cruel and inhumane.”

“We condemn the verdict in the strongest possible terms and call on China to grant Robert clemency,” Ambassador Dominic Barton told reporters by phone after attending the appeals hearing in Shenyang, about 20 kilometres west of Dandong. Schellenberg was convicted of smuggling 222 kilograms of methamphetamine, according to the court.

O’Toole, who has been pressing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to take a harder line with Beijing, wasted no time today in criticizing the Chinese court’s rejection of Schellenberg’s appeal.

“The denial of Robert Schellenberg’s appeals must be seen for what it is — a foreign government planning to take the life of a Canadian for political reasons,” he said. “The use of the death penalty is abhorrent. But to impose it for political reasons is inexcusable.”

He went on to say that Canadians would be watching as a different Chinese court releases its verdict in Spavor’s case on Wednesday, even as a Vancouver court prepares to hear final arguments on whether Meng should be handed over to U.S. authorities.

“We’re proud of our athletes we’re celebrating,” O’Toole said. “But we also have to recognize the actions of a country that wants to host the Games to bring people together. And we will have to think long and hard on whether we reward a country like that with the Games.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said, without offering specific details, that Canada needs to use every resource available to save Schellenberg, Spavor and Kovrig.

“This is a Canadian, we need to save his life,” Singh said of Schellenberg. “And we also know that Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig are still detained and we need to do everything possible to secure their release. Canadians expect us to do that.”

WATCH: NDP leader speaks about Chinese court rejecting Canadian man’s appeal

NDP leader speaks about Chinese court rejecting Canadian man’s appeal

9 hours ago

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks with reporters about Canadian Robert Schellenberg, who faces a death sentence in China. 1:19

Canada and other governments, including those of Australia and the Philippines, face growing pressure from China in disputes over human rights, the coronavirus and territorial claims.

Washington has warned Americans they face “a heightened risk of arbitrary detention” in China.

Asked whether the Schellenberg, Spavor and Kovrig cases were linked to Meng’s, Barton said, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence these are happening right now while events are going on in Vancouver.” He said the case was “part of the geopolitical process.” He said Canadian diplomats talked with Schellenberg after the ruling but declined to give details.

“He is remarkably composed,” Barton said. “We had a good conversation.”

Diplomats from the United States, Germany, Australia and France attended Tuesday’s hearing, according to Barton. He thanked them and other governments for expressing support for Canada.

Two other Canadians, Fan Wei and Xu Weihong, were also sentenced to death on drug charges in separate cases in 2019 as relations between Beijing and Ottawa soured.

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Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have finally landed in Canada – CTV News

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Two Canadians who’ve been imprisoned in China for more than 1,000 days have arrived safely in Canada.

Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, detained on espionage charges since Dec. 10, 2018, arrived at the Calgary International Airport early Saturday morning, following an overnight fuel stop in Alaska.

Footage from CTV News on the tarmac shows several passengers greeted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with a hug, though everyone in the footage is wearing a mask.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office told CTV News’ Bill Fortier at the airport that the passengers are indeed the two Michaels. The spokesperson added that it is very emotional moment for both of them and they would not be taking questions.

Later in the day, a smiling Kovrig landed at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, where he was met by his sister and wife. Kovrig briefly spoke to media, where he issued his thanks for the support and said he would have more to say in due time.

“It’s wonderfully fantastic to be back home in Canada,” he told reporters. “I’m so grateful for everybody who worked so hard to bring both of us back home.”

Trudeau announced the two would be returning to Canada in a late-night press conference on Friday, only once the two had left Chinese airspace.

“Welcome home, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor,” Trudeau wrote in a tweet on Saturday. “You’ve shown incredible strength, resilience, and perseverance. Know that Canadians across the country will continue to be here for you, just as they have been.”

News of their release has garnered celebration from across Canada, including ​from Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, as well as from people who knew the two Canadians.

“It’s hard to describe but I’m just so thrilled for him and his family more than anybody else,” Praveen Madhiraju, a colleague of Kovrig’s, told CTV News Channel on Saturday. “This has been a long time coming and we’re just thrilled for this next chapter.”

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the two Michaels showed “incredible strength” during their detention.

“Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are now home — they, as well as their families, have shown incredible strength, bravery and resilience,” she tweeted on Saturday. “The Canadian government has worked hard to secure their release. We thank everyone involved who helped make it possible.”

The Michaels arrived in Canada just one day after a British Columbia court dropped the extradition case against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou over fraud and conspiracy charges related to American sanctions against Iran.

Meng had earlier Friday pleaded not guilty to all charges in a virtual appearance in New York court, where the judge signed off on a deferred prosecution agreement.

The two Michaels were both convicted of spying in closed Chinese courts earlier this year. Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in Chinese prison, while Kovrig had yet to be sentenced.

The detainment of the two Canadians has largely been seen as retaliation for Meng’s arrest, though China has repeatedly denied any connection between the Michaels and Meng.

Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat, told CTV News Channel on Saturday that the swift release of the two Michaels shows that their detainment was in fact retaliatory.

“Obviously this is the acknowledgment that this was really a retaliatory hostage taking for Meng Wanzhou,”

“I think (this is) a triumph for quiet diplomacy, because this was kept very much to wraps. Nobody knew what was going on. I was as surprised as the rest of Canada.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

The U.S. Travel Association said the ongoing closure of the land borders with Canada and Mexico is costing U.S. businesses an estimated $1.5 billion a month in “travel exports,” which the association defines as spending by foreign residents while visiting the U.S.

Canada reopened its air, land and sea borders to Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Aug. 9. However, the ban on non-essential land travel from Canada and Mexico to the United States was extended last Monday for a 19th month, until Oct. 21.

“My constituents are deeply frustrated by this, particularly given the trade and the relationships that people have across the border,” Michigan Sen. Gary Peters said last week during national security hearings with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“We are very mindful of the economic consequences, and not only the economic consequences but the consequences on family members who haven’t seen one another for quite some time,” Mayorkas replied.

He said the progression of the delta variant of the coronavirus “is not yet where we need it to be” in the U.S., and that there are communities near the U.S.-Mexico border that are also suffering as a result of the closure.

“We are looking at the situation, not only at the ports of entry on our northern border, but also on our southern border,” Mayorkas said.

WATCH | CBC News Network’s business panel looks at proof-of-vaccination policies:

Pandemic recovery | Business Panel

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Our weekend business panel discusses what’s needed for economic recovery and growth after the 44th general election. 13:15

“We have heard similar concerns with respect to border communities on the South and the impact, economic and family impact, of the restrictions. We are looking at what we can do operationally, and we are moving in a very sequential and controlled manner.”

Canada, meanwhile, remains the largest single U.S. export market, accounting for nearly 18 per cent of all American goods sent out of the country last year. The two countries trade $1.7 billion worth of goods and services each day, for a total of $614.9 billion in 2020.


What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Canada’s top doctor on COVID-19 vaccines for children:

Tam is asked to advise parents considering COVID-19 vaccines for children

2 days ago

A reporter asks Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, for her advice to parents considering vaccinating their children once the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to those younger than 12. 4:01

  • N.L. reports 14 new case as 80 per cent of eligible residents now fully vaccinated.

What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday morning, more than 231.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case tracking tool, which collects data from around the world. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.7 million.

In Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in mid-September that he would have to spend a “few days” in self-isolation after dozens of people in his entourage fell ill with COVID-19.

The results of his time away from official duties, after he cancelled his trip to Tajikistan for a security summit, could be seen in photos released on Sunday, showing him fishing in Siberia.

Putin has cultivated a macho image, appealing to many Russians, and has previously been pictured riding a horse bare-chested and in sun glasses, as well as carrying a hunting rifle and piloting a fighter jet.

Russian President Vladimir Putin fishes during a short vacation at an unknown location in Siberia, Russia, in this undated photo taken this month and released on Sunday. (Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin/Reuters)

In Asia, China has provided more than 1.25 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday. President Xi Jinping announced recently that China will provide a total of two billion doses of vaccines for the rest of the world by the end of this year.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales recorded 961 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths, government data showed on Sunday.

The state’s first dose vaccination rate has climbed to 85.2 per cent of its population over 16 years of age, while 59.1 per cent of the population has had their second doses.

New South Wales is expected to relax harsh lockdown restrictions that have been in place since June, when its population reaches 80 per cent double vaccinated some time in November.

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Why some Canadians are ready to travel; landlord boots tenant over tattoos: CBC's Marketplace cheat sheet – CBC.ca

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Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.

Ottawa still wants us to stay home. But many travellers are heading to warmer pastures anyway

For many Canadians accustomed to a life of travel, the last year and half has only made their feelings of wanderlust grow stronger.

While the delta variant has complicated plans for a post-pandemic future where it’s safe to travel without reservations, many people are still planning to head south in the coming months.

Air Canada, Air Transat and Sunwing all say the upcoming fall and winter looks promising for travel to sun destinations.

“When looking to the sun market, we are very optimistic about our recovery,” Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick told CBC News in a recent email. He noted the airline is currently “observing demand growth that is above 2019 levels.”

Despite this increased demand, the federal government is still feeling uneasy about people travelling internationally.

In an email to CBC News, Global Affairs Canada said its still advising against non-essential travel outside of Canada and also pointed to practical concerns for those who do choose to go abroad.

“Additional travel restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can suspend or reduce flights without notice. Travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult to return home.” Read more

A row of beach chairs in Varadero, Cuba, is empty of sun-seekers in March 2021. Cuba is relaxing restrictions for incoming Canadian tourists starting in mid-November. (Ramon Espinosa/The Associated Press)

Can a landlord cancel a lease because of tattoos? It happened to this student

A first-year Western University student who arrived in London, Ont., from Saskatchewan says she had a rental agreement cancelled at the last minute by a landlord who said she didn’t like her tattoos. 

Kadince Ball, 18, started school at Western earlier this month and secured an apartment ahead of her move. She’d already signed a lease and paid her damage deposit, but shortly after she met her landlord Esther Lee in person, Lee told her that she couldn’t move in.

“A lease was signed and because I look a certain way, I was denied tenancy,” said Ball. “None of my tattoos are offensive. They are works of art. They are somebody’s works of art on my body.” 

Lee told CBC News she moved to cancel the lease because she became “scared” after seeing Ball’s tattoos. The day the two first met in person, it was hot and Ball was wearing a tank top that showed her tattoos, which include a snake wrapped around a flower on her forearm, a cherub on one shoulder and a flower on the other shoulder 

“It covered almost 70 per cent of her arm,” said Lee. “That’s why I don’t want to rent it to her because it’s scary, so scary.”

Ball eventually found another apartment. She’s more concerned with her studies than pursuing legal action. But a lawyer at the Community Legal Services Clinic at Western says if she chose to bring the incident to small claims court, she likely would have a case. Read more

Kadince Ball signed a lease for an apartment in London, Ont., before arriving from Saskatchewan for her first year at Western University. When she met the landlord in person, the landlord said she wouldn’t rent to her. She later told CBC News it was because of Ball’s tattoos. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

How much air pollution is too much? The answer is lower than we once thought

The World Health Organization said earlier this week that the harmful health effects of air pollution kick in at lower levels than it previously thought.

As a result, the WHO is setting a higher bar for policymakers and the public in its first update to its air quality guidelines in 15 years. 

Exposure to air pollution is estimated to cause seven million premature deaths and affect the health of millions more people each year, and air pollution “is now recognized as the single-biggest environmental threat to human health,” said Dr. Dorota Jarosinska, WHO Europe program manager for living and working environments.

Air pollution is now comparable to other global health risks such as unhealthy diets and tobacco smoking, WHO said. Read more

Vehicles drive on a highway as smog envelops the area of Lahore, Pakistan, on Nov. 11, 2020. The World Health Organization said this week that the negative health impacts of poor air quality kick in at lower levels than it previously thought. (K.M. Chaudary/The Associated Press)

What else is going on?

Here’s how the housing landscape could change under a newly re-elected Liberal government
Ottawa looks very similar post-election, but there is optimism about affordability — if promises are kept.

Office vacancies are at a pandemic high. Blame the fourth wave
The vacancy rate rose to 15.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2021, according to CBRE Group Inc., a commercial real estate firm.

The EU wants to push all smartphone makers to use the same charging point. Even Apple 
EU wants to cut down on 10,000 tonnes a year of e-waste generated by obsolete tech.

Is your device spying on you? CBC Kids News has the answers
Experts say that’s a bit of a stretch.

Marketplace needs your help

Are you currently in a fight with your home insurance company over flooding or water damage? We want to hear your story! Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca.  

Do you get harassing phone calls demanding you owe the CRA money for unpaid taxes? Or callers claiming you’ve got a virus and need tech support? If so, we want to hear from you. Send us a video message detailing your experience so we may use it in our show! And share your phone number so we can get in touch! Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca 

Season premiere this Friday

Marketplace is back!

Join Charlsie Agro as we investigate the quality of some of the world’s top fast fashion brands. The clothes might be trendy and the price might be right, but you’ll be shocked to learn some of these garments might actually be toxic. 

Tune in Friday at 8 p.m., 8:30 in Newfoundland and Labrador on CBC Television and CBC Gem.

You won’t want to miss it. 

Catch up on past episodes of Marketplace any time on CBC Gem.

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