Connect with us

News

RCMP investigating Chinese ‘police’ stations in Canada

Published

 on

The RCMP says it’s investigating Chinese “police” stations in Canada.

This comes after the Spain-based human rights group Safeguard Defenders reported that more than 50 exist worldwide, including three in the Greater Toronto Area in predominantly Chinese communities.

They include a residential home and single-storey commercial building in Markham and a convenience store in Scarborough.

​​​​”In most countries, we believe it’s a network of individuals, rather than … a physical police station where people will be dragged into,” said Laura Harth, a campaign director at Safeguard Defenders.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

“It’s completely illegal under international law. It’s a severe violation of territorial sovereignty.”

In a statement to CBC in response to questions about these stations, the Chinese embassy said local authorities in Fujian, China, had set up an online service platform to assist Chinese nationals abroad.

Human rights group Safeguard Defenders lists this single-storey commercial building in Markham, Ont., as one of three so-called Chinese police stations in Canada. The group claims the outposts in the Greater Toronto Area are part of the first batch of Fuzhou overseas police service stations. (Idil Mussa/CBC News)

“Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, many overseas Chinese citizens are not able to return to China in time for their Chinese driver’s licence renewal and other services,” read the statement. “For services such as driver’s licence renewal, it is necessary to have eyesight, hearing and physical examination. The main purpose of the service station abroad is to provide free assistance to overseas Chinese citizens in this regard.”

The embassy said the overseas service stations are staffed by volunteers who are “not Chinese police officers” and are “not involved in any criminal investigation or relevant activity.”

But Safeguard Defenders said there is evidence individuals connected to these stations have been involved in persuading nationals suspected of committing crimes to return to China to face criminal proceedings.

Foreign states may ‘intimidate or harm’ communities: RCMP

CBC News has not been able to corroborate that, but in a statement, the RCMP said it’s “investigating reports of criminal activity in relation to the so-called ‘police’ stations.”

The RCMP also said it takes “threats to the security of individuals living in Canada very seriously and is aware that foreign states may seek to intimidate or harm communities or individuals within Canada.”

“This is an outrageous intrusion on Canadian sovereignty,” said Conservative MP Michael Chong.

These stations are … another tool that Beijing can use to repress Canadians here in the Chinese community in Canada.– Conservative MP Michael Chong

“We’ve heard of threats directly targeting people who are advocating for minority rights in China, such as those from the Uyghur and Tibetan communities. These stations are now another tool that Beijing can use to repress Canadians here in the Chinese community in Canada,” he said.

“The government needs to take immediate action. At minimum, they should be hauling the Chinese ambassador to Canada on the carpet through a formal demarche and strongly voicing our outrage.”

Pursuing fraud suspects abroad

The statement from the Chinese embassy did not address the reports of intimidation, but earlier this year, China’s state-run newspaper Global Times reported that 230,000 people suspected of telecom fraud were “persuaded to return to China from overseas to confess crimes from April 2021 to July 2022.”

In September, China adopted an Anti-Telecom and Online Fraud Law with the aim of tackling telecom and online fraud in China and abroad.

“There may be those that are guilty of economic crimes. We also know these kinds of campaigns have been used to target dissidents, critics of the regime, even those within the Communist Party … those that might have stood up to [President] Xi Jinping himself,” said Harth.

“These kinds of operations go from harassing and threatening family members back home to sending covert agents abroad to approach the target directly and coerce them into returning home,” she said. “[The] worst-case scenarios are those where they even lure or entrap people to a third country, from where they can have them returned — or even kidnappings.”

According to the Irish Times, this Fuzhou overseas police service station opened in Dublin earlier this year. The newspaper says the signage has since been removed. (Conor Gallagher/The Irish Times)

At a House of Commons special committee on Canada-China relations on Oct. 4, Chong questioned Global Affairs officials about the existence of the police stations reported in media outlets.

“There is space for legitimate police liaison co-operation, state to state,” said Weldon Epp, director general of North Asia and Oceania at Global Affairs, in response to Chong’s question.

“But the allegations reported in the press would fall well outside of that, and we would have deep concerns if they proved to be true.”

Epp said Global Affairs was working with partner agencies to confirm the allegations.

CBC reached out to Global Affairs and Public Safety Canada for comment, but both federal agencies deferred to the RCMP’s statement.

Dissidents fear being targeted

Journalist and human rights advocate Sheng Xue moved to Canada after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre to flee repression.

She said she’s been repeatedly targeted by Chinese officials online for her activism and was arrested in Beijing in 1996 when she traveled there to visit her mother, as well as in Hong Kong in 2008. In both instances, Xue said she was forced to leave after being detained.

“They want to destroy my reputation. But since I am in Canada, they cannot just kidnap me or kill me, like many of my friends in Thailand or Vietnam [or] Hong Kong,” she said. “[But] now the Chinese police station [is] here, just a few kilometres from me, so I am asking myself, where else I can escape to?”

Uyghur activist Rukiye Turdush said members of her community are shocked and concerned about Chinese ‘police’ stations in Canada. She said many Uyghurs are fearful for family members both in Canada and back home in Xinjiang. (Berkalp Birlik)

Xue said some Chinese nationals in Canada may choose to co-operate with Chinese officials out of fear for family members back home.

Uyghur activist Rukiye Turdush says many members of her community in Canada are afraid to publicly criticize China’s actions toward the Uyghur Muslim minority because of possible repercussions for family in China.

“They live in Canada [and] they can’t freely speak up like me,” she said.

A 2021 report drafted by the Montreal-based Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank concluded that China “bears state responsibility for an ongoing genocide” against Uyghurs.

It detailed serious abuses, including mass internment, family separation and forced sterilization and abortions. China has denied the allegations, claiming the crackdown on Uyghurs is about countering extremism.

Turdush fled China’s western Xinjiang region in the 1990s after her brother was killed by Chinese soldiers for protesting against Chinese influence in the region.

Turdush said several Uyghur students in Canada told her “they were intimidated by Chinese police online and [the police] threatened them, threatened … to return [them] to China.” She said she doesn’t know where they are located because the harassment happened virtually.

Turdush said that out of fear for their safety, she hasn’t communicated with members of her own family back home for more than 20 years.

“I cut the connection,” she said. “I never communicate with anybody because if I communicate with them, maybe they’re going to be in trouble over there.”

Source link

Continue Reading

News

A look at how $10-a-day child-care plans have been rolling out across Canada

Published

 on

Families in Nunavut are now paying an average of $10 a day for child care, the first jurisdiction to achieve the goal under a Canada-wide plan.

The federal government has signed agreements with every province and territory, aiming to reduce child-care fees by an average of 50 per cent by the end of 2022 and to $10 a day by 2026.

Here is how the program is rolling out across the country.

Nunavut signed a $66-million agreement in January with plans to reach $10 a day by March 2024 and create 238 new spaces by the end of March 2026.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

But the territory is ahead of schedule, implementing $10-a-day as of Thursday. It has also created 30 new spaces.

Northwest Territories signed a $51-million agreement in December 2021 with plans to create 300 new child-care spaces and reach $10 a day by March 2026. The territory said fees have already decreased by an average of 50 per cent with families saving up to $530 a month per child.

It has also created 67 new spaces during the last fiscal year.

Yukon started its own universal child care program in April 2021 and reached the $10-a-day average before signing a nearly $42-million agreement in July 2021.

The territory aimed to create 110 new spaces within five years and said it has created 236 spaces since April 2021.

British Columbia was the first to sign on, inking a $3.2-billion deal in July 2021 with plans to create 30,000 new child-care spaces within five years and 40,000 within seven years.

B.C. started a $10-a-day program at select facilities in 2018 and plans to double those spaces to 12,500 this month. As of Nov. 1, there were more than 8,200.

The province said starting that Thursday, child-care fees will be 50 per cent less on average compared to 2019 at participating facilities due to expansion of the $10-a-day program and a fee-reduction initiative.

Alberta signed a nearly $3.8-billion deal in November 2021 with plans to create 42,500 spaces.

The province said as of September, it has created 9,500 spaces and, since January, child-care fees have dropped an average of 50 per cent.

Saskatchewan signed a nearly $1.1-billion deal with plans to create 28,000 new spaces.

As of Sept. 1, fees have been reduced an average of 70 per cent compared to March 2021 levels.

The province has created 3,402 new spaces, plus 1,166 child-care spaces in family and group family homes.

Manitoba signed a more than $1.2-billion deal in August 2021 with plans to create 23,000 new spaces by 2026 and 1,700 extended-hour spaces for evenings and weekends.

It aims to reach $10 a day by 2023.

Ontario was the last to sign on in March. It is to receive $10.2 billion over five years, plus $2.9 billion in 2026-27 with plans to create 86,000 new spaces.

The province said 33,000 new spaces have been created so far.

Quebec signed an agreement in August 2021 with the federal government committing to transfer nearly $6 billion over five years.

In 2021, parents with a subsidized, reduced contribution space paid $8.50 a day for childcare.

New Brunswick signed a $491-million deal in December 2021 to create 3,400 new spaces by the end of March 2026, including 500 by March 2023.

The province says fees were reduced by 50 per cent in June, and 401 spaces have been created since April 1.

Nova Scotia signed a $605-million agreement with plans to create 4,000 new spaces within two years and 9,500 by 2026.

By the end of this month, it said fees will be 50 per cent lower on average compared to 2019.

Prince Edward Island signed a $121.3-million deal with plans to create 452 spaces within two years and reach $10 a day by 2024. In January 2022, fees were reduced from $27 to $34 per day to an average of $25, then further dropped to $20 a day in October.

Newfoundland and Labrador signed a $347-million agreement to reduce fees from $25 a day in January 2021, to $15 a day in 2022, then $10 a day in 2023. It aims to create 5,895 spaces within five years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022.

— By Emily Blake in Yellowknife

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Continue Reading

News

Canadian ‘father’ of evidence-based medicine wins Einstein Foundation award

Published

 on

A Hamilton researcher has won an international prize worth about 280-thousand dollars for promoting quality in medical research.

In today’s announcement, jurors for the Berlin-based Einstein Foundation Award describe Dr. Gordon Guyatt as a pioneer of evidence-based medicine.

Guyatt, a professor of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact at McMaster University, developed protocols that help doctors incorporate high-quality, up-to-date research into their treatment decisions.

The annual Einstein Foundation Award recognizes people who have transformed the way medical research is done, leading to better care for patients.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Guyatt has worked with the World Health Organization to create evidence-based guidelines on whether or not doctors should give COVID-19 patients an antiviral treatment called Paxlovid.

Guyatt says evidence-based medicine didn’t exist until his mentor, the late Dr. David Sackett, paved the way by founding Canada’s first clinical epidemiology program at McMaster University.

Continue Reading

News

How Canadians Can Travel Visa Free In Any EU Country

Published

 on

The Canadian passport has gone from strength to strength. Currently presented as the eighth strongest passport to hold worldwide, it allows residents access to over 180 countries travelling visa-free. A large percentage of these countries are situated within the EU, where Canadians can stay for 90 days, sometimes more, without the need for a costly and time-delaying visa holding things up. There are plenty of opportunities within this scope to be taken advantage of for Canadian citizens, and this guide explores the best of the best and the reasons why.

Strong Global Relationships

The main consideration for this post is that Canada has built strong and stable relationships with many countries around the world. Its economy has gone from strength to strength, and it has been able to create amazing trade links globally. Canada is well-known as a trustworthy ally and has played a part in many major world negotiations, bringing relevant and reliable factors to the table. Canada has moved a long step away from being associated with British governance and has forged independence in many respects.

All About the Schengen Zone

The Schengen area comprises of 26 countries. It removes international borders through the creation of universal exit and entry stipulations for those wanting to visit for any purpose within a 90-day period. This is the main component that allows Canadian citizens to travel visa-free across these countries.

List of Countries in the Schengen Zone

  • Malta
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Austria
  • Norway
  • The Netherlands
  • France
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Iceland
  • Greece
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Denmark
  • Spain
  • Luxembourg
  • Lithuania

The Requirements

So, what are the rules and regulations for border access in the Schengen zone? In short, there aren’t many. Canadians wishing to travel to this zone are required to get their passports stamped by the authorities on arrival. They can come and go over 180 days for any 90-day period. Aside from this, there are no more restrictions in place. Certain countries require visa-free travellers to report to the authorities when they arrive, but this is not true everywhere.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Beyond the Schengen Zone

Outside of these countries, there are over 100 additional countries that Canadian travellers can visit without a visa. Inside of the EU, this includes the United Kingdom, where Canadian residents can enjoy up to six months of visa-free restrictions. This is why it has gained status as one of the top ten strongest passports in the world.

The Malta Example

The most obvious allure of visa-free travel is the opportunity to invest and make roots in an economically prosperous country. Real estate, for example, for international investors, has seen major lucrative returns in various countries worldwide. The example here focuses on Malta and everything that has to offer. If you are looking to invest and get residency in Malta, the process is even easier for Canadian residents who enjoy the benefits of visa-free head starts.

There are lots of reasons to invest in property here, from the strong economy to positive living standards and vast property options. It is also a stepping stone to permanent residency, should that be a route you wish to tread. Thanks to the 90-day visa-free sounding board, there is plenty of opportunity to lay down roots and even find permanent commerce ventures.

Benefits of Visa-Free Travel

There are a few benefits to visa-free travel worth noting. Aside from the investment door being held open, general convenience is also a factor.

No Fees

Visa fees can be a costly expense that eats away at your budget for actual travelling. There is not much you can do to get around these fees, and they must be paid to secure a visa for the country. Therefore, when you don’t need one, not only is it less expensive, but there is also a clear financial benefit as a direct result.

No Lengthy Delays

Visas for EU countries might have a quick turnaround, but this entirely depends on how well you fill in the forms and who is around to process them. It has been known to take weeks of administrative duties to fulfill the criteria. There is documentation to send back and forth, and official registrations to adhere to. The whole process is long, arduous, and not entirely intuitive.

Free Range Travel

If you fancy hopping from country to country at short notice, this is one of the main appeals of visa-free living. You can go wherever you like whenever you feel the itch. There are no barriers within the countries that acknowledge Canadian residents as having visa-free benefits.

Flexible Adventures

It also allows for a greater degree of flexibility as per your travel arrangements and in general. If you need to leave, for example, because of unexpected circumstances, your trip won’t be lost. You can return within the stipulated timeframe or even outside of it if you follow the rules.

No Hoops to Jump Through

The biggest benefit is that there are no hoops to jump through at the border control point either on arrival or exit.

Conclusion

Canadians have one of the strongest passports in the world. Ranking at number eight, they have a unique status globally in that nearly 200 countries allow Canadian citizens to visit and travel for extended periods visa-free. Canada has strong global ties, a favourable economy, exemplary educational opportunities, and a renowned healthcare system. It has long been a country of peace and its residents are enjoying the benefits of the strength of forged relationships.

Continue Reading

Trending