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Stability, rebuilding among next steps for Canada-U.S. relationship, Champagne says

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After a tumultuous four years brought on by the Trump presidency, Joe Biden’s victory could usher in a new era of calm in the White House — something Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne says is key to strengthening ties with other nations.

“In international affairs, stability and predictability are key elements in order to build these relationships. So certainly we look forward to doing that,” Champagne told CBC Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton.

“We’ve seen for more than a century now this close relationship between our two countries. And we can be a force for good in the world,” he said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live.

Biden’s win came Saturday after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials in the U.S. sorted through a surge of mail-in votes. The president-elect crossed the threshold of 270 electoral college votes with a win in his home state of Pennsylvania, securing Nevada’s six electoral votes later in the day.

Trump has not conceded the race and is threatening further legal action on ballot counting.

 

 

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne thinks a Biden administration is an opportunity to strengthen the ‘special relationship’ between Canada and the U.S. 8:48

‘We can rebuild’ relationships: Champagne

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is looking forward to working with Biden to tackle some of “the world’s greatest challenges,” including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The global health crisis has closed the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel since March.

During his victory speech, Biden said he would name a group of scientists and experts on Monday to help his administration get the United States’ coronavirus crisis under control.

“When I heard the president-elect yesterday talking about the COVID response and … said that they would be guided by science, that resonates with Canadians,” Champagne said. “Canada obviously will be following up on the work of the committee that he’s been putting together.”

The foreign affairs minister also said he hoped to work with Biden and other leaders to renew relationships with international organizations.

“I think that what happened in the last four years, in terms of some of those relationships, we can rebuild,” Champagne said. “Certainly there’s a will by Canada to work with this new administration, to work with colleagues around the world, whether it’s about the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations.”

Mark McKinnon, U.S. political advisor and co-host of Showtime’s The Circus, said Biden’s former turn as vice president means Canada has experience working with the incoming leader.

“It’s not only good for Canada, it’s good for the world order in the sense that Donald Trump just wanted to sort of throw the table over and break things,” McKinnon told Barton. “Joe Biden wants to put things together. I think it’s going to be very steadying for the world order and for Canada and our relationship.”

 

President-elect Joe Biden stands on stage with his wife Jill on Saturday in Delaware, after delivering a victory speech that promised to unify a divided country. (Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press)

 

Canada-China relations, Keystone XL top priorities

A new leader could also spell changes for China-U.S. relations, something that could affect Canada’s own strained relationship with China as Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor approach their second year of detention in that country.

“I have no doubt we’re going to be working together with key countries, key allies around the world, to make sure that we face that challenge together,” Champagne said.

Also topping Canada’s priority list is the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project threatened by a Biden presidency.

The president-elect says he plans to rescind approval for the project, which would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta to Nebraska.

“This is top of the agenda. We’re going to be making our case, saying that Canada is the most reliable energy supplier to the United States,” Champagne said. “We’ve been working together for decades now.”

 

During the election, Biden said he would cancel the Keystone XL pipeline if elected president of the United States. Following Biden’s win, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he looked forward to working with the new administration to continue the “vital economic partnership” between the U.S. and his province. (Alex Panetta/The Canadian Press)

 

Canada-U.S. relationship suffered a ‘major hit,’ congressman says

Democratic congressman Brian Higgins, who represents the border cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls in western New York, told Barton in a separate interview that the Canada-U.S. relationship will be “dramatically different” under Biden.

“[Canadians] are our friends, they are our trading partners, they have been with us in the toughest times,” said Higgins, who was re-elected into the U.S. House of Representatives this week and serves as co-chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus.

“This relationship has taken a major hit over the past four years because of the arrogance of this president,” Higgins said.

Democratic New York Rep. Brian Higgins thinks U.S. president-elect Joe Biden will correct ‘damage’ caused by U.S. President Donald Trump to Canada-U.S. relations. 6:18

The congressman pointed to Canada’s “early, strong and united” response to COVID-19 as one example of the countries’ differences, characterizing the United States’ approach as “slow, sloppy and chaotic.”

“I understand that your prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has already reached out to president-elect Biden, and I think that’s indicative of a vastly improved relationship that will occur over the next four years,” Higgins said.

For his part, Champagne said he would wait for a more “appropriate” time to travel to the U.S. to meet with Biden.

“We have to be gracious … we worked well in some respects with the last administration. Look at NAFTA, as a good example,” the minister said. “So we’ll do things properly … but also planning for a good future together.”

Source: – CBC.ca

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3 Nova Scotians appointed to the Order of Canada – CBC.ca

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Three Nova Scotians have been appointed to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours.

They are among the 114 appointees announced Friday.

The list includes eight companions, 21 officers, one honorary member and 84 members. The full list can be found here.

“Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation,” said a statement on the office of the Governor General’s website.

Appointments are made by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. More than 7,000 Canadians have received the honour since its inception.

Jeff Dahn of Halifax, who has led groundbreaking research on lithium-ion batteries, was appointed as an officer.

Dahn is considered a pioneer of lithium-ion battery research. (Jill English/CBC)

In 2017, he won the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering for his work in making batteries increasingly efficient. He also won a Governor General’s Award for Innovation in 2016.

Dahn works out of a lab at Dalhousie University. He also began a five-year research partnership with Tesla In 2016.

In the statement, the Governor General’s office also commended him for “his mentorship and adroit bridging of academia and industry.”

Dahn could not be reached for comment Sunday.

‘It’s humbling’

Meanwhile, Dr. Ken Wilson and John Eyking were appointed as members.

Wilson, a plastic surgeon in the Halifax area, was appointed “for his nationally recognized expertise in reconstructive and plastic surgery, and for his volunteer work on international medical missions.”

“It’s humbling, but a very nice addition to a great career,” Wilson said of the honour.

In the mid-80s, Wilson became the first person east of Montreal to dedicate himself to doing plastic surgery for children.

“It was a very satisfying thing for me to be able to look after a lot of the children who have either had to travel, or that hadn’t had, sometimes, the attention they would’ve had otherwise,” he said.

Wilson has spent more than 30 years doing plastic and reconstructive surgery for children. (Submitted by Ken Wilson)

In the mid-90s, Wilson began working with Operation Smile, an organization that provides surgeries and dental care to children with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. He travelled a couple times a year to do surgery in underdeveloped countries, and he estimates he went on about 46 missions.

In the late 1990s, Wilson became the chief of surgery at the IWK children’s hospital in Halifax, a position he held for more than a decade.

He stopped practising five years ago, but Wilson now works as a medical consultant for Doctors Nova Scotia and is chair of the board for Operation Smile Canada.

“It was a wonderful career,” said Wilson. “I gotta say, I’ve been very lucky over the years to have the opportunity to do what I did.”

While there is no ceremony this year due to COVID-19, Wilson was mailed his snowflake insignia, as well as a “lovely book” detailing the history of the Order of Canada and the many recipients over the years.

‘All in a day’s work’

Eyking, a farmer and entrepreneur who founded Eyking Farms, was recognized for his “personal and professional dedication to the Cape Breton community, particularly within the agriculture industry.”

Eyking, of Millville, N.S., immigrated to Canada in 1963 from the Netherlands. He started a farm, which later grew into a family operation run by him, his wife and their 10 children.

He is also an inductee of the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Reached by phone Sunday, Eyking, 89, was modest about his appointment. He credited his farm’s accomplishments to the work of his large family.

“For me, it was all in a day’s work and I enjoyed it,” he said.

He, too, received a parcel from the Order of Canada, and said he enjoyed the book.

“There’s quite a few Cape Bretoners in there,” he said.

The recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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