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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada The latest news on the COVID-19 global – msnNOW



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(Provided by CBC)

The latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic (all times Eastern):

8:45 p.m.

Vancouver’s airport authority has started offering voluntary layoffs to its staff, due to a reduction in passengers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vancouver Airport Authority employs roughly 500 people across airport operations, finance, engineering, human resources and other sectors.

Voluntary packages have started and will be followed by layoffs, an airport spokesman said in a statement.

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© Provided by The Canadian Press

The airport authority did not say how many workers will be affected.

6:30 p.m.

The British Columbia government says 13 outbreaks of COVID-19 are over, but four more people have died from the illness in the province.

A total of 109 people have died from COVID-19 in B.C.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the four most recent deaths were seniors living in long-term care homes.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there have been 34 new positive tests for the virus, for a total of 2,087 cases, with 1,305 people having recovered.

6:10 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 315 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths from the illness.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical health officer, says all the new deaths were at long-term care centres in Calgary.

So far 87 people have died as a result of the virus in Alberta, and 1,953 people have recovered.

Alberta has seen a total of 5,165 cases.

5:30 p.m.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says medical services won’t be allowed to reopen in a remote northern village on Monday.

Seventeen new COVID-19 cases were announced on Wednesday, with many of those cases in La Loche.

The first stage of Saskatchewan’s reopen plan kicks into effect Monday with restrictions lifting on medical services like dental offices.

Moe says because of the outbreak in La Loche, it won’t happen in that community. The same holds true for Lloydminister, a city on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border.

Health officials say there are 13 cases linked to the Lloydminister Hospital, including patients and health-care workers.

4 p.m.

Saskatchewan has announced another person has died from COVID-19 in the province.

Health officials says the resident was in their 80s and from the far north which is dealing with an outbreak.

The province announced 17 new confirmed cases today, with 11 in the remote community of La Loche.

Four are also from Lloydminster on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border .

Saskatchewan health officials report that the province has a total of 383 COVID-19 cases, six deaths and 291 people who have recovered.

3 p.m

Two more poultry processing facilities in B.C. report workers who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Sofina Foods Inc., says its employee who tested positive lives with relatives who work at a processing plant that was recently closed because of a novel coronavirus outbreak.

Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry says its employee was off the job on Friday with flu-like symptoms and tested positive yesterday.

Eighty COVID-19 cases have been linked to two Metro Vancouver poultry processing facilities that were closed earlier this month.

2:55 p.m.

The House of Commons is poised to approve a $9-billion financial aid package later today for students faced with bleak job prospects this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Opposition parties have given unanimous consent for the Commons to vote on the package later today.

To win opposition support, the government has made some changes to the promised package, including increasing the monthly benefit for students with dependents and disabilities to $2,000.

2:50 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting one new COVID-19 case, bringing the total to date to 273 (262 confirmed, 11 probable).

With 213 people having recovered in the province, the number of active cases is at 54.

Health officials have released modeling that suggests the province could see 6,250 cases over the coming year.

They caution it is a broad outlook subject to change, but say that so far, it appears to be within the capacity of the health care system.

2:20 p.m.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says the government is working on a solution to help people who rely on child support payments.

Currently, parents whose ex partners can’t afford to make their child support payments due to COVID-19 don’t qualify for the emergency response benefit.

Qualtrough says she’s aware of the gap, and is working on a potential way forward.

1:50 p.m.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says children may be at greater risk of online exploitation with so many spending time at home on the internet.

He says the national child exploitation crime centre is alert to the risk and is monitoring the situation.

1:50 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting no new cases of COVID-19.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the provincial total remains at 118 cases.

She says there are just four active cases right now and only one of those is in hospital.

Russell says she expects there will be more cases in the province and officials will have to respond with quick action when they occur.

1:35 p.m.

Quebec is receiving another 400 soldiers to lend a hand in the province’s overburdened long-term care homes.

Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbault says the soldiers are in addition to those already working in the province since April 20.

Over 60 per cent of the province’s deaths have occurred in care homes, where absences and illnesses due to COVID-19 have worsened pre-existing understaffing issues.

Guilbault says that while many new people have been hired, she’s encouraging anyone who wants to work in the homes to apply.

1:25 p.m.

Quebec is announcing it will gradually remove police controls that have been limiting non-essential travel to certain regions.

Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbault says police roadblocks will begin to be removed on May 4 in the Laurentides, Lanaudiere and Chaudiere-Appalaches regions.

The Abitibi, Saguenay Lac-St-Jean and Outaouais regions, with the exception of Gatineau, will reopen May 11, while the Bas-St-Laurent, Gaspesie, Iles-de-la Madeleine, Charlevoix and Cote-Nord areas will remove roadblocks on May 18.

The province announced 79 new deaths for a total of 1,761, and 837 cases for a total of 26,594.

1:15 p.m.

There are no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, leaving the provincial total at 258 cases.

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Chief Medical Officer of Health, says four people remain in hospital with two of them in intensive care.

There have been three COVID-19 related deaths so far in the province and Fitzgerald says 225 people are considered recovered, while testing has been carried out on 8,220 people.

Fitzgerald announced two new orders including one requiring assisted living facilities for seniors to take steps to protect their residents, and another restricting visitors to the province.

1:05 p.m.

Prince Edward Island is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 today.

The provincial total remains at 27 and the province says all cases were travel-related.

Twenty-four of those cases are considered recovered.

Chief public health officer. Dr. Heather Morrison says there are currently 2087 people in self-isolation.

The province announced Tuesday that some of the public health restrictions would be eased starting May 1.

Premier Dennis King has extended the state of emergency to May 31.

12:35 p.m.

The Manitoba government is going to start easing some of its COVID-19-related restrictions starting on Monday by allowing dentists, physiotherapists, retail stores, hair salons and restaurant patios to open at no more than 50 per cent capacity.

Campgrounds, museums, libraries and art galleries will also be allowed to reopen, and all will have to maintain physical distancing among customers.

Travel restrictions and the 10-person limit on public gatherings will remain in place, but Pallister says the crowd limit may be raised later in May if the province’s COVID-19 numbers remain low.

A second phase will see nail salons, dine-in restaurants and non-contact children’s sports allowed, while mass gatherings such as concerts and big-league sporting events will not happen until September at the earliest.

12:30 p.m.

The NDP and the Bloc Quebecois say the federal government is being evasive about whether it will provide emergency financial support to companies registered in foreign tax havens.

The two opposition parties have called on the government to deny federal funding to those companies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government will continue to fight tax evasion and avoidance, and those companies will face severe consequences.


11:45 a.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting one new death related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 28.

The death occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax.

The province has also identified 20 new cases of the virus today, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 935.

Nova Scotia has registered 27,486 negative test results, with 11 people currently in hospital, and three of those patients in intensive care.

Health officials say 529 people have now recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.

11:40 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is looking at what support it can offer to the Canadian Football League.

League commissioner Randy Ambrosie revealed to The Canadian Press yesterday that the CFL has asked for up to $150 million in assistance due to the pandemic.

The league was supposed to start its regular season on June 11, but has pushed that date back to July at the earliest.

Ambrosie says the league’s long-term future would be in peril if the season was cancelled.

11:20 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government plans to provide between $1,000 and $5,000 for students who volunteer to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau did not say when the new Canada Student Services Grant will be rolled out, but says specific supports will also be set up for Indigenous students.

The prime minister says the federal government is also planning to extend research grants, fellowships and other support to graduate students and researchers.

The new measures are on top of $9 billion in support for students unveiled last week.

11:15 a.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is providing compensation for private sector employers to help pay employees who were required to self-isolate for 14-days due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The assistance includes people who are self-employed.

The maximum amount of funding under the provincial program will be 500 dollars per week for each employee — to a combined maximum of one-thousand dollars per week for each employee when receiving both federal and provincial funding.

The amount paid under the province’s program will depend on the amount of federal funding received.


11:10 a.m.

The Canadian Armed Forces is deploying its famed Snowbirds aerobatics team on a cross-country tour aimed at boosting morale as Canadians continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the planned spectacle this morning as he took a page from the U.S., where the American military’s own flight demonstration teams have been flying over cities in honour of frontline workers and first responders.

The Snowbirds cut their season short last year after one of the Snowbirds’ famous Tutor aircraft crashed on Oct. 13 prior to an air show at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Georgia.

10:40 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 347 new COVID-19 cases today, and 45 more deaths.

That brings the province to a total of 15,728 cases — a 2.3 per cent increase over the previous day, which is the lowest growth rate in weeks.

More than 60 per cent of the total cases — 9,612 — are ones that have been resolved, and there have been a total of 996 deaths.

In long-term care, there was an increase of 70 deaths to 775, though the numbers come from a separate database from the provincial totals.

The Canadian Press

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada on May 28 –



The latest:

As Canada’s total number of COVID-19 cases climbed to more than 88,500 on Thursday, New Brunswick began ramping up testing in a region of the province where it’s feared a new cluster of three cases could grow.

At least 150 people have been exposed to a medical professional in the Campbellton region who has COVID-19 and saw multiple patients over a two-week period following his return to New Brunswick from Quebec. Gilles Lanteigne, head of the Vitalité Health Network, said those exposed include 50 health-care workers at the Campbellton Regional Hospital and 100 people in the community.

“We could see some transmission around the province,” Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, told a briefing on Thursday, adding that two of the three new cases of COVID-19 are health-care workers.

Quebec and Ontario remain the hardest-hit provinces in terms of the number of cases and the daily increases.

Innis Ingram sits chained to a tree Thursday near crosses identifying the lives lost to COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community centre in Mississauga, Ont. Ingram’s mother is inside the facility, and he says he won’t unchain himself until an inspector arrives or management from Trillium Health Partners, a hospital system serving Mississauga and west-end Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Quebec has reported 563 new cases, while Ontario has reported 383 new cases. As of 5:50 p.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 88,504 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 46,844 considered resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial health data, regional information and CBC’s reporting stood at 6,961.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said the country is seeing a “series of regional epidemics” with Quebec and Ontario experiencing the vast majority of cases and severe outbreaks.

Within those provinces, you have to home in on certain areas and offer assistance to hard-hit areas, said Tam, who praised a move by the health officials in Toronto to release more “granular data” about COVID-19 cases.

When asked about a recent decision in New Brunswick to reimpose some restrictions on one region after new cases emerged linked to a returning traveller who didn’t self-isolate, Tam said she thinks every medical officer of health agrees on the need to be “really careful” as activities resume and restrictions are lifted.

WATCH | RCMP to look into new cluster of cases in New Brunswick:

Premier Blaine Higgs says police will determine whether charges are warranted after a health-care professional with COVID-19 did not self-isolate after returning to New Brunswick from Quebec. 0:56

“I think there’s always been the message in different jurisdictions that there’s a flexibility in the public health system to reinstate or pull back on some of the measures as they see fit, based on their own epidemiologic context,” she said at a Thursday briefing.

New Brunswick had gone an extended period with no new cases, but with the new cases, it’s now rolling back the easing of some restrictions in Zone 5, an area that’s home to 25,000 people and includes the Campbellton-Dalhousie Region. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not hold his daily briefing on Thursday because he was opening a UN conference on financing issues around health and development and how they have been affected by COVID-19, including questions about liquidity and debt.

Trudeau told heads of state and government that “our citizens need to have confidence in international institutions that leave no one behind and are capable of overcoming global challenges.”

Read on for a look at what’s happening in your region, and to get the latest details on how provinces are handling the pandemic and the tentative process of lifting restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the novel virus.

Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories

British Columbia reported nine new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Thursday — including one new outbreak at Nicola Lodge, a long-term care home in Port Coquitlam — for a total of 2,558 cases in the province. There have been 164 COVID-19-related deaths in B.C., including two more in long-term care homes in the Fraser Health region.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s health officer, announced the outbreak of COVID-19 at Mission Institution, where dozens of inmates had fallen ill, has now ended. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that B.C.’s COVID-19 numbers are trending in the right direction but urged continued adherence to public health guidelines. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

Alberta reported 29 new coronavirus cases on Thursday and two new deaths. That brings the province’s total number of confirmed cases to 6,955 with 143 deaths.

On Wednesday, the province reported its lowest number of active cases since the end of March, at 679. That number was down to 652 on Thursday. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta, where health officials are investigating a possible case of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), an inflammatory syndrome associated with the novel coronavirus.

Saskatchewan announced two new cases of COVID-19, one in the province’s northern region and one in the Saskatoon area. There are now 61 active cases out of 639 cases and 568 recoveries, with four people in hospital for treatment of the disease. Ten people in the province have died of the illness. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba is on track to enter the next phase of its reopening on Monday, when it will allow restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses shuttered by COVID-19 restrictions to open with stepped-up public health measures in place.

There were two new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Thursday, bringing the province’s total to 294. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

WATCH | Brian Pallister talks about moving Manitoba into the next phase of reopening:

Premier Brian Pallister says the slow and careful Phase 2 reopening is the result of the low incidence of COVID-19 in Manitoba and the province will look closely at any resurgence in cases. 1:15

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that he’s sick of “taking bullets” for unionized government inspectors who, he said, refused to go into the province’s long-term care homes to carry out inspections in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because of safety concerns.

WATCH | Release of COVID-19 hot spot data in Toronto can help prevent spread of coronavirus, says epidemiologist:

Dr. David Fisman says lowering infections in hot spots will help the city and province continue with reopening plans.  6:45

On Wednesday, the province announced it’s taking over the management four of the five long-term care homes that were the subject of a Canadian Armed Forces report alleging “horrific” conditions, including poor hygiene and aggressive behaviour toward residents. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

In Quebec, Premier François Legault talked more about plans to recruit and train 10,000 support staff, or orderlies, to work in long-term care homes. He said they would be full-time positions with pensions and benefits.

Provincial Justice Minister Sonia LeBel confirmed that courthouses in Quebec would reopen on June 1. She said there will be a limited number of people allowed inside, physical distancing rules and Plexiglas barriers for judges.

Many long-term care homes in Quebec are in desperate need of medical personnel and continue to struggle to bring down the number of COVID-19 infections, a military report on its mission inside the province’s seniors’ residences says. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, which has had 49,702 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

WATCH | Military reports staffing, PPE issues in Quebec long-term care homes:

The Canadian military’s report into Quebec’s long-term care homes during the COVID-19 crisis found ongoing staff shortages and issues with the use of personal protective equipment. 2:00

In New Brunswick, officials say they expect hundreds of people to be tested within the next couple of days after a new cluster of COVID-19 cases in the Campbellton region. Premier Blaine Higgs on Thursday said the development is “very concerning,” but he remains optimistic that with contact tracing, the province will be able to curb the spread of the respiratory illness. Read more about what’s happening in N.B., where the legislature, which just reopened on Monday, has been adjourned until June 9 in a bid to ensure MLAs don’t contribute to spreading the virus.

New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, both with low numbers of COVID-19, were considering a proposed interprovincial bubble that would see travel resume across the Confederation Bridge in late June or early July. Higgs, New Brunswick’s premier, told CBC News such a plan now depends on what health officials learn about the new cluster of cases in northern New Brunswick in the next couple of weeks.

Nova Scotia is set to allow more businesses to reopen next week, saying everything from restaurants and bars to gyms and personal services like hair salons can open on June 5 under enhanced public health protocols. “We are still moving slowly, but this is a good first step,” Premier Stephen McNeil said Wednesday. Read more about what’s happening in N.S., which reported two new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

Prince Edward Island’s state of emergency has been extended until June 14Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I., which has no active cases of COVID-19.

Newfoundland on Thursday reported one new case of COVID-19, ending the province’s 20-day streak of zero new cases. The Department of Health says the new case, affecting a man between 40 and 49 years old, is related to travel. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

The chief public health officer of the Northwest Territories said she “wholeheartedly” supports the idea of people taking staycations this summer, including visits to regional hubs. But Dr. Kami Kandola said people in the territory need to “stay on our game,” as the risk associated with COVID-19 has not passed. Meanwhile, in Nunavut, the public health emergency has been extended until June 11. Nunavut is the only jurisdiction in Canada that has not had a confirmed coronavirus case. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

Here’s what’s happening around the world

The novel coronavirus, which causes an illness called COVID-19, causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. The virus labelled SARS-CoV-2 first emerged in China in late 2019, before spreading around the world.

WATCH | Why Iceland has been so successful at contact tracing:

Coronavirus contact tracing in Iceland is a collaborative effort between health-care workers and the police, creating a ‘force to be reckoned with,’ says one of the detectives in charge. 4:47

According to a Johns Hopkins University case tracking tool, as of Thursday afternoon there were more than 5.9 million coronavirus cases worldwide, with nearly 358,000 deaths reported. 

The U.S. accounts for almost 1.7 million of the cases and more than 100,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

WATCH | COVID-19: What parts of the world are big concerns right now?

A panel of experts answer questions about what’s happening with COVID-19 around the world and how it impacts Canada. 6:20

WATCH | COVID-19: What parts of the world are big concerns right now?

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Canada sees fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for 3rd consecutive day –



For the third day in a row, the number of new coronavirus infections in Canada remained below 1,000.

But every province except for Prince Edward Island reported at least one new case on Thursday, with New Brunswick reporting a cluster of cases linked to a health-care worker who failed to self-isolate after returning from Quebec.

Canada reported 994 new cases of COVID-19 — slightly more than Wednesday’s 872 — and 112 new deaths, for a total of 88,501 cases and 6,877 deaths.

Nearly 47,000 people across the country are deemed recovered, and more than 1.6 million tests have taken place, the majority of them in Ontario and Quebec.

How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

The two provinces together account for more than 86 per cent of Canada’s cases, and 94 per cent of the national death toll.

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With the exception of PEI, all the Atlantic provinces reported new cases on Thursday.

Saskatchewan company creates coronavirus decontamination unit using ozone gas

Saskatchewan company creates coronavirus decontamination unit using ozone gas

New Brunswick saw three new cases linked to a health-care worker, casting a pall on provincial reopening plans and bringing the total number of cases to 126. Zero deaths have been reported so far.

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Premier Blaine Higgs has said the “irresponsible” health-care worker had been in contact with “multiple patients” over two weeks. The worker could be charged with violating public health orders, he added.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case, for a total of 261, including three deaths and 255 recoveries.

Masks, sanitizing and vetting: How coronavirus changed home and auto repairs

Nova Scotia saw two new cases, bringing its figures to 1,055 cases. Fifty-nine people have died so far, many of them linked to a long-term care home in Halifax. More than 970 people have recovered.

Quebec saw 563 new cases and 74 new deaths. The province has seen nearly 48,000 cases, with more than 15,000 recoveries, and 4,302 deaths. Premier Francois Legault has asked the Canadian military to remain in long-term care homes till the fall.

Coronavirus: Toronto wants ability to reopen at its own speed amid COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus: Toronto wants ability to reopen at its own speed amid COVID-19 pandemic

Ontario announced 383 new cases — nearly 100 more than the previous day’s report — and 34 new deaths, bringing its figures to almost 26,900 cases and 2,189 deaths. More than 20,600 people are considered recovered from the virus.

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Saskatchewan and Manitoba reported two new cases each. Saskatchewan has seen 10 deaths so far and 639 cases, including nearly 570 recoveries. Seven people have died in Manitoba, which has 283 cases.

Alberta reported two new deaths and 29 new cases on Thursday. One hundred Albertans over the age of 80 have died of COVID-19 so far, out of 143 fatalities.

The province has seen close to 7,000 cases overall, including more than 6,000 recoveries.

Canada facing series of regional coronavirus epidemics with distinct challenges: Tam

British Columbia reported nine new cases and two new deaths. The province also declared a major outbreak in a prison was officially over. B.C. has seen 2,558 cases — 84 per cent of them recovered — along with 164 deaths.

All cases resolved

Prince Edward Island is currently the only province without any active cases, after it declared all 27 of its cases resolved weeks ago.

The Northwest Territories and the Yukon also have no active cases, with all cases resolved for weeks now.

City of Toronto map shows COVID-19 hotspots across city

City of Toronto map shows COVID-19 hotspots across city

Nunavut remains the only region in Canada that hasn’t seen a confirmed case of COVID-19.


Globally, there are more than 5.8 million cases of COVID-19 around the world as of Thursday evening, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 360,000 people have died.

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The U.S. accounts for the majority of cases and deaths, with more than 1.7 million infections and more than 100,000 deaths.

— With files by The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada, allies condemn China on Hong Kong law after contentious Meng ruling –



Canada joined with its major allies Thursday in condemning China for imposing a new national security law on Hong Kong, one day after a contentious B.C. court ruling in the Meng Wanzhou affair. 

The statement of “deep concern” with the United States, Australia and Britain comes as experts warn that two Canadians imprisoned in China could face retaliation because Wednesday’s court ruling in the Meng case didn’t go the way the People’s Republic would have liked. 

The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa angrily denounced the decision by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes in the extradition case of the Huawei executive, who is wanted on fraud charges in the U.S., as it once more called for her immediate release. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday, to reporters after an online UN conference, that Canada’s independent judicial system “rendered a judgment without any political interference.” He noted Meng would “undoubtedly avail herself of” further legal moves to fight the extradition request. 

The Meng dispute — which has plunged Sino-Canadian relations to an all-time low — did not dissuade Canada from signing on to the statement that criticizes China for imposing a national-security law on Hong Kong. 

Watch: Trudeau comments on B.C. court decision on Meng Wanzhou:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with reporters during a United Nations web cast on Thursday. 0:38

The Chinese territory is supposed to have autonomy under a “one country-two systems” agreement. 

The statement said the law is “in direct conflict” with China’s “international obligations under the principles of the legally binding” agreement that saw Britain hand over its administration of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997. 

“Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of freedom. The international community has a significant and longstanding stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” the statement said. 

“Direct imposition of national-security legislation on Hong Kong by the Beijing authorities … would curtail the Hong Kong people’s liberties, and in doing so, dramatically erode the autonomy and the system that made it so prosperous.” 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wouldn’t say if the security law violated the agreement between China and Britain when asked about it during a virtual press conference with Trudeau on Thursday afternoon. 

The sharp criticism comes as the Trudeau government has been dealing with its own China crisis since December 2018. 

Michael Kovrig, an ex-diplomat working for the International Crisis Group, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur who did business in North Korea, have been in Chinese prisons with no access to lawyers or their families since they were detained nine days after Meng’s arrest by the RCMP on Dec. 1, 2018. 

They are accused of violating China’s national security interests, and they have been denied regular monthly visits by Canadian diplomats since January because of COVID-19 restrictions on Chinese prisons. 

“We will continue to advocate for the two Canadians arbitrarily detained in China and I take this opportunity to thank the international community for standing by so strongly with Canada in this situation,” Trudeau said. 

Some analysts say their treatment could get a lot worse, especially based on Chinese government statements leading up to the ruling. 

The fate of Michael Spavor, Michael Kovrig

“The PRC authorities’ statement of consequences of ‘continuous harm’ to Canada if Ms. Meng is not returned to China forthwith suggests that there will be further retaliation,” said Charles Burton, a China expert with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, who has been a diplomat in Beijing. 

“I am concerned that Kovrig and Spavor may be forced to make false confessions on Chinese TV followed by a sham secret trial and possible sentences of death, usually suspended for two years before commutation to life imprisonment.” 

David Mulroney, the Canadian ambassador to China between 2009 and 2012, said China is furious over the Meng case. 

“Unfortunately, two innocent Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, will bear the brunt of that anger. It is likely that the detentions will be extended until China has some clarity as to Ms. Meng’s eventual fate. Unfortunately, that could take some time,” said Mulroney. 

“China will also seek to lash out at Canada.” 

‘Delaying the inevitable’

Fen Hampson, a global security expert with the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, said Canada should rethink whether it needs to intervene politically to end the case rather than let it play out in the courts for years. 

“You’ve got two Canadians who are in jail under fairly perilous circumstance, given COVID-19, and broader considerations at play in terms of Canada’s trade and investment relations with China,” said Hampson. 

“Whatever happens, it will end up on the desk of the justice minister — he’s the one who has to decide whether she gets extradited or not. In some ways, you’re delaying the inevitable. The government is still going to have to make that decision.” 

The roots of Canada’s current problems with China predate the Meng-Kovrig-Spavor affairs, said Wendy Dobson, an author and China expert who is co-director of the Institute for International Business at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. 

The government’s current preoccupation with “diversifying” its trade relations with other Asian countries reflects a long-standing inability to do just that, she said. “We’ve been saying this to ourselves for years, but we haven’t gotten very far,” Dobson said. 

“We have not done a very good job of educating Canadians and deepening their understanding of who this partner is, where this partner comes from, and how to contribute in a way that is useful to both of us in the long term.” 

The president of Canada Hong Kong Link said her group and others planned to launch a comprehensive lobbying and educational effort aimed at different parties, and especially members of key Commons and Senate committees to influence Canada’s foreign policy towards China. 

Gloria Fung said a minority Parliament gives her group and other greater leverage to affect change. 

“It is very important for Canadian voters, civil society, to realize the kind of power we have towards our government,” she said. “I think, so far, the Liberal government has been very weak, as far as the foreign policy towards China is concerned.”

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