National Newswatch

NATO researchers consult federal government on foreign election meddling

May 16 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Canadian voters have a duty to think critically about the news they consume as foreign-interference threats loom over the coming federal election, a leading NATO researcher says. Janis Sarts, the director of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, says Canadians have to avoid knee-jerk reactions to avoid succumbing to malevolent foreign actors […]

Bibeau presses Chinese counterpart on canola ban at G20 ministers’ meeting

May 15 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says she used a G20 ministers' meeting in Japan to press her Chinese counterpart for the evidence behind Beijing's bans on Canadian canola. The overture follows last week's intervention by Canada at a major World Trade Organization meeting to demand China deliver proof that Canadian canola is contaminated. China has stonewalled requests for Canadian experts to […]

Freeland to meet Lighthizer, Grassley in Washington to push for tariff removal

May 14 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland played down expectations as she prepared to meet in Washington with Trump trade czar Robert Lighthizer in a renewed push to get punitive steel and aluminum tariffs lifted. "It is never wise to predict how long any negotiation will take," Freeland told reporters in Toronto on Tuesday, ahead of her […]

Canada’s feminist policy a perfect fit for South Sudan, says UN refugee official

May 13 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Canada could find a win for its feminist foreign policy in the spiralling famine and refugee crisis gripping South Sudan and neighbouring African countries, says a senior United Nations official. "Canada can do more," Arnauld Akodjenou, the UN High Commissioner's for Refugees' South Sudan co-ordinator, said in an interview Monday. "It's a test case […]

Trump U.S. Senate ally says Kovrig, Spavor face ‘harsh’ treatment in China

May 10 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — China is detaining two Canadians in harsh conditions and U.S. lawmakers won't rest until they are freed, says a powerful Republican senator. The full-throated American support for Canadian ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor came as the China-U.S. trade war reached new extremes Friday, with $200 billion in new U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports. […]

Jailed migrants have right to challenge detention before judges: Supreme Court

May 10 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — A Pakistani man was deprived of his right to challenge his detention in person before a judge, the Supreme Court said Friday, opening wider appeal options for migrants facing lengthy incarceration. Although Tusif Ur Rehman Chhina was stripped of his refugee status and was sent back to Pakistan in 2017, the country's top court agreed to hear his […]

U.S., European diplomats support Canada in Chinese court in death-penalty appeal

May 9 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Canadian diplomats were joined in a Chinese courtroom Thursday by American, British, French and German colleagues to watch the appeal of a Canadian who has been sentenced to death for smuggling drugs. The show of solidarity did not diminish Canadian worries over the fate of Robert Schellenberg of British Columbia. "Canada remains extremely concerned that China chose to apply the death penalty, […]

Scheer says he will move Canadian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv

May 7 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — MONTREAL — A Conservative government would move Canada's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, party leader Andrew Scheer said in a sometimes fiery foreign-policy speech on Tuesday that took personal aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Scheer's speech in Montreal was a table-setter for the upcoming federal election, the first of several major policy statements the […]

Freeland affirms Arctic co-operation with U.S. despite differences on climate

May 7 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — MONTREAL — Canada is disappointed the United States has blocked the Arctic Council from issuing a unanimous declaration acknowledging climate change but has no choice but to keep working with a key ally, says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to utter the words "climate change" throughout the eight-country […]

Canada welcomes any U.S. help on dispute with China, says rural minister

May 7 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — A Nova Scotia cabinet minister says the federal government would welcome any help the United States could offer in helping Canada in its ongoing dispute with China. "I would say that it would be helpful, for sure," Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan said in an interview. "It's different times now in the […]

Pompeo says Canadian claim to Northwest Passage is ‘illegitimate’

May 6 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Canada's claim over the Northwest Passage is "illegitimate," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday in a major speech to the Arctic Council that Canadian experts called both provocative and frequently inaccurate. Pompeo offered his characterization during a wide-ranging speech in Finland in which he also warned against China's increased Arctic presence, […]

New EDC human-rights policy lacks power, say workers and watchdogs

May 1 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Export Development Canada is declaring itself a leading defender of human rights, but workers groups and advocates say the Crown agency's long-awaited new policy falls well short of what's needed. The agency, a lender and insurer for Canadian firms operating abroad, issued its first stand-alone human rights policy Wednesday, declaring itself to be "leading the way […]