National Newswatch

Facing minority Parliament, Trudeau tells MPs to play nice with opposition

Jan 23 2020 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is telling his caucus to play nice as Liberal MPs meet before the House of Commons resumes sitting again next week. Trudeau says Canadians sent their elected officials a clear message to do better and they have to take that seriously. He says political grandstanding doesn't create jobs, and his governing party needs […]

Canada to start ratifying new NAFTA next week following U.S. approval: Trudeau

Jan 21 2020 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Canada will move swiftly next week to formally approve North America's new, long-delayed free trade pact, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday. The government will introduce a motion to apply some of its elements Jan. 27 when Parliament resumes, and will table legislation to ratify the deal two days later, he said. "Passing the new NAFTA in […]

Canada brings home first plane-crash victim, pushes Iran to respect families

Jan 21 2020 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — The first body of a Canadian who died in the Tehran plane crash has come home, the country's foreign minister said Tuesday, as the government pushed Iran to respect the wishes of family members who want their loved ones buried in Canada. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne confirmed the repatriation of a Canadian killed in the crash of the Ukraine International […]

Cdn envoy Dominic Barton to testify at Canada-China parliamentary committee

Jan 20 2020 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Canada's ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, will be among the first witnesses to testify before a new special parliamentary committee created to examine Canada's fraught relationship with China. The committee held its first meeting Monday, largely a planning session, and MPs from all parties agreed it was essential to hear from Barton, despite […]

Countries vow stern signal to Tehran on PS752 in shadow of Iran nuclear deal row

Jan 15 2020 — Mike Blanchfield — LONDON — A dispute over a 2015 deal aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons is casting a shadow over an international meeting that Canada hopes will lead to justice and financial compensation for the families of the 176 victims aboard an aircraft shot down over Tehran last week. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne arrived late Wednesday in […]

Zelensky says he, Trudeau talk crash punishment, as Iran announces arrests

Jan 14 2020 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky says he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have discussed the need to "punish" the Iranians responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian airliner near Tehran last week that killed 176 people. Zelensky was describing his latest conversation with Trudeau in a Twitter posting, hours after Iran announced arrests in the fatal crash. […]

Adding Iran’s Guard Corps to terror list bad for Canada, says ex-Tehran envoy

Jan 13 2020 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Listing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity would undermine efforts by the Trudeau government to properly investigate the Iranian plane crash, says Canada's last ambassador to the country. The government's immediate priority should be to focus on supporting Canadian families, including repatriating remains of crash victims, and the work of […]

Intelligence says Iranian missile downed airliner, perhaps by mistake: Trudeau

Jan 9 2020 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Canadian and foreign intelligence indicates dozens of Canadians were killed by a potentially errant Iranian missile that downed their jetliner near Tehran this week, sparking a quest for answers that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested might take years. Trudeau said Thursday that multiple sources show that an Iranian surface-to-air missile downed the Ukraine International […]

Canada pushing Tehran for direct access on Iran plane crash, Trudeau says

Jan 8 2020 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Canada is pushing to be part of the Iranian-led investigation of the plane crash near Tehran that killed everyone on board, including 138 people bound for Canada, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Gaining access could prove challenging because Canada broke diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012, shuttering its Tehran embassy and expelling its diplomats. Trudeau said Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne was to speak […]

Trump disregards Canada, allies with killing of Iranian general: ex-ambassador

Jan 7 2020 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — President Donald Trump's decision to order the killing of a top Iranian general has elevated his disregard of Canada and other American allies to a new level, says Barack Obama's former envoy to Ottawa. Former ambassador Bruce Heyman says the killing of Iranian Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone near Baghdad's airport last week […]

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Dec 8 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Canadian prisoner Michael Kovrig is trying to hold on to a sense of humour as he and fellow countryman Michael Spavor approach one year in solitary confinement in China, says Kovrig's current boss. Kovrig, a diplomat on leave who was working with the International Crisis Group, and Spavor, an entrepreneur, have been imprisoned in China […]

Male-dominated Iraqi military getting used to female soldiers: Canadian general

Dec 3 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Iraq's male-dominated military may slowly be getting used to dealing with high-level female counterparts, suggests the recently departed male commander of Canadian Armed Forces trainers in that country. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin said that bodes well for his successor, Maj.-Gen. Jennie Carignan, who assumed command last week of the NATO training mission in Iraq, a […]

Freeland in a divided Washington for new NAFTA talks with U.S. and Mexico

Nov 27 2019 — Mike Blanchfield — OTTAWA — Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland wrapped up a meeting Wednesday in the American capital aimed at finding the bipartisan agreement needed to finalize a new North American trade deal saying they continue to make progress. The session involved U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Undersecretary for North America Jesús Seade. "Today it was […]