Archive | Canadian Politics

Trudeau on Saudi dispute apology, says Canada will speak out ‘wherever we see the need’

Posted on 15 August 2018 by admin

It appears no apology is in the works from Canada after Saudi Arabia launched an escalating diplomatic dispute over a tweet.

At a press conference in Montreal on Wednesday afternoon, reporters asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau whether he was willing to apologize to Saudi Arabia after Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland last week criticized the kingdom’s arrest and detention of women’s rights activists, including one with family ties to Canada.

 “We will continue to stand up for Canadian values and universal values and human rights,” said Trudeau.

“We have respect for their importance in the world and recognize they have made progress on a number of important issues but we will continue to speak firmly and strongly on human rights around the world wherever we see the need.”

The dispute started on Sunday evening when Saudi Arabia announced it was ejecting the Canadian ambassador, recalling its own and freezing all new business with Canada because of what it deemed “interference” in its internal affairs.

The tweet in question, posted on Aug. 2 by Freeland, criticized the arrest of Samar Badawi, a women’s rights activist who is the sister of imprisoned dissident blogger Raif Badawi, whose wife is a Canadian citizen and lives in Quebec.

Since then, Saudi Arabia has ordered both its students studying in Canada and citizens seeking medical treatment to go elsewhere within the month.

It also blacklisted Canadian wheat and barley imports and ordered the asset managers for its central bank and state pension funds to dump Canadian assets “no matter the cost.”

None of Canada’s allies has spoken out publicly in defence out of what experts describe as fear of being cut out from doing business deals in the lucrative Saudi economy.

When asked whether he was frustrated with the lack of support from countries like the U.S. and the U.K., Trudeau said it was up to individual countries.

“I am never going to impose on another country what their response or reaction should be,” he said.

“I respect the rights of other countries to speak for themselves.”

 

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Saudi Arabia-Canada spat: Here’s everything to know about the feud

Posted on 15 August 2018 by admin

It started with a tweet over human rights and now the feud between Saudi Arabia and Canada has escalated into one of the biggest diplomatic rifts in years between the two nations.

Saudi Arabia has kicked out the Canadian ambassador, plans to pull out thousands of students and medical patients from Canada and is suspending Saudi state airline flights to Toronto.

And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not backing down.

“It’s very harsh diplomatic measures,” said Aurel Braun, a professor of political science and international relations at the University of Toronto. “This is an all-out confrontation short of a military conflict because it’s breaking a link in the diplomatic embassy.”

As the feud continues to balloon, here’s everything you need to know about it.

How did it start?

The diplomatic dispute began last week after Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted concerns about the news that several social activists had been arrested in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi, a women’s rights activist who is the sister of imprisoned dissident blogger Raif Badawi, whose wife is a Canadian citizen and lives in Quebec.

Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists.

On Aug. 2, Freeland called for the release of the prisoners, and a day later, her department tweeted further criticism and called for the “immediate release” of Badawi.

Saudi Arabia has consistently been flagged as one of the worst violators of human rights by groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

How did Saudi Arabia react?

The ultraconservative kingdom did not take the tweet lightly.

In a series of angry tweets on Sunday, the Saudi foreign ministry criticized Canada’s “negative and surprising attitude” and called the country’s position “an overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of #SaudiArabia.”

 “Canada has made a mistake and needs to fix it,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Wednesday. “The ball is in Canada’s court.”

In a steady string of retaliatory measures, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry expelled Canada’s ambassador and suspended all business and trade between the two countries.

The nation is also ending thousands of Saudi scholarship programs in Canada, arranging for all Saudi patients in Canadian hospitals to be transferred out of the country, blacklisted Canadian wheat and barley and ordered the asset managers of their central bank and pension funds to dump Canadian assets “no matter the cost.”

Why the quick, harsh reaction?

Saudi Arabia has always been hypersensitive to criticism of human rights, according to Braun. For example, in 2015 Sweden criticized the kingdom’s human rights record, and as a result, Saudi Arabia took harsh diplomatic measures and expelled Sweden’s ambassador.

But Braun said the kingdom’s reaction to Canada seems to be more severe.

 “Maybe the ruling family wants to make an example of Canada and send a message internationally, that Saudi Armada will extract a high cost for those who interfere in domestic affairs,” he said.

The nation also has a young new crown prince in power, Mohammed bin Salman, who is taking steps forward to modernize the country.

“By contrast to the old regime, the country believes it is modernizing, such as allowing women to drive, although this may seem minute to us,” Braun explained. “They see themselves as trying to engage in reform, but they are not being rewarded for it, instead Canada is shaming them. So it’s not only anger, it’s a lack of recognition.”

On Monday, a Saudi youth organization shared and then deleted an image on Twitter that appeared to show an Air Canada plane heading toward the CN Tower in Toronto, evoking images of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

 “As the Arabic saying goes: ‘He who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him,’” read a message superimposed over the image from the Twitter account @infographic_KSA. It also accused Canada of “sticking one’s nose where it doesn’t belong.”

Oil will not be impacted

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister assured Canada that the kingdom’s diplomatic dispute with Ottawa won’t affect oil sales. Around 10 per cent of Canada’s oil imports come from Saudi Arabia. Bilateral trade between the two nations is around $3 billion a year.

Was this a wise move for Canada?

Canada has had a long history of standing up for human rights internationally.

“For Canadian leaders to criticize the human rights in other countries is not surprising,” Braun said. But he added it may have been the public platform that Canada used in order to shame Saudi Arabia that left the kingdom so angry.

 “Was this a wise decision to public shame rather than quiet diplomacy? So far it did not have the desired results,” he said. “We have not seen the release of these people.”

What are Canada’s allies saying?

None of Canada’s allies has spoken out publicly in defence out of what experts describe as fear of being cut out from doing business deals in the lucrative Saudi economy.

What are the next steps?

Braun believes that in order for the two nations to mend ties, Canada will have to pull off some intricate diplomatic choreography and find a “face-saving message.”

But Trudeau and Freeland made it clear that Canada will not apologize for standing up for women’s rights.

 “We will continue to stand up for Canadian values and universal values and human rights,” Trudeau said at a press conference on Wednesday. “Canada will always speak strongly and clearly in private and in public on questions of human rights,” he said.

With both sides sticking to their position, it’s unknown how the next steps forward will unfold. However, Braun said it’s unlikely Saudi Arabia will reverse all its retaliatory steps without getting something back.

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Canada can easily replace Saudi Arabian crude oil, economist says

Posted on 15 August 2018 by admin

CALGARY – Canada can easily replace the oil it imports from Saudi Arabia should relations with the Middle Eastern kingdom deteriorate to the point that trade in crude is halted, says an energy economist.

Eastern Canadian refineries import about 75,000 to 80,000 barrels per day of Saudi Arabian crude, said Judith Dwarkin, chief economist with RS Energy Group in Calgary.

That’s less than 10 per cent of total imports and amounts to a “drop in the bucket” compared with the United States, she said, which accounts for two-thirds of imports and could easily cover Saudi’s share thanks to growing domestic production.

It is also dwarfed by the 3.5 million barrels per day of Canadian oil that Canada exports mainly to the U.S.

Saudi Arabia declared a freeze on new trade with Canada and recalled thousands of students attending Canadian universities following a tweet last week from Global Affairs Canada that expressed concerns about the arrest of activists in the kingdom.

The Saudi foreign ministry has also ordered Canada’s ambassador, Dennis Horak, to leave the country.

According to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Canada exported $1.45 billion worth of products to Saudi Arabia in 2017, with about half in the category of vehicles and equipment at $760 million.

The federal office says Canada imported $2.6 billion worth of goods from Saudi Arabia, with $2.5 billion of that in mineral production.

A handful of Canadian companies operate in Saudi Arabia and could potentially be affected by the ongoing trade battle.

Precision Drilling Corp. of Calgary has about 900 employees working between Kuwait, where it has five active rigs, and Saudi Arabia, where three of its four rigs in the country are currently active, the company confirmed.

A spokesman refused further comment.

SNC-Lavalin says on its website it has had a 24-year relationship with Saudi Aramco, the national Saudi Arabian oil company, providing general engineering services for their oil and gas facilities.

Armoured tanks and personnel carriers have been Canada’s biggest recent export to the kingdom. A London, Ontario-based firm called General Dynamics Land Systems signed a $15-billion deal with Saudi Arabia in 2014 to export its light-armoured vehicles to the kingdom.

 

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Saudi Arabia expels Canada’s ambassador, freezes trade with Ottawa

Posted on 08 August 2018 by admin

Saudi Arabia has asked Canada’s ambassador to leave the country within 24 hours, just two days after Canada criticized the arrest of women’s rights and other civil society activists in the Arab kingdom.

In a statement, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Canada of making “false” statements and interfering with Saudi internal affairs, and said ambassador Dennis Horak was no longer welcome in the country. It added that the Saudi ambassador to Ottawa was summoned back to the kingdom for consultations.

Saudi Arabia will also freeze all new trade and investment transactions with Canada.

Global Affairs Canada and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had issued statements late last week calling for the release of Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed dissident blogger Raif Badawi, who was arrested in Saudi Arabia.

Samar Badawi is the sister-in-law of Raif Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Quebec and recently became a Canadian citizen.

Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists.

On Sunday, the Canadian embassy in Saudi Arabia tweeted a similar statement, this time in Arabic.

The Saudi retaliation came hours after.

In its statement, the Saudi foreign ministry said it rejected Canada’s characterization of the arrests in Saudi Arabia, and said it wouldn’t stand for outside intervention.

“The persons referred to were lawfully detained by the public prosecution for committing crimes punishable by applicable law, which also guaranteed the detainees’ rights and provided them with due process during the investigation and trial,” read the statement, seemingly referring to Samar Badawi and another prominent female activist, Nassima al-Sada.

It added that Canada’s criticism represented “blatant interference” in Saudi affairs, accusing Canada of violating “basic international norms and all international protocols” in its stand.

On trade, the statement said Saudi Arabia will “put on hold all new business and investment transactions with Canada while retaining its right to take further action.”

Canada in 2011 won an $11 billion contract to build light-armoured vehicles for Saudi Arabia, in what Ottawa hailed at the time as a major advanced manufacturing export win for Canada.

The Saudi statement concluded with a message to Canada and other countries, stating that all nations ” need to know that they can’t claim to be more concerned than the Kingdom over its own citizens.”

In an email to Global News, a spokesperson for Minister Chrystia Freeland said they were seriously concerned over the media reports.

“We are seriously concerned by these media reports and are seeking greater clarity on the recent statement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Marie-Pier Baril said.

“Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, very much including women’s rights, and freedom of expression around the world. Our government will never hesitate to promote these values and believes that this dialogue is critical to international diplomacy.”

Analysts say the dispute between Riyadh and Ottawa shows Saudi Arabia won’t accept any outside criticism and will continue flexing its muscles abroad, especially as the kingdom enjoys a closer relationship with President Donald Trump.

“This message is obviously not just being sent to Ottawa,” said Giorgio Cafiero, the CEO of Gulf State Analytics, a Washington-based risk consultancy. “It’s a message to countries across Europe and across the rest of the world that criticism of Saudi Arabia . has consequences.”

Amnesty International said the arrests of Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada were part of a wider crackdown on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

“These brave women represented the last vestiges of the human rights community in the country, and now they too have been detained,” Amnesty International’s Middle East research director Lynn Maalouf said in a statement.

More than a dozen women’s rights activists have been targeted since May.

Samar’s brother Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012 and charged with “insulting Islam through electronic channels.”

Badawi ran a website, Free Saudi Liberals, which published content critical of influential religious clerics and the festering of extremism in Saudi institutions.

He was condemned to seven years in prison and 600 lashes, although the sentence was later raised to 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes and a monetary fine. He received 50 lashes in January 2015 in a public flogging, but is not known to have received more physical punishment since then.

 

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Trudeau defends decision to buy Trans Mountain pipeline at Vancouver Island event

Posted on 08 August 2018 by admin

DUNCAN, B.C. – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended his government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline Saturday at two family-focused events on Vancouver Island, but he was also dogged by people protesting plans to build the pipeline expansion.

At an outdoor news conference at the Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan, B.C., Trudeau acknowledged there are people opposed to the government’s decision to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan, but he said it won’t stop the project or Liberal plans to fight climate change.

“There are people out there who think there is still a choice to be made between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy. I don’t,” he said. “I know the only way to build a strong economy, moving forward, is by protecting the environment, and ensuring we are protecting the environment for future generations is a deep priority of mine. Always has been.”

In May, Trudeau’s Liberals announced its decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast and related infrastructure for $4.5 billion. The government could also spend billions more to build the controversial expansion.

“We know we have to put in place a strong plan to fight climate change,” said Trudeau. “There are people on the other side of the political spectrum who don’t like that.”

The prime minister was met by protesters at the forest centre’s gates who carried placards critical of the pipeline, with one even calling him an “oil pimp.”

Trudeau also made comments about North Korea, reacting to reports from the United Nations the country has made few moves to halt its nuclear weapons program.

“We must see a denuclearized North Korea,” he told reporters. “North Korea continues to be a concern, not just for regional security but global stability. We need to continue to put pressure on the North Korean regime.”

Earlier in the day, Trudeau made a surprise visit to the Duncan Farmers’ Market, which quickly attracted a crowd of people around him, with many posing for selfies.

The local band playing at the market stopped its regular set and played “O Canada,” with Trudeau later singing with the crowd.

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Jagmeet Singh urges Ottawa to immediately allow cities to ban handguns

Posted on 08 August 2018 by admin

OTTAWA – Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is formally asking the prime minister to immediately give cities the leeway to ban handguns.

In a lengthy letter to Justin Trudeau outlining a long-term approach to tackling crime, Singh says more policing is not a solution to gun violence in cities because it amplifies distrust between communities.

Instead, he says allowing cities to ban handguns would help municipal authorities deal with the fact that many gun crimes are committed with legal guns.

Singh also wants the government to dramatically speed up earmarked funding to quash gang violence.

He also wants more resources for the Canada Border Services Agency to curtail cross-border weapons smuggling.

And he’s urging the government to speak out more loudly against hate crimes and racism.

 

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14 Canadian children linked to ISIS, says study that calls on government to rehabilitate them

Posted on 25 July 2018 by admin

 A report released Monday called on countries to bring back and rehabilitate children from the so-called Islamic State, warning that otherwise, they could pose a significant future threat.

The London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalization said that more than 4,600 foreign minors were affiliated with ISIS, including an estimated 14 Canadian citizens.

But only about a quarter of them had so far returned to their home countries, the think-tank wrote in its report, “From Daesh to Diaspora: Tracing the Women and Minors of Islamic State.”

Only two minors had returned to Canada, it said.

“Currently, the number of global attacks successfully conducted by returning IS minors is still comparatively low,” the report said. “However, without effective de-radicalization and reintegration initiatives tailored to children and teenagers, indoctrinated and trained minors will continue to pose a significant threat in the future, wherever they end up.”

With many male ISIS foreign fighters dead in Syria and Iraq, how governments respond to children and women indoctrinated by the terrorist group will help determine its future, the study said.

In the absence of effective de-radicalization efforts, children and women could keep ISIS alive by recruiting a new generation of terrorists and committing acts of violence, the authors wrote.

But it said those who have left the group could “speak out against IS, its ideology and actions, or challenge positive myths about life under the ‘caliphate,’ and prevent others from supporting IS.”

About 20 per cent of Canadians involved in overseas terrorist groups are women, and some have taken their children with them. A handful of Canadian ISIS fighters have also fathered children in Syria and Iraq, creating a dilemma for the government.

ISIS indoctrinated and trained foreign children, calling the boys “caliphate cubs” and the girls “pearls.” They were featured heavily in propaganda videos, and in some cases were shown executing prisoners.

Since the collapse of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, some have been held at camps but their governments are wary about taking them back, which risks overburdening local authorities, and many remain unaccounted for.

Perhaps most worrisome are those orphaned by the conflict who are stateless and ostracized.

“Without careful intervention and thorough reintegration into society, those bearing the IS label may find such societal stigma becomes the fuel for future radicalization,” the report said.

Women who travelled to the region to join ISIS also pose potential security risks, it said. Cautioning against viewing them all as merely “jihadi brides,” the report noted that some were active in recruiting and fighting.

The report cited the example of a female recruiter from Edmonton who radicalized at least one other woman and facilitated her travel to Syria. Although ISIS no longer controls a “caliphate” governed according to militant extremist ideals, some women “remain committed to carrying forward the ideology of IS, and raising their children to be the next generation of IS,” it said.

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Ottawa fails to find private-sector buyer for Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Posted on 25 July 2018 by admin

OTTAWA – The federal government is set to become the official owner of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after failing to quickly flip the project to another private-sector buyer.

Pipeline owner Kinder Morgan had been working with the government to identify another buyer before July 22.

But with that date set to pass without a deal, it was expected the pipeline company will now take Ottawa’s $4.5-billion offer to purchase the project to its shareholders.

Pending their approval, the sale, which includes the existing pipeline, the pumping stations and rights of way, and the Westridge marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C., will be approved sometime in August or September.

 The $4.5-billion purchase price does not cover the construction costs of building the new pipeline, which previous estimates have pegged at around $7.4 billion.

Finding another buyer for the project before Sunday’s deadline was widely considered a long shot because of the project’s risks.

But the government insists it does not plan to own and operate the pipeline over the long term and is expected to continue talking to interested parties.

The government had previously indicated that there were numerous groups interested in purchasing the controversial project, including pension funds and Indigenous groups.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s spokesman, Daniel Lauzon, said Ottawa still intends to sell the pipeline, if and when a suitable partner is identified and it’s in the best interests of Canadians.

“We have no interest in being a long-term owner of a pipeline, but we will be the temporary caretaker,” Lauzon told The Canadian Press on Sunday. “We won’t rush that.”

News of the failure to find another partner by July 22 came one day after protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain expansion took to Parliament Hill in hazardous-materials suits and carrying a fake pipeline.

It was the latest in a string of such rallies by environmental and Indigenous groups, which also included the erection of a similar cardboard pipeline outside the Canadian High Commission in London in April.

Lauzon on Sunday defended the decision to purchase the pipeline, saying the project, whose aim is to get Canadian oil to Asian markets, remains in the national interest.

The Trans Mountain expansion will build a new pipeline roughly parallel to the existing, 1,150-km line that carries refined and unrefined oil products from the Edmonton area to Burnaby, B.C.

It will nearly triple the line’s capacity to 890,000 barrels a day. Trans Mountain is the only pipeline carrying Alberta crude to the West Coast and the hope is that most of the oil will end up in tankers bound for Asia.

Ottawa approved the expansion project in November 2016 and British Columbia’s then-Liberal government followed suit two months later.

But four months after that, the provincial Liberals were replaced by the NDP under John Horgan, who has a coalition of sorts with the Green party that includes an agreement to oppose the expansion in every way possible.

The federal government has said its hand was forced by Horgan, who has gone to court for judicial approval to regulate what can flow through the pipeline – a measure of opposition that made Kinder Morgan Canada, the project’s original owner, too nervous to continue.

The company halted all non-essential spending on the pipeline expansion in April pending reassurances from Ottawa that the project would come to fruition.

The federal government had said Canada would cover any cost overruns caused by B.C.’s actions, but in the end that wasn’t enough.

Following the government’s announcement that it planned to purchase the pipeline, Kinder Morgan agreed to start construction this summer as planned.

 

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Is Trudeau trying to reap the benefits of resisting a NAFTA deal? Harper under scrutiny after new report

Posted on 25 July 2018 by admin

New polling seems to back up a reported suggestion by Stephen Harper that standing up to Donald Trump is politically popular for Justin Trudeau.

But one expert is less confident about his reported claim that the government is resisting reaching a NAFTA deal in order to continue reaping the benefits of being seen to stand up to the unpopular president, saying there’s little sign a deal is actually ready to be cut at this point.

 “I don’t think there’s a deal to be had there right now. Trump has made the fight around the world,” said Mike Moffatt, director of policy and research at Canada 2020, a think tank that is heavily linked to the Liberal Party (its president was chief digital strategist on Justin Trudeau’s federal election campaign) and an assistant professor at Western University’s Ivey School of Business.

“He [Trump] hasn’t been able to get a deal on any of those, so is every other country in the world being obstinate? No. I think the problem is Trump.”

Tim Powers, vice-president of Summa Strategies who has long worked with the federal Conservatives, says while Trudeau might be getting a bump in public opinion because of his recent dealings with Trump, there are no signs his government is deliberately delaying sealing a deal.

“While it is true to say [Trudeau] gets a public opinion pop from conflict with Donald Trump, and perhaps he should have pursued an early bilateral trade deal with the U.S., it is not obvious that he is ragging the puck on getting a NAFTA deal done,” said Powers.

Greg MacEachern, vice president of Proof Strategies and a Liberal strategist, said the reported suggestion from Harper doesn’t fit with how the government has handled Trump so far.

“It would’ve been very easy for the prime minister to start a fight in the early days. Canadians would’ve loved that,” he said.

“When the president changed the tone of negotiations is when Canadians responded and retaliated in terms of our own tariffs. In terms of a political win, I think the bigger win for Trudeau, and ultimately Canada, will be getting a NAFTA deal.”

Jamie Ellerton, who worked as a political strategist for then-immigration minister Jason Kenney and former Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak, says while he doesn’t think Trudeau is intentionally delaying a NAFTA deal, the prime minister does stand to gain from his public disputes with Trump.

“I think the prime minister, in a kind of crass, political sense, gets the benefit of both sides of the issue right now. If he is able to get a NAFTA deal, he’ll of course get the deserved credit for it,” Ellerton told Global News. “At the same time, it’s no secret that Canadians don’t like President Trump, I think the reasons for that are quite obvious.”

“I do not believe that Trudeau is delaying [NAFTA], and I think with the hindsight of 20-20 down the road, when a deal ultimately gets done… we can then at that point look back and say what his strategy might’ve been. But for the time being, the status quo of the current NAFTA agreement really does remain in place.

“Short of anything substantial happening, I think the government of Canada led by Prime Minister Trudeau… is ultimately looking to get the best deal for Canada.”

Andrew MacDougall, former communications director for Harper, also tweeted on the matter.

He pointed out while there may be questions over whether the former prime minister erred in airing those concerns, even among a private audience, it’s also worth asking whether it would be better for Canada just cut a deal on NAFTA and hopefully deflect some of Trump’s attention.

that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is resisting making a NAFTA deal to score political points from standing up to Donald Trump.

In his remarks, Harper said it would be “foolish” for either the Canadian or American governments to resist making a deal for political points.

In a press conference Friday, Trudeau was asked about the comments and whether he has reached out to Harper to potentially help in NAFTA talks.

“I have had many conversations with a broad range of people including almost all of our former prime ministers including Mr. Harper to ensure everyone understands this is an all-hands-on-deck approach, not a partisan approach,” he said.

“I’m not going to play politics on that. I’m going to remain focused on getting the right deal for Canada.”

Fifty-five per cent of Canadian respondents approve of Trudeau, up from 50 per cent in June and 44 per cent in March.

While a number of factors are likely at play, including the fact the House of Commons is on summer break, the increase in support comes as Trudeau and the government double down on retaliatory tariffs imposed in response to the Trump administration’s own levies on steel and aluminum.

“The summer months are working very well for Mr. Trudeau and the Liberals,” Mike Colledge, president of Ipsos Canada, told Global News, “in part because of the response to the war of words for trade tariffs spat with Mr. Trump that rallied both the Liberal base as well as those who opposed the Liberals.”

It also comes as senior Canadian ministers prepare to head to Mexico next week for talks with the outgoing and incoming administrations there.

 “Work has been ongoing on NAFTA and we remain ready to meet anytime, anywhere,” the individual said.

NAFTA negotiations stalled in May and June over several contentious sticking points, including the issue of a sunset clause.

Trump claimed during his closing press conference at the G7 Summit in Quebec City that there would be a sunset clause.

Trudeau rebutted that in his own press conference hours later, prompting Trump to launch a Twitter tirade that, along with the implementation of retaliatory tariffs, seems to have fuelled a wave of patriotism among Canadian leaders and citizens from all stripes.

The pair had their first face-to-face meeting since then while at the NATO Leaders Summit in Brussels last week.

That talk, held on the margins of the summit, focused on trade and NAFTA.

There’s no set date for when official negotiations on the trade deal will resume.

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Horwath to Ford: will teachers be punished for teaching updated sex ed curriculum?

Posted on 25 July 2018 by admin

QUEEN’S PARK – With just a few weeks to go until the start of the school year, Leader of the Official Opposition Andrea Horwath demanded to know why the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association has received no official notice from the Ministry of Education about what, exactly, is happening this fall — and if teachers will be punished for continuing to teach the modern sex ed curriculum.

“Radical extremists like Charles McVety and Tanya Granic Allen want to prevent kids from learning about consent, cyberbullying, gender identity, and LGBTQ families. They want to drag Ontario back to 1998, and Doug Ford is fulfilling their every wish,” said Horwath, who pointed to concerns from school boards and the association that they haven’t been told what is supposed to be in classrooms the fall, with teachers all over the province having never taught the old, 1990s sex ed curriculum.

 “Mr. Ford is throwing school board planning into chaos – why is he not communicating with boards, educators and parents about the school year starting in just a few weeks?”

Now, the Thames Valley School Board is seeking a legal opinion about what might happen if teachers continue to use the modern sex ed curriculum.

“If teachers stand up and teach about consent, gender identity, and LGBTQ families in their classrooms this fall – what will happen?” asked Horwath. “Why is Doug Ford throwing school boards into chaos and putting students’ health at risk for no other reason than to please the radical social conservatives in his own party?”

Horwath and the NDP have been vocal in their opposition to Ford’s decision to scrap the modern sex ed curriculum, and force an old version back into classrooms — one that was written before same-sex marriage was legal or social media was in use. On Saturday, Horwath and NDP MPPs joined hundreds of parents and educators at a rally at Queen’s Park to protest the move and demand that the Ford government allow the updated curriculum to continue to be taught.

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