Politics & Policy

Government strike legitimacy questioned

PSAC President Chris Aylward has said that an “overwhelming majority” of 130,000 striking federal employees voted in favour of job action but Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board documents indicate otherwise. They show that only 42,421 PSAC members had actually voted and, of those, 80 per cent or roughly a third of the overall union members had voted to strike. [node:read-more:link]

Claims by Chinese envoy “absurd”

China’s ambassador to France says former Soviet republics, many of which now are NAO members, “don’t have actual status in international law. A spokesman for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said today that “it is strange to hear an absurd version of the ‘history of Crimea’ from a representative of a country that is scrupulous about its 1,000-year history.” [node:read-more:link]

Gitmo prisoners ageing rapidly

Detainees at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay are showing signs of “accelerated ageing,” says a senior official at International Committee of the Red Cross who visited the facility in March. Many have spent two decades in detenions, usually without being charged, and the official says the situation must be addressed “as a matter of priority.” [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa betting big on EVs

The federal government plans to invest a total of $13 billion in what Volkswagen says has the potential to be the largest electric vehicle battery factory in the world. The German automaker is investing $7 billion in the project in southern Ontario where it is expected to employ up to 3,000 persons directly and create thousands of subsidiary jobs. Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre says the federal subsidies are excessive but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says “it will be worth $200 billion to the Canadian economy over the coming decade” as VW transitions to mostly electric models. [node:read-more:link]

MP sues Global for $15 million

Toronto MP Han Dong, who quit the Liberal caucus last month to sit as an Independent, is seeking $15 million in damages from Global News over allegations that he was a “witting” participant in Chinese meddling in Canadian political affairs. His statement of claim says “false, malicious, irresponsible and defamatory” stories based on anonymous sources claimed Dong asked the Chinese consul general in Toronto in early 2021 to have Beijing delay repatriation of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. [node:read-more:link]

Orban surprised by Stoltenberg?

Ukrainian President Volodymur Zelenskyy has long sought NATO membership and Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg declared today that “all NATO allies have agreed that Ukraine will become a Nato member.” That evidently surprised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who responded with “what?” on social media. A NATO member since 1999, Hungary has already shown a willingness to oppose its expansion. [node:read-more:link]

France wants Diab arrested

Five years after a French court ruled that the evidence against him was insufficient and he was released from prison, Ottawa academic Hassan Diab, 69, was found guilty today in absentia on charges related to the bombing of a Paris synagogue in 1980. He originally was arrested by RCMP in 2008 and extradited in 2014 despite witnesses who said he was writing exams in Lebanon at the time of the bombing. Having reopened the case in 2021 with no new evidence, the France has issued an arrest warrant. [node:read-more:link]

Sudan: Canadians stuck for now

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said April 20 that evacuating citizens and diplomatic staff from Sudan is currently “impossible” due to security risks arising from the fighting between two military factions. However, she said “we are assessing the situation constantly” and advising personnel to shelter in place. There are at least 1,500 Canadians in Sudan but registration is optional. [node:read-more:link]

Sudan: U.S. set to evacuate diplomats

The U.S is moving additional troops and equipment to a naval expeditionary base in Djibouti to prepare for the potential evacuation of personnel from its embassy in war-torn Sudan. The plan was accelerated after an embassy convoy was attacked in Khartoum. There are some 70 personnel at the embassy and at least 16,000 private U.S. citizens registered in Sudan which is separated from Djibouti by Eritrea. [node:read-more:link]

West Coast terminal expansion approved

The federal government has approved expansion of the Robert Banks marine cargo terminal on an artificial peninsula south of Vancouver. Announcing the decision April 20, Natural Resources Minister said the port’s capacity would increase up to 60 per cent. “By the early 2030s, our ports are forecast to be approaching capacity, and we will be unable to meet forecasted demand.” He said. “So now is the time to be planning.” [node:read-more:link]

Seven charged with “malign influence”

Four U.S. citizens and three Russians have been charged by the U.S. Justice Department with conducting a “malign influence campaign” which involved recruiting and funding U.S. political groups to act as “unregistered illegal agents of the Russian government.” [node:read-more:link]

WestJet pilots vote to strike

The 1,600 pilots who fly for WestJet and its discount Swoop operation have voted in favour of a strike mandate which could lead to a walkout before the May long weekend. Their Air Line Pilots Association representative says the dispute, which is still in federal conciliation talks, is over salaries, job protection and scheduling. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian reactor tech at risk

Russia has been warned by the U.S. not to touch what is described as sensitive technology at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. The U.S. Energy Department says the plant operated by Ukrainians under Russian supervision ontains “nuclear technical data that is export-controlled by the United States Government.” [node:read-more:link]

Public service strike begins

More than 155,000 unionized federal employees went on strike today after the government and the Public Service Alliance of Canada failed to reach a deal before a midnight deadline. However, the two sides remain at the bargaining table. [node:read-more:link]


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