Legal Issues

Hungary Endorses Finland for NATO

The Hungarian parliament today voted 182-6 to approve Finland’s bid to join NATO. However, Sweden’s bid remains up in the air as Hungary awaits clarification on lingering disagreements before another vote. Turkey also objects to Sweden’s bid, saying it is too soft on expatriates it deems to be terrorists. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. gun violence continues

The March 27 killing of three students and three staff by a former student at a Tennessee elementary school continues a pattern dating back for years, according to the Washington-based Gun Violence Archive. It brought to more than 130 the number of such incidents, defined as having four ore more victims killed or wounded, so far this year. The non-profit organization says that in each of the last three years, there has been an average of nearly two shootings a day. [node:read-more:link]

MP plans lawsuit against Global

Toronto MP Han Dong, who recently stepped away from the Liberal caucus to sit as an Independent, said today that he will sue Global News for reporting that he had asked a Chinese diplomat two years ago to delay the release of two detained Canadians. “I took every available opportunity to advocate on behalf of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and to call for their immediate release,” Dong said. It’s reported that the Prime Minister’s Office found no “actionable evidence” in a transcript of Dong’s conversation with the diplomat. [node:read-more:link]

Netanyahu not quite backing down

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced today that he would delay judicial changes which continue to be the focus of widespread public protests. The concession came after National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir expressed a willingness to postpone a parliamentary vote. Netanyahu suggested he was motivated by the “possibility of preventing a civil war through dialogue,” but Ben-Gvir said “the reform will pass” eventually. [node:read-more:link]

New official languages controversy

Draft amendments the Official Languages Act, introduced by the government 13 months ago as Bill C13 and still before a House committee, is raising concerns about how it could affect minority English-language rights in Quebec. The main point of contention is a reference to the province’s Charter of the French Language and how it could further entrench use of the notwithstanding clause in the Canadian Charter of Rights. [node:read-more:link]

Hungary fed up with critics

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto says “inacceptable” criticism of his country’s democratic and cultural issues is undermining cooperation within NATO and the EU. Members of the European Parliament say Hungary is “a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy” under President Victor Orban, who has not criticized Russia for invading Ukraine and continues to block Swedish and Finnish membership for Sweden and Finland. [node:read-more:link]

Putting the brakes on EU plan

A proposed European Parliament ban on the sale of new internal combustion engined cars by 2035 is being challenged by Germany, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic, all of which have large automotive industries. They have put the brakes on the plan by calling for the deadline to be extended for ICE-powered vehicles which run on “green” fuels. [node:read-more:link]

Israel’s top lawyer challenges PM

Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today that his involvement in plans to overhaul the country’s fourts is an illegal conflict of interest. “You must refrain from […] initiatives to change the judiciary, including the makeup of the committee for the appointment of judges,” she said in a letter to the PM, who faces prosecution for corruption. [node:read-more:link]

Refugee deal with U.S.

Almost simultaneously with the arrival in Ottawa of President Joe Biden today, it’s reported that Canada and the U.S. have an agreement permitting them to turn away asylum seekers at their borders. Disclosed by an official in Washington, the agreement evidently is scheduled to be signed before Biden heads home March 24. [node:read-more:link]

Israel blocks PM prosecution

Legislation which would prevent a prime minister from being declared unfit by the attorney general to hold office was approved today by the Israeli parliament. Part of the right-wing coalition government’s widely-criticized plan to curtain judicial powers, the law is generally seen as benefitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption during his previous term in office. [node:read-more:link]

Montrealer faces terrorist allegations

Mohamed Amine Assal, 18, of Montreal has been arrested by the RCMP acting on information from the FBI and was expected to have a video court appearance today. No charges have been laid and the RCMP say the operation was designed to have Assal sign a peace bond because there were “reasonable grounds to fear that Mr. Assal may commit a terrorism offence.” [node:read-more:link]

Medvedev no liberal hope

Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president once seen by some in the West as a liberal hope, today resurrected the rising threat of a nuclear war and blasted a German minister for threatening President Vladimir Putin with arrest as a war criminal if he stepped foot in Germany. Now deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, Medvedev said any action by Germany would be tantamount to a declaration of war. [node:read-more:link]

Federal inaction cited in vessel sinking

The Transportation Safety Board says that the capsize of a Nova Scotia fishing boat with the loss of six crewmembers during a gale in December 2020 can be linked to federal inaction on recommended stability standards. Modifications by the vessel’s owners, Yarmouth Sea Products, had raised its centre of gravity but the TSB said in its March 22 report that Transport Canada inspectors had had not told the company about the heightened risk of instability. [node:read-more:link]

Toronto Liberal MP quits caucus

Toronto MP Han Dong, first elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal candidate in 2019, has decided to sit as an Independent while denying “unverified and anonymous” claims that he had lobbied to stall repatriation of the Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from China in 2021. Dong admits speaking with a Chinese official but said March 22 that the allegation of interference is “absolutely untrue.” [node:read-more:link]

Free visas for Ukrainians extended

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser announced today that Ukrainians and their families now have until July 15 to apply for a free visitor visa which enables them to work and study for up to three years. The previous deadline was March 31. [node:read-more:link]


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