Finance (International)

Foreign agent registry a priority

Results of a national December 19-22 poll indicate that no less than 88 per cent of Canadians are supportive of a foreign agent registry like those in place in the U.S. and elsewhere. “If you are afraid to report that you have been working for a foreign country or a foreign organization, perhaps that should be a red flag,” pollster Nick Nanos said in releasing the results. If the government delays setting up a registry “and we find out that there are issues or potential risks in Canada,” he warns, “there will be a political price to pay.” [node:read-more:link]

Haitian politician wants sanctions lifted

A former Haitian prime minister is asking the Federal Court to strike down Canadian government sanctions imposed on him over claims he supported gangs behind the current crisis in his country. Laurent Lamothe says the sanctions were an arbitrary decision that did not give him a chance to offer his side of the story. [node:read-more:link]

PM briefed on Chinese meddling

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service confirmed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this fall that China’s consulate in Toronto had targeted 11 candidates in the 2019 federal election but that no evidence of covert funding was found. He was also told there was no indication China’s use of on social media and Chinese-language media had helped to elect any of the Liberal and Conservative candidates. [node:read-more:link]

Wells Fargo slapped with heavy penalties

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, which has franchises in Canada and elsewhere, was fined a record $1.7 billion today by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for “widespread mismanagement” of more than 16 million consumer accounts. The CFPB sais its “illegal activity” included misapplying loan payments as well as wrongful property foreclosures and vehicle repossessions. The civil penalty is in addition to more than $2 billion in customer compensation and the penalties are described as an “initial step” toward further action. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa versus Abramovich

Canadian assets of sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich are in the federal government’s sights, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced December 19. Her office said she will “consider making a court application” to seize some $36 million in assets and divert the proceed to the reconstruction of Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Canada driving Russian isolation?

Oleg Stepanov, Russia's ambassador to Canada, has stepped up the diplomatic rhetoric with an accusation that Canada is at the vanguard of an international effort to isolate his country. He said on state media that Global Affairs Canada has been tweeting unflattering information about the war in Ukraine, notably by commenting on widely-reported problems with Russia’s military draft. [node:read-more:link]

Canada cancels turbine sanction

The federal government has revoked permission for Siemen Canada to repair turbines for the Nord Stream pipelines which Gazprom uses to ship natural gas from Russia to European markets. Requested by Germany, the original decision waived one of the sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. “It no longer serves its intended purpose,” Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly explained in a December 14 statement. [node:read-more:link]

Digital news bill clears House

Pending Senate review and approval, Canada is on track to requiring Internet companies to compensate news organizations for reposting coverage. The House of Commons voted 213-114 December 14 to give third reading to Bill C-18, the draft Online News Act. Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says it would “enhance fairness” in the digital market but Meta has threatened to threaten remove content from Facebook in Canada. [node:read-more:link]

FINTRAC counter-terrorism report

The latest report from the federal government’s Financial Transactions & Reports Analysis Centre confirms ongoing activity related to domestic and international terrorism activities. It says that analysis of 355 activities reported by financial institutions between January 2019 and October 2022 showed that Canadian targets were mostly related to ideological extremists driven by xenophobia and other factors. [node:read-more:link]

Hungary lifts veto on Ukraine aid

Hungary agreed today to lift its veto on sending European Union aid for Ukraine after the EU retrenched partly from its recent decision to freeze €7.5 billion in transfers to Hungary voer concern that democratic reforms were too slow. The amount frozen has been reduced to €6.3 billion and €5.8 billion in pandemic recovery funding also has been approved. [node:read-more:link]

Putin threatens oil sale restriction

Russia will not sell oil to countries heeding a $60-per-barrel cap agreed to by the G7, the EU and Australia in an attempt to undercut financing for Russia’s war on Ukraine. Rather, says President Vladimir Putin, calling the cap “harmful to global energy markets”, he is prepared to “consider a possible reduction in production if necessary” to put upward pressure on prices. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. defends trade protectionism

The World Trade Organization has found that U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium imports imposed in 2018 by the former U.S. administration “national security grounds” remain in violation of global trade rules. The sweeping tariffs initially impacted Canada, which negotiated a resolution the following year, but continue to be an issue for many other countries. Ruling on a challenge by China, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, the WTO rejects the U.S. rationale, saying it did not come “at a time of war or other emergency.” The current administration is standing by the tariffs. [node:read-more:link]

European MP charged with corruption

Eva Kaili, a Greek member of the European Parliament since 2014 and one of its vice-presidents, is one of four persons charged with money laundering and corruption linked to Qatar, which has denied any involvement. Kaili, whose VP role includes Middle East interests, has defended Qatar’s human rights record in the past. [node:read-more:link]

Foreign buyouts face closer scrutiny

Concerned about national security, Industry, Science & Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne has announced plans for increased scrutiny of foreign takeovers of Canadian companies. “Geopolitics has changed and we need to change as well,” he said December 7 in proposing changes to the Investment Canada Act. “What we’re doing today is sending a signal . . . that we need to be more vigilant.” [node:read-more:link]


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