BUCHAREST, Romania — The chief of NATO weighed into the ongoing diplomatic spat between China and Canada when he called on Chinese officials Thursday to treat two Canadians detained in the country “fairly and with due process.”
In his first public comments about the case, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was following their case “with concern” and urged Beijing to address the concerns of the Canadian government, which wants the pair to be “immediately released.”
Diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor have been detained in China since December for allegedly endangering national security.
Their arrests came shortly after Canadian authorities in Vancouver arrested Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive with Chinese firm Huawei Technologies, who is wanted by the U.S. on fraud charges.
Another Canadian, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, received a death sentence for a previous drug-smuggling conviction, a harsher penalty than the 15 years of imprisonment he’d already been given.
The final decision of whether to extradite Meng could ultimately land on Justice Minister David Lametti’s desk, but that could that take time if it happens at all.
Lametti said he will have to make the call at the very end of a complex legal process if there is an actual extradition order against her.
A Vancouver court heard that the United States has issued a formal extradition request for Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, who was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver’s airport. She is facing charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit both.
The case will return to court in Vancouver on March 6 to discuss Canada’s authority to proceed with the extradition request.
The U.S. Department of Justice laid out its case Monday against Meng and Huawei, both of whom have denied any wrongdoing.
Meng’s arrest has touched off a political furor marked by days of angry anti-Canada rhetoric from China’s foreign ministry, culminating last weekend in the firing of John McCallum as Canada’s ambassador to China.
McCallum, a former longtime Liberal MP and cabinet minister, had publicly expressed confidence in Meng’s case against any U.S. extradition order.
– With files from The Associated Press
The Canadian Press
RCMP members taking a stand against “mandatory” vaccination
RCMP members facing the loss of their jobs over mandatory vaccination are reaching out to their Commissioner and asking for the support of Canadians.
In an extensive and detailed Open Letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Luck, the officers say they cannot “willingly participate in enforcing mandates” they don’t believe in.
RCMP members opposed to vaccine mandates have formed an organization called Mounties For Freedom. Members of the RCMP are among the thousands of federal public servants who feel threatened by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement that “There will be consequences” for those who choose not to be vaccinated.
The open letter (below) to Commissioner Lucki sets out a series of arguments culminating in a joint statement against “the discrimination faced by those who have exercised their right to bodily autonomy.”
Open Letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki
RCMP National Headquarters
73 Leikin Dr
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R2
October 21, 2021
Dear Commissioner Brenda Lucki:
We respectfully submit this open letter to express our most sincere concerns and resolute stand against the forced coercive medical intervention of Canadians, and against the undue discrimination experienced by those exercising their lawful right to bodily autonomy. We are not against vaccinations, but as law enforcement officers, we cannot in good conscience willingly participate in enforcing mandates that we believe go against the best interests of the people we protect.
Prominent Alberta Conservative Voice Explains: Why I am voting Yes to End Equalization…
From Danielle Smith
To me, equalization, the health transfer and the social transfer combined, are a measure of how much the federal government is overtaxing us. The Constitution has a very limited role for the federal government. The federal government likes to use its spending power to meddle in areas that aren’t its jurisdiction. My view is this – if you want to pass policy for health care, long term care, drug plans, day care, welfare – then RUN FOR PROVINCIAL OFFICE. Don’t take money from the provinces, launder it through the federal bureaucracy and then divvy it up unfairly to give back more money to the provinces that you think will vote for you. (Yep – that’s how I see it.)
So let’s analyze the numbers a bit shall we? I have three tables to show you that tell the whole story.
The level of overtaxation (on these three programs alone) is easily quantified. In the 2021-22 fiscal year it will be $83.890 billion. In just 10 years, the federal overtaxation has grown from $60.085 billion – that’s a 40 per cent increase.
Per person Ottawa transfers an average of $2,181. But of course we know, because of equalization, some provinces are more equal than others.
Take a look at Alberta. Our transfers have grown from $3.661 billion to $6.835 billion in the same period, or from $946 per person to $1,523 per person.
Now take a look at Quebec. Their transfers have grown from $17.329 to $26.306 in the same 10 year period, or $2,148 per person to $3,039 per person.
How would an equal per capital model impact the other provinces?…
In my column, I said we should eliminate equalization and instead do equal per person transfers to every province. If we did that, Alberta would receive $9.788 billion this year, a difference of $2.953 billion more. Alberta isn’t the only one getting hosed. Look at the final line in the table below. So are BC and Ontario. Saskatchewan is shortchanged $781 million, and poor Newfoundland and Labrador, which in on the brink of bankruptcy but still doesn’t qualify for equalization, would get $343 million more. If we eliminated equalization and gave everyone the same per person amount, Quebec would receive $18.879 billion or $7.427 billion less than is expected this year. As it should be. Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador should not be subsidizing Quebec.
There are a couple of things I really like about a per person transfer model.
- It encourages provinces to compete to attract people, because the more people you attract the more dollars you attract.
I understand the Fairness Alberta argument about changing equalization. They suggest a markup to market on the electricity price that hydro rich provinces charge, they want to stop growing equalization with GDP growth, and they want to account for the different cost of services in each province. But in the end, if we create a program that rewards provinces only for attracting people then they have to implement policies that attract people. Like having low rates of taxation, making it easier to start a business, having affordable housing, and so on. There is a lot that is in the power of government. But if we keep giving provinces more money as they adopt policies that reduce their attractiveness it is counterproductive.
- A per person model is going to give a greater benefit to smaller provinces with lower costs of services than larger provinces with a larger cost of service.
Even if making Alberta pay more is the objective of Ottawa, an equal per capita transfer amount still has Alberta paying disproportionately into the pot. Alberta has higher wages, higher workforce participation rates, higher spending so we will stay pay more in personal and corporate income taxes, GST, fuel tax, EI, CPP and other federal taxes, than we receive back in per person federal transfers. This won’t eliminate the net payer status we have; but it will get us on our way to narrowing the gap.
- Once we have established a single per person transfer that is the same across the country we can move to the next step, which is convert the cash transfer into tax points instead.
If Alberta was getting its proper share of transfers – $9.79 billion – we could then move to the next stage of negotiation with Ottawa. Which is to convert the cash to tax points instead. I’ll leave it to the accountants to figure out the precise numbers, but conceptually let’s say it would mean reducing the federal income tax by 5 percentage points across all categories and increasing provincial income tax by 5 percentage points across all categories. The reason to do that is this, as Alberta grows so would it’s share of own-source revenues. Rather than have Ottawa continue to capitalize on our growth, we would.
- Once we have fixed the problems with federal provincial transfers, we can move on to fix CPP and EI next.
Alberta pays disproportionately into CPP and EI too – we pay roughly 30 per cent of the premiums for CPP and only get back about 10 per cent of the spending. I haven’t done the calculation on EI but I suspect it’s even worse. If we can stop the overtaxation on income tax, these two programs should be next.
Enough is enough…
For too long we have just accepted that this is the way the country works. I think we’ve been bullied into thinking that paying disproportionately into Confederation was our penance for the federal government cancelling the National Energy Program. It’s almost as if we collectively felt that if only we paid off central Canada, they wouldn’t come after our resource wealth again. How wrong we were. Now Quebec is so bloody minded they don’t care if they hurt themselves by killing off our energy industry.
That’s fine. If they don’t want the revenues that come from our energy resources, we should be happy to keep it for ourselves. Let’s start to show them we are serious by strongly voting yes to end equalization on October 18.
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