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Trump offers help with Canadian detainees in China in upbeat visit with Trudeau

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WASHINGTON — It was third-time lucky for Justin Trudeau in Washington on Thursday as President Donald Trump welcomed his “friend” the hard-working Canadian prime minister and offered to help him out of a jam with China.

One year after Trump insulted Trudeau after leaving the G7 in Quebec — dishonest, weak, meek, mild is how he described him on Twitter — the president displayed a statesman’s grace in welcoming the Canadian leader.

Trump signalled Thursday he will raise the issue of two Canadians detained in China when he meets with the Chinese president next week. And even though he held to his tough talk on tariffs, refusing to rule out using them in the future, he praised his North American neighbours for crafting an excellent new trade agreement.

The aura of restraint that Trump projected came on a tense morning as his administration was seized with responding to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone. The move sparked competing and unverifiable accounts over where the downing occurred and deepened a conflict between the U.S. and Iran but Trump was adamant the plane was in international waters.

Trudeau’s trip to Washington, including his third Oval Office visit since Trump assumed power in2017, was aimed primarily at pushing the new North American trade agreement over the finish line in both countries.

“He’s been a friend of mine. We’ve worked hard together. We worked, in particular, on the USMCA,” Trump said, using the acronym for his preferred name for the new trade pact, the United States-Mexio-Canada Agreement.

After his meeting with Trump, Trudeau announced co-operation on a series of initiatives, include a new push to combat the opioid crisis in both countries. They also agreed to speed up two previous plans to ease the flow of goods and people across the border: a new preclearance plan and a long-planned sharing of information on people entering and exiting the two countries will begin this summer.

Speaking to reporters as he and Trudeau sat in the Oval Office, Trump vowed to do whatever he could do to help Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig when he meets China’s President Xi Jinping at next week’s G20 leaders’ summit in Japan, if Trudeau — as expected — asks for his help.

The two Canadians have been languishing behind bars in China since shortly after Canada arrested high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou late last year at the behest of U.S. authorities.

Canada has been caught in the crossfire after the RCMP arrested Meng last December in Vancouver, where she awaits extradition south of the border to face allegations of fraud in violating Iran sanctions.

Trudeau doesn’t have a planned meeting with Xi, unlike Trump. The U.S.-China meeting next week is focused on a trade deal.

“I’ll represent him well, I will tell you,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens, but anything I can do to help Canada I will be doing . . . I would, at Justin’s request, I will actually bring it up.”

Trudeau said he and Trump had an “extended conversation” about the situation Canada finds itself in with China, which includes blocking imports of Canadian canola and pork. But what Trump will say to Xi isn’t clear — all Trudeau would say is that he expects Kovrig and Spavor to be on the agenda for the Trump-Xi meeting.

Conservative foreign-affairs critic Erin O’Toole said it is about time someone talks to Xi about the situation.

“After half a year of inaction and bungling by the Liberals, the crisis will finally be raised directly with the Chinese president, but it will take the United States to make our case. While this is a positive step, it is frustrating Trudeau let the crisis deepen over half a year,” said O’Toole. 

Trump and Trudeau projected genuine enthusiasm for the hard-fought completion of a new North American trade deal.

Canada has started the ratification process, with legislation making its way through Parliament. Lawmakers in Mexico voted Wednesday in a landslide to ratify the deal, which Trudeau said he was pleased to see.

But now Trump needs to persuade his Democratic opponents in the House of Representatives — in particular Speaker Nancy Pelosi — to allow the actual start of the ratification of the USMCA.

Pelosi and her fellow Democrats want stronger enforcement mechanisms for the deal’s new labour and environmental provisions.

Trump sounded upbeat in the Oval Office.

“Let’s see what happens, but I really believe that Nancy Pelosi and the House will approve it, I think the Senate will approve it rapidly,” the president said. “I think Nancy Pelosi is going to do the right thing.”

Trump also said it was a “terrific thing” that Trudeau was to make the rounds on Capitol Hill with Pelosi and the U.S. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

(The meeting with McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, was cancelled because of the U.S.-Iran situation but his support for the new NAFTA is all but a given. Trudeau spoke with him by phone before leaving Washington on Thursday night.)

Speaking on Capitol Hill next to Trudeau, Pelosi said she looked forward to a “lively discussion” on global security issues and the economic relationship between the two countries, particularly regarding trade.

Though Trudeau made clear he wants to stay out of U.S. domestic political wrangling, he reaffirmed his view that it is a done deal that can’t be reopened because it could lead to “worse outcomes for Canadians and for Canada.”

“We recognize, however, that the U.S. is going through its process and we remain alert to potential challenges and opportunities that may come through that process.”

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Stand Together Against Bullying – Pink Shirt Day 2021

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021 is the 14th annual Pink Shirt Day, a globally recognized movement to end bullying in all its forms and encourage the growth of a global community built on acceptance and support regardless of sex, age, background, gender identity, sexual orientation or cultural differences. 

Pink Shirt Day originated in 2007 in the eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia, in a local story that captured national – and eventually international – attention, when a new 9th grade student walked in on the first day of school wearing a pink polo shirt. 

Travis Price and David Shepherd are the two young men responsible for unintentionally launching the global pink shirt movement. According to Price and Shepherd, a group of students were physically and verbally bullying the young man for wearing pink to school. As senior students, Price and Shepherd saw the situation as an opportunity to set an example and take a stand against bullying in their school.
That night the two went and purchased 75 pink tank tops and released a call on social media (MSN messenger at the time) encouraging their fellow students to show up at school the next day wearing pink. According to Price, in a school of roughly 1000 students, “700 to 850 kids showed up wearing pink. It was incredible.” 

 

Since 2007, the movement has gained exponential traction and is now recognized in communities all around the world as individuals come together in an international display of solidarity against the devastating impacts of bullying.
The global movement to end bullying has led to the creation of countless local, national and internationally available resources, but there is still a long way to go.

Bullying Canada identifies 4 distinct types of bullying: verbal, physical, social and cyber. Short term and long term effects of bullying vary based on each situation, and can lead to damaging and dangerous outcomes for victims, friends, bystanders and countless others. While commonly associated with children and young adults in school, bullying impacts individuals of all ages and backgrounds in many areas of life, including the workplace.
Statistics released by Safe Canada revealed that 47% of Canadian parents have at least one child that has experienced bullying, while approximately 33% of the population experienced bullying as a child, and 33% of teenagers reported being bullied recently. Furthermore, around 40% of Canadians reportedly experience bullying in the workplace on a weekly basis.

If you, or someone you know is struggling with bullying, reaching out is the first step. You are not alone, and help is available. Extensive networks of resources exist in Alberta and across Canada to provide support, aid and solutions for those experiencing bullying. 

For support from Bullying Canada, call (877) 352-4497, or email [email protected]

The Alberta 24-hour Bullying Helpline can be reached at 1-888-456-2323, or the online Bullying Helpline Chat can be accessed here.

For more resources on how to identify a bullying situation, get help, or help someone in need, visit https://www.alberta.ca/bullying-how-to-help-others.aspx.

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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Alberta

First Nation applauds new initiative protecting boreal forest in the Kitaskino Nuwenene Wildland Park

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February 11, 2021

Fort Chipewyan-AB-Mikisew Cree First Nation applauds a major expansion in protecting the boreal forest area in the Kitaskino Nuwenene Wildland Park initiative.

The announcement to expand the protected area by nearly 150,00 hectares means more of the area south of Wood Buffalo National Park will be protected along with the headwaters, which flow into the Delta area. This marks a key step in a collaborative effort between Mikisew Cree First Nation, Government of Alberta, Government of Canada, energy, mineral and forestry companies.

Today’s announcement is about protecting the land and celebrating partnerships between First Nations, government and industry,” said Mikisew Chief, Peter Powder. “We wouldn’t be on the doorstep of this significant expansion without cooperation. We hope this means we can move forward with the western expansion of the Kitaskino-Nuwenene Wildland Park as part of Mikisew’s stewardship vision for our lands, waters and iconic species such as woodland caribou and wood bison.”

After engaging with the community, it was clear leaders and land users wanted to protect this area for future generations. The overall goal of the Kitaskino Nuwenene Wildland Park ​is for Mikisew Cree First Nation and other Indigenous groups to play a key role in safeguarding the area and the traditional resources within it. The expansion has received a strong endorsement from the Athabasca Chipewyan Cree First Nation, Fort Chipewyan Metis, Fort McKay First Nation, Fort McKay Métis, and Fort McMurray Métis. Kitaskino-Nuwenene translated means, “Our Land” in Cree and Dene.

Moving this forward is another step in implementing the Nikechinahonan Framework, which is the vision of the Mikisew to ensure our cultural survival. We look forward to building on this momentum by working to protect more habitat of the Ronald Lake Bison Herd and by continuing our efforts to save the Peace Athabasca Delta‘ said Melody Lepine, Mikisew Cree First Nation director.

Kitaskino Nuwenene Wildland Park is located along the southern border of Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta. Phase 1 was established in 2019. This project was undertaken with the financial support of Environment and Climate Change Canada through Canada’s Nature Fund.

Read more on Todayville.

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