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How worried should we be about foreign takeovers?

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Jun 5th, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, right now, Canadian businesses are vulnerable. Many of them are worried they won’t survive COVID-19, and that makes them attractive targets for foreign investors. In some cases, it’s a win-win: Canada needs foreign capital, and these companies want to acquire assets in a stable and prosperous country. But some of these deals raise real security concerns.

When a state-owned Chinese company pays millions more than anyone else is willing to for a Canadian operation…why is that? What do they think they’re getting out of it? How can our government balance the need for foreign money with the risk of handing over Canadian assets and property to other governments? And how many of us are even paying attention?


You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Hundreds join justice for Black lives protests in Oakville, Barrie, Burlington

MADISON FITZPATRICK AND NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Jun 5th, 2020

A trio of protests in southern Ontario saw hundreds of people march for justice for Black lives on Thursday.

More than 300 people marched through downtown Oakville early in the afternoon in solidarity with protests for justice and against police brutality being held around the world.

Hundreds more came out to a demonstration hours later in Burlington where they marched to city hall.

And it was similar scene in Barrie where hundreds made their way down to the city centre, just over a week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of law enforcement officers.

Organizers say the rally took place in the name of Tony McDade of Tallahassee and Breonna Taylor from Louisville —all lost their lives in police-involved violence over the past several months, while protesters cite years of racism at the hands of American law enforcement.

Barrie police say everyone was respectful and adhered to physical distancing rules.

Officer Peter Leon said there were about 600 to 1000 people in attendance and he was pleased with the tone of the demonstration. He said police worked with the organizers and people were calm and organized.

He also noted that many in attendance were wearing masks, and abiding by public health regulations.

Stockwell Day steps down from several roles after comments about racism

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jun 4th, 2020

A former Canadian Alliance leader and Conservative MP has resigned from Telus’ board of directors and as a strategic adviser to a law firm after comparing racism to his experience of being mocked in school for wearing glasses.

Stockwell Day made the comments during a panel on CBC’s “Power & Politics” Tuesday.

Day had said on the show that he knew “for a fact” that most Canadians including his relatives, friends, and opponents are not racist.

Telus said Day’s comments “are not reflective of the values and beliefs” of the organization.

McMillan LLP, a law firm with offices in four Canadian cities, also announced Day’s resignation Wednesday in a statement.

CBC says Day has also stepped down from his role as a commentator.

“Should we all be more sensitive about any kind of hurting or insulting people whether it’s racist or not?” Day said on the show.

“Should I have gone through school and been mocked because I had glasses and was called ‘four eyes’ … should I have been mocked for all that? No, of course not. But are Canadians largely and majority racist? No, we are not.”

Day apologized for his comments on Twitter on Wednesday.

“By feedback from many in the Black and other communities I realize my comments in debate on Power and Politics were insensitive and hurtful,” Day wrote.

“I ask forgiveness for wrongly equating my experiences to theirs. I commit to them my unending efforts to fight racism in all its forms.”

In its statement, McMillan LLP said “At McMillan LLP, we believe that systemic racism is real and that it can only be addressed when each of us — as individuals and organizations — commits to meaningful change. Yesterday, Stockwell Day made comments during a televised interview that run counter to this view.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Trudeau joins third pandemic summit amid campaign for Security Council seat

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jun 4th, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is taking part in his third international summit in a week as Canada campaigns for a coveted United Nation’s Security Council seat on a platform of helping to rebuild the post-pandemic world.

Today’s summit, hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is aimed at ensuring poor countries will have ready access to an eventual vaccine for the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Trudeau will join leaders from 50 countries and major organizations, including philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, at the international pledging conference, which hopes to raise nearly $10 billion for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance — the leading agency for distributing vaccines to less-developed countries.

He has already announced Canada’s five-year, $600-million pledge to GAVI, which has immunized 760 million children and prevented 13 million deaths in the world’s poorest countries since 2000.

Trudeau’s participation in the virtual conference comes one day after he delivered an address to a virtual summit of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States.

He told members that Canada is committed to helping developing countries hardest hit by the pandemic to survive the crisis.

His remarks underlined a message he delivered last week when he co-hosted a UN-sponsored conference aimed at developing a co-ordinated global recovery plan that leaves no country behind.

Without a global plan, the UN estimates the pandemic could slash nearly US$8.5 trillion from the world economy over the next two years, forcing 34.3 million people into extreme poverty this year and potentially 130 million more over the course of the decade.

Trudeau’s leading role in the international conferences comes just two weeks before the UN’s 193 ambassadors are to start voting by secret ballot to fill two, non-permanent seats on the Security Council. Canada is competing for one of the two seats against Norway and Ireland.

The June 17 vote is to be conducted without a full meeting of the General Assembly because of physical distancing requirements to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Closer to home, Trudeau is also expected today to announce when seniors can expect to receive a promised emergency boost to the old age security pension and guaranteed income supplement to help them defray additional costs caused by the pandemic.

On May 12, Trudeau announced the federal government would provide a tax-free, one-time payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the OAS and an additional $200 for those eligible for the GIS. That money — totalling some $2.5 billion — has not yet begun to flow.

In April, the federal government spent $1.3 billion to provide seniors with a one-time special payment through the goods and services tax credit, worth an average of $375 for each single senior.

Autopsy report shows George Floyd had tested positive for coronavirus

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Thursday, Jun 4th, 2020

A full autopsy of George Floyd, the handcuffed black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police, was released Wednesday and provides several clinical details, including that Floyd had previously tested positive for COVID-19.

The 20-page report released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office came with the family’s permission and after the coroner’s office released summary findings Monday that Floyd had a heart attack while being restrained by officers, and classified his May 25 death as a homicide.

Bystander video showing Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck, ignoring Floyd’s “I can’t breathe” cries until he eventually stopped moving, has sparked nationwide protests, some violent.

The report by Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Baker spelled out clinical details, including that Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3 but appeared asymptomatic. The report also noted Floyd’s lungs appeared healthy but he had some narrowing of arteries in the heart.

The county’s earlier summary report had listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.” The full report’s footnotes noted that signs of fentanyl toxicity can include “severe respiratory depression” and seizures.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Wednesday upgraded charges against Chauvin to 2nd-degree murder, and also charged the three other officers on the scene with aiding and abetting.

Floyd family attorney, Ben Crump, earlier decried the official autopsy — as described in the original complaint against Chauvin — for ruling out asphyxia. An autopsy commissioned by the Floyd family concluded that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression.

Police say woman missing from West Queen West area is ‘public health safety risk’

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Jun 4th, 2020

Toronto Police are looking for a woman who went missing from the West Queen West area on Wednesday and is said to be a “public health safety risk.”

Edyta Szlachta, 34, was last seen at 5:30 p.m. in the Brookfield Street and Queen Street West area.

She is described as five feet five inches tall, weighing 130 pounds with dark brown, shoulder-length hair. She was last seen wearing a blue, open-back hospital gown, black sports bra, blue hospital pants and blue booties.

Police say not to approach her if located and call 9-1-1 immediately.

Ford says Canada doesn’t have same ‘systemic, deep roots’ of racism as U.S.

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Jun 3rd, 2020

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says Canada doesn’t have the “systemic, deep roots” of racism that the United States does.

Ford was asked today to comment on the  protests in cities across the U.S. that were sparked by the death of a black man at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Ford, who spent a lot of time in the U.S. for his family’s label business, said the difference between the two countries is that in Canada, people for the most part get along, working and shopping together.

He says comparing Canada and the U.S. is like “night and day,” and he hopes America can straighten out its problems. Ford says he doesn’t have time to watch the news these days, but believes in peaceful protest, without getting “anarchy” involved.

The premier says he has zero tolerance for racism and has always stood up for the black community.

Macleans Contributing Editor and activist Andray Domise said he sees a very different reality when asked about the Premier’s stance on racism in Canada.

Domise said, “Do we have anti-Black police violence? Yes, we do. Do we have disparities in health, education and family wealth outcomes? Yes, we do. Do we have problems with people feeling like they can’t go shop at a mall, can’t walk down the street or sit in their cars and read? Do we have problems like that for Black folk in Canada? Yes, we absolutely do. So what is he talking about?”

“When Premier Ford says something like we don’t have the same kinds of systemic racism. Well, we spent literally years lobbying the Ontario government, and when I say we, I mean Black communities in Ontario, for an anti-racism directory,” added Domise. “Then the Ford government, one of their first acts, was to do a couple of things. One, pretty much to eradicate police reform and two, defund the anti-racism directorate budget down to like practically nothing, peanuts.”

A spokesperson for Premier Ford said they didn’t actually make any cuts to the anti-racism directorate budget, but $200,000 the previous year that wasn’t spent was carried over.

Domise also commented on the lack of collection of race-based data in the province despite concerns the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately affecting minority and low-income communities.

“Do we answer questions like what are the COVID contraction and death rates looking like? We have to fight for that information to be collected, if not released. Why? Because they don’t want to know the answers to those questions.”

The province has granted some health units permission to begin collecting race-based data voluntarily and some have begun doing so, but critics argue it’s not enough.

Protesters return to the streets as Trump decries ‘lowlifes’

Zeke Miller And Matt Sedensky, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 3rd, 2020

Undeterred by curfews, protesters streamed back into the nation’s streets Tuesday, hours after President Donald Trump pressed governors to put down the violence set off by George Floyd’s death and demanded that New York call up the National Guard to stop the “lowlifes and losers.”

But most protests passed peacefully, and while there were scattered reports of looting in New York City, the country appeared calmer by late Tuesday than it did a day earlier, when violence swept through multiple cities.

The president, meanwhile, amplified his hard-line calls from Monday, when he threatened to send in the military to restore order if governors didn’t do it.

“NYC, CALL UP THE NATIONAL GUARD,” he tweeted. “The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart. Act fast!”

One day after a crackdown on peaceful protesters near the White House, thousands of demonstrators massed a block away from the presidential mansion, facing law enforcement personnel standing behind a black chain-link fence. The fence was put up overnight to block access to Lafayette Park, just across the street from the White House.

“Last night pushed me way over the edge,” said Jessica DeMaio, 40, of Washington, who attended a Floyd protest Tuesday for the first time. “Being here is better than being at home feeling helpless.”

The crowd remained in place after the city’s 7 p.m. curfew passed, defying warnings that the response from law enforcement could be even more forceful. But the protest lacked the tension of the previous nights’ demonstrations. The crowd Tuesday was peaceful, even polite. At one point, the crowd booed when a protester climbed a light post and took down a street sign. A chant went up: “Peaceful protest!”

On Monday, law enforcement officers on foot and horseback aggressively drove protesters away from Lafayette Park, clearing the way for President Donald Trump to do a photo op at nearby St. John’s Church. On Tuesday, pastors at the church prayed with demonstrators and handed out water bottles.

Protests ranged across the U.S., including in Los Angeles, Miami, St. Paul, Minnesota, Columbia, South Carolina, and Houston, where the police chief talked to peaceful demonstrators, vowing reforms.

“God as my witness, change is coming,” Art Acevedo said. “And we’re going to do it the right way.”

In New York, midtown Manhattan was pocked with battered storefronts after Monday’s protests. Macy’s flagship store was among those hit when crowds of people smashed windows and looted stores as they swept through the area. Police made nearly 700 arrests and Mayor Bill de Blasio extended an 8 p.m. curfew all week.

“We’re going to have a tough few days,” he warned, but added: “We’re going to beat it back.” He pleaded with community leaders to step forward and “create peace.”

Thousands of protesters marched Tuesday night in a string of demonstrations across Manhattan and Brooklyn after merchants boarded up their businesses, fearing a repeat of the night before. Many people remained on the streets after the curfew hour. Police eventually ordered them to move along and began taking some into custody.

More than 20,000 National Guard members have been called up in 29 states to deal with the violence. New York is not among them, and de Blasio has said he does not want the Guard. On Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo called what happened in the city “a disgrace.”

“The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night,” Cuomo said at a briefing in Albany.

He said the mayor underestimated the problem, and the nation’s largest police force was not deployed in sufficient numbers, though the city had said it doubled the usual police presence.

Tuesday marked the eighth straight night of the protests, which began in Minneapolis, where Floyd died, and quickly spread across the country.

The mother of George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, said she wanted the world to know that her little girl lost a good father.

“I want everybody to know that this is what those officers took,” Roxie Washington said during a Minneapolis news conference with her young daughter at her side. “I want justice for him because he was good. No matter what anybody thinks, he was good.”

On Monday, scattered violence flared in multiple protests, including an officer who was shot and gravely wounded outside a Las Vegas hotel and casino, and four officers shot in St. Louis. They were expected to recover.

About a dozen other deaths have been reported around the country over the past week. And nearly 8,000 people nationwide have been arrested, according to a count by The Associated Press.

Some protesters framed the burgeoning movement as a necessity after a string of killings by police.

“It feels like it’s just been an endless cascade of hashtags of black people dying, and it feels like nothing’s really being done by our political leaders to actually enact real change,” said Christine Ohenzuwa, 19, who attended a peaceful protest at the Minnesota state capitol in St. Paul. “There’s always going to be a breaking point. I think right now, we’re seeing the breaking point around the country.”

“I live in this state. It’s really painful to see what’s going on, but it’s also really important to understand that it’s connected to a system of racial violence,” she said.

Meanwhile, governors and mayors, Republicans and Democrats alike, rejected Trump’s threat to send in the military, with some saying troops would be unnecessary and others questioning whether the government has such authority and warning that such a step would be dangerous.

“Denver is not Little Rock in 1957, and Donald Trump is not President Eisenhower. This is a time for healing, for bringing people together, and the best way to protect civil rights is to move away from escalating violence,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, both Democrats, said in a statement, referring to Eisenhower’s use of troops to enforce school desegregation in the South.

A senior White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the president is not rushing to send in the military and that his goal was to pressure governors to deploy more National Guard members.

Such use of the military would mark a stunning federal intervention rarely seen in modern American history.

Amid the protests, nine states and the District of Columbia held presidential primaries that tested the nation’s ability to run elections while balancing a pandemic and sweeping social unrest. Joe Biden won hundreds more delegates and was on the cusp of formally securing the Democratic presidential nomination.

Also Tuesday, Minnesota opened an investigation into whether the Minneapolis Police Department has a pattern of discrimination against minorities. Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee on the handcuffed black man’s neck for several minutes.

Chauvin has been charged with murder. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said prosecutors are working as fast as they can to determine if the three other officers at the scene should be charged too. All four have been fired.

Associated Press journalists across the U.S. contributed to this report

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