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Scheer says detention of Canadians in China is retaliation for Huawei arrest

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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said today he believes the detention of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig is China retaliating against Canada for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

“That is my belief,” Scheer told host Vassy Kapelos in a year-end interview with CBC News Network’s Power & Politics.

“Of course, the government has access to more classified information and more sensitive information. But based on what I can observe, statements coming out of the government itself, messages from the regime and also from … the newspaper that is so closely linked to the Communist party … I believe its more prudent to operate under that assumption.”

The Canadian government has not drawn a direct link between Meng’s arrest and China’s detention of Canadian citizens.

“Chinese officials in their contact with Canada have not drawn a connection between these different issues,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in a press conference last week.

“From Canada’s perspective, these kinds of issues ought never to be confused with one another. In the detention of Ms. Meng, Canada was … acting scrupulously in line with our treaty commitments and in line with the rule of law.”

China’s Foreign Ministry has said Kovrig and Spavor are being detained on suspicion of “endangering national security,” but has not provided further details.

Scheer went on to accuse Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of engaging in a “policy of appeasement” in his government’s past dealings with China.

“We’ve seen in the past, Justin Trudeau professing his admiration for the basic dictatorship of China. We’ve seen this government refuse to have national security reviews for the takeover of Canadian companies that have sensitive technology. To date, silent on whether or not Huawei will be able to participate in the 5G spectrum auction,” said Scheer.

“This government needs to be very prudent and be very cautious.”

Calling for a Huawei 5G ban

Meng’s arrest has also led to renewed scrutiny of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world and the second-largest maker of smartphones, after Samsung.

Several countries, including the U.S., have warned of national security concerns stemming from Huawei’s murky connections to the Chinese government.

Earlier this month, the Conservatives called on the government to follow the U.S., Australia and New Zealand in banning the company from participating in Canada’s emerging 5G network infrastructure.

Scheer repeated that call Friday.

“We know that the government in China has been involved in cyber attacks before,” he said. “I look at our partners around the world, our traditional allies, our NATO partners who are making the same assessment. We share so much with them and rely on their technology, their expertise and interoperability in many aspects of our own armed forces.”

Canada is conducting a comprehensive review of the 5G technology movement, which is expected to bring faster connections and greater data capacity.

An Australian newspaper reported last week that Canada was expected to announce a ban on Huawei within weeks, but Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the report “speculation.”

Former U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke told Power & Politics last week that the U.S. intelligence community fears the Chinese government could employ Huawei equipment for espionage or to disrupt the normal flow of telecommunications.

With files from Catharine Tunney.

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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