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Canada arrests Huawei exec, sinks markets, angers Beijing. Whoa eh!

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Canada found itself in an uncharacteristic position Thursday: at the centre of the latest global stock market rout. On Saturday police at Vancouver arrested Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei (and daughter of the company’s founder), at the request of U.S. authorities. Meng is accused of violating sanctions on Iran and is set to be extradited to the U.S. The move immediately raised fears that the trade war truce that Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to at the recent G20 meeting is at risk. After the news broke markets from Asia to Europe to North America tumbled. (Global News)

The question for Canada now is how the arrest will play out between Ottawa and Beijing, given the Trudeau government’s attempts to smooth relations with China. Trudeau said authorities notified him in advance of the arrest, but that there was no political involvement, telling reporters: “The appropriate authorities took the decisions in this case. We were advised by them with a few days’ notice that this was in the works but of course there was no engagement or involvement in the political level in this decision because we respect the independence of our judicial processes.”  (Globe and Mail)

As premiers arrived in Montreal for today’s first ministers’ meeting with Trudeau, some were already preparing to leave, namely Ontario’s Doug Ford. Sources close to Ford told the Canadian Press he’s prepared to walk away from the table if Trudeau doesn’t put the carbon tax on the table. (Canadian Press)

The likelihood of Trudeau agreeing to scale back the carbon tax is near zero, so expect Ford to theatrically hightail it out of there. But Western premiers who were also unhappy about the meeting agenda because it did not include discussion about Canada’s oil glut may have more luck. On Thursday Trudeau said he’s open to helping Alberta purchase rail cars to haul oil out of the province, and he also suggested an increase in EI payments for unemployed oil patch workers. That’s an about face for the Trudeau government from less than two weeks ago when Finance Minister Bill Morneau poured cold water on the idea of Ottawa buying rail cars to shop oil. (CBC News, Bloomberg)

The federal government is backtracking on its controversial summer jobs grant program, which angered faith-based groups last summer by compelling applicants to “attest” their support of abortion rights. Under the new rules, the application process will no longer ask what rights it respects, and instead it will make ineligible any jobs that “actively work to undermine or restrict a woman’s access to sexual and reproductive health services,” or that “advocate intolerance, discrimination and/or prejudice.” Maclean’s Ottawa bureau chief John Geddes spoke with Labour Minister Patty Hajdu about the changes and whether she thinks the new wording will end the debate:

We’ve worked really closely with all kinds of different groups, with all kinds of different Canadians. We’ve worked closely with faith-based groups, but also with progressive groups that advocate for individual human rights. I’ve listened to members of Parliament, a number of whom have done extensive consultations with faith-based groups in their regions.

Because of those ongoing and rather in-depth conversations, I feel comfortable that most groups are going to feel that their activities are perfectly fine for funding. What we heard from faith-based groups is that they want to be very clear that this isn’t a judgement about what they believe. I think we’ve managed to do that. The application is very clear that this is about projects and activities, it’s not about faiths and beliefs. (Maclean’s)

 

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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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