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Ottawa expects trade interest in China to slow amid tensions with Beijing

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Canada’s trade minister says the government expects Canadian business interest in China to slow given current tensions, but he’s confident the two countries will work through their differences and allow economic ties to again flourish.

That confidence is based on the long and complex trading relationship between Canada and China, which has continued despite a recent “difficult period” between the two countries, Jim Carr told The Canadian Press in an interview Sunday.

“It’s not an easy time. It’s challenging,” Carr said from Vancouver, where he was set to launch a weeklong campaign to promote Canada’s newest trade deal, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

But, he added, “when we add the perspective of the relationship going back decades, and the importance of the continuing relationship, I’m confident we will move beyond this point and continue to broaden and deepen our relationship with the Chinese.”

Ottawa and Beijing have been locked in a diplomatic dispute since the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December at the request of the United States, which is seeking her extradition on fraud allegations.

Travel advisories in place 

After her arrest, China detained two Canadians — former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor — on allegations of engaging in activities that endangered the country’s national security. It upgraded the drug-smuggling sentence of another, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, from 15 years in prison to the death penalty.

The federal government has since increased its travel advisory for China by warning potential visitors about “the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.” Carr said he expects some Canadian businesses to steer clear of the country in the near term.

“We think it’s likely that there won’t be the same kind of growth of travel and of these kind of exploratory visits that there might be if there were no tensions,” he said.

However, he added that many Canadian firms are continuing to travel to China and “we are confident that we will work our way through this and return to a situation where people have no compunctions at all about visiting China.”

Asked whether federal trade officials were continuing to talk to their Chinese counterparts about deepening economic ties, Carr said: “There are conversations that go on all the time and not only among officials, but among businesspeople.”

American authorities laid out their case against Meng late last month, accusing her and Huawei of misrepresenting their ownership of a Hong Kong-based subsidiary between 2007 and 2017 in an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The company’s U.S. branch was also accused of stealing trade secrets and equipment from cellphone provider T-Mobile USA.

Meng, 46, has been free on bail since Dec. 11, living in one of her two multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver while wearing an electronic tracking device and being monitored by a security company.

Her case is due back in court in March.

The federal government has been rallying support from allies to win the release of Kovrig and Spavor, with a number of countries issuing statements of support and emphasizing the importance of the rule of law.

U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft issued a statement on Saturday saying her country was “deeply concerned” about China’s “unlawful” detention of two Canadians and calling for their release.

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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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