Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou has reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department that will allow her to return to China almost three years after she was detained in Canada, at the request of the United States, on bank and wire fraud charges.
Meng appeared virtually from Vancouver in the federal court in Brooklyn. She did not have to enter a guilty plea as part of the arrangement, and the charges will be deferred and eventually dismissed on Dec. 1, 2022. As part of the deal, Huawei Technologies did not have to accept corporate responsibility for bank and wire fraud relating to violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
The plea agreement does not include Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who have been imprisoned in China since late 2018 on charges of espionage.
Later Friday, Ms. Meng appeared in a Vancouver courtroom, where the extradition proceedings was stayed and her bail conditions lifted, allowing the Chinese telecom executive to leave the country.
At the close of proceedings in B.C. Supreme Court, after the Canadian justice department withdrew the case against Ms. Meng, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes thanked Ms. Meng for her co-operation.
“You have been cooperative and courteous throughout. The court appreciates and thanks you for that.”
“Thank you, my lady,” Ms. Meng replied in English. She later burst into tears as she hugged her lawyers.
Outside the court, Ms. Meng thanked the Government of Canada “for upholding the rule of law.”
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Ottawa posts $12-billion deficit in July as Liberals face calls from premiers, opposition for more spending
The federal government ran a $12-billion deficit in July, as the re-elected Liberal government faces calls from provinces and opposition parties for billions of dollars in new spending. The Finance Department’s monthly tracking of Ottawa’s bottom line shows the July numbers bring the cumulative size of the deficit to $48.5-billion over the first four months of the fiscal year that began April 1.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a platform that included $78-billion in new spending in addition to what had been outlined just a few months earlier in the April budget. The premiers, meanwhile, put out a statement late Thursday in which they restated their “urgent” request for Ottawa to dramatically increase the size of annual federal transfers for health care.
The challenge for the minority government is that it will need the support of at least one of the three other main parties in the House of Commons to obtain parliamentary approval for spending plans. The NDP was a frequent ally for such votes in the previous Parliament. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he will be pushing the government to adopt new taxes on corporations and the “ultra rich” as a way to offset the cost of pandemic-related spending, while Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet has said his priority will be to advocate on behalf of Quebec and other provinces for an immediate annual increase of $28-billion to the Canada Health Transfer.
Alberta Medical Association says major parts of health triage have begun
The head of emergency medicine for the Alberta Medical Association says triage of COVID-19 patients is under way in the province.
Paul Parks said some critically ill COVID-19 patients who should be on ventilators have not been getting them in recent days. That coincides with previously announced mass cancellations of surgeries, as doctors balance medical need with available space, he said.
Parks said it has become routine to have some critically ill patients – most of them unvaccinated COVID-19 cases – kept on main wards rather than in intensive-care units on ventilators because hospitals simply don’t have the resources.
He said it’s not at the point where doctors must make on-the-spot, life-and-death decisions. But he said that’s not far away and, when it comes, the second stage of triage will follow quickly, including making such decisions about children. The province is seeing more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Young people return to streets around the world to demand urgent action on climate change: The strikes, which organizer Fridays for Future said would take place in 1,500 locations, are happening five weeks before the UN COP26 summit, which aims to secure more ambitious climate action from world leaders to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions.
China’s top regulators ban cryptocurrency trading and mining, sending bitcoin tumbling: Ten agencies, including the central bank, financial, securities and foreign exchange regulators, vowed to work together to root out “illegal” cryptocurrency activity, the first time the Beijing-based agencies have joined forces to explicitly ban all cryptocurrency-related activity.
City of London, Ont., warns Western University students to avoid mass street party typically held during homecoming: City officials say that with COVID-19 and a recent slew of sexual assault allegations at Western, students should avoid the large outdoor party that’s typically held on the Saturday of homecoming weekend. The local health unit says it has issued orders that limit social gatherings to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, and London police say they will have a strong visible presence and intend to enforce the regulations.
Britain has 10 days to alleviate trucker shortage to avoid Christmas disruption, retail industry says: A spike in European natural gas prices and a post-Brexit shortage of truck drivers have left Britain grappling with soaring energy prices and a potential food supply crunch. BP had to close some of its gas stations due to the driver shortages, while queues formed at some Shell stations as pumps ran dry in some places.
Canada’s main stock index concluded its third losing week in a row by giving back some of its recent gains amid concerns out of China about the real estate market and the country’s ban on cryptocurrencies.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 59.27 points to 20,402.66. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 33.18 points at 34,798.00. The S&P 500 index was up 6.50 points at 4,455.48, while the Nasdaq composite was down 4.54 points at 15,047.70.
The Canadian dollar traded for 78.86 cents US compared with 79.03 cents US on Thursday.
All Canadians should take Sept. 30 to observe National Truth and Reconciliation Day
“The only citizens who will definitely have the day off work are federal civil servants, including bureaucrats at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and Indigenous Services Canada, who keep the racist Indian Act rolling. Meanwhile, actual residential school survivors, depending on where they live, might be forced to work.” - Tanya Talaga
Battling to save unvaccinated patients has left me exhausted and demoralized
“I am prepared to work as tirelessly as necessary to help get this pandemic under control and restore our town to a semblance of its previous idyllic self. Unfortunately, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to maintain my motivation. My non-judgmental approach is beginning to wane. I’m becoming exhausted and profoundly demoralized. The personal and professional toll on me, my colleagues and all those working in the health care sector of our community is enormous.” - Kevin McKechnie
With the economy, we may be heading back to the 1970s
“Today’s economic challenges are certainly solvable, and there is no reason why inflation should have to spike. Leading central bankers today such as Jay Powell of the U.S. Federal Reserve and Christine Lagarde of the European Central Bank are a far cry from pliable Fed Chair Arthur Burns in the 1970s. … Yet all central banks still face constant pressures, and it is hard for them to stand alone indefinitely, especially if politicians become weak and desperate.” - Kenneth Rogoff
Vaccinated Canadians are flocking to reopened destinations
This year, many Canadians are taking vacations in the fall.
“Focusing on fall is not something we’ve normally done,” explains Maya Lange, vice-president of global marketing for Destination BC.
For tourism boards such as Destination British Columbia, shoulder seasons – off-peak dates – are a time to recoup revenue lost due to COVID-19 while appealing to travel-starved tourists. This year, Destination BC launched fall marketing campaigns to target tourists in Alberta, Ontario and within British Columbia. The latest point of outreach is into Washington State, thanks to international flights opening back up to fully vaccinated travellers as of Sept. 7.
Fall represents a good time for travel this year. More Canadians are vaccinated and feeling increasingly comfortable with boarding an airplane and travelling further afield.
TODAY’S LONG READ
How Lim Geomatics is using new technology to change an old industry
When Kevin Lim was a PhD student at Queen’s University about 20 years ago, forestry companies would use aerial photographs and expert knowledge to decide their harvesting strategies.
But Lim understood that analyzing photos is a slow, inexact process that can yield costly mistakes. So, he set out to create a new method of surveying forests with lidar, an acronym for light detection and ranging. The technology uses a laser to fire a pulse of light, which bounces off objects and returns to a sensor. By timing how long the light takes to zip back, lidar can calculate the distance travelled, creating an accurate 3D model of the surrounding environment.
In 2006, he founded Lim Geomatics in Ottawa, and now has 21 employees and a suite of software products to help forestry companies manage their operations. It was a long slog, and he endured plenty of skepticism from an industry that he says is slow to adopt new technologies. But with 80-per-cent growth over a three-year period, he says forest companies are no longer questioning the product. “They’re realizing if they’re not doing this, they’re probably behind,” Lim says.