WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Canada’s China envoy John McCallum says Huawei executive has good chance of avoiding U.S. extradition
Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, has taken the extraordinary step of effectively offering legal advice to Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, saying she has a good chance of winning a Canadian court case to avoid extradition to the United States, Robert Fife and Steven Chase write.
Ms. Meng was arrested on Dec. 1 in Vancouver at the request of U.S. officials on allegations of banking fraud relating to U.S. sanctions against Iran. Beijing then detained two Canadians in apparent retaliation - former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor - and imposed a death sentence on a third, Robert Schellenberg, for drug charges.
Speaking at a news conference for Chinese-language media yesterday in Markham, Ont., Mr. McCallum said the extradition request has serious flaws. His comments contrast with statements by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who insist Ottawa will not interfere politically in the legal case.
Meanwhile, Yang Hengjun, an author and former Chinese diplomat who is now an Australian citizen, has been detained in China, raising alarm that Beijing is using harsh methods against Canadian intelligence allies as it seeks the release of Ms. Meng.
Opinion: “In many ways, this is not about Canada, or not only about Canada. It’s about Beijing’s determination to tilt the international order in its favour.” - Globe editorial
Canada’s new food guide shifts toward plant-based diets at expense of meat, dairy
The new Canada’s Food Guide’s shift toward plant-based foods at the expense of dairy and meat comes despite intense lobbying from those industries, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor tells the The Globe and Mail.
The minister says she met with a variety of groups before the release – including the beef, dairy and juice industries – but the Health Canada officials who created the new guide did not. Read Ann Hui’s reporting on the intense lobbying efforts here and here.
Meanwhile, the guide’s warning on the dangers of chronic alcohol use caught some nutrition and addiction experts by surprise, but they welcomed the tougher stance on an issue they say demands a co-ordinated strategy.
Read up on the new Canada’s Food Guide here.
Planning to take its advice and cook more? Try this recipe.
Venezuela’s opposition leader declares himself president as Canada, U.S. voice support
Backed by hundreds of thousands of protesters and with the support of the United States and Canada, Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president today, calling for free elections to end the rule of socialist Nicolas Maduro (for subscribers).
A senior Canadian government source who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter confirmed Ottawa is recognizing Mr. Guaido as the interim president. In a statement, U.S. President Donald Trump also recognized him. The leaders of Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay added support from their countries.
In response, Mr. Maduro said he was breaking diplomatic relations with the United States.
Pelosi blocking Trump’s State of the Union speech until government reopens
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi today informed President Donald Trump that he will not be allowed to deliver an annual State of the Union address in the House chamber until a partial government shutdown ends.
In a letter to Mr. Trump, she said the House would not consider a resolution that is required before a president can speak there. Mr. Trump said today he would do an alternative event to the address.
Separately, other Democratic House leaders floated the idea yesterday of ending the shutdown by giving Mr. Trump most or all of the money he seeks for border security with Mexico but for items other than a physical wall.
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Wall Street markets closed higher today, as global stocks oscillated today as worries over U.S. politics, global economic growth and trade tensions offset a boost from quarterly earnings reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 171.14 points to 24,575.62, the S&P 500 climbed 5.80 points to 2,638.70 and the Nasdaq Composite added 5.41 points to end at 7,025.77.
Canada’s main stock index finished lower despite Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz saying the Canadian economy is in good shape. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index reversed early gains and finished down 25.43 points at 15,208.33.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
U.S. President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen is postponing his scheduled Feb. 7 testimony to Congress due to threats against his family from Mr. Trump, Mr. Cohen’s adviser said today.
Driverless cars are now allowed on Ontario roads: Participants in a pilot program can test them on public roadways, providing either a passenger is in the vehicle or a remote operator is monitoring the vehicle.
Police rescued a 60-year-old woman who became trapped in a clothing donation bin while seeking shelter from a New Brunswick snowstorm (for subscribers). Two people have died after becoming stuck in donation bins in recent weeks, in Toronto and West Vancouver.
B.C. Speaker Plecas’s bombshell report a disturbing montage of alleged abuse
“This would include lavish overseas spending sprees, free booze at taxpayers’ expense, the questionable amassing of unused vacation days later converted into hundreds of thousands in cash, digital subscriptions that appear to have little relevance to their jobs (my favourite: Arizona Highways magazine). And on it goes.” - Gary Mason
As Trudeau courts Quebec, the alienation of the West only deepens
“In its heyday, the Canadian tradition of brokerage politics was aimed at accommodating the demands of every region, religion and linguistic group to ensure a disparate country stuck together. It was practically seen as a noble exercise. There’s nothing noble about the Liberals’ current play for Quebec votes. It’s shameless." - Konrad Yakabuski (for subscribers)
It’s time for the Leafs' mumbo jumbo to stop
"A lot of things have gone wrong recently. ... In current Leafs parlance, this isn’t alarming. It’s adversity. ‘Adversity’ has been uttered so many times by men in blue over the past month, you’d think it was the new name of the team. - Cathal Kelly
McMaster University kinesiology professor Martin Gibala helped spark a worldwide surge of interest in short, sharp, high-intensity interval workouts, co-authoring a 2017 book called The One-Minute Workout. His newest study finds that dashing up a staircase for just 20 seconds, repeated a few times a day, can measurably improve your fitness. These tiny “exercise snacks” do have benefits, Alex Hutchinson writes. Spending 20 seconds on the stairs won’t replace a more rigorous workout, but it’s a decent start.
LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE
One of the big issues in the Ontario election campaign last year had been escalating electricity rates. The cost of hydro had almost doubled over the previous decade for residential customers. Some users of electric heat - including many in rural and northern Ontario - were facing bills of hundreds of dollars a month in the winter, and by the time the March-to-June campaign ramped up, such was the folkloric wrapping around the issue that “skyrocketing hydro prices” had become a rote complaint among voters.
Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford’s campaign team had played a steady, threatening drumbeat. Clean up the hydro mess. Fire the Hydro One board. Fire the $6-million man, CEO Mayo Schmidt. It worked: The focus on high electricity rates seemed to tap into a deep desire for change among the electorate, and a growing perception that Ontario was working well for those with political connections and Bay Street influence, but not so much for ordinary people.
What was astonishing was that the Hydro One board also decided to award its own members a raise that would become effective months before an election, when such a move was sure to feed public outrage. Which begs the question: How could an experienced CEO like Mr. Schmidt, who had worked in a politically delicate arena before, when he transformed the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool into a publicly traded international success story, not understand what was coming? Globe subscribers, read Patricia Best’s full story here.
An abandoned Montreal greystone given new life
In late 19th-century Montreal, the area around Carré St-Louis was a choice location for the residences of the city’s French-Canadian elite – doctors, lawyers, businessmen and politicians.
Avenue Laval is among the more handsome streets in the neighbourhood, northeast of the downtown. It boasts long stretches of stately greystone Victorian row houses. Many have been restored or spruced up, but the odd neglected or derelict structure remains. Robert Girard, a long-time suburbanite who commuted to his downtown law-firm office, would occasionally stroll down Laval and admire the gracious facades of the greystones. “I liked the street,” he said.
Three years ago, when he learned that a two-storey greystone on Laval – abandoned for 13 years – was going up for sale, he leaped at the chance to buy it. What he and his wife, Louise Brossoit, got was a structure with rotting wood window frames, a collapsing back wall and an interior that had suffered decades of neglect after having been transformed into a rooming house.
The challenge of returning the circa 1887 building to its former glory would be a major one. Read Bertrand Marotte’s full story here.