Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
The dangerous standoff at the frigid border of Poland and Belarus continued Thursday, with about 3,000 migrants still trapped between military forces of the two countries.
Countries bordering Belarus warned the crisis on the European Union’s eastern borders could escalate into a military confrontation while Ukraine said it would deploy thousands more troops to reinforce its frontier. Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia said Belarus posed serious threats to European security by deliberately escalating its “hybrid attack” using migrants to retaliate for EU sanctions.
“This increases the possibility of provocations and serious incidents that could also spill over into the military domain,” a joint statement by the countries’ defence ministers said.
Migrants stranded inside Belarus threw rocks and branches at Polish border guards and used logs to try to break down a razor wire fence overnight in new attempts to force their way into the EU, the authorities in Warsaw said.
The EU says Minsk is encouraging thousands of migrants fleeing war-torn parts of the world to try to cross its borders and may impose new sanctions on Belarus and airlines ferrying the migrants as soon as Monday.
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Suspicious package disrupts Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa
Large crowds returned to the National War Memorial today in Ottawa as the country marked Remembrance Day. Last year, the ceremony was held without crowds due to concerns about COVID-19.
The traditional Remembrance Day routine was disrupted slightly this morning after a suspicious package was discovered in the vicinity of the National War Memorial, according to the RCMP’s National Division.
Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor-General Mary Simon, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of Canada, arrived behind the Royal Canadian Legion’s schedule. The Prime Minister is usually scheduled to arrive at about 10:45 a.m. ET, but he instead arrived at the Cenotaph alongside his wife at about 11:00 a.m. ET. Ms. Simon’s arrival took place after that.
A spokesperson for Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay said in a statement that “ahead of the Remembrance Day ceremony today in Ottawa, a security issue was identified and quickly resolved,” adding that the ceremony continued after a brief delay.
Biden and Xi expected to hold virtual summit on Monday
The leaders of the United States and China are expected to meet virtually on Monday amid continuing tensions over trade, human rights and military activities.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have been sparring on issues from the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic to China’s expanding nuclear arsenal. U.S. officials believe direct engagement with Xi is the best way to prevent a direct conflict between the two countries.
One media report suggested Xi is likely to invite Biden to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, but that could put the U.S President in a tough spot as he presses China on human rights. Biden and Xi last spoke on Sept. 9, a 90-minute conversation that a senior U.S. official said focused on economic issues, climate change and COVID-19.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Who will pay tops the COP26 agenda as climate talks approach a conclusion: Approaching the final day of the two-week COP26 UN climate summit, delegations intensified efforts to strike a deal to tame global warming, with the focus on finding cash to help developing nations cope with its worst effects.
Judge dismisses Maxime Bernier’s defamation case against Warren Kinsella over Project Cactus campaign: An Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled the People’s Party of Canada leader failed to prove that his defamation concerns outweighed the importance of protecting free speech in the political realm. The defence of Mr. Kinsella, a political columnist and former Liberal strategist, relied on Ontario’s “anti-SLAPP” legislation, which is aimed at discouraging the use of a strategic lawsuit against public participation in which libel cases are used to chill critics from speaking out about public policy matters.
Archeological dig in Newfoundland unearths what could be Canada’s oldest English coin: William Gilbert, head archaeologist and supervisor at the Cupids Cove Plantation Provincial Historic Site, says the coin found in September was minted some time between 1493 and 1499. Known as a Henry VII ‘half groat,’ or twopenny piece, the nickel-sized coin was minted in Canterbury, England.
Cyberattack hobbling Newfoundland and Labrador’s health care network is likely ongoing, expert says: David Masson of U.K. firm Darktrace says it’s quite telling that Health Minister John Haggie told reporters Tuesday that those involved in the cyberattack are “watching, literally, what we’re doing,” and Masson said that Haggie’s comments suggest the cyberattack found to have hit the province’s IT network on Oct. 30 is ongoing.
Canada’s main stock index rebounded from a midweek breather to resume its record climb as the materials sector got a boost from investors seeking safety from inflation.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 120.05 points to 21,581.98 after hitting a record intraday high. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 158.71 points at 35,921.23. The S&P 500 index was up 2.56 points at 4,649.27, while the Nasdaq composite was up 81.57 points at 15,704.28.
The Canadian dollar traded for 79.46 cents US compared with 80.31 cents US on Wednesday.
Canadians are waking up to the reality of racism. Now is the time for leaders to act
“We know from our research that Canadians want to celebrate their country for its multiculturalism and inclusiveness, but there is an expanding dissonance between this vision and the growing recognition of racial inequality and injustice in society.” – Michael Adams and Marva Wisdom
Would you recognize an unspoken cry for help?
Recognizing the red flags is only the first step. The real work comes next, and it’s not surprising that people feel confused or uneasy about how they’re supposed to respond if they suspect that harm is taking place. One thing you can do is learn how to be an effective bystander, like the motorist on that road in Kentucky. – Elizabeth Renzetti
Five new books advocate for truth and rationalism
A number of writers and thinkers have begun to tackle what has often been described as our post-truth era. The pandemic has amplified the idea, while also teaching us that society cannot function without at least some shared truths.
Here, Tara Henley offers five new titles which advocates for liberalism, freedom of expression, rationalism, and science.
TODAY’S LONG READ
Newfoundland police face crisis after sex-assault conviction against on-duty officer
On a cold night in January, 2015, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer Kelsey Muise discovered a distraught woman while on patrol in St. John’s. The story told to officer Muise would take more than six years and three trials to prove – and would rock Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincial police force, the oldest law-enforcement agency in North America.
Jane Doe, a then-21-year-old community-college student whose real name is protected by a publication ban, said she’d been raped by an on-duty RNC officer a month earlier. That officer, Constable Doug Snelgrove, assaulted her in her own apartment, she said, after he offered her a ride home from a bar.
Constable Snelgrove’s conviction in May, 2021, unleashed a flood of new complaints from other Newfoundland women who said Ms. Doe’s story wasn’t an isolated incident.
Ms. Doe’s stunning case is forcing changes to policing in her province, and has created a crisis around the future of the RNC, a 400-officer organization with roots dating back to 1729 that has long been a celebrated part of Newfoundland history.