Good morning, and welcome to the weekend.
Grab your cup of coffee or tea, and sit down with a selection of this week’s great reads from The Globe. In this issue, Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife and senior parliamentary reporter Steven Chase have an exclusive report on the case of the two Michaels – Canadians who were jailed by China for nearly three years. Michael Spavor is now seeking a multimillion-dollar settlement from the federal government, according to two sources, alleging he was deceived by Michael Kovrig into providing intelligence on North Korea to Canada and allied spy services.
Reporters Janice Dickson and Kateryna Hatsenko have filed from a village in eastern Ukraine, where elderly people are suffering the most as Russian forces bombard the nearby front lines and international doctors do their best to offer treatment.
And B.C. business reporter Brent Jang provides an update on the abandoned mining town of Kitsault, which has been preserved by caretakers, and visited for the last decade by tourists curious to see a time capsule from the early 1980s. Now, Kitsault’s American owner hopes to attract, or help create, some type of industrial development that could awaken the town from its slumber.
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In 2018, China arrested Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig on allegations of espionage. The arrests came after the detention in Canada of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant. Canada rejected the charges at the time and the two men were released in September, 2021, shortly after Ms. Meng reached a deal with the U.S. government and returned to China from Vancouver.
But now Michael Spavor alleges that information he shared about North Korea with Michael Kovrig was passed on to Canada and allied spy services without his knowledge and it ultimately led to the pair’s detention. A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada says suggesting that the two Michaels could have been involved in espionage is “perpetuating a false narrative” by China.
- Explainer: From the archives: What we know about Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig’s time in China
Many of those who have remained in Ukraine’s battered eastern communities are elderly, adding extra challenges to a population fighting to survive in a nation under attack. Many of these older Ukrainians cope without electricity or running water, and are hardly making do on meagre pensions. They’re sick and sore, and live with the constant risk of death. Doctors who practice in the region are used to hearing from people who have not seen physicians in a long time and need treatment for common ailments, such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes. Still, many refuse orders to evacuate, saying that the thought of starting over is too daunting. As one of them told The Globe and Mail, “I won’t leave this village.”
Tourists are no longer welcome in the abandoned mining town of Kitsault, B.C., where time has been suspended for the past 40 years. Built in the late 1970s and early 1980s in northwest British Columbia, the remote town once boasted 1,200 residents before the boom went bust for mining molybdenum, an additive used to strengthen steel. Brent Jang takes us on a nostalgic journey, and speaks with Krishnan Suthanthiran – the American who bought Kitsault for $7-million in 2005 – about the town’s possible future in the energy industry.
The profound sense of hope that new Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew inspires in his supporters has much to do with a life trajectory unique in the history of major political candidates in this country. Winning the premiership as leader of the provincial NDP was the latest in a lifetime of dramatic, self-imposed transformations: from rapper to university vice-president, from activist to bestselling author, from criminal to statesman. Kinew insists that he isn’t running from any of it. Nancy MacDonald speaks to Kinew in the first sit-down interview he has granted since winning the Oct. 3 election.
Real-time connections to faraway calamities can cause enormous stress. When Israeli civilians, including entire families, were slaughtered on Oct. 7, people all over the world were horrified. Diaspora Jews were especially terrified. Children of Holocaust survivors felt as if their parents’ victimization was being revisited on their own families. The fear of being scapegoated again – often referred to as intergenerational trauma – is described by Jewish people across the country. Still, in the Canadian context, PTSD might seem like hyperbole. Author Susan Pinker asks the question: is it really possible to experience PTSD from afar?
Time is running out for Bill Macdonald. At the age of 95 – after 70 years of supremely confident engagement in a country he has loved with a fervour, and even helped shape – it’s the eccentric 17th-century Japanese objets his wife wanted to collect that stay top of mind. As twilight approaches, the man of fabled persistence – in law, in politics, in policy – has but one goal in mind: securing a public home for his arcane collection at the Gardiner Museum, whether the Toronto institution likes it or not.
Gelatin, a.k.a. jello, has been inspiring awe and delight amongst taste-buds for centuries, and can be found in recipes dating back to medieval Europe. Up through the 19th century, towers of jellies on the table were an indicator not just of taste, but of class: only the wealthiest families (with plenty of staff) could afford to undertake the laborious process of making it, which requires hours of boiling animal bones to render collagen, then clarifying. Hundreds of years later, jello is as popular ever – and is even having a heyday. Fiorella Valdesolo writes about the craze.
Bonus: Who won the 2023 Scotiabank Giller Prize?
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