Negotiations that led to freedom for Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig ramped up in early August after U.S. President Joe Biden became seriously engaged in ending a legal standoff with China, sources say.
Biden insisted any deal to drop the U.S. extradition case against Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou and defer criminal charges could not happen unless the two Canadians were released at the same time, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the talks with China, Huawei and Meng’s lawyers.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who along with Biden wanted to reset U.S.-China relations on a more stable footing, did not object to the Canadians being released from Chinese prisons as long as Meng was allowed to return home without having to admit guilt for bank and wire fraud, the sources said.
Opinion: Biden rewards Xi’s hostage diplomacy
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Documents cast doubt on whether Catholic Church met obligations for residential school survivors
Experts on reconciliation are questioning whether the Catholic Church lived up to the terms of a $25-million legal commitment to provide “in-kind services” to residential school survivors, as newly released documents cast doubt on whether those services were adequately performed.
The documents, obtained by the Globe and Mail through an access-to-information request to the federal government, include an “in-kind log.” It contains brief descriptions of the services provided by Catholic entities. Those services were required under a national residential schools settlement reached between Indigenous groups, former students, the federal government and religious organizations in 2006.
Critics say the settlement process lacked transparency and a clear focus on survivors’ needs, and that a full review of past church obligations is warranted.
Annamie Paul steps down as federal Green Party leader
Annamie Paul is stepping down as leader of the Green Party, calling the experience at the helm of the party “the worst period in my life in many respects.”
In announcing her resignation, Paul referred to the glass ceiling she broke a year ago when she was elected the first Jewish woman and first Black person to lead a federal party.
It was a disappointing election for Paul and the Greens, after a summer of turmoil within their ranks. The party saw its share of the popular vote fall to 2.3 per cent, from 6.55 per cent in 2019. Though it picked up a new seat in Ontario, the party ended up with two MPs, the same number as in the last Parliament. Paul placed fourth in the Toronto Centre riding where she ran, her third try at winning that seat.
Campbell Clark: Annamie Paul leaves a Green Party that can’t put goals first
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
DPA negotiation appropriate for SNC-Lavalin, Quebec prosecutors say: Offering Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. the chance to negotiate a deal to avoid a trial on criminal charges related to a bridge contract nearly two decades ago is the appropriate path to prevent collateral damage to the company’s stakeholders, Quebec prosecutors say.
Atlantic Canada braces for fourth wave: Atlantic Canada’s premiers will meet virtually today to address a growing fourth wave of COVID-19 that is pushing hospitals to the limit, causing delays in testing results and closing schools in some parts of the region.
British PM faces calls to end fuel shortage crisis: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing calls to enlist the army to help ease a truck driver shortage that has crippled gas stations across the country. Drivers have been lining up for hours to fill up and thousands of gas stations have been forced to close after running out of fuel.
Germany’s centre-left party seeks alliances after close election: Germany’s centre-left contender to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor says he intends to forge a three-way coalition with the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party after Sunday’s razor-thin election results, which put his Social Democratic Party narrowly ahead of the incumbent conservative coalition.
Singer R. Kelly guilty in sex trafficking trial: R&B superstar R. Kelly was convicted yesterday in a sex trafficking trial after decades of avoiding criminal responsibility for numerous allegations of misconduct with young women and children.
Global shares slide: World shares fell for a third successive day on Wednesday, while bond yields on both sides of the Atlantic rose on anxiety over when central banks might raise interest rates. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.39 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.84 per cent and 1.41 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.19 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.2 per cent. New York futures were weaker. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.07 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
David Shribman: “Now that U.S. forces are out of Afghanistan, the United States is turning to some unfinished business – addressing an unresolved issue from the 18th century that is causing fresh controversy in the 21st.”
Robert McLister: “Bond yields have risen in recent days amid hawkish developments at central banks, including suggestions from the U.S. Federal Reserve that interest rate hikes could come as early as next year. Mortgage shoppers need to pay attention.”
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Four must-have foods for your fall diet
Eating seasonally means enjoying foods when their flavours and nutrients are at their peak. If they’re not yet on your radar, consider adding the following nutrient-packed foods to your fall menu.
MOMENT IN TIME: SEPTEMBER 28, 1885
Anti-vaccine riots erupt in Montreal
In early 1885, a conductor for the Grand Trunk Railway sparked a smallpox outbreak in Montreal. Local public-health authorities hoped to tame the spread with a vaccination campaign. As reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, it went badly. Likely because of unhygienic conditions, some recipients of the shots contracted erysipelas, an infection that causes painful rashes. The vaccine program was suspended for three months amid worries of a bad batch. Meanwhile, both the disease and fear of inoculation spread in the city’s working class French-speaking neighbourhoods. Rumours spread that administrators of the vaccine would tie children down to receive their shots. By September, police were physically hauling recalcitrant infected people away from crowded homes to better isolate them. On Sept. 28 of that year, the local board of health announced vaccination would become mandatory. A mob answered back with violence, sacking a public-health office, smashing pharmacy windows, stabbing the chief of police and chanting anti-English slogans. Armed police finally dispersed the rioters by clubbing them and firing rifles above their heads. On Sept. 23, 2021, the government of Quebec used gentler measures to disperse present-day anti-vaccine protesters, by passing a law to ban those demonstrations at various locations, including outside of schools and hospitals. Eric Andrew-Gee