Ottawa says it only learned in February that Canada’s visa-application centre in Beijing is managed by Chinese police, the same month The Globe and Mail reported the arrangement.
The federal government has trusted its visa centre in Beijing to a police-owned company since 2008, and has been required to conduct due-diligence screenings during renewals of the contract in subsequent years, including 2018.
The government acknowledged its lack of awareness in documents tabled in the House of Commons this week in response to written questions from NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan.
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Ontario to provide three paid sick days after months of pressure
Ontario will provide workers with three paid sick days to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic until the fall, a major turnaround for Premier Doug Ford’s government that critics said was still inadequate.
But the province is still pushing the federal government to do more, asking Ottawa to heed its request to double the federal sick-leave benefit to $1,000 a week.
The program, which expires on Sept. 25, will require employers to pay their workers up to $200 a day for up to three days. Employees can use the days off to isolate if they have symptoms, to get vaccinated or to care for others, and will not have to provide sick notes.
Biden halts drone attacks, offers a new strategy for Africa
Since Joe Biden’s inauguration in January, not a single U.S. air strike has been recorded in Somalia, a respite for a country where such attacks had become routine.
Somalia endured more than 200 missile strikes from U.S. drones and military aircraft during Donald Trump’s four years as president. Now the attacks have halted. Under a Biden administration order, U.S. commanders have lost the right to authorize missile strikes in Somalia on their own. Instead, they require White House approval for each operation, while the administration drafts a new policy for its air strikes worldwide.
Konrad Yakabuski: Wokeism is threatening Joe Biden’s presidency
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Boris Johnson on the defensive as pair of scandals rock his leadership: The British Prime Minister has been accused of taking at least £58,000, or $99,800, from Conservative Party donors to renovate his Downing Street living quarters and for allegedly telling advisers last fall he would rather “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” than impose another lockdown.
Ottawa willing to assist financially troubled Laurentian University: The federal government says it is willing to provide funds to assist financially troubled Laurentian University and is in discussions with the Ontario government about how best to support French-language postsecondary education in the province.
Infrastructure Bank unlikely to spend even half of its $35-billion budget: PBO: The Canada Infrastructure Bank is unlikely to spend even half its $35-billion budget over its 11-year mandate despite government pledges to get the cash flowing to new green projects, warns Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux in a new report.
World stocks gain: Global shares extended gains on Thursday after the Federal Reserve said it was too early to consider rolling back emergency support for the economy, and U.S. President Joe Biden proposed a US$1.8-trillion stimulus package. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.58 per cent. France’s CAC 40 gained 0.47 per cent. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.36 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended up 0.80 per cent. Markets in Japan were closed. New York futures were positive. The Canadian dollar was trading at 81.25 US cents.
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Five new books on cultivating resilience (and learning to ‘worry smaller’)
The third wave of the pandemic is now well under way – greeted in this country by mass disbelief, disillusionment and despair. We’ve been collectively running a marathon. We are tired. We want to rest. Or, at the very least, we want to slow down. But we must persevere. And so, 2021 is a master class in endurance, and, yes, resilience. And on this last point, the writers of the world have much to teach us. Here are five moving new works on cultivating resilience.
YOUR DAILY HOROSCOPE
IF TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY: You may be more controlled, emotionally, than most people but you know when it’s right and proper to open up, and over the coming year there will be many occasions when your true feelings burst through. They’ll be good feelings too, so everyone will be happy.
MOMENT IN TIME: APRIL 29, 1993
Buckingham Palace opens to the public
After helping to pay for restorations to Windsor Castle, which had been severely damaged in a fire in late 1992, the Royal Family was a bit skint. So Buckingham Palace, home to the British monarchy since 1837, decided to let the public in for a look – at $12 a head. The palace, with its 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 188 staff bedrooms and 78 bathrooms, didn’t offer everything on the tour; the Royal Family’s private apartments remained off limits. However, visitors could see the grand staircase, the dazzling chandeliers, magnificent carpeting and furnishings, the state rooms and the music room. Also on display, part of the priceless Royal Collection, which includes paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and van Dyck, as well as sculptures and fine porcelain. The tour still draws almost a half-million visitors a year with a ticket price of about $100 (proceeds now go to the Royal Collection Trust). However, if anyone expects to see the Queen padding about in a housecoat and slippers, holding a cuppa, they would be disappointed. The palace is only open to the public for about 10 weeks in the summer, when she is at one of her other royal residences. Philip King