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Politics Politics Briefing: Arrest of Huawei executive could be blow to Canada-China relations

Good morning,

Canada has arrested a senior executive at a major Chinese company, and the Chinese government is not happy about it.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones, was arrested at the Vancouver airport on Dec. 1 while changing flights. The Canadian government said the arrest was made on behalf of the United States and a bail hearing is set for Friday. A law-enforcement source said the arrest was in relation to the U.S. sanctions against Iran. No allegations have been proven in court.

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The arrest could exacerbate tensions between Canada and China. A number of Chinese officials, including their ambassador to Canada, cancelled an appearance at the House of Commons' foreign affairs committee today.

The Globe’s Beijing correspondent, Nathan VanderKlippe, has a profile of Ms. Meng and how she rose to her prominent position in China’s corporate community.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa. It is exclusively available only to our digital subscribers. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

The federal government has reached a settlement with another group of Indigenous people who were abused at state-funded schools. More than 120,000 former students of day schools will be compensated in the months ahead for the trauma they suffered. “The harm that was done to me was done to thousands of other kids. And my mishoomis, my grandfather, and my aunts and uncles said you can’t let it go, you have to fight it,” said Garry McLean, the lead plaintiff in the case. Mr. McLean was forced to attend the Dog Creek Indian Day School in Manitoba along with many of his siblings. Details of the settlement will be released in the new year.

The federal government has also agreed to extend the window of time in which survivors of Iraq’s Yazidi genocide can sponsor family members to join them in Canada. The window will be extended by a year. The Globe and Mail reported last weekend that some of those who resettled in Canada have had a tough time coping with the trauma of their experiences without their family helping them.

The Ontario Provincial Police are currently at the province’s Human Rights Tribunal because of allegations of systemic discrimination toward women in the force. The new OPP commissioner, Ron Taverner, will have a hearing of his own next year into how he handled a case of alleged sexual harassment while he was working for the Toronto police.

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A Senate committee would like to meet behind closed doors more often.

And a British parliamentary committee has disclosed more information about how Facebook gave users' personal data to private companies, including the Royal Bank of Canada. In one disclosed email, a Facebook executive muses about giving data to companies that spend at least “$250k a year” on advertising on the social media platform, something a Facebook spokesperson insists they never went through with.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and an international agreement on migrants: “So if Mr. Scheer had opposed the signing of Global Compact on the grounds that Canada shouldn’t put its name to long tracts of big words that don’t have any clear meaning just to make people feel good, he would have deserved a nod of respect. But the warning the Global Compact will put Canada’s sovereignty in imminent danger is fantasy."

Candice Malcolm (Toronto Sun) on the dangers of the document: “The UN Migration Compact is a highly controversial document, riddled with contradictions and radical claims. While many journalists accept Liberal talking points on the banality of this treaty, a close reading of the document exposes the many problems it contains.”

Andrew Coyne (National Post) on that compact: “Scheer would put us in select company in rejecting the compact: not only Donald Trump, but the right-wing nationalist parties in Europe, such as now govern Hungary, Austria and Poland. I had not thought I would ever see the Conservative Party of Canada among their number, but you learn something new every day.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on immigration in Quebec: “While the federal Liberal base expects Mr. Trudeau to stand up for Canadian values, the Prime Minister can’t exactly afford to antagonize Quebec francophones – and jeopardize Liberal seats – in an election year. And with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer insisting he is open to the CAQ’s demands, the Prime Minister must decide whether picking an identity-politics fight with Quebec is worth it.”

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Alexandra Ellerbeck (The Globe and Mail) on press freedom in Canada: “As part of a coalition of a dozen international media and press-freedom groups, CPJ argued that Canada’s legal test for weighing the state’s interest against that of the media’s is behind international standards. Notwithstanding a couple of potentially positive clarifications in the Supreme Court’s ruling – like highlighting the importance of giving media outlets a heads-up when authorities apply for production orders – the decision against Vice Media shows that’s where the court remains.”

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