A federal watchdog agency created to examine corporate wrongdoing overseas is investigating Walmart Canada, Hugo Boss Canada and Diesel Canada after complaints the retailers are selling clothing made with Uyghur forced labour in China.
The investigations by the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) follows a handful of others announced over the last several weeks, including Nike Canada, Ralph Lauren Canada and the mining company Dynasty Canada, all for accusations that their products may be produced with forced labour. The story by The Globe and Mail’s Steven Chase and Susan Krashinsky Robertson can be read here.
China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, which produces one-fifth of the world’s cotton, has been the focus of reports by media, researchers and rights groups, who say Beijing has committed grave human-rights violations against the region’s largely Muslim Uyghur population, as well as other minorities there. Among the alleged abuses is the widespread use of forced labour.
Michele Bachelet, who was the United Nations high commissioner for human rights until August, 2022, visited Xinjiang last year. Her office’s report on the trip said China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the region may amount to crimes against humanity.
A Globe investigation in May found that CORE had yet to file any reports to the minister who oversaw it at the time, raising questions about whether it was fulfilling the mandate it was given.
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RCMP alerted, Jewish groups alarmed after U.S. white-supremacist group makes inroads in Canada –The RCMP and city police forces are investigating links between antisemitic leaflets and posters found in cities across Canada, anti-Jewish graffiti found in Ontario high schools and an active U.S. white-supremacist group. Story here.
COVID-19 hospitalizations jump nearly 20% year-over-year, ICU and ER visits down, data show – Across the country, hospital emergency departments and intensive care units have seen a decline in COVID-19 patients compared with a year ago, but the number of people admitted to hospital because of the virus has increased nearly 20 per cent, according to new data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Story here.
Saskatchewan’s pronoun and naming changes at school part of larger trend, professor says – A professor who researches sexual and gender youth issues says he’s concerned naming and pronoun changes in Saskatchewan schools could cause other governments in Canada to adopt similar policies. Kristopher Wells, the Canada Research Chair for the public understanding of sexual and gender minority youth, said the new policy requiring parental consent when children under 16 want to change their names or pronouns is part of a larger trend in North America. Story here.
And finally, the sort of story I learned early in my career to call a “Hey Martha,” because it makes you want to call out to the nearest person to ask if they heard about it:
Helicopter airdrops granola bars for Poomba the pig, after surviving B.C. wildfire - Nourished by a helicopter airdrop of granola bars, Poomba the pig has survived the wildfire devastation that surrounds her on what remains of the Broken Rail Ranch in West Kelowna. The ranch was engulfed in flames last Thursday, but Poomba is roaming on the last patch of grass, cared for by firefighters, said West Kelowna resident Keramia Lawrie, whose parents own the property. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons and Senate remain on summer break, returning in mid-September.
Back in July, a former RCMP officer was charged with conducting foreign interference on behalf of China. We now know more about what the RCMP is accusing this officer of doing. And it involves a real estate tycoon, a “hired gun,” and a campaign called Operation Fox Hunt.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Justin Trudeau is in Ottawa for private meetings.
Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail) on why capping the number of foreign students in Canada won’t be simple: “As for colleges and universities, a sudden reduction in the number of foreign students they are allowed to accept would have disastrous financial consequences. Provincial funding has been stagnant for years, while a freeze on tuition fees for domestic students in Ontario has forced institutions to turn to international enrollees to make up for the shortfall.”
Lawrence Martin (Globe and Mail) examines the steely resolve of Justin Trudeau and why even an electoral defeat doesn’t guarantee he’ll walk away: “Justin Trudeau is younger in office by almost a decade than his father. He has no big ambition beyond politics. If Pierre Poilievre wins a minority there is a good chance Mr. Trudeau would continue as Liberal chief, and with the help of the NDP he could try and topple a minority Tory government.”
Bessma Momani (Contributor to The Globe and Mail) examines why the BRICS emerging market economy club could challenge U.S. dominance: “Many Global South countries are also fed up with the Americans for making them take sides in what’s clearly a brewing cold war, particularly when the West is in relative global economic decline and while both China and Russia remain key and necessary global trading partners. Global South countries are trying to signal to the Americans and the West that they have other alliance options by showing newfound interest in joining the BRICS club.”
The Editorial Board (Globe and Mail) critiques what the temporary student visa program has become and offers a suggested fix: “There may be a case to be made for bringing hundreds of thousands of more temporary workers into Canada (we have our doubts). If so, the government should make that case, and allow for more workers under the existing programs. But international student visas should not be a backdoor into Canada’s labour market, or to permanent-residency status.”