More Brands Dump Chinese Popstar Accused Of Sexual Assault

(FILES) This file photo taken on January 19, 2017 shows Chinese-Canadian pop idol Kris Wu attending the premiere of Paramount Pictures’ “xXx: Return Of Xander Cage” in Los Angeles, California. – Louis Vuitton, Porsche and Bulgari on July 20, 2021 joined a legion of brands in dropping Chinese-Canadian pop idol Kris Wu, as sexual assault allegations swirling around the star drew condemnation across Chinese social media. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

 

Louis Vuitton, Porsche and Bulgari on Tuesday joined a legion of brands in dropping Chinese-Canadian pop idol Kris Wu, as sexual assault allegations swirling around the star drew condemnation across Chinese social media.

The scandal has parallels with China’s #MeToo movement sparked by Chinese feminists in 2018, where women were empowered to voice their experiences of sexual harassment — sometimes involving powerful public figures.

Nineteen-year-old student Du Meizhu accused Wu, 30, of date-raping her when she was 17 in a Sunday interview with Chinese news portal NetEase.

Du said the K-pop star had attempted to buy her silence with 500,000 RMB ($77,100) and told the outlet she planned to go ahead “with legal proceedings”.

Wu, who also holds Canadian citizenship and grew up between Vancouver and Guangzhou, has denied the allegations on social media.

“I only met Miss Du once at a friend’s gathering, I didn’t ply her with alcohol… I have never ‘coerced women into sex’ or engaged in ‘date rape’,” the megastar also known as Wu Yifan, wrote on Monday, adding he does not sleep with underage girls.

Wu’s studio also published a lengthy response to Du’s claims, denying any wrongdoing and alleging that she only met him once at a party, tried to extort his staff for millions of yuan and falsified her accusations.

“The studio has already launched the legal accountability process,” they wrote Monday evening.

Du’s claims sparked a wave of online condemnation of the megastar, as well as an outpouring of support for Du and female victims of sexual assault more generally.

The fallout has been significant, given its links with one of China’s most bankable stars.

Since Monday a growing number of brands including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Porsche and Tencent Video have announced on social media that they were dropping or suspending their collaborations with Wu.

“Bulgari attaches great importance to the incident relating to Kris Wu and decided to terminate all related collaborations with Wu from today,” the luxury brand wrote on China’s Twitter-like Weibo Tuesday.

Louis Vuitton also said it was suspending cooperation with Wu.

Angry online users have been calling for other brands including L’Oreal Men and Lancome to sever ties with Wu.

Lancome said in a Weibo statement Tuesday that its partnership with Wu expired in June.

Since Du’s comments, more alleged victims have spoken out online, accusing Wu’s staff of predatory behaviour such as inviting them to boozy karaoke parties with the star.

The hashtags “girls help girls”, “girls helping girls” and “girls help girls time” — where women expressed solidarity with Du — were deactivated by Weibo and removed from the trending list Monday, although they could still be searched online.

The China Association of Performance Arts said Monday that Wu’s punishment “must be based on facts instead of relying on online exposes” but called for “severe punishment” if he is found to have broken the law.

State media has weighed in, as the Global Times called for necessary legal intervention in a Monday Weibo post.

The Weibo trending hashtag “the law is the lowest standard of morals” racked up 830 million views, as users complained about the high legal threshold required for victims to prove sexual assault in court.

Canada To Open Border To Vaccinated Americans On Aug 9

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 11, 2020 the Jacques-Cartier bridge in Montreal is seen on April 11, 2020, from the tourist district of the Old Port, illuminated in the colours of the rainbow as a sign of hope and in support of victims of the coronavirus. (Photo by Eric THOMAS / AFP)

 

Fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to cross the border into Canada for non-essential travel from August 9 without any quarantine requirements, the government in Ottawa said Monday.

Canada will then reopen its borders to all vaccinated foreign travelers from September 7.

The US-Canadian land border, the world’s longest, and the air border have been closed to non-essential travel since mid-March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pressure had been rising on the government from the ailing tourism sector to ease travel restrictions, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his administration did not want to jeopardize progress on the home front in curtailing the spread of Covid-19.

Earlier this month, Canada waived quarantine requirements for its own citizens and permanent residents returning from abroad who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

READ ALSO: Adelaide Becomes Latest Australian City To Lock Down

“On August 9, a number of important changes at the border will come into effect, to allow fully vaccinated United States citizens and permanent residents who are currently residing in the United States to enter Canada for non-essential purposes,” Canadian Health Minister Patty Hadju said.

Vaccinated Americans and permanent US residents — and eventually, other foreign travelers — will be required to have had their full course of doses of a vaccine approved by Canadian authorities at least 14 days before arrival, and they will be subject to “testing as required,” her ministry said.

Those travelers should also be asymptomatic on arrival.

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), which had been lobbying for a reopening of the border for months, called the announcement “very welcome news.”

“The tourism economy is ready to welcome visitors back,” the group’s president and CEO Beth Potter said in a statement.

The head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Perrin Beatty, called the announcement a “positive step” but cautioned that “the costly and cumbersome procedures that remain for fully vaccinated travellers will discourage short visits, including many business trips.”

For some provinces, such as Quebec, US tourists make up a significant percentage of the total number of visitors. United Airlines said Monday it would add more flights from the US to Toronto and Vancouver from September.

Since February, only the airports in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver have received international flights. From August 9, airports in Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, Quebec City and Winnipeg will be authorized to receive such flights.

At the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that for the time being, the US government was “continuing to review” its travel restrictions and would follow the guidance of its own medical experts.

Thus far, the border closure had been renewed monthly by mutual agreement between Ottawa and Washington.

According to Canadian government data released Monday, 75 percent of those living in Canada have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. Half are fully vaccinated.

AFP

Scores Dead As Record-Breaking Heat Wave Grips Canada, US

A person walks across a bridge on the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan as the sun sets over Crooked Lake on June 27, 2021. – Fires on Saturday destroyed two more Catholic churches in indigenous communities in western Canada. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP)

 

Scores of deaths in Canada’s Vancouver area are likely linked to a grueling heat wave, authorities said Tuesday, as the country recorded its highest ever temperature amid scorching conditions that extended to the US Pacific Northwest.

At least 134 people have died suddenly since Friday in the Vancouver area, according to figures released by the city police department and the Royal Canadian Mounted police.

The Vancouver Police Department alone said it had responded to more than 65 sudden deaths since Friday, with the vast majority “related to the heat.”

Canada set a new all-time high temperature record for a third day in a row Tuesday, reaching 121 degrees Fahrenheit (49.5 degrees Celsius) in Lytton, British Columbia, about 155 miles (250 kilometers) east of Vancouver, the country’s weather service, Environment Canada, reported.

“Vancouver has never experienced heat like this, and sadly dozens of people are dying because of it,” police sergeant Steve Addison said.

Other local municipalities have said they too have responded to many sudden death calls, but have yet to release tolls.

Some Vancouver locals said they had never experienced such temperatures before.

“It’s never this bad. I’ve never seen anything like this,” said a Vancouver resident who only gave her name as Rosa.

“I hope it never becomes like this ever again. This is too much.”

Others lamented that some residents were more vulnerable to the heat than others.

“I feel for those people whether they’re the elderly demographic or people who live on the downtown eastside of Vancouver who don’t have a cool spot to live or sleep,” said river swimmer Graham Griedger.

Climate change is causing record-setting temperatures to become more frequent. Globally, the decade to 2019 was the hottest recorded, and the five hottest years have all occurred within the last five years.

The scorching heat stretching from the US state of Oregon to Canada’s Arctic territories has been blamed on a high-pressure ridge trapping warm air in the region.

Temperatures in the US Pacific Northwest cities of Portland and Seattle reached levels not seen since record-keeping began in the 1940s: 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland and 108 in Seattle Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

Vancouver on the Pacific coast has for several days recorded temperatures above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (or almost 20 degrees above seasonal norms).

The chief coroner for the province of British Columbia, which includes Vancouver, said that it had “experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory.”

The service said in a statement it recorded 233 deaths between Friday and Monday, compared to 130 on average.

– ‘Hottest week ever’ –

“We are in the midst of the hottest week British Columbians have ever experienced, and there are consequences to that, disastrous consequences for families and for communities,” British Columbia Premier John Horgan told a news conference.

He urged “checking up on those people we know might be at risk, making sure we have cold compresses in the fridge or we’re staying in the coolest part of our homes, and making sure that we’re taking steps to get through this heat wave.”

Environment Canada has issued alerts for British Columbia, Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, saying the “prolonged, dangerous and historic heat wave will persist through this week.”

The heat wave has forced schools and Covid-19 vaccination centers to close in the Vancouver area, while officials set up temporary water fountains and misting stations on street corners.

Stores quickly sold out of portable air conditioners and fans, so several people without cooling at home told AFP they hunkered down in their air conditioned cars or underground parking garages at night.

Cities across the western United States and Canada opened emergency cooling centers and outreach workers handed out bottles of water and hats.

The extreme heat, combined with intense drought, also created the perfect conditions for several fires to break out over the weekend, and one blaze on the California-Oregon border had already burned about 1,500 acres (600 hectares) by Monday morning.

“Dubai would be cooler than what we’re seeing now,” David Phillips, a senior climatologist for Environment Canada, told AFP on Monday.

AFP

Canada Mandates New Cars To Be Zero-Emissions By 2035

In this file photo the Canadian flag flies above the Canadian embassy in Beijing on January 15, 2019. – Canada and other nations are considering labelling China’s treatment of its Uighur minority a genocide, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said February 16, 2021. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)

 

All new cars and light-duty trucks in Canada will be required to be zero-emissions by 2035, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced Tuesday, moving up the timeline for eliminating vehicle pollution.

“Today, I’m announcing that we are accelerating our zero emission vehicles goal. By 2035, all new cars and light duty trucks sold in Canada will be zero emission vehicles — 100 percent of them,” Alghabra told a news conference.

“This is five years sooner than our previous goal,” he said.

The regulatory move, he said, will help Canada to meet its overall net-zero carbon emissions target for the economy by mid-century.

Alghabra noted that his country is one of the few in the world with domestic access to all of the key resources for producing electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and praised General Motors, Ford and other automakers for opening EV assembly plants in Canada.

But despite government incentives to defray the relatively higher prices of EVs, purchases have been slow to take off.

According to government data, battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids accounted for less than four percent of the 25 million passenger cars and trucks registered in Canada last year — up from about two percent in 2019.

AFP

Canada, Northwest US Suffer Record Heat Forcing Schools To Close

 Pablo Miranda cools off in the Salmon Springs Fountain on June 27, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. Record breaking temperatures lingered over the Northwest during a historic heatwave this weekend. Nathan Howard/Getty Images/AFP
Pablo Miranda cools off in the Salmon Springs Fountain on June 27, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. Record breaking temperatures lingered over the Northwest during a historic heatwave this weekend. Nathan Howard/Getty Images/AFP

 

Swathes of the United States and Canada endured record-setting heat on Sunday, forcing schools and Covid-19 testing centers to close and the suspension of an Olympic athletics qualifying event, with forecasters warning of worse to come.

The village of Lytton in British Columbia broke the record for Canada’s all-time high, with a temperature of 46.6 degrees Celsius (116 Fahrenheit), said Environment Canada.

And in Eugene, Oregon, a temperature of 43.3 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit) forced organisers to postpone the final day of the US Olympic track and field trials, moving afternoon events to the evening.

Because of climate change, record-setting temperatures are becoming more frequent. Globally, the decade to 2019 was the hottest recorded, and the five hottest years have all occurred within the last five years.

On Sunday in Seattle, Washington state, the temperature hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), a record that surprised residents not used to warmer climes.

“Normally it’s probably like, maybe 60, 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) is a great day, everybody is outside in shorts and T-shirts, but this is like — this is ridiculous,” one city resident told AFP. “I feel like I’m in the desert or something.”

Another said: “You just stand around and you’re like — you can’t breathe, it’s so hot.”

Doug Farr, manager of the city’s weekly Ballard Farmers Market, said the site had to close early Sunday because of the heat — something it normally only has to do for snow.

“I think this is the first time we’ve ever closed early because of the heat,” he said.

Oregon’s biggest city, Portland, hit 44.4 degrees Celsius (112 degrees Fahrenheit) Sunday, the US National Weather Service (NWS) said, breaking the city’s record set a day earlier.

Across the border in Canada, stores reportedly sold out of portable air conditioners and fans, while cities opened emergency cooling centers and outreach workers handed out bottles of water and hats.

Several Covid-19 vaccination clinics were canceled and schools announced they would close on Monday.

‘Extreme and prolonged heat’

More than 40 new highs were recorded throughout British Columbia over the weekend, including in the ski resort town of Whistler.

And forecasters said hotter days were to come.

“A prolonged, dangerous and historic heat wave will persist through this week,” Environment Canada said, forecasting temperatures near 40 degrees Celsius in several regions.

Kids play in the Salmon Springs Fountain on June 27, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. Nathan Howard/Getty Images/AFP

 

It issued alerts for British Columbia, Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

The NWS issued a similar warning.

The heat has been blamed on a high-pressure ridge trapping warm air in the region. The NWS previously said it would “likely be one of the most extreme and prolonged heat waves in the recorded history of the Inland Northwest.”

Nick Bond, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington, said the freak weather event was not entirely due to climate change, but was exacerbated by it.

“Climate change is a factor here, but definitely a secondary one,” he said.

“The main thing going on is this highly unusual weather pattern, but that being said climate change is real, our temperatures have warmed here, especially summer night-time temperatures and so that has just kind of raised the baseline and made this heat event that much more severe.”

 

AFP

Canada Shaken By New Discovery Of 751 Unmarked Graves Near Indigenous School

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 4, 2021 people from Mosakahiken Cree Nation hug in front of a makeshift memorial at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility, in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston / AFP)

 

More than 750 unmarked graves have been found near a former Catholic boarding school for indigenous children in western Canada, a tribal leader said Thursday, the second such shock discovery in a month.

The revelation once again cast a spotlight on a dark chapter in Canada’s history, and revived calls on the Pope and the church to apologize for the abuse and violence suffered at the schools, where students were forcibly assimilated into the country’s dominant culture.

“As of yesterday, we have hit 751 unmarked graves” at the site of the former Marieval boarding school in Saskatchewan province, Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme told reporters. “This is not a mass grave site. These are unmarked graves.”

He said that the graves may at one time have been marked, but “Catholic Church representatives removed these headstones,” adding that doing so is a crime in Canada and they were treating the gravesites “as a crime scene.”

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron described the finding as “a crime against humanity.”

“The world is watching Canada as we unearth the findings of genocide,” he said.

“We had concentration camps here… Canada will be known as the nation that tried to exterminate the First Nations.”

Excavations at the Marieval school, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) east of the provincial capital Regina, began at the end of May, after the discovery of the remains of 215 schoolchildren at another former indigenous residential school in British Columbia.

After the discovery of the remains at the Kamloops school, excavations were undertaken near several former institutions for indigenous children across Canada, with the assistance of government authorities.

Some 150,000 Native American, Metis and Inuit children were forcibly recruited until the 1990s in 139 of these residential schools across Canada, where they were isolated from their families, their language and their culture.

Many were subjected to ill-treatment and sexual abuse, and more than 4,000 died in the schools, according to a commission of inquiry that concluded Canada had committed “cultural genocide” against the indigenous communities.

Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said the discovery of the Saskatchewan site was “absolutely tragic, but not surprising.”

“I urge all Canadians to stand with First Nations in this extremely difficult and emotional time,” Bellegarde said.

– ‘Multiple locations’ –

The Marieval residential school in eastern Saskatchewan hosted indigenous children between 1899 and 1997 before being demolished and replaced by a day school.

One former student, Barry Kennedy, told the broadcaster CBC he was shocked by the news but not surprised.

“During my time at Marieval Indian Residential School, I had a young friend that was dragged off one night screaming,” he said, adding that he never saw the child again.

“His name was Bryan… I want to know where Bryan is,” Kennedy said.

He described a history of violence at the school.

“We were introduced to rape. We were introduced to violent beatings. We were introduced to things that weren’t normal with our families,” he said.

And he said he imagined that the graves found so far were just the tip of the iceberg: “By the stories that… were told by our friends and fellow students, there are multiple locations, you know, per school.”

Many Aboriginal community leaders expect more grisly discoveries in the coming months. Searches have already turned up possible unmarked burial sites in Ontario and Manitoba provinces.

“We will find more bodies and we will not stop till we find all of our children,” Cameron said at the press conference.

“We all must put down our ignorance and accidental racism at not addressing the truth that this country has with indigenous people,” said Delorme.

“This country must stand by us.”

In early June, a few days after the discovery of the bones in Kamloops, UN human rights experts urged Ottawa and the Vatican to conduct a full and prompt investigation into the discovery.

AFP

Canada’s Trudeau Survives Vote Of No Confidence

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

 

 

The minority government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau survived a parliamentary vote of no-confidence Wednesday in a face-off over the proposed budget, eliminating the possibility of early elections this summer. 

The House of Commons voted 211 to 121 in favor of approving the budget, which was proposed in April and contains a plan to spend CAN$101.4 billion (69 billion euros) over three years.

The conservative opposition voted together against Trudeau, who was able to hang on thanks to the support of three other smaller blocs in the lower chamber.

The 2021-2022 budget, which began April 1, must still be approved by the Senate — a formality expected Friday, ahead of the summer recess.

After clearing this hurdle — and with Canada’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign progressing rapidly — Trudeau, who enjoys a high approval rating, could be tempted to call for snap elections at the end of the summer in an effort to regain a parliamentary majority, which his Liberal party lost after October 2019’s general election.

The budget’s flagship provision is a CAN$30 billion investment over five years to establish a network of low-cost, high-quality public daycares to encourage the participation of women in the labor market.

Some CAN$17.6 billion are earmarked for green initiatives, including helping companies reduce their carbon footprints and supporting public transport projects in large cities.

Two Century-Old Churches Go Up In Flames In Canada Indigenous Communities

In this file photo the Canadian flag flies above the Canadian embassy in Beijing on January 15, 2019. – Canada and other nations are considering labelling China’s treatment of its Uighur minority a genocide, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said February 16, 2021. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)

 

Federal police said Monday that they were investigating “suspicious” fires that destroyed two Catholic churches built around 1910 in indigenous communities in western Canada.

The Sacred Heart Church on Penticton Indian Band lands and St. Gregory’s Church on Osoyoos Indian Band lands in the Oliver area of British Columbia province, went up in flames at around the same time, between 1 am and 3 am local time.

Their destruction comes weeks after unmarked graves of 215 children were found in nearby Kamloops at one of many boarding schools set up a century ago to forcibly assimilate Canada’s indigenous peoples.

The discovery at the Kamloops Indian Residential School shocked Canadians, and renewed calls for Pope Francis to apologize for abuses at the schools run by the church on behalf of the federal government.

Sergeant Jason Bayda said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is investigating the two fires. “Both churches burned to the ground and police are treating the fires as suspicious,” he said.

Although too early to conclude arson, he added, “We are sensitive to the recent events” in Kamloops.

Earlier, Bob Graham, chief of the volunteer fire department in Oliver, British Columbia, told public broadcaster CBC, “We believe by looking at the scene and the surroundings, that there was a liquid accelerant used.”

“Early indications are that it was set,” he said of the St. Gregory’s Church blaze, adding that the wooden church was completely gutted.

Forty kilometers (25 miles) north, Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band said investigators were sifting through blackened rubble and reviewing surveillance footage for clues about what sparked the Sacred Heart Church fire.

“It’s hoped that they will find something that they can use to determine the cause and maybe who’s responsible,” he told CBC.

Some 150,000 indigenous, Inuit and Metis youngsters were taken from their communities and enrolled at Canada’s residential schools, where students were physically and sexually abused by headmasters and teachers who stripped them of their culture and language.

Today those experiences are blamed for a high incidence of poverty, alcoholism and domestic violence, as well as high suicide rates, in Canada’s indigenous communities.

“There’s a lot of anger in every indigenous community across Canada after those 215 innocent children’s graves were discovered,” Gabriel commented.

“I’m not saying this may be the cause of our church going up in flames,” he said, “But there’s a lot of anger.”

AFP

UK Joins US, EU, Canada In Fresh Sanctions On Belarus

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks during his meeting with parliamentarians, members of Constitutional Commission and representatives of public administration bodies in Minsk on May 26, 2021. (Photo by Maxim GUCHEK / BELTA / AFP)

 

Britain on Monday said it had joined the United States, Canada and the European Union in imposing fresh sanctions on Belarus after the detention of an opposition journalist.

The government said it had imposed travel bans and asset freezes against “senior-ranking officials” in President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, as well as oil firm BNK (UK) Ltd.

“The sanctions send a strong signal to the Belarusian authorities that the UK will not tolerate those who repress human rights coming to the UK or using our financial institutions,” the foreign office said in a statement.

Britain said its sanctions were imposed separate to the EU, which it left last year, but in parallel to those announced by Washington, Ottawa and Brussels.

It follows outrage at the diversion in May of a Ryanair flight, which was forced to land in Minsk, upon which Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend were detained.

The British foreign office said the restrictions on BNK (UK) Ltd, which exports Belarusian oil products, would “significantly impact one of the regime’s main revenue streams”.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The Lukashenko regime endangered the lives of airline passengers and crew in a shameful ruse to snatch Roman Protasevich.

“We will hold the regime to account in coordination with our allies including through further banning travel, freezing assets and cutting off oil export revenue streams.”

In September last year, Britain announced sanctions on human rights grounds against Lukashenko himself, his son and senior figures in the Belarusian government.

AFP

Canada: Top Military Boss Resigns After Golf Controversy

Lieutenant General Mike Rouleau who golfed with Vance has power over military police investigations.

 

 

Canada’s number-two military official, Lieutenant General Mike Rouleau, announced his resignation Monday after playing golf with a retired former Chief of Staff being investigated for alleged sexual misconduct.

The not-so-simple round of golf drew scrutiny amid concerns about potential for perceived conflict of interest by Rouleau — he was hierarchical superior of the head of the military police investigating retired General Jonathan Vance.

Vance, who retired in January, denies any wrongdoing.

In a letter, Rouleau acknowledges having played golf June 2 with the former chief of staff and the commander of the Navy but assures that he did not discuss ongoing investigations.

In addition, he said, “I have never issued any instructions or guidelines to the CFPM in regards to any ongoing military police investigations including those involving sexual misconduct.”

He said he accepts “fully” how his decision to play the round of golf “has intensified recent events and contributed to further erosion of trust” in the military.

Rouleau said he was being reassigned to unspecified duties in the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group, which notably assists injured and sick personnel, the army said.

General Frances Jennifer Allen is due to succeed him as Vice Chief of Staff in coming weeks.

The army has been shaken for several months by a series of investigations into high-ranking officers suspected of “sexual misconduct” toward subordinates.

Vance’s successor, Admiral Art McDonald, had also left office a few weeks after his appointment, after an investigation into similar charges was opened.

At the end of April, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan instructed Louise Arbor, a former prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal (ICT), to conduct an independent investigation into the handling of cases of sexual harassment within the army.

Man Charged With Terrorism For Deadly Truck Attack On Canada Muslims

In this file photo Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on January 9, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. Dave Chan / AFP
In this file photo Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on January 9, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. Dave Chan / AFP

 

 

 

Canada is pressing terrorism charges against a man accused of mowing down a Muslim family with a pickup truck, killing four, prosecutors said Monday.

Five members of the Afzaal family were out for a walk in London, Ontario — around 125 miles (200 kilometers) southwest of Toronto — on June 6, when a truck driver struck them on purpose, according to authorities.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha, 44, their daughter Yumna, 15, and Salman’s mother Talat, 74, were all killed. The couple’s nine-year-old son Fayez survived, but was seriously injured.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously said the killings were “a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred.”

Prosecutors revealed in a brief hearing Monday that they were adding terrorism charges to the four counts of premeditated murder and one of attempted murder leveled last week against 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman.

“The federal and provincial attorneys general provided their consent to commence terrorism proceedings, alleging that the murders and the attempted murder also constitute terrorist activity,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement after the hearing.

Veltman, who has no criminal record and no known link to any extremist group, told the court via video link that he does not have a lawyer. He has yet to enter a plea and is set to reappear in court on June 21.

Several Canadian media outlets revealed on Monday that Fayez Afzaal had been able to leave hospital, and was being taken care of by relatives.

He was “expected to recover —- it’s going to be some time,” relative Saboor Khan told CBC News.

“His family’s main priority is to support him through that recovery.”

Last week, during an impassioned speech at the House of Commons, Trudeau said: “This killing was no accident. This was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities.”

“I think it is really important for us to name it as an act of terror,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told a news conference Monday.

“It is important for us to identify this as an act of Islamophobia, and it is important for us to identify the terrible threat that white supremacism poses to Canada, and to Canadians.”

The attack has fueled debate about the prevalence of Islamophobia in Canada, and heightened fears within the Muslim community that outward signs of religious affiliation can make a person a target.

It was the deadliest anti-Muslim attack in Canada since a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City that had killed six people in 2017.

Suspect Charged With Terrorism For Truck Attack On Canada Muslims

People march past the Cherryhill Village Mall parking lot where Nathaniel Veltman was arrested during the multi-faith march to end hatred, in London, Ontario, Canada on June 11, 2021.
Several thousand people joined an interfaith marched on the evening of June 11 honoring the four members of a Muslim family who were killed in an attack that has shocked Canada.

 

Canadian authorities have charged the suspect behind an attack in which a Muslim family was mowed down by a pick-up truck with terrorism, prosecutors said Monday in court.

Four members of the Afzaal family — a man and his wife, their teenage daughter and his mother — were out for a walk in their London, Ontario neighborhood when a truck driver drove into them on purpose, according to authorities.

Nathaniel Veltman, 20, had already been charged last week with four counts of premeditated murder and one of attempted murder.

The attack was denounced as a “terrorist” act by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.