Russia Adds 43 Canadians To Blacklist, Canada Hits Back

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Russian government via teleconference in Moscow on March 10, 2022. Mikhail Klimentyev / SPUTNIK / AFP
In this file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Russian government via teleconference in Moscow on March 10, 2022. Mikhail Klimentyev / SPUTNIK / AFP

 

Russia on Monday banned 43 more Canadians from entering its territory, in response to sanctions imposed by Ottawa over Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

Canada then hit back with another round of sanctions against six Russians and 46 companies linked to the country’s defence sector.

The new blacklist published by the Russian foreign ministry includes Suzanne Cowan, leader of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, and Mark Carney, former governor of the Canadian and British central banks.

Senior civil servants, political advisers, and members of civil society are also penalised.

READ ALSO: Moscow Says Strikes Hit Ukraine Military Training Centres

The foreign ministry in Moscow criticised the “belligerent Russophobia” of Trudeau’s government.

It said the new bans were in retaliation for Canada’s introduction in May of new sanctions targeting the heads of Russian companies and members of their families.

Trudeau, in Germany for G7 talks, has also signalled Ottawa’s intention to roll out measures “to counter the Kremlin’s disinformation” and ban exports of technologies such as quantum computers and advanced manufacturing equipment that it says could be used in Russian defence manufacturing.

Since the start of its offensive in Ukraine, Russia has banned more than 700 Canadians from entering its territory, including those announced on Monday.

In May, the Kremlin closed down the Moscow office of Canadian national public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada and cancelled its journalists’ visas and accreditation passes.

The move was in retaliation for Canada’s decision in March to ban Russian state media outlet RT.

The latest measures announced by Trudeau bring to more than 1,070 the total number of individuals and entities in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus that Canada has sanctioned since Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine started on February 24.

AFP

Trudeau Announces Canada Handgun ‘Freeze’

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 21, 2022 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on February 23, 2022 revoked emergency powers used to dislodge weeks-long trucker-led protests in Ottawa and blockades of border crossings to the United States, as he declared the crisis over. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP)

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday a proposed freeze on handgun ownership in Canada that would effectively ban their importation and sale, following recent mass shootings in the United States.

The bill must still be passed by Parliament, with the ruling Liberals holding only a minority of seats.

“We’re introducing legislation to implement a national freeze on handgun ownership,” Trudeau told a news conference, joined by dozens of families and friends of victims of gun violence.

“What this means is that it will no longer be possible to buy, sell, transfer or import handguns anywhere in Canada,” he said. “In other words, we’re capping the market for handguns.”


READ ALSO: 49 Killed, 300 Injured In Bangladesh Port Depot Fire


Days after Canada’s worst mass shooting left 23 dead in rural Nova Scotia in April 2020, the government banned 1,500 types of military-grade or assault-style firearms.

But Trudeau acknowledged Monday that gun violence continues to rise.

The government statistical agency reported last week that firearms-related violent crimes account for less than three percent of all violent crimes in Canada.

But since 2009 the per capita rate of guns being pointed at someone has nearly tripled, while the rate at which a gun was fired with an intent to kill or wound is up five-fold.

Almost two-thirds of gun crimes in urban areas involved handguns.

Police often point to smuggling from the United States — which is reeling from recent shootings at a school in Texas and at a supermarket in New York state — as the main source of handguns.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino estimated there are about one million handguns in this country — up significantly from a decade ago.

Trudeau commented, “People should be free to go to the supermarket, their school or their place of worship without fear. People should be free to go to the park or to a birthday party without worrying about what might happen from a stray bullet.

“Gun violence is a complex problem,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the math is really quite simple: the fewer the guns in our communities, the safer everyone will be.”

The proposed law would also strip anyone involved in domestic violence or stalking of their firearms license, and take away guns from those deemed to be a risk to themselves or others, as well as strengthen border security and criminal penalties for gun trafficking.

It would also ban long-gun magazines capable of holding more than five bullets.

Police Move In To Clear Trucker-Led Protests In Canada Capital

A protest trucks is towed as police begin to clear demonstrators against Covid-19 mandates in Ottawa on February 18, 2022. ANDREJ IVANOV / AFP
A protest trucks is towed as police begin to clear demonstrators against Covid-19 mandates in Ottawa on February 18, 2022. ANDREJ IVANOV / AFP

 

Canadian police on Friday began a massive operation to clear the trucker-led protests against Covid health rules clogging the capital for three weeks, with several arrests made and trucks towed away.

Hundreds of heavily armed officers gathered in the early morning on the edges of downtown Ottawa for the start of a gradual clearance process that could take days.

Overnight two protest leaders were arrested and charged with mischief and counselling others to break the law, while Friday morning an AFP journalist saw several demonstrators led away in handcuffs as police and tow trucks moved in.

“Some protesters are surrendering and are being arrested,” Ottawa police tweeted.

READ ALSO: Biden To Hold Video Talks With Western Leaders On Ukraine

“You must leave,” they warned the protesters, telling them “you will face severe penalties if you do not cease further unlawful activity and remove your vehicle and/or property immediately.”

Media were asked to “stay out of police operations for your safety.” A police news conference was scheduled later in the day to provide an update.

Demonstrators appeared to dig in after a heavy snowfall, playing cheerful music and waving Canadian flags at the ends of hockey sticks.

The so-called “Freedom Convoy” started with truckers protesting against mandatory Covid vaccines to cross the US border, but its demands have grown to include an end to all pandemic health rules and, for many, a wider anti-establishment agenda.

At its peak, the movement also included blockades of a half-dozen US-Canada border crossings including a key trade route across the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan — all of which have been lifted after costing the economy billions of dollars, according to the government.

One of the arrested protest organizers, Tamara Lich, 49, was heard telling truckers as she was being led away by police late Thursday to “hold the line.”

Parliament closed

On Friday, lawmakers took the extraordinary move to cancel a parliamentary session. Speaker of the House Anthony Rota cited “exceptional circumstances” and an “ever-changing” situation in the streets outside the seat of Canada’s democracy.

Government workers and MPs were asked to stay away, while anyone already in the parliamentary precinct were urged to shelter indoors.

Police had given protesters on Thursday a final warning to leave, as barricades went up to restrict access to the downtown protest zone and surrounding neighborhoods — encompassing more than 500 acres (200 hectares).

Criticized for failing to act decisively to end the protests and facing pressure from Washington, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week invoked the Emergencies Act, which gives the government sweeping powers to deal with a major crisis.

It’s only the second time such powers have been invoked in peacetime.

Lawmakers, split over the move with only a small leftist party backing Trudeau’s minority Liberal government, were debating its use when parliament was hastily shut down.

New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh told the Commons on Thursday that the protesters were “brazenly” trying to overthrow the government, while accusing the main opposition Tories of “endorsing” the trucker convoy.

Conservative MPs shot back that the government was using a “sledgehammer to crack down on dissent.”

Trudeau has said the act was not being used to call in the military against the protesters, and denied restricting freedom of expression.

The objective was simply to “deal with the current threat and to get the situation fully under control,” he said Thursday. “Illegal blockades and occupations are not peaceful protests… They have to stop.”

Police this week arrested dozens of protesters at border crossings, including four people charged with conspiracy to murder police officers at a checkpoint between Coutts, Alberta and Sweet Grass, Montana.

They also seized dozens of vehicles, as well as a cache of weapons that included rifles, handguns, body armor and ammunition.

Authorities also froze the bank accounts of protesters and chocked off crowdfunding and cryptocurrency transactions supporting the truckers.

AFP

Key US-Canada Bridge Reopens, Truckers Still Cripple Ottawa

Trucks drive down the road towards the Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor, Ontario on February 14, 2022. – The border crossing reopened to traffic last night-the bridge was closed for almost a week after Anti-Covid 19 Vaccine Mandate “Freedom Convoy” protestors blocked the road. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP)

 

A border crossing vital to US-Canada trade was operating again Monday after police ended a trucker blockade over Covid rules, but downtown Ottawa remained paralyzed by a swelling protest movement now in its third week.

The truckers and their supporters are pushing an anti-vaccine mandate and wider anti-establishment agenda that has triggered copycat movements in France and the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, with some US truckers mulling a protest for March.

The blockading of the Ambassador Bridge, which handles an estimated 25 percent of trade between the two countries, had disrupted business in the world’s largest economy and forced automakers in the United States and Canada to halt or scale back production.

“The Ambassador Bridge is now fully open, once again allowing the free flow of commerce between the Canadian and US economies,” the Detroit International Bridge Company said in a statement.

In a tweet, Canadian Border Services confirmed the reopening but said “non-essential travel is not advised.”

Police had begun clearing the bridge to the US city of Detroit on Saturday, successfully removing trucks from one major intersection. But some demonstrators remained, extending the protracted standoff and preventing traffic from flowing.

By Sunday, police said between 25 and 30 protesters had been arrested.

“There will be zero tolerance for illegal activity,” tweeted police in Windsor, Ontario.

– Copycat movements –

The truckers have found support among conservatives and vaccine mandate opponents across the globe, even as Covid-19 measures are being rolled back in many places.

In Paris on Saturday, police fired tear gas and issued hundreds of fines in an effort to break up convoys coming from across France.

The Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria have also seen copycat movements, and Belgian authorities said Monday they had intercepted 30 vehicles as police scrambled to stop a convoy of trucks.

Demonstrators were seeking to head north to the seat of the European Union in defiance of a Belgian ban.

Brussels mayor Philippe Close told local RTBF radio that a total of 400-500 cars and vans had been spotted en route for the Belgian capital.

“About 30 have been blocked and the others have vanished,” Close said.

Outside the Belgian capital several dozen motorhomes, vans and small vans were gathered on Monday morning in a parking lot reserved by police for the demonstrators.

Many of them came from France, including Antoine Medina, an electrician from Saint-Etienne, who said he had also participated in the convoy to Paris.

He said he was demonstrating in solidarity with his children “who do not want to be vaccinated.”

Several demonstrators also seemed determined to reach Strasbourg, in the hope of meeting with European lawmakers.

“We want to be heard by Europe,” one of the drivers told AFP, without giving a name.

– ‘Serious consequences’ –

Washington had ramped up pressure on the Canadian government to end the border blockade, with President Joe Biden personally voicing his concerns to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the “serious effects” on US companies.

As police moved to clear the protest over the weekend, US officials praised the “decisive” action.

Speaking before the bridge resumed operations, White House national security advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall said US and Canadian officials recognized “the imperative of taking swift, strong action and deterring future blockades.”

Trudeau had underscored that “this conflict must end,” but faced criticism for failing to act more decisively.

Truckers had originally converged on the Canadian capital to press their demand for an end to a vaccination requirement affecting drivers crossing the international border.

But the movement spread, with protesters eventually calling for an end to all vaccine mandates, whether imposed by the federal or provincial governments.

Ottawa has been the epicenter of protests with hundreds of trucks still blocking the downtown area, in what is now the third week of the movement.

The atmosphere among protesters has been mostly festive, with music, dancing and constant sounding of air horns — but the noise, obstruction and sometimes rude and aggressive behavior of demonstrators has harmed area businesses and infuriated many locals.

In response, authorities in Ontario declared a state of emergency, while the provincial supreme court ordered truckers to end their blockade.

But the truckers’ message has resonated more widely than officials expected.

One opinion survey found that about one-third of Canadians support the protest movement.

Canadian Mayor Declares State Of Emergency Over ‘Out Of Control’ Protest

 Supporters against vaccines mandates continue to party into the night on February 5, 2022 in Ottawa, Canada. Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP
Supporters against vaccines mandates continue to party into the night on February 5, 2022 in Ottawa, Canada. Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP

 

The ongoing truckers’ protest in the Canadian capital is “out of control,” the Ottawa mayor said Sunday, announcing a state of emergency as the city center remained blocked by opponents of anti-Covid measures.

The protesters, who first reached the capital on January 29, have parked their big rigs on city streets and put up tents and temporary shacks — paralyzing the capital to the consternation of officials and the mounting frustration of many residents.

Mayor Jim Watson announced a state of emergency that “reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government,” a statement from the city said.

READ ALSO: Six Killed, Thousands Displaced In Madagascar Cyclone Batsirai

Earlier in the day, Watson had described the situation as “completely out of control,” adding that the protesters “have far more people than we have police officers.”

“Clearly, we are outnumbered and we are losing this battle,” he told CFRA radio. “This has to be reversed; we have to get our city back.”

Watson called the truckers “insensitive,” as they have continued “blaring horns and sirens and fireworks, and turning it into a party.”

The demonstrations began as protests by truckers angry with vaccine requirements when crossing the US-Canadian border, but have morphed into broader protests against Covid-19 health restrictions and the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Locals have complained of the ceaseless sound of air horns and of being harassed, insulted or blocked by the protesters.

The truckers and their supporters have dug in, however, saying the protests will continue until the Covid-related restrictions are lifted.

Police on Sunday announced new measures to stop people from helping the protesters keep up their sit-in.

“Anyone attempting to bring material supports (gas, etc.) to the demonstrators could be subject to arrest,” the force tweeted, adding Sunday night that several arrests had been made.

‘Extremely disruptive’

Similar, if smaller, demonstrations hit the cities of Toronto, Quebec City and Winnipeg on Saturday.

Police in Quebec City said some 30 big trucks were blocking a major artery and had been warned they would face fines if they did not move soon.

Later Sunday police said on Twitter that all the trucks had left but protest organizers promised to return in two weeks, once the ongoing Quebec Winter Carnival was over.

In an emergency meeting Saturday with Ottawa officials, police chief Peter Sloly complained that he lacked the resources to end what he called a “siege,” and asked for reinforcements.

Ottawa police are due to soon be reinforced by some 250 Royal Canadian Mounted Police — a federal force.

“This group is a threat to our democracy,” city council member Diane Deans said of the protesters on Saturday. “What we’re seeing is bigger than just a city of Ottawa problem, this is a nationwide insurrection. This is madness.”

The police said Sunday that they had issued some 450 tickets since Saturday morning, for a variety of mostly minor infractions including excessive noise and use of fireworks, though one truck that turned out to be stolen was seized.

They said “extremely disruptive” protesters had in some cases endangered public safety, causing “unacceptable distress” to local residents.

Police have opened 97 investigations into possible criminal offenses, the statement said.

In addition, it said, the police are “actively working with Canadian, US and international security agencies/authorities to investigate email-based threats to public officials.”

 

AFP

Canada Protests Against COVID-19 Measures Set To Increase

Protestors party in front of Parliament Hill during a rally against COVID-19 vaccine mandates on January 29, 2022, in Ottawa, Canada. PHOTO: ALEX KENT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

 

A week-long occupation of Canada’s capital by truckers opposed to vaccine mandates was set to ramp up Saturday with thousands of demonstrators expected to pile into Ottawa while other cities also braced for protests.

Police said they were expecting up to 2,000 protesters as well as 1,000 counter-protesters to join the hundreds already parked in front of parliament, but organizers said tens of thousands were headed to Ottawa.

Similar protests are also planned for Toronto, Quebec City, and Winnipeg.

“This remains… an increasingly volatile and increasingly dangerous demonstration,” Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly told a news conference Friday.

READ ALSO: At Least 10 Killed As Bus Hits Landmine In Somalia

Following thousands of complaints from local residents of threats and harassment by protesters who have made even sleep difficult with incessant honking, and an online petition signed by 40,000 demanding action, Sloly vowed to crack down on what he called an “unlawful” protest.

But he did not offer a timeline.

Reached for comment by AFP, protest coordinator Jim Torma said on behalf of organizers that the protesters would not back down.

“They’re not going to hide us,” Torma said. “We’re going to be in (politicians’) faces as long as it takes” to force an end to public health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19.

With tensions already high and counter-protesters expected to now converge on the city, however, “the prospects for confrontation remain high,” warned federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino.

 

– Trump backs ‘Freedom Convoy’ –

The so-called Freedom Convoy started on Canada’s Pacific coast in late January and picked up supporters along its 4,400-kilometer (2,700 miles) trek to the capital, as well as more than 10 million Canadian dollars ($8 million) in online donations.

However, the online fundraising platform GoFundMe said Friday that it had removed the Freedom Convoy fundraiser from its site after receiving evidence from law enforcement that the demonstration “has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity.”

The number of protesters in Ottawa had peaked at several thousand last Saturday, according to officials, before dwindling to a few hundred by midweek.

Donald Trump Jr. and Elon Musk have both tweeted support for the truckers.

On Friday, former US President Donald Trump encouraged them too, saying in a statement that the “harsh policies of far left lunatic Justin Trudeau… has destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates.”

A recent Abacus poll showed 32 percent of Canadians supported the protesters, although only 10 percent of Canadian adults are unvaccinated.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is isolating after contracting Covid, has refused to meet with the truckers, as others stepped up criticisms of the protesters, accusing them of racism and even terrorism — labels organizers reject.

This weekend, bridges and roadways into Ottawa will be blocked, with protesters asked to park in lots on the outskirts and walk or use city transit to downtown.

In Toronto, Mayor John Tory said officials were doing “everything we can to avoid the situation that we’re seeing in Ottawa.”

Toronto police started closing off streets late Friday and installing CCTV cameras to help keep an eye on the planned demonstrations.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, meanwhile, urged the truckers in Ottawa to go home, echoing the protesters’ dislike of pandemic restrictions but insisting they are “necessary” to keep the population safe.

“It’s not a protest anymore,” he told a joint news conference with Canada’s 12 other provincial and territorial leaders. “It’s become an occupation that is not only hurting families, it’s hurting businesses.”

 

– Saskatchewan lifting restrictions –

Premier Jason Kenney of Alberta — where protesters blocked a border crossing into the US state of Montana — urged the federal government to start easing travel restrictions and pre-flight Covid tests notably.

“There are many jurisdictions around the world that have adopted more common-sense travel protocols than we have now in place in Canada,” he lamented.

Requiring people to wear face masks for indoor activities such as shopping, vaccine mandates, and most other Covid measures are provincial responsibilities.

Saskatchewan province this week became the first jurisdiction in Canada to announce an imminent lifting of all those pandemic restrictions — despite pushback from doctors.

“What’s necessary is your freedom,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said in a video address. “What’s necessary is getting your life back to normal.”

AFP

Canada, Britain Sign Interim Deal To Avoid Tariff Increase After Brexit

(Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP)

 

Canada and Britain have signed a temporary agreement to avoid an increase in tariffs between the two countries after the British exit from the European Union in early 2021, Ottawa said Tuesday.

At the end of November, the two countries announced they had concluded a provisional post-Brexit trade agreement that would reflect, as of January 1, the terms of the deal that Britain benefited from as a member state of the EU.

But the agreement could not be ratified before the Canadian parliament went into its winter recess, which would have resulted in an automatic increase in tariffs between the two countries on January 1.

The temporary deal allows tariffs between the two countries to remain at current levels until the new trade deal is passed in parliament, a foreign ministry statement said.

With the interim agreement, the Canadian government “is making sure businesses can easily continue trading without adding paperwork for businesses and importers,” it said in a statement.

“These measures will ensure stability and certainty on both sides of the Atlantic,” it added.

Bilateral trade with Britain was worth Can$29 billion (18.5 billion euros) in 2019, according to official government figures. Britain is the main market for Canadian exports to Europe.

If You Lost Your Income To COVID-19, We Will Give You $2,000 – Justin Trudeau

In this file photo Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on COVID-19 situation in Canada from his residence March 23, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. Credit: AFP
In this file photo Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on COVID-19 situation in Canada from his residence on March 23, 2020, in Ottawa, Canada. AFP

 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will give $2,000 to any worker who loses their income as a result of the novel Coronavirus. 

In a broadcast on the COVID-19 issue and the Canadian government’s response, Trudeau said the administration is doing everything it can to support its citizens.

He noted that the funds became very necessary because, at a time like this, individuals should be focused on what matters most which is their health and the health of those they love.

“That’s exactly why we’re announcing the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit today,” Trudeau said.

The Canadian Prime Minister stated that if one loses their income as a result of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will give them $2,000 a month for up to 4 months.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Atiku Asks FG To Pay Each Household N10,000

He added that “If you’ve lost your job – whether you worked full time, on contract, or were self-employed – you qualify for the benefit.

“If you lost income because you’re sick or quarantined, if you’re looking after someone who’s sick, or if you’re home taking care of the kids – you qualify. And if you’re still employed but not receiving income because of COVID-19 – you qualify too. We won’t leave anyone behind”.

Canada lawmakers recently passed the coronavirus aid package after an all-night session

The lawmakers on Wednesday morning approved a more than Can$100 billion aid package to help individuals and businesses through the pandemic, after all-night negotiations on what emergency powers to grant the minority government.

Following approval by the House of Commons, they were adopted by the Senate.

The measures include Can$52 billion ($37 billion) in direct support for families and businesses, instead of Can$27 as previously announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Can$55 billion in tax deferrals.

The total aid package of Can$107 billion will allow for a new emergency fund that will dispense Can$2,000 per month for four months to Canadian workers who find themselves without an income due to the new coronavirus.

Nearly one million have been laid off following temporary closure orders given to many businesses in an effort to slow the virus’s spread.

The government expects to enact the emergency measure from April 6, according to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

He said he was pleased with obtaining “unanimous consent with the other parties to move forward” with the response plan.

To respect “social distancing” measures during the pandemic, only 32 members of Parliament, proportionally representing each party instead of the full 338, had gathered in Ottawa for a vote Tuesday on the emergency measures.

Iranian Missile Brought Down Airliner, Says Canadian PM

Minister of National Denfence Harjit Sajjan (C) and Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance (R) listen as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) speaks during a news conference on January 9, 2020, in Ottawa, Canada. DAVE CHAN / AFP

 

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday multiple intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner after it took off from Tehran, killing all 176 onboard, including 63 Canadians.

Trudeau’s comments came as video emerged that appeared to show the moment the airliner was hit.

That and other footage posted on social media increasingly pointed to a catastrophic mistake by Tehran’s air defense batteries in bringing down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 early Wednesday.

The video, which The New York Times said it verified, shows a fast-moving object rising at an angle into the sky before a bright flash is seen, which dims and then continues moving forward. Several seconds later an explosion is heard.

Citing information from allies as well as Canada’s own intelligence, Trudeau said the plane appeared to have been hit by an Iranian surface-to-air (SAM) missile.

“We know this may have been unintentional. Canadians have questions, and they deserve answers,” Trudeau told reporters.

He was backed by other Western leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said mounting evidence supported a missile strike, which “may well have been unintentional.”

US President Donald Trump indicated that Washington officials believed the Kiev-bound Boeing 737 was struck by one or more Iranian missiles before it ditched and exploded outside Tehran.

The US National Transportation Safety Board late Thursday said it had received formal notification of the crash from Iran and would send a representative to join the crash probe.

Iran’s foreign ministry earlier invited the US planemaker Boeing to “participate” in the inquiry.

The flight went down in the dark just minutes after takeoff, with no radio message from the pilot to indicate distress, according to the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization.

It was carrying 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three Britons.

With tensions high between the United States and Iran, the disaster unfolded just hours after Tehran launched ballistic missiles towards bases in Iraq housing US troops.

Iran retaliated for the January 3 US drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian general.

The Iranian government said the missile strike scenario made “no sense,” however, arguing that several internal and international flights had been sharing approximately the same airspace.

Tehran later asked Ottawa to share its information with Iranian investigators.

‘Canadians want answers’

Trudeau said Canada was working with allies to ensure a credible probe.

“The families of the victims want answers, Canadians want answers, I want answers,” he said.

“This government will not rest until we get that.”

Canada’s transportation safety board on Thursday said it had accepted an invitation from Iran’s civil aviation authority to join the inquiry.

Britain’s Johnson called Thursday for a full, transparent investigation.

‘I have my suspicions’

Trump would not directly confirm what US intelligence was saying privately.

“I have my suspicions,” Trump said, adding that “somebody could have made a mistake.”

But unnamed officials told US media that satellite, radar, and electronic data indicated Tehran’s air defense units downed the aircraft.

ABC News reported that an unnamed official said it was “highly likely” the plane was brought down by two SAMs.

Black boxes

Ukraine called for United Nations support for a broad investigation and sent 45 crash investigators to Tehran to take part in the inquiry led by Iranian authorities.

Investigators are pursuing several possibilities, including engine failure, a missile strike or an act of terror.

“If any country has information that can help conduct a transparent and objective investigation into the tragedy, we are ready to receive it and cooperate in further verification,” the Ukraine presidency said in an English-language statement.

Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s civil aviation organization and deputy transport minister, said Iran and Ukraine were “downloading information” from the aircraft’s black boxes retrieved from the crash site.

“But if more specialized work is required to extract and analyze the data, we can do it in France or another country,” he said.

Analysts were examining photographs posted online of the wreckage and a private video apparently taken of the flight when it was struck for evidence that it was downed by a missile.

“I think this has a very good possibility of being accurate,” John Goglia, a former US aviation safety expert on the National Transportation Safety Board, said of the missile theory.

“Airplanes that have just taken off and have made a climb to 8,000 feet, that’s entering the safest period of time in the flight. So even an engine failure at that altitude should not cause the type of event we’ve just observed,” he told AFP.

The Ukrainian airline crash brought back memories of another tragedy, involving a US military error.

In 1988, an Iran Air flight was mistakenly shot down over the Gulf by a surface-to-air missile fired from the US warship USS Vincennes.

All 290 people aboard, most of them Iranians, were killed.

Cross River To build Canadian International School

Cross River, Canada, Ayade, international schoolThe Cross River State Government has concluded paper work with the Canadian Government in Ottawa, Canada to enable the takeoff of a Canadian international school.

The school will provide learning facilities for primary, secondary and a tertiary institution in Calabar.

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade disclosed this upon arrival at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport following his trip abroad to acquire practical knowledge on how the state can develop in some sectors.

Answering questions from pressmen at the airport, Ayade said that the state decided to partner Canada owing to the fact that the country is rated the best in terms of education in the world.

The Governor said that his administration would stop at nothing in giving the educational sector a face lift which will in turn birth new study system that will encourage learning in schools as practiced in developed countries.

Ayade added that, a builder’s school will also be built in the state to encourage local talents gain international recognition as the state sets to build new cities.

Being away for more than three weeks, the Governor said, he was happy to be back to the state to put into practice all he learnt abroad.

In June 2016, the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and the Cross River State Government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on education in Ottawa, Canada.

The MoU signing came barely 24 hours after the Canadian Government and Cross River State concluded a deal on trade and investment.

The President of CBIE, Kate Mebride, signed on behalf of her bureau while Governor Ben Ayade signed for Cross River State Government.

 

Canada, Cross River Sign MoU on Education

Cross River, Canada, AyadeThe Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and the Cross River State Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on education in Ottawa, Canada.

The MoU signing came barely 24 hours after the Canadian Government and Cross River State concluded a deal on trade and investment.

The President of CBIE, Kate Mebride, signed on behalf of her bureau while Governor Ben Ayade signed for Cross River State Government.

Speaking at the ceremony, Governor Ayade said that the intent and import of the MoU “is to create a new celebration for the Cross River State Government to ensure that all citizens and indeed, all Nigerians have quality education that is akin to the Canadian Standard”.

During the 2016 Children’s Day celebration, the Governor had announced plans by his administration to build a model school of Canadian standard in each of the three senatorial districts in the state.

He said that the signing of the MoU was therefore, an opportunity to expand the scope to include the builders’ school, a reconstruction of academics to improve hands-on experience learning.

Before the MoU signing ceremony, the Governor was given a tour of some technical schools in Ottawa, Ontario.

Canada Train, Bus, Collide In Ottawa, At Least Five dead

A passenger train collided with a double-decker city bus in Ottawa on Wednesday, killing at least five people, an emergency official said.

Television images showed a heavily damaged red double-decker bus, with firefighters and ambulances at the scene. The front of the bus appeared to be sheared off by the collision.

Ottawa Fire Services spokesman Marc Messier told CTV News the initial estimate is that five people have been killed.

VIA Rail, which operates the national passenger service in Canada, confirmed the crash and said there were no major injuries reported on the train. The crash occurred in the west end of Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

Canada’s two big railroads – Canadian National Railway Co and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd – are reviewing safety standards after a deadly train crash on July 6 that killed 50 people and destroyed the center of a small Quebec town.