BC RCMP Identify Twin Brothers as BC Bank Shooting Suspects


Twin brothers in their early 20s were responsible for the shooting that injured numerous police officers at a bank in Saanich, B.C., earlier this week, RCMP alleged Saturday.

Mounties spokesman Cpl. Alex Bérubé named the men as 22-year-olds Mathew and Isaac Auchterlonie from Duncan, B.C.

Six officers were shot and the brothers were killed in the shootout with police on Tuesday outside the Bank of Montreal branch.

Bérubé said officers have spoken with the twins’ relatives, who are co-operating with the investigation.

Investigators are looking into the suspects’ backgrounds, and he said neither man had a criminal record or was known to police.

“We understand that the release of the names of the two deceased may answer the who, but there are still many outstanding questions and investigation efforts that need to take place in order to fully understand what took place and why,” Bérubé told a news conference.

“The motive behind the armed robbery and subsequent exchange of gunfire with police has not yet been determined.”

Police have also confirmed that the twins are associated with a white four-door 1992 Toyota Camry that has two black racing stripes over the hood and roof, Bérubé said.

The car was found with multiple explosives, which were removed and destroyed last week

Bérubé said the investigation has so far determined that there were only two suspects in the bank.

“However, we are continuing to look into whether anyone else was involved or associated to the events on Tuesday.”

An update on the condition of the injured officers wasn’t given.

Earlier, Saanich Chief Const. Dean Duthie had said three of the officers remain in hospital, including one who is in intensive care while another will require more surgeries.

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Explosive Devices Found in a Vehicle Connected to BC Bank Robbers Killed


Multiple explosive devices were found in a vehicle related to the two suspects who were gunned down outside a bank in Saanich, B.C.

Saanich Chief Const. Dean Duthie said Wednesday an RCMP explosive disposal unit was able to transfer the devices from the vehicle to a local landfill and destroy them.

Police had evacuated the area shortly after the shooting on Tuesday as the RCMP’s explosives disposal unit was called in.

Six officers were shot and two suspects were killed in the shootout with police on Tuesday.

Duthie said three of the officers remain in hospital, including one who is in intensive care, while another officer will require more surgeries.

He said he spoke with one of the officers in hospital and said the police department will be there to support him.

“We’re here for his family … to let him know that the policing community is behind him 100 percent.”

The chief said police are still investigating the possibility of a third suspect, although they don’t believe there’s a risk to the public.

He said police were acting on vague information.

“Our goal was to keep the public safe,” he said of police ordering residents near the bank to stay inside on Tuesday.

Police said in a statement that they aren’t able to confirm identities, background or motive of the suspects.

Duthie said work is underway to try to confirm the suspects’ names.

Duthie has looked at much of the video footage of the incident and said it’s a miracle that no one else died.

“It’s astonishing that there was no other citizen or member of the public injured,” he said, crediting the quick actions of officers who responded.

“Both patrol officers and Greater Victoria emergency response officers (put) themselves in harm’s way to bring it to a successful and safe conclusion as quickly as possible.”

A woman trapped inside the bank during the robbery told CFAX radio she was in a meeting with the manager when she heard a loud explosion and then silence.

Shelli Fryer, 59, of Langford said she looked from the doorway and a few feet from her was “a man in full assault gear, holding an assault rifle.”

Fryer said the masked man was wearing all black, had an armoured vest over his jacket and was holding a black rifle that was shorter and stockier than what she was used to seeing in the media.

“The energy from them was completely calm,” she said.

She heard one gunman quietly say to the manager, “vault,” and the manager handed him the keys and they both walked out of the office, she said.

Fryer said the other suspect was pacing the floor, just walking back and forth past the office, “like he was going for a walk in the park, just pacing as if he was waiting for something.”

The robbers put all 22 people who were in the bank against a wall in a back hallway and they waited for what felt like an eternity, she said. “We heard nothing at all of what was transpiring outside, we couldn’t hear sirens.”

She heard in a loud voice, “Police!” and then a hail of gunfire, and everybody ran to hide.

Fryer said every one of the police officers involved in the “absolutely insane incident” handled themselves professionally, and then later treated those who were in the bank with kindness and concern.

By Dirk Meissner

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Canada in Talks With NATO Allies About Boosting Military Forces in Latvia


Ottawa is talking with allies about boosting a Canadian-led combat unit in Latvia as the NATO military alliance moves to reinforce its eastern front with Russia.

Latvia’s ambassador to Canada revealed the discussions in an interview with The Canadian Press today as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to attend a NATO summit where Russia and its invasion of Ukraine will be top of mind.

Kaspars Ozolins says the aim is to add more troops and capabilities to the 2,000-strong battlegroup that Canada has been leading in Latvia since 2017, which will serve as a deterrent to further Russian aggression in the region.

The battlegroup in Latvia is one of four NATO created in 2017. Germany leads another such unit in Lithuania, Britain heads one up in Estonia and the U.S. is responsible for forces in Poland.

NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg confirmed today that the four battlegroups will be increased to brigade-level forces, which entails doubling the number of troops assigned to each.

Germany and Britain have both recently saidthey are ready to lead larger combat units in Lithuania and Estonia, and Ozolins is hoping Canada will announce something similar during this week’s NATO summit in Spain.

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Canada Issues New Sanctions Against 74 People and Businesses in Russia, Belarus


SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new sanctions against 74 people and businesses in Russia and Belarus as G7 leaders discussed the threat to global stability posed by the invasion of Ukraine.

The sanctions include 46 entities linked to the Russian defence sector, and 15 Ukrainians who support the Russian occupation of the country.

The Canadian government has also sanctioned 13 people linked to government and defence and two entities in Belarus.

Trudeau says Canada also plans to sanction those related to state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda agents, in an attempt to counter Kremlin disinformation.

Canada will also ban the export of advanced technologies that would improve Russia’s domestic defence manufacturing capabilities.

Canada has also banned the export of advanced technologies and goods that could be used in the manufacturing of weapons to Belarus, as well as the import and export of a broad range of luxury goods between Canada and Belarus.

Trudeau also announced that Canada, along with the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan, will ban the import of certain gold goods from Russia, shutting the commodity out of formal international markets.

The announcement came in a written statement on Monday after a two-hour meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and G7 leaders at their summit in Germany. Zelenskyy, appearing virtually, told the leaders the country will need help to rebuild its infrastructure.

The leaders met in a bright and beautiful meeting room in Schloss Elmau, Germany, a veritable mountaintop castle surrounded by blooming meadows and stunning vistas.

Zelenskyy appeared on a small monitor looking down on the group, stone-faced, in front of a grey background.

The conflict has been a running theme through Trudeau’s meetings with world leaders in Germany, as well as last week at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda.

Zelenskyy thanked G7 leaders for their support, and laid out Ukraine’s requests for tougher sanctions against Russia, more defensive military support, and help to rebuild the bombed and destroyed communities and infrastructure once the conflict subsides, according to Canadian government officials who provided a briefing on the condition they not be named.

He made the point that governments should start thinking about that work now.

Russia announced its own set of new sanctions against Canada on Monday, targeting 43 Canadians including the prime minister’s former adviser Gerry Butts and Conservative strategist Jenni Byrne.

Trudeau spoke to Zelenskyy on the first day of the G7 summit to inquire what he needs from the leaders. According to Zelenskyy’s Twitter account, the two spoke about increasing defence support for the embattled country.

The heads of the world’s most developed economies dedicated their first session of the day to discussing the war and listening to Zelenskyy’s pleas for more aid.

Before the meeting, Trudeau and summit host Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke during a walk from the manor building, or schloss in German, down to one of the meadows, nestled between the building and the mountain view.

“We are … cautious that we will help the Ukraine as much as is possible, but that we also avoid that there will be a big conflict between Russia and NATO,” Scholz told the media during a photo op with Trudeau.

The night before, in Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv, weeks of general calm were shattered by Russian missile strikes. The missiles hit a kindergarten and a residential building, killing one man and injuring a woman and child, the city’s mayor said.

While G7 leaders have been united in their condemnation of Russia, they are also expected to meet with Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, who has been invited to the summit but who also tightened economic and diplomatic ties with Russia in recent months.

Trudeau will meet with Modi one-on-one in a private meeting as well.

On Sunday, the United Kingdom announced new sanctions against Russia which would ban the import of Russian gold, the country’s biggest non-energy export.

The U.K. government says the same will apply to Canada, the United States and Japan, which, as a combined effort, would shut Russia out of formal markets. The idea is to “ratchet up pressure on Russia’s war machine,” squeezing the country out of funds to finance the conflict.

Russia was poised to default on its foreign debt on Sunday for the first time since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, further alienating the country from the global financial system.

Russia calls any default artificial because it has the money to pay its debts but says sanctions have frozen its foreign currency reserves held abroad.

By Laura Osman

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Commonwealth Falls Short of Condemning Russia as Trudeau Prepares for G7


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau headed to the G7 summit in Germany on Saturday without a consensus from the Commonwealth to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but with a chorus of countries calling for help to overcome the fallout of the war.

Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly arrived in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on Wednesday for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, which has been dominated by the concerns of nations that are suffering from food scarcity. Trudeau departed for the G7 talkslater in the day.

In the final communique from the Commonwealth summit, the 54 participating countries said they discussed the conflict in Ukraine, ” underscored the need to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states,” and ” emphasized that all countries must seek peaceful resolution to all disputes in accordance with international law.”

The countries stopped short of condemning Russia, as Trudeau and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson have done throughout the summit.

“I can assure you that the topic of standing up for Ukraine was much discussed,” Trudeau said at a press conference following the conclusion of the summit, referencing “strong language” in the communique.

Most Commonwealth Nations condemned Russia’s actions at a United Nations vote in March, but 10 abstained. Among them was India, whose Prime Minister Narendra Modi opted not to attend the Commonwealth summit and instead spoke virtually with the leaders of Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa.

Trudeau said Russian President Vladimir Putin has run a disinformation campaign and has even been “telling outright lies,” including blaming the food security crisis on Western sanctions against Russia.

He said food shortage stems from Russia’s illegal actions, including blockade at key ports, as well as the deliberate targeting of Ukrainian grain storage facilities through cruise missile strikes.

“I was very clear with our friends and partners around the table, and not just clear on Russia’s responsibility, but on how Canada and the West are stepping up,” Trudeau said.

Canada will be raising the growing threat of famine at the G7 in Schloss Elmau Germany, Joly said.

She said Canada was in “listening mode” at the Commonwealth meetings, where leaders of smaller nations were able to speak without the dominating presence of the United States, Russia and China.

“What is clear to us is that Russia is weaponizing food and putting a toll on many countries around the world, and putting 50 million lives at risk,” Joly told reporters Friday in Rwanda.

Trudeau had attempted to meet with the chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, for several days during the Commonwealth summit but the sit-down was repeatedly postponed and eventually cancelled.

Shortly after Trudeau arrived in Rwanda, the government announced Canada would dedicate a new ambassador to the African Union, which has suffered from the food shortages inflicted on the continent as a result of the warin Ukraine.

Both Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Putin have met with representatives of the African Union, with Russia blaming sanctions against its government for stopping the flow of grain.

At the conclusion of the Commonwealth summit, Trudeau announced $94 million in funding for various education initiatives and $120 million to support gender equality and women’s rights in Commonwealth countries.

Some of the other voices the prime minister has promised to centre at his international meetings, including the G7 summit, belong to youth leaders who spoke at a Saturday-morning event focused on issues facing young people around the world.

Some of the delegates spoke about the devastating effects of climate change, particularly around remote island nations where infrastructure cannot withstand natural disasters and rebuilding efforts take years. The onslaught takes a toll on education and health services, one delegate told the forum.

By Laura Osman

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Woman Dozes Off on Train Tracks, Escapes Injury as Train Screeches to Halt


A Prince Albert, Sask., woman has narrowly escaped serious injury after falling asleep between a set of train tracks.

Deputy Fire Chief Alex Paul said it was a matter of inches between the bottom of the train engine and the woman as the train came screeching to a stop on top of her Thursday morning.

“The train coming along, at the last minute realized that it was a person on the tracks and they applied the emergency brake,” said Paul. “The locomotive came to a stop just a little bit over the top of the person, so there was no actual contact.”

Paul said fire crews were able to free the woman from under the train and she was transported to hospital with only minor injuries.

He said if the train had gone much farther it could have been fatal.

While the tracks are private property and marked with no trespassing signs, Paul said it’s still common for people to take shortcuts through the rail yard.

“It’s never safe to be walking near train track,” he said. “You never know where a train may come, and there’s multiple tracks side by side.”

The tracks are operated by Carlton Trail Railways.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says there were 39 trespasser fatalities in 2020. (CTV Saskatoon)

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Public Inquiry in Nova Scotia Seeking Explanation From Ottawa About Withheld Notes


The inquiry investigating the Nova Scotia mass shooting wants to know why the federal Justice Department withheld notes written by a senior Mountie for several months—and if there’s more revelations to come.

“The commission sought an explanation … about why four pages were missing from the original disclosure,” Barbara McLean, the inquiry’s director of investigations, said in an email Friday.

“The commission is also demanding an explanation for any further material that has been held back.”

On Tuesday, the inquiry released internal RCMP documents that include notes taken by Supt. Darren Campbell during a meeting with senior officers and staff on April 28, 2020—nine days after a gunman killed 22 people in northern and central Nova Scotia.

At the meeting, the head of the RCMP, Commissioner Brenda Lucki, said she was disappointed that details about the firearms used by the killer had not been released at previous news conferences in Halifax, according to Campbell’s notes.

Campbell alleges that Lucki said she had promised the Prime Minister’s Office that the Mounties would release the descriptions, adding that the information would be “tied to pending gun control legislation that would make officers and public safer.”

The superintendent’s notes sparked controversy in Ottawa earlier this week, when the opposition Tories and New Democrats accused the governing Liberals of interfering in a police investigation for political gain—assertions denied by the government and Lucki.

Meanwhile, the commission of inquiry confirmed Friday that the Justice Department sent 132 pages of Campbell’s notes in February 2022, but they did not include his entries about the April meeting.

The missing notes were submitted to commission on May 31.

McLean says the commission is seeking assurance that nothing else has been held back, and she complained about RCMP documents that had already been disclosed.

“These documents have often been provided in a disjointed manner that has required extensive commission team review,” McLean wrote in her email. “Our team continues to review all disclosure carefully for any gaps or additional information required to fulfil our mandate.”

Michael Scott, a lawyer whose firm represents 14 of the victims’ families, said he’s concerned about the document delay.

“Any time documents are either vetted, redacted or withheld in a way that’s not entirely appropriate, it entirely undermines the process as a whole,” he said in an interview Friday.

Scott said that on top of having to read thousands of pages of records, transcripts and notes submitted to the inquiry, “now we have to be concerned we’re not getting all the documents.”

Kent Roach, a University of Toronto law professor, said delays in receiving information from the RCMP means the inquiry is left to grapple with important issues late in its mandate. The inquiry’s final report is due Nov. 1 and all submissions are expected by September.

“It’s unfortunate because public inquiries need the full documentary record as quickly as possible so they can make decisions on what to look at and what to not look at,” said Roach, author of “Canadian Policing: Why and How It Must Change.”

“If the mass casualty commission had known about this earlier, it might have decided to conduct its hearings and research in a different way,” he said Friday.

The professor said the comments from Campbell raise questions about the structure of the RCMP, and its competing mandates of being both a local and nation police force whose commissioner serves “at the pleasure” of the minister of public safety.

“My concern is that the citizens (of Nova Scotia) seem to be on the sidelines while there is tension and squabbling between RCMP Nova Scotia and RCMP Ottawa,” he said.

The Canadian Press requested comment from the RCMP, but a response was not immediately available.

Campbell said in an email that he would not comment. He said he is waiting to be interviewed by the commission.

“My interview has been scheduled and it will take place in the very near future,” he wrote.

“I also expect to be called to the Mass Casualty Commission as a witness sometime near the end of July and I look forward to both opportunities. As such, it would be inappropriate for me to make any public comments prior to giving evidence under oath.”

By Lyndsay Armstrong and Michael Tutton

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Canada Announces Embassy in Rwanda as Trudeau Arrives for 10-day Foreign Trip


Canada will open an embassy in Rwanda as part of efforts to combat the influence of Russia and China in Africa, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced on Wednesday shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in the country to begin a 10-day overseas trip.

“Yes, we know that Russia is present on the continent. Yes, we know that China is increasingly present also on the continent. We can’t be naive,” Joly told reporters in Kigali.

“We need to make sure that we have the diplomats on the ground with eyes and ears listening to what’s going on, to make sure that we can play a positive role with Rwanda and the entire region.”

She said Canada is setting up a permanent embassy in Kigali, with an ambassador, and will also name a new ambassador to the African Union, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The prime minister’s plane touched down at sunset on Wednesday in Kigali, where he will gather beginning Thursday with the heads of government from the other 53 countries in the Commonwealth for the first time since 2018.

The original meeting, planned for 2020, was, like so much else, put off by the COVID-19 pandemic that is still an important backdrop to the talks.

The consequences of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, have been felt around the globe—particularly in some of the smaller nations whose leaders Trudeau will meet in Kigali.

The conflict sparked a massive refugee crisis. It also limited other countries’ access to wheat from Ukraine, often referred to as the breadbasket of Europe because of its significant food production.

African countries, 19 of which are Commonwealth members, have faced especially severe food insecurity as a result. The UN World Food Program has warned that millions of people in the developing world and conflict zones are in danger of starvation.

Before the war, Russia and Ukraine produced about 30 percent of the world’s exported grain. The closure of key ports in the Black Sea has made it difficult to ship those goods to the countries that need them.

“We are ready to send ships to Romania, basically to get every single grain out of Ukraine. We need to free the wheat,” Joly said.

Dealing with the emerging geopolitical consequences of the conflict in Ukraine is what Joly calls the “third phase” of Canada’s response to the Russian invasion and said there will be further announcements on that front this week.

Trudeau spoke about potential measures during a phone call last week with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, who will be hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Canada will also be rallying support for Ukraine among Commonwealth members and attempt to win over any leaders who may be on the fence about condemning Russia.

When the United Nations voted to suspend Russia from the human rights council in April, 58 countries abstained from the vote. Of those, 29 were Commonwealth countries.

Macky Sall, the president of Senegal and chair of the African Union, blamed western sanctions on Russia for stopping the flow of grain. He made the remarks at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month.

Joly said it will be important to hear from members of the African Union and those who abstained from the UN vote to understand where they’re coming from—and how to change their minds.

That will be her goal on Thursday when she sits down with her counterpart from India, a country with long-standing diplomatic ties to Russia.

In Kigali, Trudeau will take part in meetings with Commonwealth leaders and roundtable discussions on the climate economy. Prince Charles and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are also both scheduled to attend the gathering. The Queen attended the 2018 Commonwealth summit, which took place at Buckingham Palace.

Trudeau is also expected to pay his respects at the Kigali Genocide Memorial on Thursday, in memory of the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi people.

He will depart for Schloss Elmau, a resort in the Bavarian Alps of Germany, for the G7 leaders’ summit on Saturday before heading to a NATO meeting in Madrid next week. He will also meet Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister of Spain.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress said it expects Trudeau to spur other leaders into action on Ukraine when he is in Germany and Spain.

Congress head Ihor Michalchyshyn said he spoke to Ukrainian defence officials in a recent trip to Kyiv, who highlighted the dire situation they’re facing with dwindling military equipment.

“They don’t have enough weapons. They’ve been actually saying that they’re going to run out of ammunition in coming weeks and months,” Michalchyshyn said.

“If there’s nothing of substance announced and operationalized there, the rhetoric is empty.”

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to address the G7 and NATO summits, where the conversation will be largely focused on economic and military support for the embattled country.

Last week in Brussels, Defence Minister Anita Anand, who will join Trudeau at the NATO summit, announced Canada would deliver 10 replacement artillery barrels, worth $9 million, to support the M777 howitzer artillery guns already provided.

As of the end of January, 33,346 candidates for the Security Forces of Ukraine have participated in Canada’s training program, called Operation Unifier, since September 2015.

Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins pressed Trudeau during his visit to Canada last month for a more permanent military presence in the Baltics to counter any Russian perceptions of NATO weakness in the area.

Canada currently has nearly 700 troops leading a NATO battlegroup in Latvia, one of several in the region. At a joint news conference with Karins in Ottawa, Trudeau announced one general and six staff officers from the Canadian Armed Forces would be deployed to a NATO headquarters in Adazi near the Latvian capital of Riga, but deferred any major decisions to the NATO talks.

The serious conflict between Ukraine and Russia has drawn more countries to the coming NATO meeting in Madrid, including Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He is he first Japanese leader to join a top meeting of the North Atlantic military alliance.

Sweden and Finland, which have applied to join NATO, are sending delegations. South Korea’s new President Yoon Suk-yeol has also signalled his intention to attend.

Trudeau is expected to return to Ottawa on June 30, in time for Canada Day celebrations.

By Laura Osman

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Quebec Judge Dismisses Defamation Suit Against Comedian Mike Ward Regarding Joke


A Quebec comedian who won a high-profile Supreme Court of Canada human rights case last year has logged another legal victory against one of his accusers.

A Quebec court judge has dismissed a defamation suit against comedian Mike Ward in connection with a joke he made between 2010 and 2013 about Jeremy Gabriel, who at the time was a well-known teenage singer with a disability.

Gabriel’s mother, Sylvie Gabriel, was seeking $84,600 from Ward, arguing the joke he made at her son’s expense caused her significant harm.

Judge Manon Gaudreault dismissed the suit, writing that the one-year time period to file a defamation claim had passed—even when taking into account the time the case had spent in other courts.

However, Gaudreault’s May 30 decision rejected Ward’s claim that Sylvie Gabriel’s lawsuit was abusive and an excessive use of the legal system.

The decision is the latest step in a long legal saga between the Gabriel family and Ward, which culminated in a Supreme Court of Canada ruling last fall stating that Ward’s comments did not amount to discrimination under Quebec’s rights charter.

Jeremy Gabriel has Treacher Collins syndrome, a congenital condition characterized by deformities of the skull and face. When Ward had delivered his comedy routine mocking Jeremy Gabriel, the teenager was a well-known singer who had appeared alongside Celine Dion and the Pope.

In 2016, Quebec’s human rights tribunal ordered Ward to pay $35,000 in damages to Gabriel and $7,000 to his mother based on the remarks, which included a joke about drowning the singer. But that case went to the Supreme Court, pitting artistic expression, in the form of dark comedy, against the protection of one’s dignity.

In a 5-4 decision last October, the country’s highest court concluded that the elements of a discrimination claim under the Quebec charter had not been established in the case. The court also said the singer and his mother chose the wrong court—the human rights tribunal—for their case.

Jeremy Gabriel has also filed a separate $288,000 legal action against Ward in Quebec Superior Court.

Ward’s lawyer, Julius Grey, says he will seek to have that suit dismissed at a June 29 hearing.

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Canadians More Trusting of US as Ally, but Less so of Biden, Pew Poll Suggests


Canadians are growing more confident in the United States as a trusted and reliable international ally, but losing faith in the man who’s currently running the country, a new poll suggests.

In the Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday, only 61 percent of Canadian respondents said they have confidence in President Joe Biden to do the right thing on the world stage—a steep decline from the 77 percent who said the same thing in 2021.

At the same time, 84 percent of Canadians who took part said they consider the U.S. a somewhat or very reliable partner—a 16-point increase over the previous year, with 21 percent describing their southern neighbour as very reliable, compared with 11 percent in 2021.

Those results are broadly in line with the centre’s findings in other countries around the world, and likely reflect ongoing momentum following Donald Trump’s departure from the White House, said Richard Wike, Pew’s director of global attitudes research.

“That reliability measure is definitely one where we’ve seen some movement in a positive direction, with more people—including in Canada—saying that the U.S. is a more reliable partner,” Wike said.

“Last year it was positive, and it’s even more so this time around.”

For Biden, however, Pew found precisely the opposite, although Wike said that probably represents a cooling of post-Trump euphoria than outright disappointment in Biden’s performance to date.

“Last year, he benefited in a lot of places, in part, from not being Trump, who was very unpopular in most of these countries,” Wike said.

“It’s important to note that there’s still positive for Biden … it’s about six in 10 across these countries who do have confidence in him.”

The Canadian portion of the survey was conducted by telephone with 1,324 respondents between Feb. 14 and April 24, and carries a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.

Biden has been struggling for months to get political traction among Americans in a midterm-election year, a common plight for new presidents but one that has been dramatically amplified in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global impact of the war in Ukraine.

With inflation and gas prices testing new thresholds, Biden’s approval ratings have been plumbing new depths. Only 39 percent of respondents to a recent USA Today/Suffolk poll gave the president a passing grade, with 47 percent saying they strongly disapproved of his performance and seven in 10 saying the country is on the wrong track.

Outside the U.S., last year’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan hasn’t helped matters: while respondents in 17 countries narrowly supported the decision to pull U.S. troops, they widely disapproved of how it was handled.

In Canada, 50 percent of respondents said pulling out was the right decision for the U.S., with 40 percent disagreeing and 10 percent saying they didn’t know. But 62 percent said it was done badly, compared with 33 percent who said it was handled well.

“In every country except Germany, confidence in Biden to do the right thing in world affairs (was) much lower among people who think America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was handled poorly,” Pew said in a release.

Among those Canadians who said the withdrawal was mishandled, only 54 percent said they trust the president to do the right thing in world affairs.

While it canvassed participants for their attitudes toward NATO and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it did not include any specific questions pertaining to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Wike said the results likely reflect the sense of international solidarity that was emerging at the time toward Ukraine and its allies, including the U.S., which was key in building a global coalition of opposition to Russia’s aggression and providing Ukraine with weapons and aid.

“I think it’s logical to conclude that some of that increase, in terms of people seeing the U.S. as reliable partners, is probably tied to the perception that the U.S. is working closely with allies and partners to support Ukraine.”

The Pew survey found few surprises when it came to attitudes in Canada and around the world toward Putin and Russia.

Nearly nine in 10 Canadian respondents—89 percent—said they have no confidence in the Russian president to do the right thing regarding world affairs, compared to 34 percent in 2001, a result broadly in line with the all-time lows recorded in other countries.

Similarly, member countries reflected a generally positive attitude toward NATO, including strong increases in support among respondents in Germany, the U.K., Poland and even Sweden, a non-member that has since applied for membership in the military alliance.

In Canada, 65 percent of respondents said they have a favourable opinion of NATO, down two percentage points from the 2021 survey.

By James McCarten

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