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Bob Mackin

They call it “virtual reality.” But the online exhibit is actually the world according to the Chinese Communist Party.

In a single word, propaganda.

Scenes from the Chinese consulate’s Vancouver virtual reality exhibit promoting 72 years of CCP rule and the party’s centennial (PRC Consulate Vancouver)

The Vancouver consulate of the People’s Republic of China launched the exhibit in time for the Oct. 1 celebration of the regime’s 72nd anniversary, during the year-long commemoration of the CCP’s centennial.

The interactive exhibit is accessible only via the Chinese language version of the consulate’s website, is set inside the Chinese government’s heavily secured and highly surveilled Vancouver diplomatic mansion in Shaughnessy and begins with a video lecture from consul general Tong Xiaoling.

Tong, who is arguably Xi Jinping’s top woman in North America, delivers the scripted remarks while standing in front of a blue map that highlights both Beijing and Vancouver in red.

It continues with a self-guided tour through a digital exhibition hall divided into four themes: “Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China”, “2022 Beijing Winter Olympics”, “Fighting against the New Crown Pneumonia Epidemic”, and “Great Xinjiang”.”

Posters near the door list the rights and responsibilities of CCP members, including a line that states obedience to the party is required. You’ve been warned.

Click around and you will find historical photos of the 1945 CCP congress that established “Mao Zedong Thought” as official party dogma and Chairman Mao’s Oct. 1, 1949 declaration of CCP rule.

The centennial gallery follows CCP milestones, including the People’s Liberation Army invasion of Tibet, joining the United Nations, exploring space, cooperation with Arabian and African leaders (but no mention of the recent alliance with Afghanistan’s Taliban), the takeover of Hong Kong and adopting “Xi Jinping Thought.”

Scenes from the Chinese consulate’s Vancouver virtual reality exhibit promoting 72 years of CCP rule and the party’s centennial (PRC Consulate Vancouver)

The Olympic hall includes a video that climaxes with Xi welcoming the world to China. In reality, foreign spectators are not welcome next February, due to the ongoing global pandemic that began in Wuhan during or after the 2019 World Military Games. Nobody seems to know for sure, and Xi is in no rush for the world to know who knew what and when they knew it.

The video in the Xinjiang wing is called “The Sublime Beauty of Xinjiang,” and features vast landscapes of the beauty of the region. Even images of wild horses running free. It looks like paradise. When can I visit? 

Except reality says otherwise. A million or more Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang have no freedom. Governments of Canada, U.S. and U.K. describe China’s program of mass-incarceration, brainwashing, forced marriages and sterilization as cultural genocide at the hands of the CCP’s Han ethnic majority. 

The shoddy treatment of Uyghurs sparked international campaigns to relocate or boycott the Beijing Games, which some activists compare to Hitler’s Berlin 1936 Games. It was a theme of the anti-CCP protest outside the consulate on Oct. 1.

Tong’s statement on the consulate website says the CCP has “always upheld the original mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, united and led the Chinese people in bloody struggles, defying sacrifices, and created great achievements that have attracted worldwide attention.”

It continues: “The great leap from rising to becoming strong has profoundly changed the direction and process of the development of the Chinese nation after modern times, profoundly changed the future and destiny of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, and profoundly changed the trend and pattern of world development.”

The exhibit obviously doesn’t contain anything about the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo or the hostage-taking of Canada’s Two Michaels. 

It does stress the usual CCP themes, such as economic growth, the eradication of absolute poverty, common prosperity and international trade: “In 2021, despite the impact of the epidemic and the political relations between the two countries, China and Canada will maintain close ties in the economic and trade fields.” 

The statement on the website also alluded to “peaceful reunification,” which is the code phrase for the CCP’s goal of annexing self-governing Taiwan. Beijing considers the democratic island nation to be a rebel province.

NDP minister George Chow at an Oct. 3 Chinatown ceremony (PRC Consulate Vancouver)

Taiwan observes its national day every Oct. 10, the anniversary of the 1911 Wuchang Uprising that eventually toppled more than two millennia of imperial rule in Mainland China.

The occasion is known instead in CCP circles as the Anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution. Allies of the PRC consulate marked the 110th anniversary on Oct. 3 with Tong in a ceremony at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown.

NDP minister of state for trade George Chow gave a speech in front of Sun’s statue. Also appearing were Wei Renmin of the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations, Harris Niu of the Canadian Community Services Association, and Guo Yinghua (aka Fred Kwok) of the Vancouver Chinese Benevolent Association. Wei, Niu and Kwok’s groups are associated with the CCP’s United Front foreign influence campaign.

Tong told attendees on Oct. 3 that Chinese Communists inherited Sun’s revolutionary legacy a century ago.

“For one hundred years, the Communist Party of China has united and led the Chinese people, writing the most magnificent epic in the history of the Chinese nation for thousands of years with the heroism of ‘for the sake of sacrifice and ambition, dare to teach the sun and the moon to change the sky’,” she said.

A sky so polluted, that Chinese often see neither the sun nor the moon. 

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Bob Mackin They call it “virtual reality.” But

Bob Mackin 

The chief of the Surrey Police Service has dinged taxpayers for almost $22,000 in overtime since January, even though the department has not investigated a single crime.

Surrey Police Chief Norm Lipinski.

Chief Norm Lipinski, who is already paid $258,000 base salary per year, billed $21,923.08 for the first nine months of the year, according to figures released under freedom of information. One of his deputies, Jennifer Hyland, has racked up $9,546.88 in overtime charges. They are building a police force that may not be fully operational and ready to replace the Surrey RCMP until 2023 or later.

A former Solicitor General, who was chief of the West Vancouver Police and a deputy at the Vancouver Police, called it “an anomaly” and an extra burden on the Surrey taxpayer.

“This practice is unheard of in policing,” Kash Heed said in an interview. “I have not heard of this practice in my 32 years in policing, and some of that time I held executive positions in two different police departments. The practice, not only in the public service, but in private industry, is if you have to work an extraordinary number of extra hours, what you do is what we call book time.”

That book time is measured in days off, not extra pay.

Lipinski refused theBreaker.news interview request. Instead, he deferred to SPS spokesman Ian MacDonald, who admitted that Lipinski could have taken time off instead of the extra pay. 

The creation of a new police organization from scratch is a lot of work for a large group of people let alone initially just a Chief and three deputies as staff, as it was in the beginning of 2021,” MacDonald said via email. “A great deal of work is, and was, done by the Chief to stand up Surrey Police Service and his overtime compensation for that work is at straight-time.”

theBreaker.news previously reported that Lipinski charged taxpayers for a $37,521.12 Nissan Rogue. Under a separate freedom of information request, City of Surrey confirmed that Lipinski used the civic works yard gas pump for $1,823 in gas to drive the Rogue to and from his residence in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood. 

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Bob Mackin  The chief of the Surrey Police

Bob Mackin

Justin Trudeau chose travel and recreation on the day the nation observed truth and reconciliation.

Premier Christy Clark in June 2015, announcing a yoga day event that clashed with National Aboriginal Day (Flickr/BC Gov)

In his first news conference since returning from Vancouver Island, the Prime Minister called it a mistake that he regrets.

Instead of donning an orange shirt at one of Canada’s many Sept. 30 ceremonies, he embarked on a long weekend vacation at his favourite surfing spot. His staff even tried to keep it a secret.

“I think the how it happened is far less important than that it happened, which I regret,” he told reporters in Ottawa on Oct. 6.

It wasn’t the first time a politician in British Columbia snubbed First Nations and sparked a public backlash.

Premier Christy Clark in June 2015. Flickr/BC Gov)

Four months before Trudeau led the Liberals back to power, BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark decided to close the Burrard Bridge in Vancouver for a mass yoga class to mark the United Nations’ international day for yoga on June 21, 2015.

She called it “Om the Bridge” and it would cost taxpayers $150,000. The sponsors were Lululemon and AltaGas. Meanwhile, across town, signage for Adidas and Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom were prominently displayed at pitch-level during the Canada 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in B.C. Place Stadium.

Clark announced her event three days after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its summary report. It didn’t take long for British Columbians to notice that June 21 was also National Aboriginal Day.

A social media uproar ensued. Protesters planned to disrupt the yoga event.

Clark doubled down. She Tweeted a selfie outside a Tai Chi studio under the message “Hey Yoga haters — bet you can’t wait for International Tai Chi Day.”

The next day, the sponsors withdrew. Then Clark, too: “Yoga Day is a great opportunity to celebrate peace and harmony – it’s not about politics. I don’t intend to participate.”

Who was advising Clark? Her key communications aide was Ben Chin, who now works in Trudeau’s office.

(Christy Clark/Twitter)

No yoga photo op for Clark. But, unlike Trudeau on Truth and Reconciliation Day 2021, Clark did attend an Aboriginal Day 2015 event.

She flew a private charter jet to the riding she represented in Kelowna and Tweeted a photo shot at the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society Aboriginal Day celebration. Clark quickly returned to Vancouver to attend Canada’s Women’s World Cup win against Switzerland at B.C. Place Stadium.

But the damage was already done, even without a single downward dog on the bridge.

The mid-term mistake was the beginning of the end for her political career. Just over two years later, the NDP and Greens ganged up to defeat her minority government in a dramatic confidence vote.

Just 10 days after failing to turn his minority into a majority, Trudeau turned his back on indigenous Canadians and went for a walk in the sand.

Was it the beginning of the end for him?

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Bob Mackin Justin Trudeau chose travel and recreation

Bob Mackin

The senator accused of being a puppet for Beijing stood alongside the Deputy Consul General for the People’s Republic of China at an event celebrating 72 years of Communist rule and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Chinese diplomat Wang Chengjun, Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, Coun. Alexa Loo and Vancouver mayoral hopeful Ken Sim (Phoenix TV/YouTube)

Yuen Pau Woo, a 2016 Justin Trudeau appointee, was the only federal politician at the Oct. 2 ceremony beside the Vancouver 2010 Olympic cauldron on Jack Poole Plaza. It was the day after China’s national day and a week since Meng Wanzhou returned to China and hostages Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor to Canada.

Woo, sporting a Chinese Olympic Committee face mask, appeared at a public event in Vancouver for the first time since ex-Conservative cabinet minister and diplomat Chris Alexander publicly called for his resignation. Last June, Woo opposed the two-pronged House of Commons motion that called China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims genocide and asked the International Olympic Committee to find another host city.

The afternoon was officially billed as the 3rd Chinese Culture and Arts Festival. The Chinese flag was raised and national anthem, the March of the Volunteers, sung at the biggest national day-related, outdoor event of its type since 2016’s controversial Vancouver city hall flag plaza ceremony. Co-hosts Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations and the Canada Sichuanese Friendship Association are associated with the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front foreign influence program.

Group photo from Oct. 2 at Jack Poole Plaza (Phoenix TV/YouTube)

A report by Chinese government-linked Phoenix TV showed Deputy Consul General Wang Chengjun representing Xi Jinping’s government alongside Woo, Richmond Councillors Chak Au and Alexa Loo (a Canadian snowboarder at Vancouver 2010) and Burnaby Coun. James Wang.

Nobody from Vancouver city council attended. Last April, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart suspended meetings with officials from the Chinese government after it sanctioned Canadian politicians like Conservative MP Michael Chong.

Ken Sim, who narrowly lost in 2018 to Stewart, was a guest on stage for the ribbon-cutting. Last spring he announced plans to run again in the October 2022 civic election.

Also spotted in the group photo was Hong Wei “Winnie” Liao, the Respon Wealth Management firm owner, federal Liberal fundraiser and mother of social media influencer triplets. One of them, Yun Lu “Lucy” Li, is charged with boyfriend Oliver Karafa in the early 2021 shooting death of Vancouver’s Tyler Pratt in Hamilton, Ont.

National day celebrations continued Oct. 3 in Vancouver, when a group waving Chinese and Canadian flags and carrying signs and banners marched around Canada Place. Lahoo.ca reported the event organizer, Wu Jiaming of the Canada-China City Friendship Association, wants to reboot sister-city exchanges.

The obstacles to China have been removed, and it is hoped that the benign interaction between the two countries can continue,” Wu told Lahoo.

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Bob Mackin The senator accused of being a

Bob Mackin

Outside the “Surfer’s Paradise” estate on Chesterman Beach in Tofino, B.C. (Sotheby’s)

Justin Trudeau’s controversial post-election trip to Tofino, B.C. is the eighth as Prime Minister. 

Will it be his last? 

He made annual August visits to Canada’s top surfing destination during each of his first three years in office, 2016 to 2018. 

He returned four times in 2019 alone: Easter weekend in April, July 19-28, Aug. 2-3 and Nov. 2-4. The latter was after that year’s federal election.

Trudeau took-off for Tofino on Sept. 30 for recreation and relaxation, instead of participating in any ceremonies on the first Truth and Reconciliation Day. (He did appear at one on Parliament Hill the night before.)

On Oct. 2, according to the Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News, members of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation gathered on the beach outside Trudeau’s Chesterman Beach hideaway. They demanded Trudeau apologize for snubbing their brothers and sisters, specifically the official invitation from T’kemlups te Sewcwepemc in Kamloops. 

Prime Minister’s Office staff originally claimed he was spending the new federal holiday in Ottawa. They were forced to admit he was in Tofino, after images from flight radar websites hit social media, showing a Canadian Forces Challenger CC-144 jet from the national capital had landed.

Trudeau and his entourage stayed at the Cox Bay Beach Resort in 2019.

This time, he is in a secluded, private estate on Chesterman Beach. 

But not secluded enough.

A reporter from the Tofino Ucluelet Westerly News photographed him on the spacious sun deck with wife Sophie and a mug of beer. 

Global TV also featured a clip of Trudeau walking on the beach. His back to the camera, ignoring a reporter’s questions about why he did not attend that day’s ceremony by the former Kamloops Indian Residential School and the unmarked graves of the children who never made it home.

The trip has become a public relations nightmare for Liberals, so soon after the Sept. 20 election, which ended in a minority government whimper for Trudeau. Despite mid-August’s wildfires in B.C.’s interior and the fourth wave of the pandemic, Trudeau believed it would be a cakewalk to achieve majority power in the House of Commons by going to the polls more than two years sooner than the law required. 

The west coast remembers some of the poor decisions made by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in their third terms, which turned out to be their last.

Instead of doing things the right way, the late-career versions of Campbell and Robertson often did things their own way. Optics be damned. Trudeau is exhibiting the same kind of third-term hubris, as the likelihood of a fourth is foggy, at best.

Father Pierre Trudeau famously walked in the snow before announcing his 1984 retirement. Will Trudeau the Second to take a walk in the sand of Tofino and ponder his exit from politics?

Inside the “Surfer’s Paradise” estate on Chesterman Beach in Tofino, B.C. (Sotheby’s)

Could that be why he is in the lap of luxury this time, instead of staying at a public resort?

The Tofino property is actually two parcels, assessed last year at a combined $4.812 million. But the asking price is $18.75 million for what Sotheby’s International Realty described as “Surfer’s Paradise.”

“Affixed on the vast Pacific as the tides and peacefulness roll in,” reads the sales brochure.

The property includes three residences and a playhouse.

“A Chesterman Beach waterfront estate on 1.21-acres with a majestic 4-bed 4-bath home, a luxurious guest house and caretaker lodging. Walk out onto a popular beach, soak in the tranquil setting of your forested hideaway or gaze upon magical sunsets. Just a short drive to world class dining, cultural experiences and unparalleled natural beauty. Everything else you need is at your fingertips on this unique parcel.”

The long list of amenities includes: air conditioning, billiards room, media room/theatre, library, spa/hot tub, and steam room. There is even a Coast Salish orca design on the main door.

The properties have been registered since July 2013 to one person: Merrin McRoberts, a businesswoman with a home address in Calgary’s posh Upper Mount Royal neighbourhood. 

Inside the “Surfer’s Paradise” estate on Chesterman Beach in Tofino, B.C. (Sotheby’s)

Listing agents Shane and Logan Wilson have not responded to questions about the cost of renting the property.

Taxpayers are on the hook for the cost of flying Trudeau and family from Ottawa to Tofino. Based on figures released in 2019 via Access to Information, the Challenger jet costs $5,637 per flight hour to operate. The round trip bill to taxpayers will be more than $50,000. The jet burns 340 gallons of jet fuel per hour.

Trudeau, however, will only be invoiced for seats on the plane, as per the government’s pleasure travel discount policy. The cost recovered will not be enough to compensate for a single hour of flight.

A September 2019 invoice for 12 seats on that summer’s trips to Tofino totalled just $2,450.73. That is because the cost-recovery policy is based on the lowest-cost equivalent economy fare.

Meanwhile, Trudeau has already cheapened the value of the federal holiday that he created. The second edition falls on a Friday in 2022. Many Canadians will be tempted to follow Trudeau’s footsteps and seize the opportunity for a long weekend of tourism and recreation, instead of the intended day to contemplate truth and reconciliation.

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Bob Mackin [caption id="attachment_11643" align="alignright" width="760"] Outside the

For the week of Oct. 3, 2021:

Calgary’s loss is Victoria’s gain.

Sean Holman has left Mount Royal University to become the new Wayne Crookes Professor in Environmental and Climate Journalism at the University of Victoria.

Sean Holman in 2018

“Climate change is the biggest issue of our time, it’s the biggest story of our time,” Holman told theBreaker.news host Bob Mackin.

A focus of his work will be helping journalists put a human face on those directly affected by the changing climate and environmental disaster, while confronting a post-truth society.

“I think we also need to be thinking about information not just as a controlling force, not just as a force of certainty, but also as a source of community. I really do think that last c, the community that journalism can provide, in an environment of increased uncertainty and lack of control, is going to be so important in the coming three decades.”

Hear the full interview with Holman on this edition of theBreaker.news Podcast.

Plus Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

CLICK BELOW to listen or go to TuneIn or Apple Podcasts.

Now on Google Podcasts!

Have you missed an edition of theBreaker.news Podcast? Go to the archive.

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

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For the week of Oct. 3, 2021: Calgary’s

Bob Mackin

The lineup for the only drive-thru coronavirus testing clinic on the North Shore stretched almost a kilometre on the morning of Sept. 27.

Long lineup of vehicles Sept. 27 outside the VCH coronavirus testing clinic in North Vancouver (Mackin)

It is first come, first served at the former ICBC claims centre on Lloyd Avenue in North Vancouver, which has seen a massive increase in demand since schools reopened earlier this month.

Last week I was mad about a COVID test line in North Vancouver. Kid still sick and more family members down, now with coughs,” Tweeted Caitlin Shannon. “They are in a line twice as long as their two-hour wait last time. Last time it was on 3rd and now I’m at Pemberton.This is unacceptable. Businesses are frustrated customers can’t access their lots since the testing line is so out of control. It’s a traffic issue.”

After 4 p.m., theBreaker.news counted 50 vehicles stretching from Pemberton and 3rd to the door of the Lloyd Avenue facility. There was no restriction on curbside parking, so idling vehicles in line for testing occupied an eastbound lane. Buses and trucks were forced into the wrong lane for the block. Only one traffic flagger was on duty, at the driveway of the clinic.

Cheryl Atchison of North Vancouver spent almost two hours in line a week earlier, on Sept. 20, to get her teenage daughter tested. She was pleased to report the test came back negative the next day. But she is concerned that the long lineup may have deterred those who are carrying and spreading the virus.

There were people that were seeing the lineup and turning around,” Atchison said. “That absolutely is a possibility — did some of them go to work?”

Atchison said she thought of leaving for the BCIT test site in Burnaby, but there was a crash reported on the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge and nowhere online to check for wait times. 

Just decided to sit and wait, if I could’ve found somewhere faster, I’d have left that lineup in a heartbeat, but there’s nowhere to get that information,” she said.

It was, thankfully, faster than the seven hours she spent waiting for a test at the Urgent and Primary Care Centre near Lonsdale Quay last March.

Once she finally drove inside, there were five vehicle bays staffed and open for testing. Sample collection took only five minutes.

“Everybody was very nice there, I didn’t see anybody being rude to the staff,” she said. “They were trying to process as fast as they could.”

The facility is open daily 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“Wait times at the ICBC Claim Centre in North Vancouver are reflective of fluctuations in demand. Vancouver Coastal Health has not reduced staff, hours or access to testing at the site,” according to a prepared statement sent to theBreaker.news from the health board. “VCH adjusts the hours of operation across testing sites based on demand for testing services, which has fluctuated at various stages of the pandemic. There have been no changes in hours of operation or availability of testing at the North Shore site.”

Coincidentally, the facility is the nearest to Capilano Elementary School in Pemberton Heights, where school officials confirmed in a Sept. 24 letter that there were eight positive cases. VCH asked a Grade 3 class Sept. 27 to self-isolate.

Long lineup of vehicles Sept. 27 outside the VCH coronavirus testing clinic in North Vancouver (Mackin)

Children under 12 are unable to be vaccinated. Federal regulatory approval could come next month.

The citizen-run B.C. School Covid Tracker added 88 exposure events across B.C. over the weekend, for a total 404 at 189 schools this month alone.

Parent Advisory Council leaders from Vancouver, Surrey, North Vancouver and Sooke wrote an urgent letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix and Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside, demanding better contact tracing and testing, a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff, a kindergarten to Grade 3 mask mandate, exposure notifications, ventilation and remote learning.

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Bob Mackin The lineup for the only drive-thru

Bob Mackin

The biggest name in the race to become the next BC Liberal leader calls it a “pure fluke” that an ad for his political campaign appeared on the same website, at the same time, as an ad for his real estate development firm.

Former BC Liberal cabinet minister Kevin Falcon is executive vice-president with Anthem Properties. On Sept. 2, an ad for Anthem’s The Standard Metrotown condo tower ran on the same website at the same time as a video inset for Falcon’s leadership campaign. In 2017, the NDP government banned corporate donations to political campaigns.

“I can state categorically that any of my campaign ads being run on Daily Hive are from the Kevin Falcon campaign, full stop,” Falcon said by email. “Anthem has not and will not provide any funding towards ads for my campaign.”

Campaign spokesman Mike Witherly of Fairview Strategy denied coordination with Anthem. He said ads are placed through an online service. “That’s how they got up there. It’s as simple as we placed an ad.”

Last May, Falcon entered the race to replace Andrew Wilkinson, who handed the reins to interim leader Shirley Bond after the 2020 election loss. Falcon and the other five candidates will hold their first online debate Sept. 28. Party members will choose B.C.’s new opposition leader on Feb. 5, 2022.

Kevin Falcon

Falcon was runner-up to Christy Clark in the 2011 leadership election. Seven years later, evidence emerged that he was cheated out of the job. Court evidence confirmed that Clark supporter and MLA Harry Bloy used his connections to amass PIN numbers to help boost Clark’s vote total.

Those connections gathered blocks of PINs which were supplied to Mr. Bloy, who provided them to other Clark supporters, who entered them online — block voting in a proxy process,” special prosecutor David Butcher explained during the Provincial Court breach of trust sentencing of BC Liberal operative Brian Bonney.

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Bob Mackin The biggest name in the

For the week of Sept. 26, 2021:

The biggest world news story out of Vancouver since the 2010 Winter Olympics is over. Since December 2018, it was filled with geopolitical, national security, legal and tech intrigue. 

Meng Wanzhou left Vancouver International Airport on a flight to Shenzhen Sept. 24. The B.C. Supreme Court ended extradition proceedings against the Huawei CFO because of a deferred prosecution agreement with the United States. 

Meng admitted to a court in New York that she lied to HSBC about a Huawei subsidiary in Iran, but she did not plead guilty. Her fraud charges will disappear by December 2022 if she abides.

At the same time as Meng’s Air China departure, Canadian hostages Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were on their way home from China.

It all came down the same week that voters kept Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party as Canada’s minority government. 

Listen to highlights of the case that will be talked about for decades. 

Plus Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

CLICK BELOW to listen or go to TuneIn or Apple Podcasts.

Now on Google Podcasts!

Have you missed an edition of theBreaker.news Podcast? Go to the archive.

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Sounds of the saga - Meng and the Two Michaels go home
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For the week of Sept. 26, 2021: The

Bob Mackin

Sept. 24, 2021.

The eyes of the world were on Brooklyn, N.Y. and Vancouver.

Meng Wanzhou embraces lawyer Tony Paisana (Bob Mackin Exclusive, copyright 2021)

First, Judge Ann Donnelly in U.S. District Court for Eastern New York, heard Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou by videoconference from her lawyer’s office in Vancouver.

Meng pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bank fraud, and wire fraud.

She also agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government.

If she meets the terms through Dec. 1, 2022, the charges will disappear.

What won’t disappear is Meng’s long-awaited admission that she lied to HSBC — a point that her legal dream team denied repeatedly in front of B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes, during an extradition process that Canadian government lawyers complained was morphing into a trial.

Read the full statement of facts below.

Meng Wanzhou’s tearful goodbye at Vancouver International Airport (Bob Mackin Exclusive, copyright 2021)

Acting U.S. Attorney Nicole Broeckmann said afterward: “In entering into the deferred prosecution agreement, Meng has taken responsibility for her principal role in perpetrating a scheme to defraud a global financial institution.”

Two hours after Donnelly was done, Holmes freed Meng. The extradition application was withdrawn. Her court-appointed Lions Gate security bodyguards whisked Meng to a secured loading bay next to the Fairmont Hotel in the Vancouver International Airport, not far from where she had been arrested Dec. 1, 2018.

Meng departed on a chartered Air China flight to Shenzhen, with an entourage that included Canadian ambassador to China, Cong Peiwu. Wheels-up 4:28 p.m.

Meng Wanzhou’s tearful goodbye at Vancouver International Airport. She is photographed with a Hong Kong passport and Air China boarding pass. (Bob Mackin Exclusive, copyright 2021)

Hostages Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, we later learned, departed China around the same time. First to Anchorage, Alaska on a U.S. Air Force jet, then to Calgary by Canadian Forces Challenger. Kovrig transferred to a Toronto flight.

One chapter ends, another begins.

U.S. prosecutors continue to prepare for trial against Huawei.

Will Canada finally decide to ban Huawei from its 5G network?

Statement of Facts in U.S.A. vs. Meng Wanzhou

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Huawei”) has been charged with a total of 16 counts in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York (“EDNY”), and two Huawei subsidiaries have been charged with nine counts in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. See United States v. Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., et al., 18-CR-457 (E.D.N.Y.), Dkt. No. 126 (the “EDNY Indictment”). Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, has also been charged in four of the counts in the EDNY Indictment. Ms. Meng and the U.S. Department of Justice—the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (the “Government”)—have agreed to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (the “Agreement”) in connection with the EDNY Indictment.

The following Statement of Facts is incorporated by reference as part of the Agreement between Ms. Meng and the Government.

***

Huawei is a Chinese company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, and a leading global provider of information and communications technology. Huawei, including its corporate subsidiaries and affiliates, employs more than 197,000 people and operates in over 170 countries and regions.

Ms. Meng is a Chinese citizen and the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, and since 2010 has served as Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Meng also serves as Deputy Chairwoman of Huawei’s Board of Directors.

Skycom Tech. Co. Ltd. (“Skycom”) was a Hong Kong company that primarily operated in Iran. As of February 2007, Skycom was wholly owned by Huawei subsidiary Hua Ying Management (“Hua Ying”). In November 2007, Hua Ying transferred its shares of Skycom to another entity that Huawei controlled, Canicula Holdings (“Canicula”). At the time Hua Ying transferred its Skycom shares to Canicula, Ms. Meng was the Secretary of Hua Ying.

In February 2008, after Huawei transferred ownership of Skycom from Hua Ying to Canicula, Ms. Meng joined Skycom’s Board of Directors, which was comprised of Huawei employees. She served on the Board until April 2009. After Ms. Meng departed from Skycom’s Board, Skycom’s Board members continued to be Huawei employees, Canicula continued to own Skycom, and Canicula continued to be controlled by Huawei. As of August 2012, Huawei included Skycom among a list of “other Huawei subsidiaries” in Huawei corporate documents written in English.

Between 2010 and 2014 (the “Relevant Time Period”), Huawei controlled Skycom’s business operations in Iran, and Skycom was owned by an entity controlled by Huawei. All significant Skycom business decisions were made by Huawei. Moreover, Skycom’s country manager—the head of the business—was a Huawei employee. Individuals employed by Skycom believed they worked for Huawei. Indeed, Skycom employees used email addresses with the domain “huawei.com.”

During the Relevant Time Period, Huawei employees engaged with a U.K. staffing company to provide engineers in Iran to support Skycom’s work with Iranian telecommunications service providers. Negotiations and contracting on behalf of Skycom were conducted by Huawei employees. To pay for these contractors, Huawei sent at least $7.5 million to the U.K. staffing company in a series of approximately 80 payments from Skycom’s bank accounts in Asia, including at a multinational financial institution (“Financial Institution 1”), to the U.K. staffing company’s account in the United Kingdom. The transactions were denominated in U.S. dollars and cleared through the United States.

In December 2012 and January 2013, various news organizations, including Reuters, reported that Skycom offered to sell “embargoed” equipment from a U.S. computer equipment manufacturer in Iran in potential violation of U.S. export controls law, and that Huawei had close ties with Skycom. In a statement to Reuters published in a December 2012 article, Huawei claimed that Skycom was one of its “major local partners” in Iran. Reuters reported that Huawei had further stated that “Huawei’s business in Iran is in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations including those of the U.N., U.S. and E.U. This commitment has been carried out and followed strictly by our company. Further, we also require our partners to follow the same commitment and strictly abide by the relevant laws and regulations.”

In January 2013, a subsequent Reuters article reported that Ms. Meng had served on the Board of Directors of Skycom between February 2008 and April 2009 and identified other connections between Skycom directors and Huawei. The article also quoted a statement from Huawei that: “The relationship between Huawei and Skycom is a normal business partnership. Huawei has established a trade compliance system which is in line with industry best practices and our business in Iran is in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations including those of the UN. We also require our partners, such as Skycom, to make the same commitments.” This statement was incorrect, as Huawei operated and controlled Skycom; Skycom was therefore not Huawei’s business “partner.”

After these articles were published, Financial Institution 1 and other global financial institutions that provided international banking services to Huawei (collectively, the “Financial Institutions”), including U.S. dollar-clearing, made inquiries to Huawei in response to the above- described press reports. In early 2013, Huawei employees represented to the Financial Institutions that Skycom was just a local business partner of Huawei in Iran and that Skycom had not conducted Iran-related transactions using its accounts at the Financial Institutions.

To address the allegations in the news reports, Huawei requested an in-person meeting with a senior Financial Institution 1 employee. That meeting occurred on August 22, 2013 (the “August Meeting”), at which time Ms. Meng met in Hong Kong with an executive of Financial Institution 1 responsible for operations in the Asia Pacific region. During the meeting, Ms. Meng delivered a PowerPoint presentation written in Chinese, which was translated by an interpreter into English. Ms. Meng stated that she was using an interpreter to be precise in her language.

In her presentation, Ms. Meng stated, among other things, that Huawei’s relationship with Skycom was “normal business cooperation” and “normal and controllable business cooperation,” and she described Skycom as a “partner,” a “business partner of Huawei,” and a “third party Huawei works with” in Iran. Those statements were untrue because, as Ms. Meng knew, Skycom was not a business partner of, or a third party working with, Huawei; instead, Huawei controlled Skycom, and Skycom employees were really Huawei employees. It would have been material to Financial Institution 1 to know that Huawei controlled Skycom. In addition, Ms. Meng stated that Huawei “was once a shareholder of Skycom” but had “sold all its shares in Skycom.” Those statements were untrue, because, as Ms. Meng knew, Huawei had “sold” its shares to an entity that Huawei controlled. Specifically, Huawei transferred Skycom shares from a Huawei subsidiary (Hua Ying) to another entity that was controlled by Huawei (Canicula). It would have been material to Financial Institution 1 to know that Skycom was transferred from one Huawei- controlled entity to another. Finally, Ms. Meng stated that Huawei “operates in Iran in strict compliance with applicable laws, regulations and sanctions” and that “there has been no violation of export control regulations” by “Huawei or any third party Huawei works with.” These statements were untrue because Huawei’s operation of Skycom, which caused the Financial Institutions to provide prohibited services, including banking services, for Huawei’s Iran-based business while Huawei concealed Skycom’s link to Huawei, was in violation of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 560. Moreover, during the Relevant Time Period, Huawei caused Skycom to conduct approximately $100 million worth of U.S.-dollar transactions through Financial Institution 1 that cleared through the United States, at least some of which supported its work in Iran in violation of U.S. law, including $7.5 million for Iran-based contractors from the U.K. staffing company to do work in Iran.

At no point during or after the August Meeting did Ms. Meng, who was aware of Huawei’s public statements about Skycom published by Reuters, retract or amend any of those statements. Moreover, Huawei’s Treasurer, who also attended the August Meeting, did not correct or amend any of the statements made by Ms. Meng.

During the Relevant Time Period, Ms. Meng possessed a computer file that contained “Suggested Talking Points” about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom that closely tracked the untrue statements made during the meeting in Hong Kong. Specifically, that file contained the following text, written in Chinese: “The core of the suggested talking points regarding Iran/Skycom: Huawei’s operation in Iran comports with the laws, regulations and sanctions as required by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. The relationship with Skycom is that of normal business cooperation. Through regulated trade organizations and procedures, Huawei requires that Skycom promises to abide by relevant laws and regulations and export controls. Key information 1: In the past — ceased to hold Skycom shares 1, With regards to cooperation: Skycom was established in 1998 and is one of the agents for Huawei products and services. Skycom is mainly an agent for Huawei.”

Shortly after the August Meeting, Huawei prepared an English version of the PowerPoint presentation at Financial Institution 1’s request. Ms. Meng later arranged for a paper copy of that PowerPoint presentation to be delivered to the Financial Institution 1 executive in September 2013. The representations in the English version of the PowerPoint presentation closely tracked the ones Ms. Meng gave during the in-person August Meeting.

After the August Meeting, and subsequent receipt of the PowerPoint presentation, Financial Institution 1 decided to continue its relationship with Huawei. The other Financial Institutions similarly continued their respective relationships with Huawei.

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Bob Mackin Sept. 24, 2021. The eyes of