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Bob Mackin

By the time Meng Wanzhou arrived with her bodyguards at the Law Courts in downtown Vancouver, the Huawei chief financial officer knew she would not be returning to China anytime soon.

Her lawyers had received the written decision of Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes after 9 a.m. and were free to share it with her after 10 a.m. Meng strutted out of her $13.6 million Shaughnessy mansion under blue skies after 10:30 a.m.

Meng Wanzhou leaves her Vancouver mansion on May 27. (@InaMitchellFilm)

The public learned the B.C. Supreme Court ruling that the U.S. extradition cleared its first hurdle at 11 a.m., when reporters were free to turn on their mobile phones. They had been in an hour-long embargo session inside the same courtroom where lawyers for both sides argued their cases before Holmes over four days in late January, just before the Lunar New Year weekend.

Meng, who is wanted by the U.S. for defrauding HSBC in 2013, wore a facemask while she sat next to lawyers Richard Peck and David Martin in courtroom 55. The 32-minute hearing included an unscheduled seven-minute intermission to resolve embarrassing technical problems.

Closed circuit video was shown in courtrooms 53 and 54, where reporters and others were at least three chairs apart. Same with courtroom 20, where most of the accredited media remained. TV crews and protesters waited outside on street level, by the same steps where Meng mysteriously appeared for a celebratory Saturday night photo shoot believed to be in anticipation of a court victory that did not come. Someone had tipped off a CBC reporter and photographer to be there for the moment of audacity.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court.

A consortium of major Canadian and international media outlets could not convince Holmes last fall to allow the case to be broadcast. But, when the coronavirus pandemic hit B.C. before spring, officials allowed reporters and lawyers to call-in and listen to court proceedings.

Easier said than done on this day, as Holmes’s patience was tested by a noisy connection on the speakerphone. More than one person on the B.C. government system (provided by local Huawei partner Telus) failed to heed instructions to mute the microphone. The system did not allow a remote operator to regulate.

Holmes read the conclusion of her verdict, but eventually gave up.

“That is not proving successful, because well you can hear voices,” Holmes said. “Can we do something about that Mr. Registrar, please? I’m going to find it distracting. So either we stop that or we will have to make different arrangements.”

The registrar asked all to mute. There was momentary silence.

“If it gets noisy again, we will move to plan B,” Holmes said, before invoking plan B.

The only solution was a nearly seven-minute recess.

Protest sign outside the Vancouver Law Courts on May 27.

When the court reconvened, Holmes scheduled a case management conference for June 3 at 9 a.m. and cancelled the June 15-19 and June 22-26 hearings.

The first phase took four months for a decision. Two more issues remain to be decided: whether border guards and police overstepped their authority and whether Donald Trump interfered. Holmes wants to get back on track after the pandemic threw the courts a scheduling curveball.

“I would prefer the overall schedule be a lot more condensed,” she said.

When it finally adjourned after noon, Meng, her lawyers, Huawei staff and executives, and officials from the People’s Republic of China consul poured out of the room. Nearly all wearing face masks.

Most of the two-dozen people headed for the elevators. Meng’s chauffeur-driven SUV awaited.

Xi Jinping’s top envoy on the west coast of Canada, Consul General Tong Xiaoling, left the Nelson Street doors to a waiting Mercedes Benz.

Only one reporter followed. Tong and her staff refused to answer any questions about the judge’s decision, the fate of Canadian hostages Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig and about the Uyghur Muslim protesters outside the court. 

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Bob Mackin By the time Meng Wanzhou arrived

Bob Mackin

In March 2018, Kennedy Stewart was the local NDP Member of Parliament and Elizabeth May was the leader of the Green Party.

They stood together, arm-in-arm, outside the Kinder Morgan tank farm on Burnaby Mountain when Mounties arrested them for defying a court order against blocking the Trans Mountain Pipeline project.

Kennedy Stewart and Elizabeth May in March 2018 (Twitter)

Fast forward to November 2019, when May announced she would step-down from her party’s leadership after increasing the Green caucus in Ottawa from two to only three MPs in the federal election.

Stewart, who was elected Mayor of Vancouver in October 2018, charged taxpayers for a contractor to write a Twitter tribute to his former House of Commons colleague.

Stewart is under fire this week after the cash-strapped city’s sanitation budget was cut and $95,000 earmarked to hire another social media specialist for the 41-person city hall communications department. It is a story that Stewart called “weird” and a “red herring” when asked by reporters on May 28.

Stewart’s chief of staff, Neil Monckton, hired Gwen Hardy’s Elettra Communications on a nearly $32,000-a-year patronage contract for media relations and communications strategy in early January 2019. Hardy donated $1,200 to Stewart’s mayoralty campaign in late September 2018 and acted as his campaign communications director that fall.

On Nov. 4, 2019, Hardy sent two draft tweets to Alvin Singh, the Mayor’s Office’s communications director, late in the afternoon.

  • “Elizabeth May’s tireless advocacy for the environment helped make #climatechange a key election issue. I’m proud to have stood beside her on key issues that affect the future of our planet. I’m glad that she will continue to be a strong voice for the environment in Ottawa.”
  • “For the past 13 years, Elizabeth May has been our country’s top environmental advocate. I am proud to have stood beside her on issues that affect our city, country & planet. I wish you the best and know that you’ll remain a strong voice in Ottawa for the environment.”

“Let’s go with #1,” Singh wrote in reply.

On May 28, CTV News Vancouver reporter Jon Woodward asked Stewart about the status of the contract with Elettra Communications.

“They’re right here today, helping us while my staff person is off on a much-needed break. All of us have been working flat-out since the beginning of COVID-19,” Stewart said, referring to Singh.

“We have somebody, we have a company here to fill the gap while we’re trying to communicate and get the economy restarted.”

In January of this year, theBreaker.news sought copies of Elettra’s media monitoring and social media monitoring reports and copies of the copywriting and editing deliverables since October 1. But city hall said none of that existed.

Internal email from Singh to Stewart’s executive assistant, Lorraine Sebastian, said: “We do not retain copies of social media copy editing as they are posted directly to social media” and suggested the FOI applicant refer to Stewart’s published Tweets and Facebook posts.

“Media monitoring and social media monitoring reports are presented verbally and no records are maintained,” Singh wrote to Sebastian.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s wife, Jeanette Ashe, appears on the right in Stewart’s first anniversary video (City of Vancouver)

Correspondence between Hardy and the mayor’s office from last October and November shows evidence to the contrary.

Late in the evening of Nov. 3, 2019, Hardy gave Singh advice on the production of Stewart’s campaign-style, 54-second video about his first year in office. She suggested audio be cleaned up and Stewart’s voiceover be more urgent so that it sounded less-scripted. Hardy also suggested Premier John Horgan and Stewart’s wife, Jeanette Ashe, be included in the final cut.

“Wondering if we could add in more of the people who were filmed that day. Most of the people featured in this cut are still Caucasian,” Hardy wrote.

“Overall it’s really nice and there is a great mix of footage (I love the high five with the kid). Just want it to feel a bit more passionate, especially in the first 10 seconds.”

The next morning, Singh replied to say that Ashe and B.C. NDP Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen were being added.

“That will boost partnerships and add some more diversity,” Singh wrote. “Also looking at adding footage of my sister, so that should boost diversity a bit as well. Good call on music, they will see if they can boost energy off the top.”

On Dec. 12, 2019, theBreaker.news and CTV News Vancouver’s St. John Alexander reported that Stewart had no apologies for spending nearly $8,000 on the video.

Independent watchdog Dermod Travis of IntegrityBC said Stewart should have repaid taxpayers from his political fundraising account. 

“His office budget, city funds are not for his personal benefit, they are not to assist him in seeking re-election, they are there to provide services to citizens, not services to campaign organizers, campaign advisors and campaign strategists,” Travis said. “He has an obligation to take a look at that video, to take a look at how he has used that video and to return the money to the taxpayers of Vancouver.”

Kennedy Stewart’s poster on 4th Ave. (Mackin)

Meanwhile, other documents obtained by theBreaker.news show that a Nanaimo company called Van City Studios billed the Mayor’s Office $4,532.60 on May 21, 2019 for web design and web development services.

Van City is also behind Stewart’s campaign fundraising website and worked for Stewart’s federal campaign when he was running in the 2015 election.

Other documents show that Coquitlam’s Alex Chan billed the Mayor’s Office $11,062.50 between January and June 2019.

Chan’s original contract, worth $1,000 for writing, research, community outreach, event coordination, media analysis and translation, ran Nov. 30-Dec. 9, 2018.

Stewart’s communications performance has come under extra scrutiny for various bloopers during the coronavirus pandemic state of emergency.

He errantly claimed two weeks ago that the city suffered a $27 billion loss to the economy. The next day, Singh said the actual estimate was a 27% decrease and a $2 billion decline, but not before he released a new version of the presentation that said the loss was only $2.

Stewart also released a bad news survey on city hall finances on Easter Sunday and told Woodward that the closed door meeting where the Vancouver Police budget was cut 1% was not really held in secret. The media and public are excluded from in camera meetings.

Stewart earned a Ph.D from the London School of Economics and is on leave from Simon Fraser University’s school of public policy. 

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Bob Mackin In March 2018, Kennedy Stewart

Bob Mackin

A post on the Liberal Minister of Digital Government’s group on a China state-censored social media platform is promoting a lawsuit against an investigative journalist who cast a critical eye on China’s hoarding of medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister of Digital Government Joyce Murray’s WeChat group carries a supporter’s fundraising solicitation for a lawsuit against a reporter (WeChat)

Sam Cooper of Global News reported April 30 under the headline “United Front groups in Canada helped Beijing stockpile coronavirus safety supplies,” about how allies of the Chinese Communist Party went on a six-week, worldwide buying spree and exported 2.5 billion pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to China, from Canada, Australia and other countries. Cooper’s story quoted former Mexican diplomat Jorge Guajardo and Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole, a harsh critic of the CCP.

Maria Xu, a member of Vancouver-Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray’s WeChat group, posted a notice about the Maple Leafs Anti-Racism Actions Association and a QR code link to the website where it is soliciting donations. Xu was also a participant of a May 19 Zoom meeting hosted by Luxmore Realty CEO Jason Liu to explore a class action lawsuit against Cooper and Global.

Murray’s WeChat group is “managed and interpreted” by one of her aides as a platform for “the latest information about the federal government,” according to a disclaimer. However, it often contains partisan messages promoting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The MLARA website alleged that Cooper’s story “has likely already caused harm to the Asian-Canadian community and the First Nation community in light of the recent increase of physical attacks to members of the community.” (That is a reference is to the alleged assault of an indigenous woman on May 16 at Grays Park. Dakota Holmes claims the assailant used anti-Chinese slurs against her. Vancouver Police do not have a composite sketch or photograph of the suspect.) 

“In order to right a wrong, we are exploring the feasibility of mounting a class action lawsuit against Mr. Sam Cooper and Global News for the inaccurate and unbalanced reporting that targets a specific minority group. Our aim is to demand an apology from Mr. Sam Cooper and Global News to the Canadian-Chinese community as well as compensation for damages.”

theBreaker.news has learned that MLARA was provincially incorporated May 14 with three directors: real estate agents Morning Li Huimin and Jason Xie Sheng, and Ivan Ngai Pak. 

Li and Xie are both Royal Pacific Realty agents who unsuccessfully ran for Vancouver city council in 2018 with Wai Young’s Coalition Vancouver party. Pak was a candidate for Richmond school board in 2018 and a People’s Party of Canada candidate in Richmond Centre last year.

Real estate agents and 2018 Vancouver city council candidates Morning Li (left) and Jason Xie (Coalition Vancouver/Facebook)

Xie’s 2018 candidacy was endorsed by the United Front-allied Canada Wenzhou Friendship Society in a controversial WeChat campaign that offered a $20 voter “subsidy” for transportation to the polls. Richmond RCMP opened a vote-buying investigation but did not recommend charges.

Li’s address on the MLARA registration is the Kingsway office of Royal Pacific Realty. His advertisement was on the side of a Best Choice Moving and Storage van containing a load of PPE delivered to the Chinese consulate mansion in Shaughnessy in early April. Li is part-owner of Best Choice.

Li did not respond for comment.

Royal Pacific co-founder Sing Yim Leo and Allan Ge donated 61,000 masks to Vancouver hospitals in early April. It is not known how much, if any, of the masks were approved for use by frontline healthcare workers or put to use in a non-medical setting. 

Murray did not respond for comment on May 25. Her parliamentary assistant, Jonathan Chiu, said the WeChat group was created to engage with constituents, but Murray does not control what constituents say within the group.

“We do periodically post the disclaimer and rules of engagement,” Chiu said. “Neither the Minister, nor any member of our team played any role in the fundraising. The WeChat account is not operated on a government device, it is run on a staff member’s personal device.”

Doctors and nurses in Canada and elsewhere risked their health and struggled with PPE shortages as western governments scrambled to pay a premium to Chinese companies for tonnes of emergency shipments of masks, gloves, goggles and gowns. Some of the goods were too shoddy to be used by frontline healthcare workers.

Morning Li-sponsored moving van delivering PPE to the Chinese consulate in Vancouver. (YouTube)

theBreaker.news had previously reported on the United Front-allied Canadian Association of Chinese Associations and the Vancouver consulate organizing bulk PPE exports to China in January and February.

In late March, both the Chinese consulate and CACA switched gears and held photo ops to show they were importing PPE to B.C. for distribution to Chinese students and for donation to Metro Vancouver hospitals. The Provincial Health Services Authority has not disclosed how much of the donated supplies passed inspections and made it into the supplies for frontline workers.

A May 5 statement on the consulate’s website conflated Cooper’s story and incidents of anti-Asian racism in Vancouver. Chinese propaganda outlet Global Times carried the statement May 7, three days before the first Zoom meeting on May 10, which featured Richmond city councillor Chak Au.

The meetings were titled “Opposition against Global News discrimination against Chinese.”

The May 19 Zoom meeting included One Pacific News publisher Ng Weng Hoong and former Liberal candidate Wendy Yuan.

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Bob Mackin A post on the Liberal Minister

Bob Mackin, with files from Ina Mitchell

They were supposed to be virtual meetings to discuss the possibility of a class action lawsuit against Global News and investigative reporter Sam Cooper for a story on the Chinese Communist Party’s manipulation of the world medical supplies market during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Richmond Coun. Chak Au on a May 10 virtual meeting about “opposition against Global News discrimination against Chinese,” hosted by Luxmore Realty.

The real estate executive who hosted on Zoom even suggested that money could be raised through crowdfunding, like he did at a café near Richmond’s River Rock Casino Resort.

But two of the featured speakers used their time to make comparisons to Second World War atrocities. 

In the May 10 meeting, Richmond Coun. Chak Au said that a crisis already exists around the question of “loyalty to Canada or China.” He made references to the internment of Japanese in British Columbia in the wake of the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbour by Japan’s imperial air force. 

“Some are even the second and third generations, some are only part of the blood of some people, and the result is that all of them have been arrested, mainly because they have relations with some hostile countries to Canada,” Au said.

“From the perspective of the overall environment, I can see that China and the Western countries now have a very strong contradiction.”

In 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney apologized to Japanese-Canadians who survived the internment and provided $300 million compensation to them and their families.

In an interview, Au was reluctant to talk about what he said on the Zoom meeting, which was titled “Opposition against Global News discrimination against Chinese” and hosted by Luxmore Realty CEO and 1029 Café founder Jason Liu. Au denied involvement with the United Front Work Department (UFWD), the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign influence program.

CACA’s Yongtao Chen (second from right) with Chinese consul officials on Feb. 12 and PPE for export to China. (WeChat)

“I was just invited to the meeting, that’s it,” Au said. “I attend many types of meetings, I’m very concerned about the increase of racism in our community at this time, that’s all I’m concerned about.”

Au, an unsuccessful 2017 B.C. NDP candidate, co-founded the Stop Racism Alliance last year. He declined to comment on the Cooper story. 

“There are so many things we have to do, condemnation is only one aspect. We have to look at the law enforcement and other kinds of reform in the legal system. We need systematic change, we need some change in the way that those cases are being handled,” Au said.

On May 22, Vancouver Police said they have opened 29 investigative files about anti-Asian crimes in the city this year; there were only four during the same period last year. No one has been charged. 

UFWD is hostile to criticism of China’s human rights abuses and frequently uses media platforms protected by western free speech laws in order to highlight human rights issues elsewhere, so as to divert attention from contemporary problems in China. Despite state censorship, overwhelming proof has emerged from China about discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, jailing of journalists and whistleblowers, and the world’s most-advanced surveillance infrastructure. 

Cooper’s April 30 story, “United Front groups in Canada helped Beijing stockpile coronavirus safety supplies,” explained how the UFWD went on a global buying spree and exported 2.5 billion pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) from countries like Canada and Australia to China in just six weeks during the spread of the novel coronavirus from Wuhan. 

Doctors and nurses in Canada and elsewhere risked their health and struggled with PPE shortages as western governments scrambled to pay a premium to Chinese companies for tonnes of emergency shipments of masks, gloves, goggles and gowns. Some of the goods were too shoddy to be used by frontline healthcare workers. Cooper’s story quoted former Mexican diplomat Jorge Guajardo and Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole, a harsh critic of the CCP.

B.C. NDP trade minister George Chow (right) and Consul-Gen. Tong Xiaoling on April 24 (PRC)

theBreaker.news had previously reported on the United Front-allied Canadian Association of Chinese Associations and the Vancouver consulate organizing bulk PPE exports to China in January and February.

In late March, both the Chinese consulate and CACA switched gears and held photo ops to show they were importing PPE to B.C. for distribution to Chinese students and for donation to Metro Vancouver hospitals. The Provincial Health Services Authority has not disclosed how much of the donated supplies passed inspections and made it into the supplies for frontline workers.

A May 5 statement on the consulate’s website conflated Cooper’s story and incidents of anti-Asian racism in Vancouver. Chinese propaganda outlet Global Times carried the statement May 7, three days before the first Zoom meeting on May 10, which featured Au.

An accompanying online chat log during that meeting included Second World War historical references, such as:

  • “North American Japanese were greatly treated unfairly during World War II.” 
  • “This was Hitler’s way to discredit the Jews.”

Another user suggested establishing “a rights protection organization for Chinese people and fight for a long time.”

During the May 19 Zoom meeting, One Pacific News website publisher Ng Weng Hoong went one step further and said he is witnessing Sinophobia that reminds him of the 1960s in Malaysia.

Said Ng: “Trouble comes to the Chinese,” despite Chinese being generally well-educated, well-behaved and wealthy. He also said Chinese president Xi Jinping is doing today what Mao Zedong did in the 1960s: “exporting revolution.”

Ng Weng Hoong during a May 19 Zoom meeting.

“We are going to face the same problem the more China becomes very active on the world stage, so this is something that I have to tell you,” said Ng, who presented in English with a Mandarin translator. “I’m not being anti-China or anti-Chinese here, I’m just telling you as it is.”

Ng was briefly interrupted by a man who said, according to the Mandarin translator, “he didn’t want to listen to you.”

Ng also complained of “some journalists who are targeting the Chinese people,” and blaming Chinese for the high cost of housing, money laundering and casino crime. The only journalist he identified was Cooper.

“So the Chinese are a part of that problem, but the Chinese are not the main problem,” Ng said. “So that’s my campaign at the moment, I’d like for everyone to join me in pushing back against the people who are fanning the anti-Chinese sentiments in the city.”

Ng outlined his goal to force Global News to delete Cooper’s story, which he deemed “hate speech.” Ng’s first complaint letter to Global News was May 5, coincidentally, the same day that the consulate issued its statement. Ng denies any links to the Chinese government.

CLICK and LISTEN to a clip of Ng Weng Hoong

Ng was partly successful when Global News removed a graphic that he compared to a 1941 Nazi propaganda poster from German-occupied Serbia that depicted Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill as puppets operated by a smirking Jewish puppeteer.

A Vancouver writer compared a 1941 Nazi poster (lower right) to a Global News graphic. But is the correct comparison to the logo for The Godfather?

“When the Nazis under Hitler wanted to show how the Jews were controlling the world, they used that image of the puppet master to show that the Jews were controlling the world,” Ng said. “To me that is a very hateful image, Global News was using that on us. That to me is a hate speech.”

Ng made the leap to a Nazi comparison, when the hand and marionette sticks image used by Global News is actually more akin to S. Neil Fujita’s iconic design for The Godfather novel and movie poster. (Fujita, coincidentally, was interned in a Wyoming camp before volunteering for combat and translation roles in the U.S. Army during World War II.)

The puppet master character in the propaganda poster does not use the sticks, instead a string emerging from each finger to the puppets of Stalin and Churchill.

Fast forward to the 2019-2020 Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, which is now battling against the Chinese Communist Party’s just announced move to impose a national security law on Hong Kong. Passage by the National People’s Congress rubber stamp parliament is inevitable and it would end the one country, two systems semi-autonomy that Hong Kong has enjoyed since the 1997 handover from the United Kingdom to China.

Observers of protests in Hong Kong and in Vancouver over the last year have noticed marchers with signs calling Xi and the Communist Party the modern day equivalents of Hitler and the Nazis.

Opponents have even nicknamed China’s most powerful and ambitious president since Mao “Xitler” and his followers “Chinazis.”

Pro-Hong Kong protest in Richmond in October 2019 (Mackin)

Last fall, an international media consortium reported on a monumental leak of Chinese government documents about the mass-jailing of Uyghur Muslims. The reports quoted German anthropologist Adrian Zenz, who called what is happening in Xinjiang “the most systematic campaign of mass surveillance and mass oppression the world has ever seen”, including what is probably the “largest incarceration of an ethno-religious minority since the Holocaust.”

Meanwhile, also on the May 19 Zoom chat, a former Liberal Party of Canada candidate suggested another way to influence public opinion. A paid campaign.

Wendy Yuan, who unsuccessfully sought the Conservative nomination in Steveston-Richmond East last year, said in English that she had many supportive comments on her Facebook page from sympathetic readers concerned with anti-Asian racism. 

“The fact of the matter is there are lots of Caucasians who are willing to help us and to be our voice,” said Yuan, who is also a former aide to ex-BC Liberal premier Christy Clark. “For us to put an effective campaign against this hate crime, why don’t we start by recruiting some established business people who are financially sound who can, who are willing to help us to put up some money to actually pay some writers whose English is good. Those writers don’t have to be Chinese, they can be Caucasian.” 

CLICK and LISTEN to a clip of Wendy Yuan

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Bob Mackin, with files from Ina Mitchell They

For the week of May 24, 2020.

Hear clips of Martin Lee, Hong Kong’s “father of democracy,” and student activist Joey Siu as they react to the monumental move by China’s rubber stamp parliament to impose a national security law that threatens to end Hong Kong’s free speech and free economy.

The Chinese Communist Party’s power grab, during the coronavirus pandemic, was emphatically condemned by the United States. Criticism from the Trudeau Liberals was subdued, despite as many as 300,000 Canadian passport-holders living in Hong Kong. Beijing’s power play came the same week that Taiwan’s independence-minded president Tsai Ing-wen was sworn-in for a second term. 

Lee and Siu joined Conservative MPs Garnett Genuis and Kenny Chiu for a Facebook/Zoom webinar on the fate of human rights in Hong Kong. 

Plus Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines, clips from songs by B.C. politicians who are aiming to lift spirits during the pandemic, and a focus on NDP MP Don Davies and Liberal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, the latest inductees to the “Politician Said WHAT?!?” hall of fame.

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

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

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Is one country/two systems over in Hong Kong?
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For the week of May 24, 2020.

Bob Mackin (with files from Jon Woodward)

Three Surrey city councillors in the Safe Surrey Coalition are standing behind Mayor Doug McCallum and Coun. Allison Patton, who are refusing to comment about the status of their personal relationship.

May 2019 photo of Patton (left), Coun. Linda Annis, McCallum, Guerra, Nagra and Elford. (Annis is a member of Surrey First)

theBreaker.news originally asked Councillors Doug Elford, Laurie Guerra and Mandeep Nagra on May 4 if they continued to have confidence in Patton and the coalition’s leader McCallum. None replied until May 22.

Yes, they do have my full confidence,” said Nagra by email. “I don’t think it appropriate for me to comment on their personal lives.”

“Yes, they absolutely do,” said Guerra. “The private lives of any of my colleagues are none of my business. If they choose to include me in them, I certainly wouldn’t be talking about it to the media.”

Said Elford: “I will not comment on the private affairs of any of my colleagues on my council.”

theBreaker.news was first to report May 6 about RCMP officers attending a call to Patton’s South Surrey naturopathic clinic, the Mountainview Wellness Centre, on the evening of April 30.

theBreaker.news confirmed that Patton’s other business partners, naturopathic doctors Caleb Ng and Galina Bogatch, were no longer employed at the clinic.

Ng is Patton’s husband. The couple has separated.

Ng has since opened a competing clinic, the West Coast Center for Regenerative Medicine, in the same complex as Mountainview, near Semiahmoo Shopping Centre.

A video provided by Bogatch to Postmedia shows both McCallum and Patton outside Mountainview on April 30. McCallum stood to Patton’s right as an RCMP officer mediated between them and Bogatch.

“We just signed a lease here,” McCallum said on the video.

Locksmith Brian Kerr told CTV News Vancouver reporter Jon Woodward that he was called by the landlord to change the locks at Mountainview on April 30. Kerr said McCallum and Patton watched while he did the job earlier in the day.

CTV reporter Jonathan Woodward seeks comment from Surrey Coun. Allison Patton on May 22 (CTV News Vancouver)

“I went back, the mayor was there and she introduced herself to me,” Kerr told Woodward. “I put the lock back in. I gave the keys to the mayor and he said, ‘Allison’s busy so I’ll give the keys to her’.”

Patton did not comment when Woodward went to Mountainview’s door on May 22.

Patton lived in White Rock when she was elected in 2018, but finally moved to Surrey last December after she bought a condominium in Rosemary Heights. Sources told theBreaker.news they have witnessed McCallum and Patton arriving and departing from the Rosemary Heights building. The mayor and councillor have also been spotted at a Crescent Beach house where McCallum has lived.

Oliver Lum, the spokesman for McCallum’s office, would neither confirm nor deny to theBreaker.news that McCallum and Patton are in a relationship: “The personal affairs of the Mayor is outside the scope of this office.”

The day after the RCMP visited Patton’s clinic, a man identical to McCallum “Zoom bombed” Patton while she was on a virtual town hall hosted by the South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce. A door opened behind Patton and the man popped his head in the room. Patton wore a medical face shield, the man did not. Two days later, McCallum’s white Buick was photographed parked in front of Mountainview.

Former Surrey Mayor Bob Bose told theBreaker.news Podcast on May 3 that McCallum and Patton owe citizens of Surrey an explanation.

“Are they acting independently in terms of discharge of their public responsibilities or are their decisions compromised by relationship?” Bose asked. “As [Pierre] Trudeau said, the state has no business in the bedrooms of the community, but transparency is also imperative here.”

City council voted on April 20 for a new conflict of interest code. But it has yet to recruit an ethics commissioner.

Is that Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum Zoom bombing Coun. Allison Patton on May 1? (South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce)

“The ethics commissioner will enforce the new code of conduct for city council which does not encompass the private lives of councillors,” Guerra said.

Guerra, Elford, Nagra, Patton and McCallum hold the majority of votes on city council, which is proceeding with a plan to replace the RCMP with a new municipal police force next year. Councillors Jack Hundial, Brenda Locke and Steven Pettigrew defected from the Safe Surrey Coalition last year over McCallum’s leadership and lack of public consultation on the cop swap.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth did not respond May 22 when theBreaker.news asked if he has confidence that Surrey, under McCallum’s leadership, can proceed with the policing transition. 

In happier times, Patton, Ng and Bogatch were featured frequently in Metanoia, a Mountainview-published, glossy lifestyle and politics magazine loosely inspired by “O, The Oprah Magazine.” Metanoia was a vehicle to promote Patton’s political ambitions and achievements. She had previously been aligned with the BC Liberals and B.C. Conservatives.

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Bob Mackin (with files from Jon Woodward) Three

Bob Mackin

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order that allowed British Columbia restaurants, cafes and bars to reopen for table service on May 19 includes a clause to gather customer contact information “if practicable.”

Along with mandatory physical distancing protocols and limits on capacity, Henry is requiring establishments to “retain contact information for one member of any party of patrons for 30 days in the event that there is a need for contact tracing on the part of the medical health officer.”

B.C. eateries and drinking establishments range from mom and pop-owned bistros to multinational fast food and premium casual chains. Many already handle customer information before service — namely, reservations. Henry’s order is intended to make it easier for public health officials to find customers and staff who may have been exposed to the virus, to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy said that it is mandatory for such post-meal information to be limited and handled carefully.

His office will issue formal, straightforward instructions within days. Until then, McEvoy told theBreaker.news that proprietors have a duty under B.C. laws to collect only the minimal amount of information necessary.

“A name and an email address or name and a phone number is probably a sufficient, obvious means to communicate with people, it has to be collected only for that purpose,” McEvoy said in an interview.

B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner Michael McEvoy (Mackin)

“It shouldn’t be used for other purposes, marketing or some other selling, that information for the third party should only be used for the purpose, if contacted by the PHO because there may have been someone with an infection or at risk. That is the only purpose for which it is used.”

McEvoy said personal information must be properly secured and then securely destroyed at the end of 30 days. 

“It is not going to be left out somewhere, it has to be under lock and key,” he said. “The requirement is at law that it is retained for up to 30 days, the expectation is that it would be securely destroyed at the end of that period.”

McEvoy’s office enforces the Personal Information Protection Act, which governs how businesses, corporations, unions, political parties and not-for-profits collect, use and disclose personal information. Under the law, the maximum fine is $100,000.

A recent trend has been toward so-called ransomware attacks, in which hackers have stolen information, from businesses such as LifeLabs and Craftsman Collision, and demanded payment in exchange for not publishing.

McEvoy and Ontario information and privacy commissioner Brian Beamish are collaborating on an investigation about the LifeLabs breach that affected up to 15 million Canadians.

The NDP government has not followed through on a 2017 campaign promise to enact mandatory privacy breach reporting and disclosure.

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Bob Mackin Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s

Bob Mackin

The Surrey, B.C. woman who pleaded guilty in the U.S. college admissions scandal was sentenced May 18 to time already served in a Spanish jail.

Xiaoning Sui, a 49-year-old citizen of China, appeared by videoconference before U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodcock, who fined Sui $250,000. Sui consented to the fine in February when she agreed to plead guilty and also forfeit the $400,000 bribe she paid to ringleader Rick Singer in order to arrange her son’s admission to the University of California Los Angeles.

Xiaoning Sui (Twitter/Caroline Connolly)

Sui was arrested last September while traveling in Spain, with a return ticket to Canada. She spent 157 days in Madrid V Penitentiary Centre, Soto del Real.

“One aggravating factor here is that Singer specifically told Sui that he intended to provide at least a portion of her payment to the UCLA soccer coach personally,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling wrote in his memorandum to the court. “In addition, Sui’s son was awarded a 25 percent tuition scholarship as a result of the scheme, even though he did not play soccer at all. At the same time, unlike the other defendants, Sui served five months in a foreign prison, where she did not speak the language and was unable to communicate effectively with guards or fellow inmates.”

When Sui was first introduced to Singer by telephone in August 2018, Singer’s phone was being monitored by a court-authorized wiretap. During the phone call, via a Mandarin interpreter, Singer informed Sui “that he would need to write her son’s application in a ‘special way’ to have his admission ‘guaranteed’.”

In early September 2018, Singer created a false soccer profile for Sui’s son, that described him as an elite soccer player. He was really a tennis player. By November of 2018, Sui’s son was approved for admission and awarded the scholarship.

The scholarship was later revoked and he did not attend UCLA. Soccer coach Jorge Salcedo agreed to plead guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge.

A victim impact statement from UCLA said Sui’s conduct “has undermined the hard work of UC (University of California) faculty and staff who have endeavoured over the years to fashion an equitable and merit-based admissions process.”

Sui’s lawyer, Martin Weinberg, told the court in his memorandum that the Shanghai-native was born Oct. 5, 1970 and raised in a middle class home by a college professor father and engineer mother. The family moved in 1981 to Nanjing in Jiangsu province where Sui received a bachelor’s degree in electronics from the Panda Electronic Technology College. She worked nearly a decade as a technician in a TV/electronics factory, married in 1998 and gave birth to their only son, Eric, in 2000.

Jorge Salcedo (UCLA)

Sui received permanent residency in Canada in 2014 and moved to Canada in 2015, where her son attended high school and is now in first year of college.

Sui helped her sister and niece move to Canada. Her husband continues to live and work in China and financially provide for the family. Sui and her son regularly travel to China during winter and summer school breaks.

The husband was no implicated in the UCLA bribe case and his name was not disclosed in Weinberg’s statement. Small claims court records in B.C. indicate he is Qiran Li, a co-defendant with Sui in a claim filed in 2017 by DK Conquest Luxury Rentals Inc. for almost $23,000 after a BMW M5 from the high-end luxury car subscription service was severely damaged.

Sui and Li are listed on the small claims action at different South Surrey addresses. One property was worth $2.99 million, the other $1.31 million. Court documents filed by the defence in the college admissions scandal case say Sui requested her husband donate RMB 2 million ($280,000) to combat the novel coronavirus, but the name of the recipient of the donation was not mentioned.

Weinberg’s memo said there was no evidence that Sui was involved in fabricating the athletic profile for her son’s college applications, nor did she have any knowledge that a bribe was necessary to secure her son’s admission to UCLA.

Sui was in quasi-isolation in the Spanish jail, without any other Mandarin speakers. She took medication to treat anxiety and sleeplessness she suffered in the Spanish jail. 

“Ms. Sui’s conditions of confinement were harsh, isolating, and far more punitive than what any of the related parent-defendants have been subject to,” Weinberg wrote.

David Sidoo (left) and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with the Vanier Cup in 2016 (PMO)

Weinberg also represents David Sidoo, the first British Columbian arrested and charged, is scheduled to be sentenced July 15. Sidoo pleaded guilty before a judge in March to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. The terms of the plea bargain, if the judge accepts them, mean Sidoo could face only 90 days in prison, pay a $250,000 fine and be under 12 months of supervised release. If his case had gone to trial and Sidoo been convicted, he could have faced up to 20 years in jail. 

However, after Sui’s case, Sidoo is unlikely to face 12 months of supervised release.

Lelling’s memorandum said the probation department advised the parties that a 12-month, post-conviction supervision of Sui could not be accomplished if the defendant resides in Canada.

“Consistent with probation’s recommendation, the parties do not object to excluding a term of supervised release from the sentence imposed,” he wrote.”

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Bob Mackin The Surrey, B.C. woman who pleaded

For the week of May 17, 2020.

It was the Blast Heard ‘Round Cascadia.

At 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980. The catastrophic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state. A giant cloud of ash. Forests flatted by mud and rock. Rivers overflowed. Fifty-seven people died.

Simon Fraser University Prof. Glyn Williams-Jones (Mackin)

“Compared to many other volcanoes, it was a pretty small eruption,” said Prof. Glyn Williams-Jones, co-director of Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Natural Hazards Research on Burnaby Mountain in B.C.

“But it was in North America and there were all of these scientists watching it and so we learned a huge amount of information about this volcano and volcanoes in general.”

In a feature interview on this special edition, volcanologist Williams-Jones recalls his 2004 tour inside the crater of Mt. St. Helens.

Also on this edition, how an Australian university is kowtowing to the People’s Republic of China and trying to expel a student for standing up for free speech and human rights.

University of Queensland philosophy student Drew Pavlou (Mackin)

Philosophy student Drew Pavlou is facing a misconduct hearing on May 20, after speaking out against University of Queensland leaders welcoming Chinese Communist Party influence on campus.

Pavlou has been assaulted by pro-Beijing students and called an “anti-China rioter” by the Communist Party propaganda organ Global Times. 

UQ, Pavlou said, is supposed to be a place of life, liberty and learning.

“I never expected my university to be so beholden to Chinese government influence and money that it would now be prepared to expel me as a student due to my very vocal calls for the university to divest from its relationship with the Chinese government,” Pavlou told host Bob Mackin. “While the Chinese government persecutes the Uyghur Muslims and cracks down on Hong Kong and Tibet, and the people of China itself, in a morally catastrophic way.”

Plus Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines, clips from songs by B.C. politicians who are aiming to lift spirits during the pandemic, and a focus on Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and ex-B.C. Premier Christy Clark: inductees to the “Politician Said WHAT?!?” hall of fame.

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

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Blast Heard ‘Round Cascadia and Aussie student battles behemoth Beijing
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For the week of May 17, 2020. It

Bob Mackin

A company whose masks were bulk-imported by the People’s Republic of China’s Vancouver consulate is one of several affected by a product recall in Canada.

On May 11, Health Canada issued a bulletin that ordered sales of Chinese-made KN95 respirator masks be halted by the end of day May 12, citing tests by the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

A box of Ryzur PPE imported to Vancouver by the Chinese consulate

The National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) found that certain masks “pose a health and safety risk to end users.” 

The NIOSH list included 13 models from various manufacturers that did not meet the 95% filtration requirement, including Ningbo Green Health Science & Technology Co., Ltd. (maximum 45.8% filtration); Guangdong Shantou Machinery (maximum 49% filtration); and Anhui Ryzur Medical Equipment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (maximum 33.9% filtration).

The Ryzur product had another flaw that is common among Chinese-made brands.

Currently, there are no NIOSH-approved products with ear loops,” the bulletin read. “NIOSH-approved N95s have head bands. Furthermore, limited assessment of ear loop designs indicate difficulty achieving a proper fit. While filter efficiency shows how well the filter media performs, users must ensure a proper fit is achieved.”

Ryzur KN95 mask (NIOSH)

Phoenix news channel’s Vancouver bureau showed consular staff unloading Ryzur-branded boxes of PPE on April 3 from the back of a real estate agent’s cube van in the Chinese government’s Shaughnessy compound.

Ryzur is contesting the NIOSH test results, claiming “the product tested by NPPTL is an extremely low quality counterfeit of Ryzur’s products.”

According to its May 10 declaration letter, Ryzur claims a German test found its KN95 respirator had filtration capacity exceeding 98%. The company, a subsidiary of Beijing Ruishan Bozhong Medical Equipment Co. Ltd., has retained lawyers in the U.S. A third of its 3,000 employees are in the PPE division, the company says.

“Ryzur has been operating in Chinese medial (sic) industry for nearly 15 years and has more than five self-operated and cooperative hospitals with over 2,000 beds in China, as well as two medical device production facilities in Hefei, Anhui Province and Beijing,” the declaration letter said.

The Health Canada bulletin ordered the current stock of KN95s be relabeled as face masks for distribution to healthcare and non-healthcare settings where a 95% filtration rating is not needed.

“Health Canada has deemed this a Type 2 risk, meaning, the use of (or exposure to) a recalled device may cause temporary adverse health consequences, or where there is not a significant probability of serious adverse health consequences,” the bulletin said. “In addition to this bulletin, Health Canada will be sending regulatory letters to the implicated Medical Device Establishment Licence (MDEL) holders informing them of this same information.”

NIOSH testing a Ryzur KN95 mask.

To continue selling products as respirators, authorization is required under the Canadian government’s interim order respecting importation and sale of medical devices in relation to COVID-19. Independent laboratory performance testing would also be required.

KN95 masks are the Chinese standard, similar to N95, that B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said on April 21 would be accepted in B.C. Dix said B.C. received 3.7 million respirators, of which 3 million were N95 and 700,000 KN95.

“While 3M is our traditional supplier, other manufacturers can and do produce N95 respirators, it’s about the standard, not the brand,” Dix told reporters on April 21.

Dix has not revealed the names of other suppliers or the amount B.C.’s government has spent so far in 2020. Melinda Mui, who is in charge of B.C.’s $2 billion-a-year medical equipment procurement department, has visited the Chinese consulate at least two times to accept PPE donations from the Chinese government. 

On April 23, the Canadian government admitted a million KN95 masks did not meet Canadian standards and would not be shipped to provinces where doctors, nurses and paramedics need the respirators for their protection. On May 9, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters that the government was in talks with the supplier of 8 million rejected N95 masks that were imported from China. The names of the supplier and manufacturer were not disclosed.

“We will not be paying for masks that do not hit the standards that we expect to give to our frontline workers,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau said there had been 23 personal protective equipment import flights from China. He was not clear whether he counted the two that came back to Canada empty over logistical issues at the Shanghai airport.

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Bob Mackin A company whose masks were bulk-imported