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Eric Martel, President and CEO of Bombardier

REUTERS/Mike Blake

Hard Numbers: Bombardier blasts Ottawa, Freight flows fall,  Canada-Taiwan trade pact framed, Titanic racket rocks Kiwis

10 billion: The Canadian government is ready to spend as much as CA$10 billion on new surveillance aircraft, and it looks like the contract will be awarded to Seattle-based Boeing. Canada’s Bombardier is furious. The CEO says the bidding process was flawed and that their US rivals are getting the nod based on “flawed and invalid information.”

4: Total cross-border freight shipments between the US and Canada fell 4% in annual terms in August 2023, according to newly released data. The drop was part of a broader slowdown in North American trade — freight flows between the US, Mexico, and Canada fell 1.7% over the same time period.

70: Canada and Taiwan have hashed out a free trade and investment pact that they hope to have in place in the coming months. Taiwan hopes the agreement, which comprises more than 70 provisions, will help its bid to join the CPTPP, a major transpacific trade grouping that Canada will chair in 2024. The Canada-Taiwan pact is sure to strain already-fraught Canada-China ties, as Beijing does not recognize the sovereignty of Taiwan.

10: If ever you doubt the reach of Canada’s soft power, know that there’s a place in the world where people mount 10 emergency sirens on their cars for the purpose of blaring songs by French-Canadian superstar Celine Dion louder than other cars fitted with sirens for the same purpose. This occurs regularly at 2 a.m. (yes, A.M.) in the town of Porirua, New Zealand. Local residents and officials have tried to stop these “siren battles,” but like Dion’s heart, they go on


A graphic showing English-French bilingualism in Canada.

GZERO Media/ Luisa Vieria

The Graphic Truth: English-French bilingualism in Canada

Parlez-vous le français? Probably pas très bien if you live outside Quebec, according to census data from Statistics Canada.

The share of Canadians who can hold a conversation in both English and French has plateaued around 18% for two decades, despite strong legal protections for the French language and official encouragement of bilingualism.

The background: Political rivalries between English and French-speaking Canadians dominated the early history of the country, and fuel some radical independence movements in Quebec even today. Official adoption of bilingualism at a federal level in 1969 was meant to help heal the rift.

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Luisa Vieira

Can Canada woo techies from the US and become a digital nomad hotspot?

The battle for tech talent between the United States and Canada is heating up. Last week, Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a suite of reforms aimed at attracting technology sector workers from around the world, including the US. The move comes as Canada struggles to respond to American green subsidies for energy and transportation as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Canada has long been wary of its global hegemon neighbor pipping it to the talent post. Brain drain – or “human capital flight” – has obsessed governments and commentators up north for decades. With Fraser’s new, multipronged immigration strategy, the country hopes to reverse the drain, and the US may be ill-positioned to fight back.

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Ian Explains: Biden-Trudeau summit well worth the wait
- YouTube

Ian Explains: Biden-Trudeau summit well worth the wait

Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau finally met recently, two years after Biden came to office. The good personal vibes, as expected, were great, and the state of the US-Canada relationship is strong, though not perfect, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

The US president and the Canadian PM signed an agreement on asylum seekers, but other, thornier issues still need to be worked out.

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Subsidy game could hurt Canada-US relations
Subsidy game could hurt Canada-US relations | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Subsidy game could hurt Canada-US relations

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics.

What is happening with US/Canada relations?

Well, I'm headed up to Toronto, Canada, just about a week after President Biden made his first trip to America's neighbor to the north, which is also the US' second largest trading partner. A very important, deeply ingrained relationship between these two North American economies. And a major source of tension right now between the US and Canada is over industrial policy. The US over the last several years has started to deeply subsidize infrastructure development, semiconductor manufacturing, and in the Inflation Reduction Act, green energy production, electric vehicles, and the components that go into this.

Now, the automobile industry is obviously a very major component of US/Canada trade and has been that way since the mid '90s when NAFTA was signed. The renegotiated USMCA has created a new set of playing rules for governing US/Canada trade, and there have been several long-standing disputes between the two countries that have not yet been worked out. And now with the introduction of the US' new subsidies, the Inflation Reduction Act is causing major concerns in Canada who are worried about losing green energy investments to the United States where there are tax preferences, loan programs, and other direct form of subsidies in order to get that manufacturing into the US.

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U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau during a bilateral meeting at the North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico City, Mexico, January 10, 2023.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Biden-Trudeau talks focus on immigration and defense

Amid the pomp and pageantry accompanying President Joe Biden’s first official visit to Canada, he and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau are looking to make some deals.

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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy awards a Ukrainian service member at a position near a frontline, in Donetsk region, Ukraine March 22, 2023.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Zelensky’s Bakhmut message, Rishi’s post-Brexit win, Trudeau’s take on Haiti, Ethiopia’s peace progress

Russia and Ukraine score points where they can

Volodymyr Zelensky visited frontline troops in war-ravaged Bakhmut, located in Ukraine’s eastern province of Donetsk, on Wednesday as Russian drones struck across the country. While planning for the trip was surely well underway before Vladimir Putin’s surprise stop in Russian-occupied Mariupol last weekend, the contrast underlined Zelenksy’s signal of defiance.

By appearing in Bakhmut very near the fighting, Zelensky reminded the world that, six months after Putin mobilized 300,000 new Russian soldiers for a deeper advance into Ukraine, even the small city of Bakhmut remains beyond their grasp.

In other war news, Russia has warned it will respond harshly to shipments from the UK to Ukraine of anti-tank munitions made from depleted uranium. Moscow claims this step adds an escalatory nuclear element to the conflict. In response, the UK insists the Russian position is propaganda, that the use of depleted uranium is common in anti-tank weapons, and that it contains nothing that can be used to make nuclear or radiological weapons. Finally, Russia has announced a plan to raise an additional $8 billion in revenue by changing the way oil profits are taxed.

All these stories underscore the reality that, while little has changed on the battlefield, Russians and Ukrainians are still looking for every small advantage they can gain in what looks increasingly like a war of attrition.

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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they meet during the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 9, 2022.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

US green subsidies pushback to dominate Biden's Canada trip

As Ottawa prepares for a two-day visit by President Joe Biden starting Thursday, Canadians have been speculating about whether he will do something to stop the northward flow of border crossings by undocumented migrants at Roxham Road, Quebec.

That problem is grabbing headlines, but it is nothing next to the border challenges the Americans face, and the Canadians likely have more important requests for Biden. Behind the scenes, the government is focused on getting Americans to help mitigate the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate spending package in US history, which could lead to the loss of capital and jobs from Canada.

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