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China’s threats over Huawei CFO’s arrest rattle Canadian business





As China continues to threaten Canada with unnamed “consequences” if it doesn’t release the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, some in Canada’s business community are openly worried about what’s coming next.

“The options are essentially limitless and that’s what’s concerning about this,” Brian Kingston, vice president of policy for the Business Council of Canada, told CBC News.

Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Chinese technology giant Huawei — and also the daughter of the firm’s founder — was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1. She is wanted for extradition to the U.S. on allegations of fraud, including using a shell company to skirt international American sanctions on Iran over five years.

Since the arrest, China has made it clear that they want Wanzhou released immediately, arguing that she is being treated inhumanely.

“For Canada, if they do not correctly handle this matter, there will be serious consequences. You asked, what kind of serious consequences would these be? I can tell you in one sentence: It is totally up to Canada,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Monday at a news conference in Beijing.

According to Jim Carr, Canada’s minister of International Trade Diversification, as of today there are no indications from China of what those consequences might be.

David Mulroney, Canada’s former ambassador to China, today told CBC’s Ottawa Morning that China appears poised to execute a strategy it calls “kill the chicken, scare the monkey.”

Mulroney said the tactic comes into play when China is engaged with adversaries​ of unequal size. To get a larger player onside — in this situation, the United States — it makes an example of a smaller, more vulnerable player: Canada.

“The warning is that it will go any distance, it will take any measure to defend its national integrity … ‘Look what we are doing to a country like Canada,'” he said.

The former ambassador added, however, that China typically tries to threaten and intimidate other nations to get what it wants without having to follow through on its threats.

New sanctions or regulatory requirement​s

One of the people hoping the warning is merely a scare tactic is Kingston, who has seen other countries fall afoul of China in the past, including Norway in 2010.

“Norway faced a ban on its exports after awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to [Chinese human rights activist] Liu Xiaobo,” Kingston said.

“The Chinese claimed that Norwegian salmon had a virus which no longer made it acceptable in the Chinese market … and Norwegian exports were significant to China and they fell through the floor as result of this ban.”

Kingston said that China and Norway were in the middle of trade talks when the dispute began; China subsequently called off the talks.

“It creates a huge amount of uncertainty for Canadian businesses that operate in China,” he said. “First of all there’s concerns around your employees in that market, and secondly you have to suddenly worry about your product and whether you’ll face a new sanction or regulatory requirement that simply wasn’t there yesterday.”

That sort of retaliation hasn’t materialized so far. CBC News reached out to the Canola Council of Canada, the Lobster Council of Canada and the Pork Council of Canada, all of which said they have not been informed of any regulatory changes in China that would affect their exports.

That could change quickly if China continues to blame Canada for the arrest of Wanzhou — an action Ottawa said it had to take to respect its extradition treaty with the United States.

Speaking in Toronto Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said it’s important that high-level extradition arrests like these are ordered by officials, free from political interference.

“It’s really important for Canadians to understand that this was not in any way a political decision,” Freeland said. “There was no political interference, as the prime minister has said. None at all.”

Convincing China

Freeland said the “action” was taken, as all extradition arrests are, “at an officials level in keeping with our international obligations.”

While Canadians may be willing to accept the realities of Canada’s extradition system, convincing the Chinese that Canada’s hands were tied — and they need to back off and take their fight to the U.S. — is proving more difficult.

According to a senior government source with knowledge of the situation, Canadian officials are struggling to convince the Chinese that Canada’s extradition treaty with the U.S. isn’t something the Liberal government can interfere with at will.


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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021





Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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