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Canada’s relationship with Trump reaches a ‘new level of frustration’ over Huawei comments

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Canada’s relationship with Donald Trump has reached a “new level of frustration” after the U.S. president’s comments this week on the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer, says a senior source.

Canada recently detained the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, on an extradition request from the U.S. She has been released on $10 million bail.

The Americans are hoping to have Meng extradited on claims she tried to bypass American trade sanctions on Iran and lied to U.S. banks.

Canada has argued that the request to detain Meng was made at the officials’ level and was not politically motivated. 

President Trump, however, has said publicly he’s willing to intervene in the case if it would help further his country’s interests with China on security or trade — a statement that many saw as tainting the extradition process.

The senior source, who has direct knowledge of the situation and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the president’s comments were not helpful.

Canada has not officially raised the issue with the U.S. administration, said the source, but Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will get the opportunity when she travels to Washington on Friday for a pre-arranged meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Trump’s advisers have told him his options are limited in Meng’s case and have suggested he stay out of the matter.

Tensions between Canada and China have been running high Since Meng’s detention.

2 Canadians detained in China

Earlier this week, Chinese officials detained Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and entrepreneur Michael Spavor on suspicion of “endangering national security,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang on Thursday.

When asked if the detention of the two Canadian men was intended as retaliation, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said they were being handled according to Chinese law.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said today the Liberal government needs to be more forceful with Beijing regarding the plight of the two Canadians detained in China, attacking what he calls the prime minister’s “naive approach.”

Scheer said it’s important that Canada has an independent justice system, and that police agencies continue to make decisions based on evidence and and the rule of law.

“We also need to make sure that we unequivocally denounce any type of repercussions to Canadians on foreign soil in China as a result of the actions of independent police agencies here,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“That message has to be sent loudly and clearly by this government to the government of China. I believe that this situation demonstrates that Justin Trudeau’s naive approach to relations with China isn’t working.”

Michael Spavor (L) and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig were taken into custody earlier this week, Chinese officials say. (Associated Press/ International Crisis Group/Canadian Press)

Kovrig served as a diplomat in Beijing and Hong Kong until 2016. He is on a leave of absence from the Canadian foreign service and is no longer protected by diplomatic status.

In a briefing on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters the government has been unable to make contact with Spavor — whom she did not identify at the time — since he raised concerns about being questioned by Chinese authorities.

She declined to provide more information about Spavor’s case, calling it a “delicate situation.​”

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7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

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

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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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10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

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Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

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