The Oscars kicked off with an immediate political dig, not at not President Donald Trump but at the Iowa Caucuses. A few mild smacks at the Senate impeachment trial and health care followed, but the night was decidedly apolitical, even with U.S. politics stormier than ever. Maybe everyone’s had it. Maybe Parasite won so many awards that it limited the potential opining.
“Now, a couple of years ago there was a big disaster here at the Oscars when they accidentally read the wrong name. And it was nobody’s fault. But it’s guaranteed that this will not happen this year because the Academy has switched to the new Iowa caucus app,” Steve Martin joked in the non-host opening monologue with Chris Rock. He was referring to 2017, when Warren Beatty mistakenly gave the Best Picture win to La La Land over Moonlight, and to the February 3 Democratic debacle in Iowa that still hasn’t announced a winner.
Martin quickly shushed Rock when his co-non-host mentioned the homeless problem in Los Angeles. “SO MANY STARS!” Martin shouted over him, gesturing at the audience.
Rock tried again. “Mahershala Ali is here. He has two Oscars. Do you know what that means when the cops pull him over? Nothing!”
Brad Pitt, winning for Actor in a Supporting Role, was the only one to call out impeachment, noting that the 45 seconds he was getting for his acceptance speech is “45 seconds more” than the Senate gave former National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify at Trump’s Senate trial. “I’m thinking maybe Quentin [Tarantino] does a movie about it, and in the end the adults do the right thing,” the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actor said of his director.
Speaking backstage, when asked about his comments, Pitt said, “I was just really disappointed with this week. I think when gamesmanship trumps doing the right thing, it’s a sad day. I don’t think we should let it slide, and I’m really serious about that.”
Presenter Josh Gad was ready with a health-care jab via Frozen. “Canadian Elsa is basically the same but with health care,” the actor and voice of Olaf said.
Accepting for Best Documentary Oscar for American Factory, co-director Julia Reichert gave a shout out to workers. “Our film is from Ohio and China but really could be from anywhere that people put on a uniform and punch a clock trying to make their families have a better life. Working people have it harder and harder these days and we believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite.”
And toward the tail of the telecast, Joaquin Phoenix, Best Actor for Joker, talked about animal rights, humanity and the environment. “At times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes,” he said.
Renee Zellweger, accepting the Best Actress statuette for Judy, hinted that Hollywood could help bring people together. “When we look to our heroes we agree, and that matters. Heroes unite and define us,” she said, mentioning Fred Rogers, Harriet Tubman and Judy Garland – all subjects of nominated biopics – and a handful of others from Venus and Serena Williams to Bob Dylan, soldiers, policemen and firefighters. “When we celebrate our heroes, we are reminded of who we are as one people united.”
That was about it. Nothing even remotely resembling Robert de Niro declaring “F*ck Trump” at the 2018 Tony Awards, or Meryl Streep slamming the then-President Elect as a “bully” at the 2017 Globes.
It goes to show, you never know. Sunday’s ceremony capped an ultra-fraught and weird several weeks in an already nasty political climate where Trump was acquitted in trial with no witnesses, publicly eviscerating political opponents and relieving three of them of their jobs on Friday. He also awarded Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom at his State of the Union address.
The Golden Globes last month were more pointed, touching on the then escalating situation with the U.S. and Iran, the urgency of pro-choice politicians in office and the 2020 presidential election. Many speakers mentioned devastating fires in Australia fires and connected them to climate change.
The 2019 Academy Awards had a number pointed reference to Trump and his policies as celebs spoke out in defense of immigrants and against walls.
Ricky Gervais would be proud of the restraint tonight. When he returned as host of the Golden Globes last month he memorably reminded the audience, “If you win, come up, accept your little award tonight… thank your agent and your God, and f*ck off. No one cares about your views on politics or culture.”
Earlier today, Gervais goaded on Twitter: “”I can’t wait to hear all your inspirational speeches about equality, and it’s great that the 3 hours you’re here tonight is the only time your badly paid migrant house staff will get some time off to sleep this week.”
N.S. mass shooting: senior Mountie stands by allegations – CTV News
The senior Mountie who made allegations of political meddling in the investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting defended his position to members of parliament Tuesday.
Nova Scotia RCMP Chief Supt. Darren Campbell maintains his conversation with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki on April 28, 2020 — which has since spurred accusations of political interference in the police investigation of the mass shooting — happened as he detailed in his handwritten notes.
Campbell said he has a “distinct recollection of the content of that discussion,” and reiterated the commissioner said she’d made a promise to the government, tied to pending gun legislation.
Campbell testified before the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee on Tuesday as part of ongoing meetings looking into allegations of political interference in the investigation of the 13-hour shooting rampage in 2020 in Portapique, N.S., which left 22 people dead.
Seven people were slated to appear before the committee Tuesday, including Campbell, Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada François Daigle, and Lia Scanlan, a strategic communications director.
Campbell and Scanlan have both made accusations of political interference, saying officials put pressure on police to release details about the gunman’s weapons following the shooting in an effort to push new gun legislation.
As part of the Mass Casualty Commission — an ongoing independent public inquiry created to examine the worst mass shooting in Canadian history — documents were released showing Campbell had handwritten notes from a meeting with Lucki in the days following the shooting. The notes indicated Lucki said she’d assured Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office the RCMP would release information about the gunman’s firearms.
Campbell has said releasing that information would have jeopardized the investigation into the killings.
“It was never my intention to enter into a political or public disagreement or discussion as to what took place in that meeting, nor was my response to the meeting based on any personal issues with a commissioner or indeed any other individuals. Nor was it based on politics,” he said. “At the heart of the issue was a matter of principle and sound investigative best practices related to protecting the ongoing investigation, which at the time was in its early stages.”
Campbell added he never had any direct conversations with anyone from the government on the issue.
Blair and Lucki have both repeatedly denied pressuring the RCMP or interfering in the investigation. Lucki told the Public Safety and National Security Committee in July it was a ‘miscommunication’ during the meeting.
But Campbell is sticking by what he wrote following the meeting.
“The commissioner made me feel as if I was stupid and I didn’t seem to understand the importance of why this information was important to go out, information specific to the firearms as it was related to the legislation,” Campbell told MPs on Tuesday. “She didn’t seem to appreciate or recognize the importance of maintaining the integrity of an investigation.”
Scanlan, who was also on the April 28 call, said she interpreted the meeting — and Lucki’s alleged comments — in the same way Campbell did.
“It was a feeling of disgust,” Scanlan said. “I was embarrassed to be a part of it. I was embarrassed to be listening to it. And message received, I understood exactly what was being said.”
Meanwhile, earlier in Tuesday’s committee meeting, Canada’s deputy attorney general said that though lawyers and paralegals working for the Department of Justice are responsible for reviewing and delivering documents to the Mass Casualty Commission, the justice minister and ministerial staff had “no involvement whatsoever” in that process.
While Campbell said he turned over his notes relating to the investigation early on, they were not discovered by the commission until June 2022.
Daigle told the committee there were 2,400 pages worth of handwritten notes to be presented to the Mass Casualty Commission as part of its inquiry.
Thirty-five pages of those notes were withheld pending a review to examine whether some of the information was privileged. Of those, 13 were written by Campbell, and four detailed the April 28 conversation between Campbell and Lucki.
Daigle emphasized to the commission that Justice Minister David Lametti and ministerial staff were not involved in the process of withholding, reviewing or producing any documentation to the Mass Casualty Commission.
The RCMP has faced criticism for its lack of communication with the public during and after the shootings, and a 126-page document released by the commission in June states there were significant confusion and delays.
The Public Safety and National Security Committee is set to meet next at the end of September.
With files from CTVNews.ca’s Rachel Aiello and The Canadian Press
Timeline: Liz Cheney's political career, from Republican scion to champion of democracy – CNN
(CNN)Tonight’s primary election is a crucial test for Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney. She has been one of former President Donald Trump’s biggest and most outspoken critics in the Republican Party. Today, the three-term conservative congresswoman faces multiple Republican opponents, including the Trump-endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman.
Politics Briefing: Federal government invests in protecting against quantum threats – The Globe and Mail
This morning, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced $675,000 to help keep Canadians safe from quantum threats, which he called “one of the most serious threats” to Canada’s cybersecurity. The funding will go to the non-profit organization Quantum-Safe Canada for a project to raise awareness and preparedness for such threats.
“The reality, which many Canadians likely don’t know, is that current infrastructure is vulnerable to the quantum technology of tomorrow,” Mr. Mendicino said at a press conference today.
Quantum threats refer to the capabilities of true quantum computers, which have yet to be realized, but could be a reality in around 10 years. Quantum computers would allow for the hacking of mass quantities of encrypted materials – and quickly. They “break the codes underpinning Internet security and the security of things like the ArriveCan app,” explained Michele Mosca, executive director of Quantum-Safe Canada and deputy director of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.
Quantum threats were also discussed by experts in April during hearings of the House standing committee on industry and technology, and whose testimony seemed to stun some MPs.
“Everything that’s been sent on the Internet since essentially the beginning of time will become an open book when a quantum computer is available,” Gilles Brassard, a professor in the department of computer science and operations research at Université de Montréal, told the committee. “Therefore, there’s no way to try to protect the past. The past is gone forever — forget about it. But we can still hope to protect the future.”
Asked what should be done to increase awareness, Mr. Brassard replied: “There needs to be education. There is no magic bullet. People are not sufficiently aware of the threat, and when they are told, they might panic.”
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Marsha McLeod, who is filling in for Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
LAFLAMME BLINDSIDED BY CTV – Lisa LaFlamme was let go as anchor of CTV National News after 35 years at the network in a decision that the veteran journalist said blindsided her and one that prompted shock from colleagues and viewers. Story here.
DELAYS AT PEARSON – The chaos at Toronto Pearson has laid bare a broken governance system, not only in the Canadian airport model itself but among the multiple federal agencies serving the aviation industry, The Globe and Mail has found. Story here.
ATTENDANCE DOWN AT WORLD JUNIORS – While the time of year is a key factor in the low attendance at a winter sporting event, Hockey Canada concedes that concerns over its handling of sexual-assault allegations have also affected interest in the tournament. Story here.
INFLATION SLOWING – Canadian inflation slowed in July as consumers paid much less for gasoline, marking what could be the start of a long journey back to low and stable rates of price growth. Story here.
EXPLOSIONS IN CRIMEA – Explosions went off Tuesday at a military base in Russian-annexed Crimea, which is an important supply line for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Story by Reuters here.
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.
The Canadian Health Coalition released a statement criticizing the possibility of Canadian Blood Services partnering with a multinational company to pay Canadians to sell their plasma. “Once payment to Canadians for their plasma becomes the norm, recruitment of voluntary donors will decline, as experienced in European countries,” said health safety expert Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards.
Parasite ecologist and University of Washington associate professor Chelsea Wood makes her case to The Decibel listeners for parasite conservation, and why they’re actually beautiful, complex forms of life. Episode here.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
The Prime Minister is holding private meetings in Outaouais, Que., and the National Capital Region.
Marcus Gee (The Globe and Mail) on the beauty and wonder of Canada, from the view of a recent cross-country odyssey: “It’s impossible to believe the sheer size and natural variety of this country. We’ve passed through the wild north shore of Lake Superior, crossing the countless rivers and streams that spill into that great inland sea; the vast boreal forest in northwest Ontario; the still vaster prairies, green and gold in their midsummer splendour; then the Rockies, where we hiked through an alpine meadow bursting with paintbrush and arctic lupine and along a famous gorge, Johnston Canyon, filled with roaring waterfalls.”
Sabine Nolke, Phil Calvert, Roman Waschuk, John Holmes, Louise Blais (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Ottawa’s centralized decision-making puts local embassy staff at risk: “Recent reports have revealed that on the cusp of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine earlier this year, plans were made to evacuate Canadian staff at the Canadian embassy in Kyiv. However, Ukrainian employees were not adequately informed of the dangers facing them and they haven’t been given sufficient assistance since. As former ambassadors, reading the reports hit a chord and did not entirely surprise us.”
Ali Mirzad (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s need to deliver on its moral obligation to the persecuted Hazaras of Afghanistan: “It is true that the Liberal government cannot evacuate those trapped behind the Taliban’s walls. But it has also strategically ignored people it could actually help – the thousands of highly vulnerable and at-risk individuals, such as the Hazaras, who have fled but remain in limbo in refugee camps. While Canada continues to fail in delivering on its moral obligations, the persecuted Hazaras – who have historically been deprived of basic human rights – must continue to live each day in the midst of persecution and tragedy.”
Michael Bociurkiw (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada is falling short on its promises to Ukraine: “From the very start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has bungled its response to the crisis on almost every step of the way: from the inexplicable tardiness to send lethal weaponry to circumventing its own sanctions on Russia by approving the release of repaired turbines for that country’s Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.”
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