John Horgan has announced his exit as British Columbia premier.
At a news conference in Vancouver, one of Canada’s highest-profile New Democrats said Tuesday afternoon that he will be standing down as leader of the British Columbia New Democrats, and has asked the party to organize a leadership convention for the fall.
Mr. Horgan, who has been treated for throat cancer and said he is now cancer free after 35 treatments, said his health is good but his energy flags as the days go by.
“There has been endless speculation as a result of my recent battle with cancer about what my plans would be. I want to put the speculation to rest so we can get back to what really matters, and that’s the issues before British Columbians,” he said.
Mr. Horgan, a Vancouver Island member of the legislature since 2005, has been premier since 2017 after forming a minority government with support from the BC Greens, and ending 16 years of BC Liberal government.
He led the party to a majority government in the 2020 election. Although critical of the federal government on issues such as health-care funding, the 62-year-old has been supportive of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in other areas.
Mr. Horgan is chair of the Council of the Federation, and was scheduled to host a gathering of Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders in Victoria early next month. He said he remains committed to that event and the issues of importance to the leaders.
The Angus Reid Institute measured Mr. Horgan’s popularity with other premiers and territorial leaders earlier this month. Of Mr. Horgan they said, “British Columbia Premier John Horgan’s approval continues a downward trend. Just under half of British Columbians approve of Horgan, the lowest approval measured for the BC NDP leader since before the onset of the pandemic in 2020.” Details here.
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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TURNS OVER ADDITIONAL RCMP FILES IN N.S. MASS KILLING – The federal Justice Department said Tuesday that it had turned over a further 17 pages of RCMP investigative files to the public inquiry into the April, 2020, mass killing of 22 people in Nova Scotia. Department spokesman Ian McLeod said another three pages have been withheld as lawyers determine if they should be disclosed to the Mass Casualty Commission, which is investigating the worst mass shooting in Canadian history. Story here.
Reporter’s Comment, Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife: “The fact that the Justice department withheld documents and did not bother to inform the commission should be taken seriously. The opposition parties are right to ask Justice Minister David Lametti and officials to appear before the House of Commons public safety and national intelligence committee next month to explain why this happened.”
SCOTIABANK SUSPENDS SPONSORSHIP TIES WITH HOCKEY CANADA – Scotiabank is suspending its sponsorship of Hockey Canada after the national sport organization paid an undisclosed sum last month to settle allegations that eight Canadian Hockey League players sexually assaulted a young woman after a Hockey Canada Foundation gala in June, 2018. Story here.
FEDS MISSING $23.4B IN UNCOLLECTED TAXES – The federal government is missing out on up to $23.4-billion a year in uncollected taxes, according to the Canada Revenue Agency’s most detailed effort to date to estimate Canada’s tax gap. Story here.
TRUDEAU DEFENDS MILITARY SPENDING – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending Canadian military spending as a new report released ahead of a major NATO meeting this week shows Canada heading in the wrong direction. Story here.
STANDING GRANTED IN EMERGENCIES ACT INQUIRY – The commissioner of the inquiry examining Ottawa’s use of the Emergencies Act to bring an end to the “Freedom Convoy” protest in February has granted standing to the organizers, police and representatives of all three levels of government. Story here.
ONTARIO NDP NAMING INTERIM LEADER – Ontario’s NDP was set to name an interim leader Tuesday to replace Andrea Horwath and the party is expected to select a longtime Toronto caucus member. Story here.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is in Ontario. Roman Baber is hosting a meet and greet in Mississauga. Patrick Brown is in Brampton. Jean Charest is in Calgary. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa. There is no word on the campaign whereabouts of Leslyn Lewis.
PARTY CHANGE INEVITABLE: MACKAY – Elmer MacKay, a veteran cabinet minister under Brian Mulroney, says the evolution of the Conservative Party is an inevitability that some critical veteran party members should accept. He also said he is supporting Pierre Poilievre for the leadership. Story here.
On Tuesday, Elmer MacKay’s son, former Stephen Harper cabinet minister Peter MacKay, said in a statement that he is not making any endorsements in the Conservative leadership race, and is supportive of all of the six candidates. He said his father is entitled to his own choices. But he added, “I honestly don’t feel former leaders should weigh in too heavily in these critically important decisions that remain in the hands of the broader membership. That has been the tradition in our party for a long time [with] a few notable exceptions.”
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20
MURRAY HAS COVID-19 – Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray has tested positive for COVID-19 while attending a UN fisheries conference in Portugal. “I’m feeling fine and I’ll be isolating in my hotel room, following public health guidance,” Ms. Murray wrote in a tweet. She offered thanks to the Canadian Embassy team and fisheries department staff for continuing to ensure a Canadian presence at the conference.
IEN IN TORONTO -Women’s Minister Marci Ien made a funding announcement in Toronto supporting sexual and reproductive health services for LGBTQ communities across Canada.
Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast looks into the controversy over Hockey Canada’s handling of a civil lawsuit filed by a women who alleges she was sexually assaulted by eight Canadian Hockey League players in 2018. The public did not hear about this until 2022, after TSN broke the news that Hockey Canada settled a civil lawsuit with the woman. Now the government has cut off funding for the national organization until more details of their investigation are provided to a parliamentary committee. Taylor McKee , an assistant professor of sports management at Brock University, talks about how hockey has built a culture of secrecy and what that means for a sport deeply connected to Canadian identity. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
In Elmau, Germany, the Prime Minister, attending the G7 summit, held private meetings and met with Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, attended the G7 Working Session entitled Shaping International Cooperation: Multilateral and Digital Order/G20, and held a media availability. The Prime Minister was then scheduled to depart for Madrid, Spain, and participate in the official NATO leaders’ arrivals. The Prime Minister was then scheduled to participate in the official family photo with Their Royal Highnesses the King and Queen of Spain and NATO leaders and to attend a dinner they hosted.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet will be in the Quebec City region to meet with his local MPs, Caroline Desbiens and Julie Vignola, and to hold private meetings.
No schedules released for other party leaders.
SWEARING ALLEGIANCE OATH TO QUEEN – Most people in Canada do not think people should have to swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen, according to a poll ahead of Canada Day. Story here.
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on whether the Conservatives are heading for a cataclysmic rupture: “There will be many Conservative MPs and party supporters who will dismiss the warnings of Ms. LeBreton, Ms. Rempel Garner and Mr. O’Toole as the bleatings of disgruntled losers, a small rump that represents the out-of-touch moderate old guard. Anyone who holds that view is deeply misguided. Mr. Poilievre is taking the Conservatives in a radically different direction, one in which it has never been. It is a deeply divisive and corrosive path as well, one along which not all party members and elected representatives will be comfortable travelling. When the party ruptures, as it surely will, Mr. Poilievre can’t say he wasn’t warned.”
André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on why legislating abortion access in Canada would be a mistake: “Once you have a law, even one that guarantees access to abortion and other reproductive health services, it can serve as a platform for opponents to launch attacks, and protections can be whittled down with restrictions on who has access, when and how. These issues are summed up brilliantly by the National Association of Women and the Law and Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights in its response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.”
David Moscrop (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on America’s social contract with its citizens lying in tatters: “Just this month, decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on abortion, gun control and Miranda rights, for instance, will make the country far less safe and far less just. In the wake of the decision to leave abortion laws up to the states, several states immediately banned it; more will follow. Former vice-president Mike Pence called for a national ban. This is the stuff of theocracy. The court’s decision not only limits the rights of people who may become pregnant, it will lead to deaths. It is a fundamental violation of the right to life. So is the lack of adequate gun control measures in a country where more than 45,000 people were killed by guns in 2020. A recent effort to impose some control resulted in a bipartisan bill – shocking, of itself – but it leaves much to be desired. If the country continues on its current course of decline, the U.S. will face violent revolution or oblivion – maybe even both.”
Jad Saliba and Neil Desai (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the new cybersecurity bill needs to be backed by resources: “Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino recently tabled legislation that would mandate that businesses in four federally-regulated industries report cyberbreaches. It makes sense for the government to try to tackle this growing global challenge given that it’s estimated that an attack occurs ever 11 seconds and the cost of cybercrime to the global economy will top US$10.5 trillion annually by 2025. However, without wider applicability and a thoughtful implementation strategy that includes training and technology solutions for police agencies, the legislation may do little to actually protect Canadians, especially the most vulnerable among us.”
Murray Mandryk (Regina Leader-Post) on how overcoming dwindling NDP support will be the first test of the party’s new leader: “Much of the not-so-great 2022 Saskatchewan NDP leadership race centred around whether this party wants to be a broad-based, inclusive government-in-waiting or something more akin to a special-interest lobby group. The frightening reality for new leader Carla Beck is that the NDP’s voting numbers suggest it’s more the latter than the former. Beck took the Saskatchewan NDP leadership on Sunday with 3,244 votes (or 68.5 per cent of the mere 4,741 total ballots cast) compared with 1,492 votes (31.5 per cent) for Kaitlyn Harvey. Those 4,741 ballots represented 65 per cent of the announced 7,294 NDP membership. Think about those numbers in the context of NDP bravado purporting to having just selected the next Saskatchewan premier.”
Mintoff seeks return to politics, running to be Tiny mayor – MidlandToday
A former Tiny Township councillor, who abruptly resigned in September of 2021, has decided to jump back into the political arena and is seeking to become the municipality’s mayor.
“I truly believe that Tiny’s at a crossroads right now,” said Tony Mintoff. “I think that there has been a need for strong, decisive leadership and a steady hand at the helm, and I think I can offer that to the residents.”
Mintoff has entered as a candidate for mayor of Tiny in the Oct. 24 municipal election. (Recently, David Evans also announced a candidacy for the mayor’s seat next term.)
“I think the elephant in the room is that I resigned my position (as councillor) this current term, this past year. A number of people have some concern about that, and I understand that,” said Mintoff.
Despite plans of a relaxing retirement, the 71-year-old Tiny resident chose to enter the mayoral race after seeing the experience others were offering to bring to the role.
“I’m really concerned, to be quite frank, that we could very well elect both a mayor and deputy mayor that have absolutely no municipal experience or political experience,” Mintoff explained.
“Having gone through the learning curve of just being a councillor who got on with a number of other members of council who had experience, I found it to be a pretty steep and difficult learning curve,” he explained.
“I think, given the fact that the mayor and also the deputy mayor would be not only trying to manage and steer Tiny but also to participate at the county council as well is a pretty tough act if you have no experience or background at all.”
With this intention, Mintoff simultaneously declared a joint candidacy with fellow resident Steve Saltsman as a candidate for deputy mayor.
“You’ll see our campaign signs showing up pretty soon, and you’ll see that our signs have two names on them, not one. We are running as a tandem,” Mintoff said.
As for the mayoral candidacy, Mintoff has more than 40 years of municipal and provincial experience with roles as a Toronto firefighter, fire chief, and throughout six years as an assistant deputy fire marshal for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. He served on Tiny council for 10 years leading up to his resignation.
His reasons for leaving as councillor were multi-faceted involving several concerns, some of which included the municipal handling of short-term rentals, aggregate operations at French’s Hill near Wyebridge and the threat to clean water in the township, and contentious beach ownership along the township’s shores of Georgian Bay.
These issues are on Mintoff’s campaign list to address, along with affordable housing and the potential opportunities the Huronia Airport can provide.
“We’re just on the cusp of that now,” said Mintoff. “There’s a huge opportunity there to develop some of that property to create aerospace-type jobs, or even unrelated jobs, that would be higher-end scale and that would employ skilled workers.
“I think creating jobs for people is just as important as creating houses for them. If you create the jobs around here, then, hopefully, they’re going to want to live around here. They’re hand in hand.”
Tiny council chambers remains physically closed to members of the public, although meetings are livestreamed and archived for residents to participate through phone or by virtual means. However, Mintoff feels more could be done.
“We really need to do a better job to engage the residents, to give them the sense that in a democratic society they have access to their elected representatives in a meaningful way, not just through Zoom,” he said.
“I think what we need to do is open the council chambers. The province has been open for months. There is no legitimate reason for the council chambers to be closed still. People know that. They’re very offended by it; they’re angry about it.”
He added, “People are starting to become apathetic, which is probably one of the worst ways to undermine our system.”
Information on the Tiny municipal election can be found on the Tiny Township website.
The politics of climate change | TheRecord.com – Waterloo Region Record
In her brilliant 2019 article “The challenging politics of climate change,” Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Brookings Institution, explores how “the lack of intensity around (climate change) is simultaneously incomprehensible and totally understandable.”
She offers four explanations: “complexity; jurisdiction and accountability; collective action and trust; and imagination.”
Our climate crisis is a political hot potato because it is complex and voters don’t like complexity. As well, it isn’t obvious how our actions impact the climate — for good or bad. We can’t see greenhouse gas emissions the way we can see water pollution from a chemical plant, or toxic smoke pouring out of a smokestack.
Kamarck says climate change and cybersecurity are “two of the stickiest problems of the 21st century … because it’s so difficult to nail down jurisdiction.” Who is responsible for what? Where does the buck stop? And do we trust our government and politicians to do the right thing?
A half-credit of Civics in high school is not enough for most of us to untangle the Gordian knot of responsibilities in the multiple levels of government impacting our lives.
The politics of climate change is about government action, or the lack of it, but it’s also about navigating the strategies we use to tackle the issue. Since we politicized climate change in the 1970s, our response has been highly divisive. This has to change because everyone is affected and a vigorous and collaborative political response is essential.
Despite the sound science, we still have climate deniers and liars, who come in many forms. The Guardian’s environment editor, Damian Carrington, categorizes them as “the shill, the grifter, the egomaniac and the ideological fool.”
In a Scientific American interview, climate scientist Michael Mann, famous for his hockey stick graph showing the exponential growth in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere from human activity, said that climate deniers have been replaced by inactivists. The deep pockets from the fossil fuel industry are now funding “legislative efforts blocking clean-energy policies” through “deflection, delay, division, despair mongering, doomism.”
Both the oil and tobacco industries share the same devious strategy to shift the blame and responsibility from the corporation to the individual. In 2005, British Petroleum created a marketing campaign for people to calculate their personal carbon footprints. There is no question that we each bear responsibility for our own actions to live sustainably, but who is holding corporations to account?
For the past 10 years, Ottawa-based Gerald Kutney has taken on the climate denialists, bots and trolls to clean up the Twitter-verse. His goal is to stop the propaganda and lies being repeated by the “denial-saurs” from becoming the truth.
Kutney picked Twitter because it’s “the best, ongoing teaching ground about climate denialism in the world, day in and day out.” To counter the piling on from followers of the biggest climate deniers, Kutney introduced #climatebrawl. Just like the bat signal in Batman’s Gotham City, the hashtag alerts an international support system prepared to do battle, armed with the truth about our climate crisis.
We have to trust the evidence-based solutions from our best climate scientists and not the ramblings and rants of disbelievers. Denial-saurs, like most of the contenders for the Canadian Conservative party leadership, are treating our future like a political football.
Kutney’s best advice is “Vote. Just vote,” and hold our elected officials to effective climate-action plans. We cannot afford to be silent in our winner-take-all electoral systems unless we want to be governed by the choices of a minority of climate denialists.
This goes for municipal politics as well. There will be many new faces on councils after this fall’s municipal elections. Our future depends on their commitment to climate action.
Afghans are suffering and dying while Canada plays politics, says aid worker – CBC.ca
Aid worker Samira Sayed Rahman was in eastern Afghanistan recently, where she met a woman struggling to survive in a one-room mud structure that she shared with her six children.
“If she is able to get food on the table, it is because she’s picking from the garbage. And if she can get enough of the hair and dirt off, she brings it home for her six children,” said Sayed Rahman, a Canadian who has been in Afghanistan for seven years, and works with the NGO International Rescue Committee (IRC).
“Otherwise [they] go days without eating,” she told The Current’s guest host Michelle Shephard.
The IRC was in the area to provide economic training to locals; this particular woman learned how to make pickles, as a source of income for her family.
Sayed Rahman said her story of deprivation is the story of millions of Afghans, who are having to resort to “horrific means to survive” since the Taliban’s resurgence in the country sparked a humanitarian crisis. And she added that it’s fuelled by an economic crisis that “is a direct result of the decisions of the international community.”
Afghans are resorting to “skipping meals, taking on debt, pulling children out of school — and … extreme measures, such as selling daughters into marriage or selling organs,” she said.
WATCH | Afghanistan gripped by humanitarian crisis
The humanitarian crisis is being fuelled by economic sanctions levied by the international community after the U.S. and its allies pulled out of Afghanistan last summer, and Kabul quickly fell into the hands of the Taliban. Funding and aid to the country was widely suspended in line with international policies around interacting with the Taliban, designated by many countries as a terrorist organization.
The UN estimates that of Afghanistan’s population of 38 million, roughly 25 million people are living in poverty, in need of humanitarian assistance. That number has risen from 14 million in July 2021, just before the Taliban’s takeover.
Some countries have created exceptions to their laws, to allow the delivery of aid to ordinary Afghans — but Canada’s strict policies remain in place. Last week, Canada-based aid agency World Vision cited the ban when it cancelled a large shipment of food to Afghanistan, which the charity said could have fed around 1,800 children.
“Aid organizations in Afghanistan that are heavily dependent on Canadian foreign aid are now struggling,” said Sayed Rahman, adding that policies intended to “isolate the Taliban” have instead “punished the Afghan people.”
“We are punishing 38 million people just because a few hundred are in power.”
WATCH | Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland discusses Afghan refugees
Taliban ‘remains a terrorist group’: GAC
In an emailed statement to The Current, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada (GAC) said that “Canada remains committed to facilitating life-saving assistance to vulnerable Afghans.”
“In 2022, Canada has allocated $143 million in humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable populations in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries,” the statement read.
But the statement added that “although the Taliban has taken over as the de facto national authority of Afghanistan, it remains a terrorist group and is a listed terrorist entity under the Criminal Code.”
Departments across the federal government are “working to identify a solution that upholds Canada’s national security interests while facilitating the effective delivery of assistance to the Afghan people in this unprecedented situation,” it said.
The Taliban’s early assurances that it would not row back progress for Afghan women and girls have not been borne out in the last 12 months. In March, the group decided against reopening schools to girls above the sixth grade.
GAC said that “Canada continues to engage with international partners to hold the Taliban to account for its horrific treatment and discrimination of women and girls.”
Last year, Canada’s then-minister of foreign affairs Marc Garneau said Canada could exert economic leverage over the Taliban, citing international aid earmarked for the country.
WATCH | Afghans urgently need help, says UN co-ordinator
Speaking to The Current on Tuesday, former member of Afghanistan’s parliament Fawzia Koofi said the Taliban too was exerting leverage, by weaponizing the rights of women and girls in their quest for international legitimacy.
“They are bargaining our rights for their political interests,” said Koofi, who was the country’s first female deputy parliamentary speaker.
Sayed Rahman agreed that the issue of girls’ education is important, but the humanitarian crisis is “a matter of survival for the Afghan people.”
She argued that Afghanistan’s population has relied on international aid and funding for years, only to have it suddenly removed in the last 12 months.
“Are we going to let more Afghans die in the meantime while we play our politics?” she said.
Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Samira Mohyeddin and Niza Lyapa Nondo.
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