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Politics Briefing: Conservatives call for investigation into allegations RCMP Commissioner interfered in N.S. shooting probe – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

Opposition Leader Candice Bergen wants a full investigation into questions around the RCMP Commissioner allegedly pressing her force to disclose the weapons used in the Nova Scotia mass shooting to help advance the federal Liberal government’s gun-control legislation.

But the interim leader of the Conservatives said Wednesday that she doesn’t have faith in a committee of MPs looking into the matter because of the supply and confidence agreement that the NDP struck earlier this year with the governing Liberals.

“We have seen the NDP help cover up a lot for the Liberals so I really have concern about a parliamentary committee,” Ms. Bergen told journalists as she arrived for this week’s caucus meeting.

“So I think there has to be more independence and the ability for more of an independent investigation to happen. I don’t trust the NDP to not cover up.”

She declined to provide further specifics.

The public inquiry into the April, 2020, killings of 22 people by a lone gunman has been told that in an April. 28 conference call, Commissioner Brenda Lucki chastised senior commanders for withholding information about the guns used in the attack – allegedly telling them those details could be leveraged for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s gun-control agenda.

The Mass Casualty Commission released supporting documents and notes Tuesday involving a conversation between Commissioner Lucki and RCMP officers overseeing the Nova Scotia investigation into the murders. Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife, Senior Parliamentary Reporter Steven Chase, and Atlantic Canada Reporter Greg Mercer report here.

Meanwhile, Opposition House Leader John Brassard said the Conservatives were going to ask the Speaker for an emergency debate in Parliament on this issue. Mr. Brassard said the debate should include inflation and the passport “fiasco” as Canadians seek access to travel documents. He said the request would be made Wednesday.

Mr. Brassard expressed more faith in a committee investigation than Ms. Bergen, saying “at a minimum” questions about the RCMP and the mass shooting need to go to a parliamentary committee. “We expect that this is going to end up at a parliamentary committee so that we can get to the truth of this matter.”

He said the process needs to move as quickly as possible, even ahead of the inquiry in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia MP Chris d’Entremont said the situation is disturbing. “It makes me sick,” the member for West Nova and the deputy speaker said.

“Twenty-two people died in Nova Scotia. We, as Nova Scotians, mourn the loss of those people as do our neighbours.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by 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.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

INFLATION AT FOUR-DECADE HIGH – Canadian inflation accelerated to the highest rate in nearly four decades in May as calls broaden for policy makers to find new ways of curbing runaway price growth. Story here.

HOCKEY CANADA FUNDING TO BE FROZEN – Hockey Canada’s federal funding is being frozen in the wake of the national sport body’s handling of an alleged sexual assault and out-of-court settlement. Story here.

WHEREABOUTS OF SCIENTISTS STILL A MYSTERY – A year and a half after two Canadian scientists were fired from Ottawa’s top-security infectious-disease laboratory over alleged national-security breaches, it is still unclear whether the couple are now in China or living at an undisclosed location in Canada. Story here.

SITUATION AT PASSPORT OFFICES “UNACCEPTABLE”: TRUDEAU – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising to do more to fix what he calls an “unacceptable” state of affairs at passport offices overwhelmed as thousands of Canadians scramble to get necessary documents before travelling abroad. Mr. Trudeau made the comments in an interview on CBC Radio’s The House that will air Saturday. Story here from CBC.

PM DEPARTS FOR INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has departed for a 10-day international trip, with the Russia-Ukraine conflict expected to be a major focus during stops in Kigali, Rwanda as well as Germany and then on to Madrid. Story here.

REMPEL GARNER CLEARS HURDLE FOR UCP LEADERSHIP BID – Long-time federal Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner has cleared a barrier for entry into the United Conservative Party leadership race to replace Alberta Premier Jason Kenney after the UCP agreed to let her run despite the potential candidate not being a party member long enough. Story here.

STEFANSON HAS COVID-19 -Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson has tested positive for COVID-19. Story here.

MPS EQUIPPED WITH PANIC BUTTONS – MPs say they are getting used to the option of carrying panic buttons that can summon help, even when away from Parliament Hill, amid rising threats against parliamentarians. Story here..

TRANS MOUNTAIN PIPELINE NO LONGER PROFITABLE: PBO -The Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain oil pipeline is no longer profitable after cost overruns and delays to its expansion project, the country’s parliamentary budget officer (PBO) said on Wednesday. Story here.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is in Ontario. Patrick Brown is in Brampton. Jean Charest is in the Toronto region meeting members and working with his campaign team. Leslyn Lewis is in Ottawa, and was at the national Conservative caucus meeting Wednesday. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa. There’s no word on the campaign whereabouts of Roman Baber.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, June 22 accessible here.

DEPUTY BANK GOVERNOR TO RETIRE – Timothy Lane, the deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, will retire on September 16, 2022, the bank announced on Wednesday. Mr. Lane joined the bank in August, 2008, as an adviser to the governor, after a 20-year career at the International Monetary Fund. He was appointed Deputy Governor in 2009.

FREELAND INTRODUCING ZELENSKY – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was scheduled to introduce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, at a virtual address to students at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. The event was livestreamed here.

JOLY TO RWANDA AND MADRID – Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is travelling to Kigali, Rwanda, from June 22 to 25, to attend the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting, then to Madrid from June 28 to 30 to attend the NATO Leaders’ Summit with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

CHAMPAGNE IN TORONTO – Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne was in Toronto on Wednesday for the Collision tech-industry conference.

HORGAN UPDATE ON $789.5M MUSEUM – In Victoria, British Columbia Premier John Horgan will be providing an update on plans to modernize the Royal BC Museum. The NDP government has been in political hot water over the $789.5-million cost to build a new museum on the site of the current complex. In May, Western Arts Correspondent Marsha Lederman looked at the situation here.

THE DECIBEL

On Wednesday’s edition of The Decibel, Yap Boum from Doctors Without Borders talks about monkeypox in Central and West Africa. Then, Helen Branswell, senior writer at STAT News, whose beat is infectious diseases, provides an update on how monkeypox’s spread is different in Europe and North America, and why the World Health Organization might label it a “public health emergency of international concern” at its meeting Thursday. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

The Prime Minister arrives in Kigali, Rwanda for a conference on Commonwealth leaders.

LEADERS

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a news conference on the session of Parliament ending this week.

Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen attended the national Conservative caucus meeting and was scheduled to attend Question Period.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh attended the NDP national caucus, held a news conference and attended question period.

PUBLIC OPINION

FRANCOPHONE QUEBECERS AND FRENCH STATUS – Francophone Quebecers are concerned about the status of French, with seven in 10 feeling the French language is threatened in Quebec, according to new survey research. Details here.

CANADIANS ON UNITED STATES – Canadians are growing more confident in the United States as a trusted and reliable international ally, but losing faith in the man who’s currently running the country, a new poll suggests. Details here.

OPINION

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how the government could do more to help the Bank of Canada fight inflation – or at least it could stop hindering it: With inflation raging at levels not seen in more than 30 years, attention has turned to the different ways in which the Bank of Canada and the government might contribute to taming it. Specifically, it has been suggested that the government, which continues to pump out spending at a torrid rate, has been somewhat south of helpful in this regard. That’s true, though perhaps not quite in the way that it has been presented.”

Sheema Khan (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how she was wrong that the Charter protects Canadians’ fundamental rights: “Much has been written about the history of how the notwithstanding clause came to be: a compromise between federal and provincial powers; a balance between elected representatives and unelected judges. Yet, this does not explain how basic human rights were used as a bargaining chip, rendering our Charter of Rights and Freedoms hollow. When it was introduced, the thought was that it would be rarely used. Some termed it the “nuclear button.” For decades, that was the case. However, within the past three years, it has been used twice by Quebec and once by Ontario.”

Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on how, talking straight to UCP anger, could win Danielle Smith the leadership of the Alberta party: “Many Albertans are dismissing Danielle Smith as a separatist flake who won’t get anywhere in the UCP leadership election. They should not. Smith is onto something that could win her the leadership and premier’s office. She’s flying out of the gate with a striking Alberta First agenda. Early polls show her rising and now leading among UCP loyalists – the only ones who will matter in the vote Oct. 6. Whether her plan to “nullify” federal laws would be a winner in next year’s general election is another matter. That seems unlikely, but we should also remember the adage about playing with fire.”

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.

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Funding and politics hit N.Ireland abortion services – FRANCE 24 English

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Issued on: 04/07/2022 – 07:36Modified: 04/07/2022 – 07:35

London (AFP) – Campaigners in Northern Ireland are closely watching US moves to restrict abortion, particularly concerns that women will now have to travel across states for terminations.

Abortion was only decriminalised in the British province in 2019 — 42 years after terminations were made legal up to 24 weeks in most circumstances in the rest of the UK.

But despite legislation, lack of government funding and political wrangling have meant women are still having to travel to the British mainland for abortions.

Currently, there are still no surgical abortion services available in Northern Ireland and no options for abortion after 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Last year, 161 women crossed the Irish Sea to England and Wales for an abortion, according to UK government statistics published last month.

“The fact that 161 people travelled last year is totally unacceptable, even one should be a scandal,” Dani Anderson from the Abortion Support Network told AFP.

The recent US Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling which enshrined the right to abortion prompted some states to introduce a ban.

That has raised fears women from low-income, rural and black and minority ethnic backgrounds will be hit hardest if they have to travel.

Barriers

In Northern Ireland, campaigners say this is already a reality.

Grainne Teggart, deputy programme director for Amnesty International in Northern Ireland, said travelling for an abortion had not been “safe or viable” for many during the pandemic.

From a healthcare perspective, “later trimester abortions are more complex, so it is the women who should be travelling the least who are being made to travel”, added Naomi Connor, co-convener at the grassroots campaign group Alliance for Choice.

She said they have seen cases where women facing domestic violence or in coercive relationships were reluctant to make long journeys because they were “really anxious about anyone finding out”.

As in neighbouring Ireland, where an abortion ban was overturned in a 2018 referendum, religious conservatism is strong in Northern Ireland, both among Catholics and Protestants. This also led to a delay in legalising same-sex marriage.

In rural communities particularly, women have been hesitant to explicitly seek terminations because of stigma.

One refugee in Belfast, who fled her home country after a forced marriage, was told she would have to travel to receive an abortion.

But with limited knowledge of English and other restrictions, she was unable to make the journey, said Connor.

Abortion was only decriminalised in Northern Ireland in 2019 Niklas HALLE’N AFP

She was eventually helped, but there have been times when case workers have had to say nothing can be done.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Connor.

Politics

Healthcare is a devolved issue for the Northern Ireland Assembly in Belfast.

But the main pro-UK party is currently refusing to join the power-sharing executive between unionists and nationalists in a row over post-Brexit trade.

Northern Ireland’s health minister Robin Swann claims he is unable to commission full abortion services without a functioning executive.

Individual health trusts that have stepped in are struggling due to limited funding.

“Since April 2020, when services were supposed to be commissioned, different individual health trusts have had to withdraw services due to a lack of resources,” said Connor.

The recent US Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling

The recent US Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling Samuel Corum AFP

Last year, one trust had to temporarily suspend its early medical abortion services for a year, redirecting patients elsewhere in Northern Ireland.

Campaigners also complain of a lack of public information about options for women before they are past their first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Still, there is renewed hope that abortion services may finally be commissioned, despite the current political paralysis.

MPs in the UK parliament in London recently voted to implement access to services in Northern Ireland, passing the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2022.

They allow the UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis to step in, controversially overriding the authority of the devolved administration in Belfast.

Teggart welcomed the regulations as a “very necessary move”.

“For the health minister (Swann) it is a damning indictment on his failure to prioritise the health of women and girls,” she said.

Lewis wants services to be “delivered and available to all across Northern Ireland as soon as possible”.

Swann was “currently awaiting legal advice” on the implications of the new regulations, his department said.

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ROTHENBURGER: Council proves absurdity of politics on parking, code of conduct – CFJC Today Kamloops

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Why? Because, claimed Mayor Ken Christian, Coun. Dieter Dudy and others, it’s just fine that it’s flawed. If it’s not any good, it can be changed later. It’s the good intention that counts.

As Singh and Walsh challenged clause after clause in the proposed Code, the answer from corporate officer Natalie Garbay to most of their questions was that the wording came from a provincial working group template, or from other cities. Not exactly an explanation.

So, the Code went through as presented, almost unscathed. Not so with Singh’s parking proposal. According to Singh, reducing parking-space requirements would help both affordable housing and the fight against climate change.

This time, though, Christian, Dudy and others supported sending it to a committee because it’s vague and needs further discussion. According to Dudy, there was too much “ambiguity” in Singh’s motion. Christian noted that the idea hasn’t gotten much traction in the community and isn’t a priority.

Singh’s motion does, indeed, require further discussion, and I suspect Singh and the rest of council will back off of it entirely as public opposition grows.

But the Code of Conduct also needed further examination because it’s very poorly written and, in some respects, too restrictive. Yet that one, according to the majority, needed to get passed right now.

Sometimes, politics is simply absurd.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

Editor’s Note: This opinion piece reflects the views of its author, and does not necessarily represent the views of CFJC Today or Pattison Media.

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New York's Primaries Were Decided by Politics As Usual – New York Magazine

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Governor Kathy Hochul greets people during a campaign stop on a corner of Second Avenue and 86th Street on June 28.
Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Even with earthshaking news sweeping the nation — notably, the recent Supreme Court rulings overturning decades-long laws governing abortion, environmental protection, and the carrying of concealed firearms — New Yorkers held decidedly ordinary primaries for most state offices last week. Politics is how democracies process change, and the basic rules apply to all kinds of change, be it commonplace or cataclysmic.

Rule one: Incumbency and the support of the political Establishment is often decisive. Governor Kathy Hochul, whose ten months in office were preceded by years of crisscrossing the state by car as lieutenant governor, has been making friends, cutting ribbons, and collecting IOUs for years. Since taking office last August, she’d had an incumbent’s power to hand out tax breaks, regulatory rulings, and cash grants, and could call in favors from Montauk to her hometown of Buffalo.

“She dominated what I like to call the iron triangle of New York Democratic primaries,” Democratic consultant Bruce Gyory told me. “It’s the minority vote at the base. It’s highly educated, professional women along one side, and white ethnics along the other. And she was able to win all three.”

On the Republican side, Representative Lee Zeldin was backed by nearly all of the state’s county-level party organizations, winning 85 percent of delegate votes at the GOP state convention in March. As the only elected official in the race, he gained the visibility that comes with the power to steer federal funding to different projects on Long Island, where he racked up huge majorities that powered him to victory.

While progressive candidates didn’t fare as well as they’d hoped, it’s worth noting that parts of New York have a left-leaning Establishment — and like their more mainstream counterparts, these mini-machines dutifully turned out their supporters and performed well in the Assembly primaries. In Manhattan, where Dick Gottfried is retiring after 52 years as the longest-serving Assembly member in state history, his handpicked successor, Tony Simone, was backed by nearly every incumbent on the west side, including Representative Jerry Nadler, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and City Councilman Erik Bottcher.

In Queens, the Democratic Socialists of America claimed a decisive victory for the Assembly seat left vacant by the retirement of Cathy Nolan. Juan Ardila won over 43 percent of the vote in a crowded field, thanks in part to the support of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, State Senator Jessica Ramos, and Councilmembers Tiffany Cabán, Shekar Krishnan, and Jennifer Gutiérrez. And Brooklyn’s DSA-backed incumbent, Phara Souffrant Forrest, won re-election with over 67 percent of the vote, as did self-identified socialist Emily Gallagher with about 80 percent.

In short, this was an ordinary primary in many respects, even coming just days after the repeal of New York’s concealed-carry law and the striking down of Roe v. Wade. People did not surge to the polls — but they didn’t stay away, either. Despite a lot of hand-wringing reporting about low-voter turnout — the Daily News called it “torpid” — Gyory says it’s “a bit of an optical illusion” that some journalists have misinterpreted by not taking into account an explosion of new voter registration over the last 30 years, thanks in part to registration drives and motor-voter laws that make it easy to sign up while renewing driver’s licenses.

“Historically, it’s not a low turnout. It’s actually going to probably hit 900,000. It’s going to wind up being the third-highest gubernatorial turnout since we started having these primaries,” Gyory told me. “The highest turnout ever was just shy of 1.6 [million], four years ago. The previous high was 1.2 million, the famous Koch-Cuomo gubernatorial primary of 1982.”

The state Board of Elections website records over 864,000 votes cast in the Democratic primaries, with another 446,000 among Republicans for a total of over 1.3 million.

As we gear up for congressional primaries in August and the general election in November, it remains to be seen whether big national questions — including responses to the Supreme Court rulings, and the ongoing, explosive revelations from the investigation of the January 6 insurrection — will dominate local contests.

“I believe that come September, October, that the top two issues of this campaign will be the same as the top two issues of this campaign today, and that’s crime and public safety and the economy,” Zeldin told me. “They are as personal as it gets for a broad range of New Yorkers who are seriously thinking about fleeing.”

As an anti-abortion candidate who celebrated the repeal of Roe v. Wade and would not say publicly whether he thinks Donald Trump actually won the 2020 presidential election, Zeldin is out of step with most New Yorkers, who polls say support abortion rights and gun control. His path to victory depends on New Yorkers focusing on local issues like inflation and rising crime rates.

Zeldin has his work cut out for him — but he’s not wrong to assume that, even at a time of major upheavals, New Yorkers will focus on pocketbook issues and the need to walk the streets in safety. We should expect him and Hochul to spend the rest of the year making promises, raising money, doling out government funds, calling in favors, lining up local political clubs, and generally doing what wins elections: politics as usual.

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