At a news conference Friday, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, gave an update on the coronavirus pandemic and the emergence of monkeypox, saying she is “cautiously optimistic” about the current trajectory of COVID-19, with most epidemiological indicators continuing to decline, but that there are signs of growth in several emergent Omicron sub-lineages.
“COVID-19 has shown us over the past few years that there may be more surprises ahead,” she said. “Maintaining readiness for a potential resurgence that could result in severe impact is our best advantage.”
Dr. Tam said that COVID-19 readiness means maintaining awareness of local disease activity, staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, wearing a well-fitting mask, and improving ventilation. She also said that staying home if you are symptomatic can help prevent other infections, including monkeypox.
As of June 17, there have been 168 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Canada, including 141 in Quebec, 21 in Ontario, 4 in Alberta, and 2 in British Columbia. Many cases, Dr. Tam said, stemmed from sexual contact between men, but said the risk is not limited to any one gender or sexual orientation.
Citing upcoming Pride celebrations, Dr. Tam spoke about the need to raise awareness about transmission – in “non-stigmatizing ways” – and thanked the dating app Grindr, which is popular among gay, bisexual and queer people, for helping get the message out.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written by Marsha McLeod. 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 sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
MÉLANIE JOLY’S OFFICE MISSED E-MAIL – The Foreign Affairs Minister’s office staff did not read an e-mail notifying them that the department was sending a representative to the Russian embassy party. It was sent to Ms. Joly’s chief of staff, as well as four other staff members. Story here.
LONG-TERM LOANS FOR INDIGENOUS INFRASTRUCTURE – The federal government says it is considering a recommendation for Ottawa to work on a pilot project that would involve Indigenous communities using long-term loans to finance new infrastructure, instead of annual federal funds. Story here.
VACCINE MANDATE LIFTED – On Thursday, the House of Commons unanimously agreed to lift its current mandate for MPs, staff and visitors. It would take effect on Monday, the same day that vaccine mandates will be lifted for domestic and outbound international flights and rail travel. Story by CBC News here.
BILL TABLED ON EXTREME INTOXICATION DEFENCE – Justice Minister David Lametti tabled a bill Friday seeking to eliminate “self-induced extreme intoxication” as a defence against serious crimes, following a Supreme Court decision which allowed for such a defence. Story here.
TURMOIL WITHIN THE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS – AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald is facing an external investigation over accusations of bullying and harassment. National Chief Archibald released a statement Thursday saying that this is the second time she’s faced a “smear campaign” and called for a “forensic audit and an independent inquiry” into the AFN’s conduct. Story by CBC News here.
TOO MANY VENTILATORS – Thousands of ventilators are sitting unused in a federal stockpile, with figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada showing that of the 40,000 ventilators ordered by the feds, 27,687 have been received, and of those, just 2,048 were deployed. Story by POLITICO here.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
THE CALM BEFORE THE VOTE – Campaign organizers in the Conservative Party leadership race say that they have entered a short lull between membership cut-off on June 3 and the date they receive membership lists, which will likely be in early July, but that are gearing up for a final “persuasion phase” this summer. Story here.
PIERRE POILIEVRE TAKES AIM AT PATRICK BROWN – Poilievre’s campaign team has issued a formal complaint accusing Patrick Brown’s team of “paid-for party membership fees and other undeclared expenditures.” Story by the National Post here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, June 17, accessible here.
MONEY FOR GREEN HOMES – On Friday morning, Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, announced a new stream of the Canada Greener Homes Loan program. It will provide $4.4-billion in interest-free loans for Canadian homeowners to make energy efficiency retrofits. Press release here.
DEBATE OVER INTERNET STREAMING BILL – MPs butted heads over C-11, the Online Streaming Act, in the House of Commons on Friday morning.
SENATOR APOLOGY FOR DIAL-IN FROM U.S. – A senator has apologized for dialling into a senate committee hearing from the United States, violating rules in the motion concerning hybrid sittings about participating in such events from a designated office or residence in Canada. “I do recognize, dear colleagues, my mistake and my ignorance of this rule is not an excuse,” Rosa Galvez, appointed to the senate in 2016 representing Quebec (Bedford), said this week. “I commit to being more careful and attentive to the details of rules we have adopted to ensure the fair and good functioning of the Senate and its committees.” At issue was Ms. Galvez using her Senate laptop to dial in for committee work while she was in Los Angeles participating in the Summit of the Americas. The senator’s comments are in a transcript here.
On Friday’s episode of The Decibel, Mykola Kuleba, the former children’s ombudsman of Ukraine and now the head of an organization called Save Ukraine, spoke about his work co-ordinating evacuation missions all over Ukraine, particularly for children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
The Prime Minister participated in a meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, convened by United States President Joe Biden. The Prime Minister also spoke with the President of Senegal Macky Sall and the President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as well as Caroline Cochrane, the Premier of the Northwest Territories.
A recent survey by the Prosperity Project found that if asked to return to the office full-time, nearly half of Canadian women say they would quit their jobs – and even more would turn down a promotion to continue working from home. Story by CP24 here.
Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on how women make up the most compelling candidates in the UCP leadership race: “The confirmation of her long-discussed interest in the UCP race will rile some party members wary of federal heavyweights moving to provincial politics as a second act, as Jim Prentice and Jason Kenney did. But the entry of the high-profile MP who is difficult to pin down politically – being both a vocal advocate of LGBTQ rights and supporter of Alberta autonomy and Western Canada’s oil and gas sector – would add a big name to a contest that already stands out for the number of women vying for the top job. If you want to look at where the UCP contest is going, and who is leading the break from the leadership of Alberta’s current Premier, look at the four women who’ve already stated their interest in running in the Oct. 6 contest. They account for half the declared candidates. And they represent a broad range of political views within Alberta’s conservative movement, with each distancing herself from the outgoing Mr. Kenney in one way or another.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on what the crypto crash says about Pierre Poilievre’s judgment: “From the moment he entered the race to become the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre has been up front about the job he really wants. “I’m Pierre Poilievre and I’m running to be prime minister,” he says in campaign videos. Becoming the new leader of the CPC would be a mere stop along the way. Yes, prime minister is the job he wants, with all the attendant seriousness and responsibility the position demands. But since the outset of his campaign, Mr. Poilievre has mostly invited questions about his judgment and suitability for such an office with a series of bizarre policy pronouncements. Somehow, he hasn’t really had to answer for many of his more outlandish positions, such as his vow to fire the Governor of the Bank of Canada. However, he can and should be questioned today about his enthusiasm for, if not outright promotion of, cryptocurrency.”
Lawrence Stevenson (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why Canada should not close its military colleges: “But there is a legitimate reason that all serious armed forces in the world have military academies: They not only cover academics but also train young officer candidates in the military skills that will prepare them to serve as officers. Canada’s military colleges have a long legacy in this country, having been founded in 1876; the RMC flag was the basis for the modern Canadian flag. And over the course of nearly 150 years, Canada’s royal military colleges have graduated outstanding alumni, including Marc Garneau, Chris Hadfield, and Captain Nichola Goddard, a graduate of the RMC class of 2002, who valiantly gave her life in Afghanistan in 2006 so that we could be free from terrorism here at home. I suspect that the families of other RMC soldiers, sailors and airmen who have made the ultimate sacrifice in all our wars, including most recently in Afghanistan, would also strongly object to Ms. Arbour’s recommendation.”
Bill Waiser (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on the history behind the 1935 On-to-Ottawa Trek: “Earlier this year, a trucker convoy descended on Canada’s capital to complain about federal policies and what it saw as government inaction. But going to Ottawa to protest was a Canadian tradition long before that. In December, 1910, for example, 500 Prairie farmer delegates marched up Parliament Hill and into the House of Commons, where they took over proceedings. The next year, a small delegation representing Saskatchewan Treaty 4 bands brought their grievances directly to senior Indian Affairs officials. But perhaps the most popular protest to take to the capital and capture the Canadian imagination was the On-to-Ottawa Trek, in 1935 – even though the intended cross-country demonstration never actually made it beyond Regina.”
Politics This Morning: Trudeau in Germany for G7 leaders' summit – The Hill Times
'Pride is a protest' — queer folk voice power amid politics and pandemic – Mission Local
Missing the Pride Parade was not an option for Emily.
Though she attended numerous parades in the past as an out lesbian, recent political attacks on the queer community imbued a different sentiment for Sunday’s parade.
“People think it’s time to have a rager,” Emily said. “But our rights are in danger as we speak.”
So the 19-year-old threw on her rainbow-striped button-down and, friends in tow, came to San Francisco’s annual LGBTQ Pride Parade determined to counter “the [negative] way Republicans paint us.” How? By celebrating. “Queer joy is really radical right now,” she said.
On Sunday, the city’s 52nd annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Parade kicked off at the Embarcadero and ended in usual fun at Civic Center. Parade participants included local gay politicos State Sen. Scott Wiener and District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, longtime queer organizations like Dykes on Bikes and San Francisco Bay Times, and any company that could capitalize on the optics.
But as Emily said, for many spectators it was a few hours of radical joy.
Take Malaki, a 16-year-old from Fresno. He didn’t know he was going to Pride until yesterday — his very first one — and the gay young man was thrilled. “I was visiting my family, and they asked if I’d like to go. I was like, yeah, Oh my god!”
It’s been years since Malaki started noticing his feelings toward men had changed, and as a sixth grader, he realized he was gay. Luckily, Malaki’s family is supportive and inclusive, and joined him Sunday.
“It’s so good to be here,” said Malaki, flashing a huge smile. “I feel so safe. I have a warm feeling that I am not alone, and that I’m able to be who I am. I can be hype!”
It was 13-year-old Bibi’s first Pride Parade too. “I really wanted to go,” he said, waving a transgender flag and holding a stream of colorful balloons.
The new teen rose at 7 a.m. to make it from Novato on time, and thus he was perfectly positioned in front to collect the tiny flags and beaded necklaces that parade participants threw out.
Bibi, assigned a female at birth, realized at the age of 10 that he was a transgender boy and bisexual.
Accompanying him at the parade was his mother, Sol Rocha, who is still learning about how best to support her son. “It hasn’t been easy,” she said. “I’m learning, and it’s a process. But I want to understand. As parents, you have to accept them no matter what. Like when you held them as babies for the first time — unconditional love.”
Just a few people over, Courtney, Ash, and Trystan whooped at the roller skaters and pocketed Planned Parenthood condoms.
“I wanted to go to Pride in 2019, but the pandemic happened,” Courtney said, who uses she/they pronouns. This was their first one “out” as a bisexual. “With everything going on, I wanted to support everyone. People want to take away our rights,” they said.
Relatives on Courtney’s mother’s side rejected her after coming out, but after her mother passed, she cares less what her family thinks. And “if they think that I should stay in the closet, I don’t want to be in that family.”
Their friend Ash came from Willows, a small town near Chico. In that environment, Ash said he doesn’t correct people when they misgender him for “safety reasons.” But the parade is a relief, and a nice place to be with “like-minded people.”
Trystan agreed. “Pride has always been a big thing for me until Covid-19 stopped that. This is my first as an adult. I can dress up more,” they said, pointing out the rainbow sequins on her face and the yellow, black, blue, and pink striped jersey.
Other parade veterans celebrated the post-pandemic party as well. Oakland resident Greg Cabiness, 66, and San Franciscan Sam Kaufman, 59, said “it was good to be out.” The pair have been partners for 10 years, and after some typical couple back-and-forth, figured out they had marched in it twice.
“It’s nice. We may go to Civic Center after this. That’s where the party is at,” Cabiness said. “It seems like a more diverse crowd. A lot more allies and acceptance is good to see,” Kaufman added.
And Emily, the 19-year-old in the rainbow button-down, brought along plenty of allies from home. One of Emily’s friends Isaiah noted he was adopted by gay parents. He’s been at Pride for years, and it’s a joy to return. His other friends stressed the importance of love at Sunday’s parade in the face of politics.
“When there’s so much shit happening with Roe v. Wade, it’s important to stick together and show there’s resistance,” said Matt, a Lower Haight resident. “People want to think of Pride as a party. It’s a protest.”
How much influence should politicians have over police? – CBC.ca
Controversy erupted this week when allegations came to light that the Liberal government may have tried to interfere in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting where 17 people were killed.
According to RCMP Supt. Darren Campbell’s notes, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said in a phone call that she had promised the Prime Minister’s Office and then-Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair that the RCMP would publicly release information about the weapons the gunman used. Lucki was reportedly angry when the RCMP did not do so.
The Liberal government is alleged to have wanted the information made public to further their gun control agenda. Critics and opposition politicians have accused the government of attempting to use the tragedy for political gain. Lucki, Blair and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have denied that there was interference in the investigation.
But how and when — if ever — should those who make laws be able to boss around those who enforce them? When has police interference taken place, and to what consequences did it lead?
CBC News spoke to some experts in an attempt to explain the tense, legally fuzzy and often controversial relationship between police and policymakers in Canada.
Why is policing supposed to be separate from politics?
The Supreme Court of Canada cites the Rule of Law as the founding principle of Canada’s democracy. It’s considered important to our constitutional order that no one, even the most powerful politicians in the country, can think of themselves as above the law.
But there’s another reason for police independence — in our democracy the government is supposed to be accountable to the people, which means people aren’t suppose to fear police going after them on the orders of the government.
“I think what we want to do is avoid a ‘police state,'” Kent Roach, a professor in the University of Toronto’s faculty of law, said. “And by that, I mean we want to avoid politicians telling the police who to investigate and who not to investigate.”
In states where the government can tell police what to do, experts say a pattern quickly emerges of government critics and opponents ending up in jail.
For those reasons, police autonomy in enforcing the law and protecting the public is a key ingredient in most well-functioning liberal democracies.
“Political leaders are not supposed to micromanage police services, that is antithetical to the very idea of democracy,” Temitope Oriola, a professor of criminology and sociology at the University of Alberta, said.
What does the law say?
While those principles seem like part of a basic civics lesson they’re ones Roach says many people, including police officers and politicians, often don’t understand well.
But there may be a reasonable excuse — the law itself isn’t clear.
“I think part of the problem here is that the lines of legitimate government direction to the police and illegitimate government direction are very vague.” he said.
While police independence from government is important in our democracy, Roach says it’s a principle that’s not always reflected in our laws.
“For example, the police cannot lay hate propaganda charges without prior approval of the attorney general,” he said.
“So there’s kind of no absolutes.”
In Lucki’s case, the RCMP Act states the Commissioner “has the control and management of the force and all matters connected with the force” but “under the direction of the minister.”
Roach said the law is confusing because it doesn’t go into details about what direction means, including what type of direction is appropriate for a minister to give to an RCMP Commissioner. It also doesn’t say whether a direction has to be in writing or can be given orally.
“It’s utterly vague, right?” Roach said.
Roach would like to see the RCMP Act amended to clarify what types of orders the government can legally give RCMP leadership.
He said there is a clear divide between directions that set rules for police generally, which are acceptable in a democracy, and directions for police to act in a particular way in a specific case, or to take action against a particular person, which are not.
He says a legitimate government directive to police might be guidelines on what information the police are allowed make public, or ordering the police to stop using a particular technique or practice.
But a directive that would not be acceptable would be directing police to charge someone with a crime.
During the 1997 APEC Summit in Vancouver, the government was found to have interfered with RCMP operations by directing how the Mounties protected then Indonesian president Suharto. In a public inquiry report on the summit, Justice Ted Hughes concluded that the government twice tried to interfere with police operations by attempting to get police to keep protestors away from Suharto.
Hughes recommended the government amend the RCMP Act to legally clarify police independence from government. To date, no government has taken up the recommendation.
Roach says there may be a reason for the lack of action and clarity.
“I suspect that in some ways both the police and the politicians like to kind of keep the status quo, which is quite vague and murky,” he said. “I think that is unfortunate.”
What happens when politicians try to be police?
Politicians aren’t supposed to tell police what to do, but sometimes they can’t resist. While some politicians do come from a law enforcement background, most don’t — and it can show when they try to interfere with police work.
“They don’t have the the skill, the knowledge, the expertise, the lived experience, to make operational decisions,” Laura Huey, a professor of sociology at Western University, said.
She cited the 1997 APEC Suharto controversy as an example, but there are more recent ones too.
Huey says Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s attempt to negotiate with the freedom convoy protestors earlier this year comes to mind — a move critical incident command experts told her made a bad situation worse.
“Most police services that deal with public order have people that are highly experienced, highly trained professionals that specialize in negotiating in situations like that,” she said.
“So do we want the mayor going down and mucking around on something of which he knows absolutely nothing and had zero effect anyway?”
Roach says his favourite example involves former RCMP Commissioner Leonard Nicholson, the most decorated Mountie in history whose name the RCMP headquarters bears.
In 1959, the John Diefenbaker government told Nicholson to send more officers to police a labour dispute in Newfoundland. Nicholson chose to resign instead of comply with the order.
“So that kind of shows that this idea that the RCMP doesn’t like political direction … is built into the RCMP’s DNA,” Roach said.
Is there a better way?
If too much political interference in policing is an issue, there are also perils in too little.
Voters don’t elect police officers but do elect politicians, so they have a role acting as a check on police.
“Society also cannot afford to have a police service that is not accountable to anybody,” Oriola said.
A section of the Liberal’s 2021 campaign platform is dedicated to changes to the RCMP, in particular making the Mounties more accountable.
Oriola calls the government-police relationship a “delicate” one that requires “a fine balance” and one where intentions should be considered.
“Are you giving directions to the police service to punish political opponents, or are you giving direction … in order that we might have a better society, and improved society based on the policy priorities that you campaigned on?” he said.
Huey says more training for police services boards, who hire police chiefs, may allow them to make better hiring decisions, which in turn could inspire more confidence in police leadership and result in less political interference.
“I think that if we hire highly competent people, we need to give them the space to make the decisions,” she said.
Roach says a potential solution, on top of more legal clarity on interference, is a law requiring any government ministers who direct police to do so in writing — including a requirement that the direction be public.
He thinks the RCMP Act could be amended with this requirement, and to permit it only outside of individual cases.
“It seems to me, in a democracy, citizens have a right to know what the minister is doing,” Roach said. “I think that that directive system could not only promote transparency, but could avoid all of these controversies.”
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