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Politics Briefing: Government suspending vaccination requirements for travel, federal employees – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

The federal government is suspending a number of vaccination requirements for travel and federal employees, citing progress in vaccination efforts and declining case counts to justify the measures.

Ministers attending a news conference Tuesday said that, as of June 20, vaccination requirements for domestic and outbound travel, federally regulated transportation sectors and federal employees will be suspended.

“Today we can announce adjustments to our health measures because Canadians have done what they needed to do protect one another, and followed public health guidelines,” said Dominic LeBlanc, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

He noted the policy shift is not aimed at reducing wait times at Canadian airports, which he said are mainly caused by staffing shortages.

However, he said that if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse, the government is prepared to bring back policies necessary to protect Canadians.

Health Minister Jean Yves-Duclos elaborated on that point. “While the suspension of vaccine mandates reflects an improved public health situation in Canada, the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve rapidly and circulate in Canada and globally,” he said.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told the news conference there is no change to policy for travellers entering Canada. Vaccination for travellers and crew on cruise ships will remain in place, he said.

Transportation reporter Eric Atkins and parliamentary reporter Marieke Walsh report here on Tuesday’s developments.

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

CANADA’S 2030 OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY CLIMATE TARGETS NOT FEASIBLE: GOVERNMENT ANALYSIS – Confidential government documents show a large gap between the federal Liberals’ promised target for reducing the oil and gas industry’s greenhouse gas emissions and what an internal analysis says is achievable by 2030. Story here.

JOLY OFFICE KNEW ABOUT PLANS FOR DIPLOMAT TO ATTEND RUSSIAN EMBASSY PARTY – The office of Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly knew a senior department official would be attending a party at the Russian embassy in Ottawa last Friday and was pressed to apologize by the Prime Minister’s Office. Story here.

QUEBEC TECH SECTOR RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT LANGUAGE-LAW REFORM – Quebec’s most sweeping language law overhaul in nearly half a century is raising alarm among the province’s homegrown technology companies, whose executives say the reinforcement of requirements for immigrants and businesses to use French threatens to do enormous and lasting economic damage. Story here.

SIKH ORGANIZATION PROTESTS ARREST OF TWO ORGANIZERS – The World Sikh Organization of Canada says Canadian law enforcement should fully investigate and prosecute those involved in providing the tip that led to the wrongful arrest of two organizers of a Sikh rally near Parliament Hill. Story here.

B.C. ACTOR PLANNED TO KILL PM – A British Columbia actor who has pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of his mother had a plan to drive to Ottawa to kill Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the days following her killing. Story here from CBC.

MORE COUNTRIES JOINING CANADA AND U.S.TO COUNTER BEIJING MINERAL AMBITIONS – The Biden administration’s point person on securing supplies of rare earth minerals says more and more countries are joining with Canada and the United States as part of Washington’s push to counter Beijing’s dominance of critical mineral supply chains. Story here.

FEDERAL BILL TO CALL FOR REPORTING RANSOMWARE, CYBERATTACKS – Businesses and other private-sector organizations would be required to report ransomware incidents and other cyberattacks to the government under a federal bill to be tabled Tuesday. Story here.

MP APOLOGIZES FOR CURSING CRITIC – Ontario MP Adam van Koeverden has apologized for cursing at a Canadian living abroad who called the former Olympian a “disgrace of a Canadian” for the way he dealt with her concerns about vaccine mandates. Story here from CBC.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is campaigning in Ontario this week. Jean Charest is in Toronto. Leslyn Lewis in her riding, Haldimand-Norfolk, in Ontario. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa. There is no word on the campaign whereabouts of Roman Baber and Patrick Brown.

NEW BOOK FROM CHAREST CO CHAIR – Tasha Kheiriddin, co-chair for Jean Charest’s campaign, has a new book out soon on the challenges facing the federal Conservative party. The Right Path: How Conservatives Can Unite, Inspire and Take Canada Forward is published by Optimum Publishing International, and due out July 2. A precis on the publisher’s website says the book is a “complete and thorough examination as to what has gone wrong with the Conservatives in Canada” and presents a path forward. In a tweet Tuesday, Ms. Kheiriddin wrote that she started writing the book last October before the leadership race started – the Conservative caucus ousted Erin O’Toole on Feb. 2, and she has spoken to grassroots members, past and present leaders and supporters of other campaigns.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, June 14, accessible here.

PLANS FOR PICKING NEW UCP LEADER – Members of Alberta’s United Conservative Party will be electing a new leader, succeeding Jason Kenney, on Oct. 6 using a mail-in ballot, with an option to vote in-person at one of five polling locations across the province, according to Calgary-based Energy Reporter Emma Graney. Entering the race comes with a $150,000 fee and a $25,000 refundable compliance deposit. The rules are here.

FREELAND APPEARS BEFORE COMMITTEE ON EMERGENCY – In Ottawa, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is appearing at a the Special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency. The event will be streamed live here starting at 6:30 p.m. Details on other Commons committee hearings are here.

JOLY HOSTING DANISH AND GREENLAND REPRESENTATIVES – Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is hosting her Danish counterpart Jeppe Kofod, Greenland’s Prime Minister Múte B. Egede, and Greenland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Motzfeldt in Ottawa from Tuesday to Wednesday for talks on various issues, including a matter covered here.

YELLEN COMING TO TORONTO – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be visiting Toronto on June 20 for meetings and events with Deputy Prime Minister Christia Freeland. Details here.

ANAND IN BRUSSELS – Defence Minister Anita Anand is travelling to Brussels to participate in Ukraine Defense Contact Group and NATO Defence Ministers’ Meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. Chief of the Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyre, will participate in the defence contact group meeting hosted by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. The point of the meeting is for Allies to discuss Ukraine’s current and future defence needs and co-ordinate military aid for Ukraine.

SAJJAN IN LYTTON – International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan, also the minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, is in Lytton, B.C. detailing plans for funding to help rebuild the village, which was destroyed by a wildfire last June.

THE DECIBEL

On Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, science reporter Ivan Semeniuk talks about the struggle over Ontario’s proposed Highway 413 which would cut through the habitat of several species at risk, and, say critics, harm local waterways as well. Mr. Semeniuk discusses what the struggle says about Canada’s efforts to protect its biodiversity. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

In Ottawa, the Prime Minister attends private meetings, will virtually chair the cabinet meeting and virtually attend Question Period.

LEADERS

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet was scheduled to hold a media scrum ahead of Question Period on Tuesday about the 2030 emissions reduction plan.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and NDP MP Heather McPherson met with David Cohen, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada and Mr. Singh was scheduled to hold a media scrum ahead of Question Period and then participate in Question Period.

No schedules provided for other leaders

PUBLIC OPINION

PREMIERS RANKED – Nova Scotia’s Tim Houston is the most approved-of premier while the popularity of other premiers have tracked down, with notable drops for John Horgan of British Columbia and Quebec’s François Legault, according to newly released research from the Angus Reid Institute. Details here.

OPINION

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on whether the Trudeau government’s plan for quick, deep cuts to oil emissions is too ambitious: The Liberals have the right climate ambitions, but the federal documents are a sobering reminder of some basic realities. Hitting the government’s current 2030 target will be challenging, and perhaps even economically damaging, barring technological breakthroughs. But what is equally true is that Canada must lower emissions, and must force industry to steadily cut emissions-per-barrel. Canada must be a world-beater on this score; the industry’s long-term viability depends on it. However, emission targets cannot be so low that the only way to meet them is to shut down oil production. It short, while Ottawa can and should aim to get most of the way to its 2030 emissions target, aiming to get all the way there may not be prudent.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how Pierre Poilievre poses a real threat to the Liberals if he ignores calls to pivot toward the centre: “Mr. Poilievre should ignore critics who maintain he must abandon his angry populist message or face defeat in the next federal election, assuming he wins the leadership. Following that advice would cost him his most important political asset: his authenticity. That same authenticity helped Doug Ford win re-election on June 2. The Ontario Premier won with the type of pragmatic, centrist platform to which many think Mr. Poilievre should pivot. But there’s more to it than that.”

André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on how airport waits are an inconvenience while health care waits are a travesty: If you think the wait to board a plane is excruciating, or that an airport with long wait times is hell on Earth, perhaps you should consider how long Canadians routinely wait for essential medical care, or what it’s like for someone to spend 24, 48 or 72 hours on a gurney in a hospital hallway. Getting cancer treatments, hip transplants and mental-health care in a timely fashion seems infinitely more important than getting to a business meeting or holiday destination. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from the political and media reaction.”

Mark Zacharias and Merran Smith (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the fossil-fuel party is raging again, but Canada still needs a plan for the hangover to come: “Canada’s oil and gas patch is partying like it’s 2008, though most Canadian drivers are not enjoying the festive mood. Commercial rents in downtown Calgary are on the rise, and long-thought dead fossil-fuel export projects have zombified. It’s no secret that the oil and gas industry is cyclical: as prices drop, the music stops, the lights come on. But historically, prices go back up, and the cycle repeats. This time will be different, however. There is not likely to be another rebound in the oil and gas sector after this one. Governments at all levels need to acknowledge this fact and plan for how Canada will be competitive in a fundamentally changed economy.”

Vaughn Palmer (The Vancouver Sun) on the risk and reward of a new name for the B.C. Liberals: “The drive to change the name started in the 1990s with supporters of the provincial Social Credit party and the federal Conservative and Reform parties. One of the leading advocates has been Bill Bennett, a cabinet minister and MLA from 2001 to 2017 from Kootenay East. “In my election campaigns,” he once said, running under the Liberal banner “is like running a race with a bag of cement tied to your waist.” Bag of cement notwithstanding, Bennett won four times in a row as a B.C. Liberal. In his last campaign in 2013, he reaped 63 per cent of the vote. The counter argument was well put recently by Jas Johal, the one-term B.C. Liberal MLA who returned to the broadcast industry after losing his Richmond seat in 2017. “The B.C. Liberal name actually plays very well in the urban areas (and) with minority communities,” the CKNW host told Katie DeRosa of the Vancouver Sun this week.”

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It's all about the stats: What politics and baseball have in common – CBC.ca

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In his final column as host of The House, Chris Hall talks with three political strategists to examine the intersection between two of his favourite subjects: politics and baseball.

There’s a saying that life imitates art. But for my money, there’s another comparison that’s equally true. Politics imitates baseball.

Here’s the pitch.

Politics and baseball are filled with tradition. There are a lot of rules; some are written, and some really just time-honoured traditions. 

Today, both are becoming more reliant on modern-day metrics — data and statistics — to attract new supporters, and to win.

In baseball, those stats help managers decide when to deploy the infield shift, or put an extra person in the outfield to prevent the best hitters from getting on base.

In politics, the numbers tell campaign managers which ridings to visit and which campaign promise to promote. They know how many swing votes are available in each voting district. Parties keep data banks that tell them which address is home to a supporter, and which is home to a voter who might be convinced to join their side.

So it’s not surprising that many politicians and their strategists are also baseball fans. 

The House’s politics (and baseball) panel, left to right: Anne McGrath, national director for the NDP, Jason Lietaer, president of Enterprise Canada and the former Conservative strategist; and Zita Astravas, former Liberal spokesperson and current chief of staff to Bill Blair. (Submitted by Jason Lietaer and Zita Astravas, Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

There is a powerful connection between running the bases and running a campaign, according to Anne McGrath.

“I think that all campaigns are, or strive to be, data-driven now,” said McGrath, the NDP’s national director and a veteran of both federal and provincial campaigns.

“It is the key in politics. You have to find the people who support you and get them out to vote. So you have to know who they are and know where they are and know what they care about.”

McGrath was a die-hard fan of the Montreal Expos. The club moved years ago to Washington and she’s still not over it. But McGrath sees a lesson in the move, about the importance of not just maintaining a fan base, but finding ways to get new ones to the ballpark.

“You do have to know who your base is and you have to expand it. You have to bring more people in. And you have to do it in a way that is attentive to changing demographics and changing ways of communicating with people and getting people interested and involved and motivated,” she explained.

CBC News: The House9:32Take me out to the poll game

In one of his last shows, host Chris Hall combines two of his passions: baseball and politics. He speaks with three fellow baseball diehards who happen to be political insiders: Liberal staffer Zita Astravas, Conservative strategist Jason Lietaer and NDP national director Anne McGrath.

Jason Lietaer grew up reading baseball box scores and waiting impatiently for the weekend newspaper that included the stats for every American League player, including members of the hometown Toronto Blue Jays.

Lietaer, a former Conservative campaign strategist who now runs the government-relations firm Enterprise Canada, is a believer in mining data for insights into a player or into a campaign. But just gathering that data doesn’t guarantee victory in either baseball or politics, he said.

Sometimes the bottom of the ninth happens a month before the game even starts.– Jason Lietaer

The players on the field, or the candidates knocking on doors continue to play a key role in determining whether you win or lose. Plus, it’s important to interpret that data correctly

“And I would say in politics, we’re still sort of struggling with some of that,” Lietaer said. “You know, is there only one or two ways to read the data? How important is digital communication? How important is this piece of information?”

The Toronto Blue Jays Alejandro Kirk hits a single during a game against the Boston Red Sox in Toronto on June 28, 2022. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press)

A key lesson is figuring out what the statistics are telling you before the end of the game or before election night, to better adapt to the changing circumstances and give your team a better chance at victory.

“Sometimes you don’t realize you’re winning or losing an election [until] you’ve already won or lost it,” he said.

“Sometimes the bottom of the ninth happens a month before the game even starts.”

The politics and baseball panel was one of the last interviews Chris Hall did as the host of The House. He retired from CBC in June 2022. CBC Radio created this ‘farewell’ baseball card to mark the occasion. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

Zita Astravas is another political insider who spends a lot of time watching baseball. She’s worked on both federal and Ontario Liberal campaigns and is now chief of staff to Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair.

“I think one of the things that drew me to politics and baseball is statistics, and I think it’s one of the things that you can find common ground in,” she said.

“You do it every day on a political campaign: you look at different ridings and craft who your best candidates are, what your target ridings are, just as you do on different players.”

It’s all about finding a hidden meaning in the numbers, an edge to exploit on the field or in the hustings.

It’s all in the hopes of answering the key question, McGrath says: “Did we hit it out of the park?”

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Politics Report: The People Asked for Time and Now They Get Time Because What They Really Wanted Was Time – Voice of San Diego

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Early Monday, our Lisa Halverstadt learned that the City Council was not going to vote on a proposed settlement over 101 Ash St. after all. Serves us right for expecting a climax in any long-running San Diego political affair. 

Maybe the settlement didn’t have the five votes it needed, maybe some new information materialized, or maybe the mayor’s explanation that they heard the public’s call that it needed more time to process the terms of the agreement was all there was too it. That last explanation would perhaps be the most exciting, since it would mark the first time in city history that a proceduralist consideration wasn’t just poorly disguised cover for some substantive difference of opinion. 

Nonetheless, former Mayor Kevin Faulconer jumped on KUSI Thursday to say he was happy that Mayor Todd Gloria had decided to delay the vote for a month until the public had ample time to fully absorb the particulars of a settlement that would have ended some city lawsuits, continue others, and lead to the acquisition of two massive pieces of downtown real estate for a City Hall redevelopment that hasn’t been planned and won’t be within the next month. The public would also then have enough time to grok the city attorney’s dissenting opinion on the settlement, or both legal and policy reasons. 

“I think you have to make sure that any proposed settlement is going to be a benefit to the city, a benefit to taxpayers and it’s not something that should be rushed,” he said. “I think we’ll hear a lot more about that in the coming months.” 

Clearly, now that we’ve made the difficult, brave decision not to rush the matter, ignoring the screaming hordes from the pro-rush caucus, we don’t need to be in any hurry to articulate whether the deal actually is a benefit to the city and taxpayers or not. The important thing is that now we have time.  

Brief CAP Opposition from the Cap’s Top Champion 

Back in Gloria’s first stint in the mayor’s office – in an interim position that didn’t really exist – Nicole Capretz led the charge within his administration for what became his landmark achievement during that time, even though it wasn’t passed until Faulconer was in office: the city’s Climate Action Plan. 

The city adopted a plan that said it would half its carbon footprint by 2035 by, among other things, transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy and getting half of people who live near transit to bike, walk or take transit to work by that same year. San Diego basked in national praise from the New York Times and elsewhere.  

This week, though, Capretz – who now runs a nonprofit group that pushes San Diego and other cities to do more within their climate plans – came out as an opponent of the updated version of the same Climate Action Plan that Gloria is now trying to pass. Even though the plan is ramping up its goals – the city would now by 2035 reach “net zero,” when the level of its greenhouse emissions are equal to the level absorbed by the environment (or new technology that removes carbon from the atmosphere) – Capretz and her group urged a “no” vote from a Council committee, because the city lacked a timeline and cost estimates for its commitments. They eventually got on board when city staff agreed to provide that by February. 

Still, it was interesting to hear Capretz, maybe the city’s top salesperson for the climate plan, acknowledge that proponents had made mistakes with the first plan by not setting clear cost and time requirements for each of the policies included in it. 

“We did not insist on an implementation plan for the first Climate Action Plan,” she told our MacKenzie Elmer. “We’re not going to make that mistake again.”  

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Murphy's Logic: Politics trumps public interest | CTV News – CTV News Atlantic

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The initial reluctance of governments, federal and provincial, to appoint a public inquiry into the N.S. mass shooting, was difficult to understand. It took the heartfelt pleas of the victims’ families and the fast rising tide of public opinion to make the politicians act.

And now we likely know why they were so reluctant.

Imperfect though it may be, the inquiry eventually appointed has now exposed the obscene political considerations that were already at play in the days that followed the horror of April 2020.

The evidence reveals that political leaders, who should have been overwhelmed only with grief and concern for the trauma and misery wrought by a madman, instead seemed to seize an overwhelming opportunity to advance their own partisan interests in toughening gun control.

There is reason to believe the PM or his people, certainly his Ministers, were attempting to dictate, manipulate or at least influence parts of the RCMP the narrative. That’s unacceptable, a brazen display of politics put ahead of public interest, moreover, it’s heartless.

The Commissioner of the RCMP should not have been making promises to her political masters about the release of information about the sort of weapons used by the shooter but more pointedly, the politicians shouldn’t have been asking for such promises about that or anything else.

The Mass Causality Commission has already exposed many shortcomings on the part of the RCMP.

The force’s politically charged relationship with the government is yet another fault, yet another reason to demand changes in the way the RCMP operates.

The arrogance laid bare by the Trudeau government’s apparent willingness to interfere, to capitalize on the timing of a tragedy for crass political advantage, also suggests it may also be time to change the government.

   

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