The Liberal government has tabled its long-awaited legislation to further restrict the possession of guns.
The bill does not institute a nation-wide ban on handguns, but does allow municipalities to put in local bans through by-laws.
The bill also increases the criminal penalties on many gun-related offences. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a buyback program will follow.
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As many provinces move toward reopening or at least considering it, Newfoundland and Labrador illustrates a cautionary tale: Nearly half of all COVID-19 cases in the province have popped up in recent weeks due to a fast-spreading variant and authorities still aren’t sure how it entered the province.
Provinces are ramping up vaccination campaigns again with shipments of Pfizer’s vaccine set to resume in big numbers this week.
Federal granting agencies continue to provide millions of dollars of funding to research projects with Chinese telecom giant Huawei, despite national-security concerns.
Dozens of countries joined Canada in issuing a statement against so-called hostage diplomacy, which became a high-profile issue when China arrested two Canadians in retaliation for Canadian authorities’ arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. In response, China suggests Ms. Meng’s arrest was politically motivated and its own form of arbitrary detention.
The Canadian government has spent more than $9-million in legal costs in the 11-year legal odyssey of Abousfian Abdelrazik, who accuses the government of being behind his imprisonment and torture in Sudan in 2003. Maher Arar and Omar Khadr had similar cases settled for between $10-million and $12-million.
Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says he is in close contact with counterparts in France and Australia about how those countries are regulating Big Tech on issues such as online hate speech and aid for news media, but Canada will take its own unique approach in two bills to come this spring.
Government and industry sources tell The Globe that the federal government is getting closer to a bailout package for the country’s airlines.
The government’s quarantine hotels for travellers do not look like fun places to stay.
And in-person classes were set to resume in some COVID-19 hot spots in Ontario today, but mother nature had other plans.
Afsun Qureshi (The Globe and Mail) on getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Britain: “Later, it struck me why the atmosphere was downright giddy and celebratory: this was my generation’s version of V-Day. After the dystopian hell of multiple lockdowns, ill health and dire uncertainty, there was a real sense the worst was behind us. History was being made, and that was not lost on anyone in the doctor’s office that day.”
Lisa Kramer (The Globe and Mail) on how psychology can overcome lockdown fatigue: “Evidence suggests people will be more likely to follow the rules when information is framed both to make it easy to grasp and to emphasize that the majority of others are behaving themselves, too.”
André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on the healthcare system and nursing shortages: “Like many public-policy failures that have come to light during COVID-19, the nursing shortage has been the subject of much thumb-sucking for decades. Report after report has been written, much earnest head-nodding has ensued, and then nothing really happens until a crisis hits.”
Andray Domise (The Globe and Mail) on medical assistance in dying legislation: “The Senate has even amended Bill C-7 to open the door for MAID to be offered to people with solely mental illnesses. It has also nixed a failsafe to prevent medical professionals from suggesting MAID as an option if it wasn’t first raised by the patient. The expansion of MAID shows a side of Canada that is anything but merciful.”
Bill Gates (The Globe and Mail) with a call for more government intervention: “In part, the U.S. government’s antitrust suit against Microsoft in the late 1990s made me realize that we should’ve been engaging with policy-makers all along. I also know that when it comes to massive undertakings – whether it’s building a national highway system, vaccinating the world’s children, or decarbonizing the global economy – we need the government to play a huge role in creating the right incentives and making sure the overall system will work for everyone.”
COMMENTARY: Gas-price politics, from British Columbia and beyond – Globalnews.ca
If you’re fed up with high Canadian gas prices, you can at least be grateful that you don’t live in British Columbia.
Unless you do live in B.C. In that case, then go ahead and be mad as hell.
British Columbians are once again experiencing particular pain at the pumps as rising oil prices drive up the cost of gasoline.
It’s an extra-nasty case of gas-fuelled road rage in B.C., home to North America’s highest gasoline taxes.
How does the taxman sock it to B.C. drivers? Let us count the ways.
There’s the B.C. carbon tax, once fiercely opposed by NDP Premier John Horgan.
When he was on the opposition benches, Horgan used to rail against the burden of the provincial carbon tax on B.C. families. Now the tax has risen steadily on his watch, with further increases set to kick in.
There’s also the B.C. Motor Fuel Tax. And the B.C. Transportation Financing Authority fuel tax. And Metro Vancouver’s TransLink fuel tax.
Ottawa takes a cut, of course, courtesy of the federal fuel excise tax.
Don’t forget the sour cherry on top: the federal GST, charged on the entire gas purchase, including all the other taxes.
Add it all up and Metro Vancouver drivers are getting hosed at the gas pump, creating a recurring political problem for Horgan and his B.C. government.
Now that he’s a convert to the carbon tax, you might think Horgan would be pleased that high gas prices would discourage the use of polluting vehicles.
But Horgan has walked a political tight rope, jacking up the punitive carbon tax while griping about high gas prices at the same time.
His theme: Don’t blame me, blame greedy oil companies.
“This is not a tax question, it’s a gouging question,” he said. “This is not about taxation.”
To drive the point home, the Horgan government recently passed a law forcing oil companies to reveal secret price-setting data.
Stopping short of government regulation to cap B.C. gas prices, the Horgan government instead said it would shame the oil companies into lowering prices themselves.
But the oil companies are fighting the forced disclosure of their corporate secrets. Now the dispute is snaking its way through the courts, while British Columbians are left paying sky-high gas prices.
Gas-price analyst Dan McTeague said B.C.’s strict low-carbon fuel standard — mandating cleaner-burning gas — also drives up B.C. fuel prices.
“All told, adding up all the government regulations and taxes, you’re looking at about 62 to 63 cents a litre in B.C.,” he said.
McTeague has had a fascinating career as a one-time MP who transformed into a fierce critic of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government’s energy policies.
“I’m a former Liberal MP, with the emphasis on ‘former,’” he understated, revealing that the federal Conservatives unsuccessfully courted him to run in the last election.
Now, McTeague is closely watching the fortunes of the Conservatives under new party leader Erin O’Toole.
O’Toole is under pressure to steer his party toward the middle of the political spectrum by adopting more environmentally friendly energy policies.
That includes the astonishing possibility that O’Toole might endorse a federal carbon tax, after years of slamming Trudeau’s federal tax.
If O’Toole does back a national carbon tax — especially with gas prices already spiking — McTeague thinks it would be a political disaster for the Conservatives.
“Trying to mimic the federal Liberals in the next election will get him zero votes — it will cost him votes instead,” McTeague said.
“I think it would be a fatal mistake for Mr. O’Toole. If he does that (promise a federal carbon tax), his time as leader of that party would be nasty, brutish and, of course, short.”
Mike Smyth is host of ‘The Mike Smyth Show’ on Global News Radio 980 CKNW in Vancouver and a commentator for Global News. You can reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @MikeSmythNews.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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The ongoing provincial election is unusual in more ways than one.
But faculty members from the Department of Political Science at Memorial are helping voters make sense of the situation through public engagement.
Dr. Kelly Blidook, an associate professor in the department, made a video explainer to help people understand Newfoundland and Labrador’s current political circumstances.
A question from anti-poverty advocate Dan Meades prompted Dr. Blidook to make the video, he says.
“There wasn’t anything out there that kind of captured the whole thing,” he said, adding that interviews with media can be piecemeal because they are usually reactionary and focused.
With the video, he hopes to provide a beginners’ overview of the situation.
“I tried to think of it as a regular lecture for an introductory level class, or even for a high school class,” Dr. Blidook said. “It was meant to bring together a lot of different ideas and try to figure out what the best path is.”
Watch the video below.
The video is one of several ways that he is contributing to public discourse about the election, which moved to mail-in ballots only when the province went into another pandemic-related shutdown in mid-February.
Dr. Blidook is also a regular commentator for CBC. He also does interviews with other media outlets and contributes to conversations online via Twitter.
“Academics, in Canada at least, are significantly funded by the public,” Dr. Blidook said.
Writing books and articles is one way he and his colleagues provide a public good, he says, but most people won’t read them. Social media and media interviews are a way to share knowledge and spur conversation in real time.
Dr. Blidook is one of several instructors and faculty members in the department who are sharing their political science expertise with the public.
“This election is tough to navigate — both as a “regular” citizen and an expert on elections and voting,” Dr. Bittner said.
She says she values the behind-the-scenes conversations she has with colleagues as they try to make sense of both the election and what it means for the province.
And along with lawyer Lyle Skinner, his colleague Dr. Alex Marland helped with Dr. Blidook’s video content.
“I’m grateful to my colleagues for sharing their expertise on social media and in traditional media interviews,” Dr. Bittner said.
A positive response
Dr. Blidook says the response to his video, which he uploaded to YouTube a week ago, has been largely positive so far.
The 22-minute video has almost 600 views and sparked discussion on Twitter. In the meantime, Political Science faculty and instructors continue to do media interviews as the election continues.
Amid the ongoing discussion, Dr. Bittner says that nobody has a crystal ball for the province’s future. But she hopes the importance of planning and preparation is one takeaway from the “pandemic” election.
“We have much to learn from this. It is my hope that on a go-forward basis, we take political processes more seriously in the province.”
Terri Coles is a communications advisor with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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