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Politics Briefing: Trudeau pays tribute to former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould – The Globe and Mail




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.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is paying tribute to his former justice minister, who this week announced her exit from politics denouncing the “toxic and ineffective” nature of Parliament and the excessive power of the prime minister.

Following a transit announcement in Surrey, B.C., today., Mr. Trudeau said he wanted to recognize the contributions of Jody Wilson-Raybould to the federal government “particularly in the early years.”

“We worked together on a broad range of projects,” Mr. Trudeau said, citing the legalization of cannabis, and progress on a regime of medical assistance in dying.

Ms. Wilson-Raybould was eventually expelled from the Liberal caucus after she refused to intervene in a criminal proceeding.

Of her exit concerns, Mr. Trudeau said, “I recognize politics can be extremely difficult and indeed toxic sometimes, but I also believe it takes good people to continue to step up both in and outside politics to make a difference.”

On her concerns about the power of the prime minister, Mr. Trudeau said it was extremely important that government by cabinet was established “once again.”

“We have an extraordinary team of cabinet ministers, many of whom are here today,” he said, referring to, among others, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna.

On Thursday, Ms. Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister announced she would not be seeking re-election in her Vancouver-Granville riding because she was discouraged by the political system in Parliament.

“It has become more and more toxic and ineffective while simultaneously marginalizing individuals from certain backgrounds,” she said in a note to her constituents.

Among the failings of the political system she cited was “The power of the prime minister and the centralization of power in the hands of those who are unelected.”

Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife reported here on Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s announcement.


NEW AFN CHIEF – RoseAnne Archibald, from the Taykwa Tagamou Nation in Northeastern Ontario, has been elected national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the first woman to hold the position in the advocacy organization’s 50-year history.

DATE SET FOR FEDERAL ISLAMOPHOBIA/ANTISEMITISM CONFERENCES – The federal government has announced that two emergency national summits — one on antisemitism and one on Islamophobia — will take place on July 21 and July 22 respectively. Details here. From CBC

LABOUR MARKET BOOST – Canada’s labour market is roaring back as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Following two months of job losses, the economy added 230,700 positions in June and the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 per cent from May’s 8.2 per cent, Statistics Canada said Friday. The June result exceeded a 175,000 gain that was expected on Bay Street.

COMMONS ETHICS COMMITTEE RECALLED -The House of Commons ethics committee is being recalled to discuss whether to investigate the hiring with parliamentary funds of two companies that are also central to the Liberal Party’s digital campaign operations. The committee is expected to meet Monday after four opposition members wrote a letter to the chair, asking for a meeting to launch an investigation into possible misuse of parliamentary funding of the Liberal Research Bureau and the office budgets of Liberal MPs.

HOLD OFF ELECTION, BUSINESS GROUPS SAY – Business groups are urging the minority Liberal government to hold off triggering a federal election until Ottawa unveils a comprehensive plan to reopen the Canada-U.S. border and allow the entry of fully vaccinated foreign travellers, saying the tourism industry is being unnecessarily devastated this summer.

LEADERS ON THE PRE-ELECTION ROAD – The federal party leaders are all hitting the travel circuit this week for the first major political tours after more than a year of lockdowns and with a potential election campaign looming. In Calgary, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said he’s confident his party will maintain broad support across Alberta – and possibly turn the only non-Conservative riding in the province blue – if an election is called in short order. In Surrey, B.C. Mr. Trudeau promised federal investments for a pair of transit projects in the Vancouver region. He said his government would put up $1.3-billion in funding for a planned SkyTrain extension running 16 kilometres and eight stations from Surrey to Langley. In addition, Mr. Trudeau said the government would fund up to 40 per cent of planning for an extension of the Millennium Line. At this point, the transit line is being extended to a station on Arbutus Street on Vancouver. The commitment by the prime minister would contribute to plans to extend it to the main campus of the University of British Columbia. Earlier this week, federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said, in a statement, that his party would also provide federal funding to ensure the extension of SkyTrain between Surrey and Langley is completed by 2025.

CALL FOR A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR – Nunavut’s member of Parliament is calling on the federal government to appoint a special prosecutor to delve into crimes committed against Indigenous people.

AMOS EXPLAINS EXPOSURE – Liberal MP William Amos says he mistakenly appeared naked twice during virtual House of Commons proceedings because of issues with “hyperactive multitasking” and a “lack of focus” and not because of any “mental health disorder.” Story here. From The National Post.


Private meetings. The Prime Minister makes a transit announcement in Surrey with Premier John Horgan, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, and others.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh holds a “meet and greet” in Victoria with Victoria MP Laurel Collins (Victoria) and also holds a media availability.


A Data Dive here with pollster Nik Nanos, contributing to The Globe and Mail, on whether now is the right time for an election: The Liberals should not get too comfy. They do enjoy an advantage today, but it is likely overstated. The gap between the Liberals and the Conservatives will close. Anxiety about the future will grow as the stimulus winds down and awareness of our debt levels rise.”


Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on whether high-profile candidates will be enough to help the Liberals regain ground in Alberta: The pandemic has turned the world so upside down that federal Liberals are acting as if they have a chance at acquiring a toe-hold in Alberta – like there’s a potential return to having some MPs in Calgary and Edmonton after being completely locked out of the province in the 2019 vote. What the Liberals have their sights set on – whenever the federal election is called – wouldn’t be considered much of a breakthrough in most other parts of the country. The governing party is looking to recoup a few ridings in Calgary where it has a small chance of eking out a victory on the home turf of Canadian conservatism. There’s two high-profile candidates to help with this.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the challenges facing RoseAnne Archibald as national chief of Assembly of First Nations: “The AFN confronts a federal government and a country with a long and lamentable record of hostility to the rights of Indigenous peoples. It must advance those rights, and also help to heal Indigenous wounds at a time of great national shame, as gravesite after gravesite emerges of children – hundreds, even thousands – who were buried at former residential schools. But Ms. Archibald’s first act of healing must be within the AFN itself. My colleagues Steven Chase and Kristy Kirkup reported in February that the AFN had launched an inquiry into allegations against Ms. Archibald of harassment by four AFN employees, when she was the AFN’s Ontario regional chief. Ms. Archibald has said the accusations were unfounded, and were a backlash to criticism of the AFN’s administration by Ontario chiefs.”

Michaëlle Jean (Contributor to the Globe and Mail) on challenges facing Haiti: What is to be done? What is the way forward? These are the harrowing questions that Haitian opposition parties and civil society organizations are facing at this juncture as they urgently seek to save the nation. There must be dialogue, and a coalition government to organize new elections, based on the rule of law and democracy. For Haiti to have a future, the corruption that is rotting its bowels must be eradicated. Robust policies must restore confidence, dignity, justice, equity and security, along with respect for life – all of which the people have been clamouring for; all of which can no longer be flouted.”

Hayden King (Contributor to the Globe and Mail) on the job of Canada’s governor-general being merely symbolic – except when it’s not: “The incoming Queen’s representative actually helped shape discussions during Canada’s Constitutional patriation, with campaigns for Inuit and Indigenous women’s rights, and has a long record of effective diplomacy. Ms. Simon will be someone who Inuit – and Indigenous people generally – will be proud of. But simultaneously and in addition to representing the Queen, governors-general also unavoidably represent colonialism. So could there be somewhere within this contradiction a path to resist underwriting the oppressive and oppositional nature of the Crown/Indigenous relationship? Ms. Simon has already defied one convention – the requirement that the governor-general be bilingual in English and French, having instead led her remarks on Tuesday with Inuktut. Perhaps there will be more to come. What if she refused to sign federal bills that would harm Indigenous people, or rewrote the Speech from the Throne to commit tax dollars to return Indigenous lands to Indigenous communities?”

Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It’s not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.

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Week In Politics: New Notes Further Show Trump's Attempt To Stop Transfer Of Power – NPR



More troubles for former president Donald Trump, with the release of handwritten notes detailing the pressure he put on former Justice Department officials following the 2020 election.


Some dramatic reports this week about Donald Trump trying to subvert the results of the 2020 election and slight signs that some of his own Republicans may be willing to distance themselves from him. Joined now by NPR’s Ron Elving. Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: Let’s begin with those handwritten notes taken by a former Justice Department official – this is right after the 2020 election – detailing the pressure President Trump then was applying to the DOJ, notes about phone calls that include this sentence, quote, “just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me.”

ELVING: This is serious business, Scott. These are notes from a phone call top justice officials had with the then-president on December 27, well after votes had been certified by the governors of all 50 states and nearly two weeks after the Electoral College had voted decisively. Yet, here was Trump still trying to get someone in the Justice Department to help him overturn the election. The officials told him in no uncertain terms that they had looked hard and found no corruption. So Trump replied, just say it was corrupt; leave the rest to me. He wanted something he and his allies in Congress could use to disrupt the constitutional transfer of power.

This is the same time period when we know Trump was trying to bully appointed and elected Republican officials in the states in a similar fashion. So there is a case to be made that all of this violates not only his oath to uphold the Constitution, but other state and federal laws as well.

SIMON: Department of Justice also said yesterday the Treasury Department must furnish – that was the phrase – six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, which has been trying to see those returns since 2019. Is this going to happen now?

ELVING: Yes, so it would seem. But don’t expect to see Trump’s 1040 form in the Sunday paper tomorrow. It’s still going to be a while before it’s all made public, if indeed it ever is. Trump can go to court and at least delay the process. Yet, there is more reason now than ever to believe that these records will be furnished, at least to the House Ways and Means Committee. And eventually, at some point reasonably soon, relevant parts should be part of the public record.

SIMON: Donald Trump seems to conspicuously enjoy exercising influence over the Republican Party. There are people who visit him at Mar-a-Lago and try and receive his political blessing. This week, were there some signs that his influence isn’t ironclad?

ELVING: There have been some disturbances in the force, the force that is Trumpism and that holds so many Republicans in its grip. Earlier this week, a Republican candidate for Congress whom Trump had strongly supported lost in a special election runoff in Texas. The winner was a more moderate Republican whom Trump did not endorse. So there are always lots of factors in any special election, but Trump had been assumed to be the controlling factor here, so it did get people’s attention.

Then at midweek, on Wednesday we saw 17 Republicans in the Senate defy Trump’s instructions and vote to proceed with a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Now, Trump wanted an infrastructure bill when he was in office, but a bill now before the Senate he calls socialism and a big, beautiful gift to Biden. So Trump had roundly denounced any Republican who might vote for it, yet 17 did.

SIMON: Ron, you said the magic word, (imitating buzzer) infrastructure. Is there more indications that massive bipartisan infrastructure bill is moving forward now in the Senate? Will it get to the House? How much momentum does it have?

ELVING: It suddenly has quite a bit, Scott, mainly because it helps senators in both parties do something good for their home states and something good for their own reelection prospects. Now, we should remember that this bill has been greatly reduced since its introduction, cut roughly in half in its overall scope. It’s a bitter pill for many progressives to accept the reductions in their priorities, especially as they pertain to climate change. But right now, this looks like the place where the center could hold and the deal-makers in both parties can win.

SIMON: NPR’s Ron Elving, thanks so much for being with us.

ELVING: Thank you, Scott.

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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Politics Briefing: Trudeau, Kenney clash on appointment of Alberta senator – The Globe and Mail




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.

Add senate appointments to the current points of conflict between the federal and Alberta governments.

On Friday, the Prime Minister’s Office was defending the announcement, this week, that a senator from Alberta is being appointed despite elections this fall to give voters in the province a say on prospects.

“We introduced and are committed to an independent Senate appointment process which is designed to move towards a less partisan and more independent Senate,” the PMO said in a statement, responding to the criticism from Alberta.

The PMO added that, since 2016, the selection process for senators has been open to all Canadians with candidate submissions reviewed by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments, which provides recommendations to the Prime Minister.

Canada’s new Governor-General Mary Simon, this week, appointed five new senators on advice from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Three are from Quebec, one from Saskatchewan, and one from Alberta. Details of the appointments are here.

Mr. Trudeau’s team was reacting Friday to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney accusing the Prime Minister of showing “contempt for democracy in Alberta” by engineering the appointment of Karen Sorensen, who has been the mayor of Banff, as the province’s new senator.

“Sadly, the Prime Minister’s decision to snub his nose at Alberta’s democratic tradition is part of a pattern of flippantly disregarding our province’s demands for a fair deal in the Canadian federation and the desire of Albertans for democratic accountability,” Mr. Kenney said in a statement.

Mr. Kenney noted that, earlier this month, he told Mr. Trudeau at a meeting in Calgary to hold off filling two Senate vacancies, and await the outcome of a vote as part of municipal elections on Oct 18. The Legislative Assembly of Alberta has also passed a motion urging the Prime Minister to not appoint the senators until after the elections.

Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole took note of the Senate dispute. “Once again the Prime Minister shows his lack of respect for the West. Albertans deserve better,” Mr. O’Toole said in a tweet.

Mr. Kenney noted that Alberta has had four Senate elections in the past, and five nominees went on to be appointed.

Columnist’s Comment Kelly Cryderman of the Globe and Mail’s Alberta Bureau: “Senate elections might be a head-scratcher in many other parts of the country but they have been part of Alberta’s political landscape since 1989. Designed to send a signal to Ottawa about provincial autonomy, western alienation, and the need for Senate reform, they have no official status and are seen as illegitimate by critics. Mr. Kenney is continuing in a line of conservative premiers who have asked (all they can do is ask) Ottawa to respect the outcome of the Senate elections. However, with Alberta voters preoccupied by the pandemic, economic concerns – or just the summer – the Premier’s beating of the drum on this issue has failed to garner any major public interest to now.”


PROBLEMS IN AFGHAN AID EFFORT – Afghans trying to come to Canada through the government’s new resettlement program have been frustrated by a difficult application process, which is creating serious challenges for those urgently trying to escape the Taliban.

PROF. DEFENDS CHINA HUMAN-RIGHTS RECORD – A professor at one of Canada’s major universities has written a column for a state-run newspaper in China in which she defends Beijing’s record on ethnic minorities such as the Uyghurs and argues Canadians are being thoughtless and self-righteous in accusing the Chinese government of genocide in Xinjiang.

NEW CONSULTATIONS ON CURBING ONLINE HATE – The federal government has launched a new consultation that it says will lead to combatting online hate shared on social media sites – a move that has prompted advocates to say real change isn’t coming fast enough.

EX-SAUDI SPY RAISES COURT CONCERNS – A former Saudi spy chief living in exile in Toronto is asking a Canadian court to throw out an embezzlement lawsuit against him, arguing not only are the allegations unfounded but that the evidence on which they rely was gleaned from human-rights abuses and, likely, torture.

PANDEMIC-AID PROGRAM EXTENDED – Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is extending pandemic aid programs by an extra month beyond the previously planned end date. The decision means that wage and rent subsidies for businesses, and income support for workers out of a job or who need to take time off to care for family or stay home sick, will last until Oct. 23. Story here.

PAYETTE ORDER-OF-CANADA APPOINTMENT UNDER REVIEW – The Advisory Council for the Order of Canada, is thinking of terminating former governor-general Julie Payette’s appointment to the Order of Canada, CBC reports. Story here.


Private meetings in Ottawa.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet – No schedule provided by Mr. Blanchet’s office.

Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole makes an announcement in Fredericton.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul – No schedule provided by Ms. Paul’s office.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh holds a media availability in Penticton, B.C., and visits the Regional District Emergency Operations Centre.


The Editorial Board of The Globe and Mail on how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just put the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project on the tab of Canadians: It also should be noted that a $5.2-billion handout to a province with a population of 520,000 is massive on a per capita basis. In Ontario, its equivalent would be $148-billion; in Alberta, $44-billion. None of this makes any sense, except as an election handout designed to secure Newfoundland’s seven seats in the House of Commons, six currently held by Liberals. Other than that, it’s madness. It would be one thing for Ottawa to step in and help a struggling, sparsely populated province that has a crushing debt burden of $47.3-billion and real financial problems. It’s another altogether to subsidize its citizens’ electricity bills out of the blue. Is that really the help Newfoundland needs?”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on playing politics with the Governor-General’s constitutional role: ”When Jagmeet Singh sent a letter to Mary Simon urging her to refuse any request from Justin Trudeau to call an election, the NDP Leader knew perfectly well she would have no choice but to grant the Prime Minister’s request. But such grandstanding is nothing new. It seems to be an unspoken role of the Governor-General to serve as a foil for opportunistic politicians who know that many Canadians don’t really understand what the Queen’s representative can or cannot do.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on why It’s time to get tough with vaccine resisters: “I am tired of this gentle persuasion business. People who refuse to get vaccinated are endangering lives. They are stalling a complete return to normal. Why is it that governments have no qualms about mandating mask wearing, but won’t mandate people get the jab? We continue to pander to a group who, in many cases, are simply too lazy to sign up to get a shot. Or, they continue to embrace crackpot conspiracy theories and misinformation being spread on social media. We patiently hope that they will wake up and see the light one day, meantime their recalcitrance affects the rest of us.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on why the feds talking about abortion suggests an election must be imminent: “Just as white smoke billowing from the Sistine Chapel signals to the world that the announcement of a new Pope is forthcoming, so too does the word “abortion,” uttered from Liberal lips, tell Canadians that an election will soon be called. Unfortunately for the incumbent Liberal government, the current leader of the Official Opposition doesn’t turtle into his suit when asked about uncomfortable social issues like his predecessor did, nor does he – like the predecessor before that – tout a résumé that includes defunding abortions abroad. Indeed, until Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole provides more ammunition for the Liberals to warn about Canada’s potential descent into Gilead, the party will have to resort to old favourites to remind women of their feminist bona fides ahead of an election.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on the many mistakes that have been made around the development of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project: “ Mr. Trudeau did not say which “mistakes” he was referring to. Perhaps that was because there are too many of them to enumerate during a short pre-electoral pit stop in Newfoundland, where the Liberals hold all but one of the province’s seven seats. Or perhaps because it would have raised questions about whether his government is only putting a Band-Aid solution on a systemic problem.”

Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It’s not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.

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

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Swim star's maskless display at the Olympics isn't about vaccine politics — it's about bad manners – The Globe and Mail



Michael Andrew, of United States, concentrates prior to the men’s 200-metre individual medley final at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

The Associated Press

Among the small, manageable irritations of an Olympics during a pandemic, the most onerous is the mask.

As an Ontarian, you’ve worn one for more than a year now. But you likely haven’t worn a mask like this – for 10, 12, 14 hours in a row. Even outdoors with no one else around and the real-feel temperature cresting 40 C, our hosts expect the mask stays on.

The upside? For the first time since Grade 9, I have acne. Clearly, middle age was just a stage. Now I am going backward in time, like Dr. Who.

The downside? Near the end of the day, I feel like John Hurt in Alien. All I can think about is getting this thing off my face.

But not our country, so not our rules. Aside from a few unconscientious objectors in the press box and the occasional screaming coach caught on TV, everyone has been pretty good about that.

Then there’s Michael Andrew.

Andrew is a U.S. swimming star who’s got it all covered here except the “star” part of the equation. He began this Games as the poster boy for vaccine hesitancy.

Based on Team USA’s own figures, about 100 American competitors in Tokyo (roughly one in six) are unvaccinated. Only Andrew seemed anxious to talk about it.

“Going to the Games not only unvaccinated, but as an American, I’m representing my country in multiple ways and the freedoms we have to make a decision like that,” Andrew said in one of many, many interviews.

COVID-19 precautions at Olympics merely a ‘theatre of safety’ during Sunday’s swimming events

No one seems bothered that COVID-19 has arrived at the Tokyo Olympics

Yes, he’s a real Franklin D. Roosevelt. American and unvaccinated. However, not a survivor of polio, presumably because a few someones in the Andrew family got vaccinated. Oh, the humanity.

Andrew has what passes for a tolerable amount of intellectualism in American popular culture – speaks in full sentences, nice smile, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. He’d make a great guest on a very special COVID edition of The Dr. Oz Show.

Andrew refuses to wear a mask as he speaks to the press.


People overlooked Andrew’s political posturing because a) he didn’t make it obviously political and b) he wasn’t breaking any rules.

Japan made no demands about Olympic visitors being vaccinated, probably for fear that the Japanese electorate might notice that everyone in the developed world is vaxxed but them.

Having been given some rope, Andrew started tugging at it on Friday.

After they’re done, the swimmers zig-zag through a media maze stretched over two rooms, stopping for reporters who want to talk. Some come through masked and stay that way. A few start off masked and remove them when they are speaking. Some don’t wear a mask and just blow through.

On Friday, Andrew showed up without a mask anywhere in sight, then made himself comfortable while he held court. That is not usual.

Andrew had just placed fifth in the 200-metre individual medley. Some thought he might break the world record here. Earlier this week, he blew a medal chance at the 200-m breaststroke, his signature swim. So much like the Land of Unimpeded Freedoms he hails from, things are not trending upward in AndrewWorld.

Maybe this explains his what-are-you-gonna-do-tell-my-mom? attitude toward the rules when they were pointed out to him.

“For me, it’s pretty hard to breathe in after kind of sacrificing my body in the water,” he told reporters. “So I feel like my health is a little more tied to being able to breathe than protecting what’s coming out of my mouth.”

The key words here are “feel like.” If “feel like” is an acceptable basis for non-compliance with the rules, then we’re going to have to take murder off the books. Because I feel like doing that every once in a while.

Japan and Tokyo both hit historic highs for daily COVID-19 infections on Friday, almost precisely smack in the middle of the Games’ 16-day run. It’s not a great look. Andrew’s contribution to the Olympics’ Japanese community outreach is whining about his sacrifices.

Andrew isn’t an ugly American. That trope is a relic of a better time for the red, white and blue. Things aren’t going well enough in the U.S. for its citizens to overconfidently float around the globe any more.

The new cliché is the resentful American. As U.S. influence wanes, the resentful American is increasingly ill at ease in the wider world. He doesn’t like leaving home.

When forced to do so, he no longer thinks of it as an opportunity to spread the gospel of democracy and the Constitution. Instead, he brings America along with him.

Regardless of where he happens to be, it’s still the sort of place you can straight-facedly equate non-vaccination with actual essential freedoms, and sincerely believe people will nod along as if you are a regular Thomas Aquinas.

No country has a monopoly on common sense. But God bless them, certain Americans do have a tendency to corner the market on its opposite.

This isn’t about Andrew’s vaccine politics (though he confuses principle with self-interest, a particularly American misreading of moral philosophy common at both ends of their right-left spectrum).

This is about bad manners. It’s about coming to someone else’s country and lecturing them about how you feel like doing things.

One of the many sadnesses about the past two years is how our meta-family has grown distant from one another. The era of unhindered travel – of waking up on a Friday and, savings account permitting, deciding to fly to Stockholm or Hong Kong or Sydney on a Sunday – may be over. We may be entering a new period of inward-looking parochialism.

This Olympics was a reminder that it is still possible to go to new places, see new people and experience new things. It’s not as easy, fun or “free” as it once was. But if a few, small courtesies are maintained, it will be possible. Unless you are a jerk about it.

The Olympics doesn’t need to have a broader conversation about the pandemic as it applies to individual freedoms. This Olympics is turning into nothing but broader conversations about all sorts of things.

What it needs is fewer jerks.

Sign up for The Globe’s Olympic newsletter and follow all of the news, features and opinion in the leadup to the Summer Games in Tokyo.

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