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These issues will dominate federal politics in 2020 – Global News

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Five days after Parliament resumed in December, it became even clearer that Canada’s current minority government situation will require the Liberals to engage in even deeper cross-party collaboration to accomplish their goals.

On Dec. 10, the Liberals experienced their first defeat after opposition parties voted in favour of a Conservative motion to strike a special parliamentary committee to probe Canada’s tense relationship with China.






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House votes in favour of special committee on Canada-China relations


House votes in favour of special committee on Canada-China relations

Though the Liberals survived their first confidence vote that same day, they will need to get at least one of the opposition parties on side to ensure that future votes of confidence go their way in the future.

Here are some of the top issues that will be tackled by Parliament over the next year after it’s scheduled to return on Jan. 27.

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Income tax cuts

The Liberal Party’s hallmark campaign promise of an income tax cut will likely be one of the easiest ones to follow through on, as the Conservatives had also pushed for large-scale tax cuts.

On the first day of Parliament in early December, the Liberals introduced a motion to increase the amount of tax-exempt income to $15,000 by 2023. The Liberals say that an estimated 20 million Canadians will benefit from this, with individuals saving an average of $300 annually.






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Throne Speech: ‘First act’ for new parliament is a tax cut for ‘all non-wealthy Canadians’


Throne Speech: ‘First act’ for new parliament is a tax cut for ‘all non-wealthy Canadians’

“Conservatives always support tax cuts,” Pierre Poilievre, the Conservatives’ finance critic, told reporters in response to the Liberal motion. “It’s in our DNA. it’s who we are.”

Climate change and pipelines

The Liberals’ speech from the throne highlighted the government’s “ambitious, but necessary” plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. A government report from April warned that Canada’s climate, especially in the north, is warming at twice the global rate.

While the speech did not explicitly refer to pipelines or the oil and gas industry in western provinces, the expansion of the TransMountain pipeline is predicted to induce the most division in Parliament.

During meetings with federal leaders in Ottawa earlier this month, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney issued five demands for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, including that the government put a hard deadline on completing the pipeline project as the province’s unemployment rate rose a percentage point to 7.2 per cent in November.

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Debate over pipelines clouds concern for climate change


Debate over pipelines clouds concern for climate change

A recent poll found that just 15 per cent of people who supported the Liberals during the fall election said the pipeline expansion should be a top priority, strikingly lower than the 52 per cent of Conservative Party voters who said it should be top of mind.

The NDP and the Greens vehemently oppose pipelines and have vowed to urge the Liberals to take aggressive stances to tackle climate change. Trudeau has said that his government would use proceeds from the government-owned TransMountain pipeline to invest in initiatives to lower Canada’s overall emissions.

Medical assistance in dying

In September, a Quebec judge struck down the part of the Liberals’ 2016 assisted death legislation that limits eligibility to terminally ill patients whose death is “reasonably foreseeable.” The court stated that this requirement is unconstitutional because it can force patients to live in significant pain.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin suspended the ruling for six months to allow federal lawmakers to respond. In the meantime, she allowed the two plaintiffs to proceed with their request for a medically assisted death.

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Leaders’ Debate: Trudeau says he would “relax” assisted dying law in next 6 months


Leaders’ Debate: Trudeau says he would “relax” assisted dying law in next 6 months

During the campaign, the Liberals vowed to “relax” the assisted death legislation. Trudeau urged Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti in his mandate letter on Dec. 13 to expand the legislation.

During the French leaders’ debate in October, the Greens, NDP and Bloc Québécois said they would support expanding the assisted death criteria. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said his party would “evaluate” the court’s decision and would be devoted to the protection of “vulnerable people.”

Pharmacare

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh opposed the Liberals’ speech from the throne, in part, for being too vague on its pharmacare promise.

Trudeau’s mandate letter to new federal health minister Patty Hajdu tasked her with implementing national universal pharmacare, including the establishment of the Canada Drug Agency and a national formulary to reduce the cost of expensive drugs for rare diseases.

In June, a national advisory council struck by the Liberals and overseen by former Liberal provincial health minister Eric Hoskins called for a universal, single-payer pharmacare program, the cost of which would be $15 billion a year by the time it’s fully implemented by 2027.

Scheer and the Conservatives had previously opposed such a program.

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Gun control

Earlier in December, on the 30th anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre in which a gunman killed 14 women, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair renewed the government’s gun reform pledges and said that it will soon draw up a list of semi-automatic weapons it wants to ban.

The Liberals had promised during the election to ban military-style assault rifles and allow municipal governments to implement their own restrictions on handguns. Trudeau has also said the government will buy back roughly 250,000 military-style assault rifles at an estimated cost of $400 million.

In his mandate letter, Blair is tasked with bringing this about and also imposing stronger penalties for gun smuggling. However, the government will not re-impose the scrapped long-gun registry.

The NDP, Green and Conservative parties had their own gun reform proposals that overlap with the Liberal plans, signalling possible consensus on those plans. However, the Conservatives had proposed harsher mandatory minimums and halting bail for repeat “gang” offenders.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Politics Briefing: Federal government invests in protecting against quantum threats – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

This morning, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced $675,000 to help keep Canadians safe from quantum threats, which he called “one of the most serious threats” to Canada’s cybersecurity. The funding will go to the non-profit organization Quantum-Safe Canada for a project to raise awareness and preparedness for such threats.

“The reality, which many Canadians likely don’t know, is that current infrastructure is vulnerable to the quantum technology of tomorrow,” Mr. Mendicino said at a press conference today.

Quantum threats refer to the capabilities of true quantum computers, which have yet to be realized, but could be a reality in around 10 years. Quantum computers would allow for the hacking of mass quantities of encrypted materials – and quickly. They “break the codes underpinning Internet security and the security of things like the ArriveCan app,” explained Michele Mosca, executive director of Quantum-Safe Canada and deputy director of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.

Quantum threats were also discussed by experts in April during hearings of the House standing committee on industry and technology, and whose testimony seemed to stun some MPs.

“Everything that’s been sent on the Internet since essentially the beginning of time will become an open book when a quantum computer is available,” Gilles Brassard, a professor in the department of computer science and operations research at Université de Montréal, told the committee. “Therefore, there’s no way to try to protect the past. The past is gone forever — forget about it. But we can still hope to protect the future.”

Asked what should be done to increase awareness, Mr. Brassard replied: “There needs to be education. There is no magic bullet. People are not sufficiently aware of the threat, and when they are told, they might panic.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Marsha McLeod, who is filling in for 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

LAFLAMME BLINDSIDED BY CTV – Lisa LaFlamme was let go as anchor of CTV National News after 35 years at the network in a decision that the veteran journalist said blindsided her and one that prompted shock from colleagues and viewers. Story here.

DELAYS AT PEARSON – The chaos at Toronto Pearson has laid bare a broken governance system, not only in the Canadian airport model itself but among the multiple federal agencies serving the aviation industry, The Globe and Mail has found. Story here.

ATTENDANCE DOWN AT WORLD JUNIORS – While the time of year is a key factor in the low attendance at a winter sporting event, Hockey Canada concedes that concerns over its handling of sexual-assault allegations have also affected interest in the tournament. Story here.

INFLATION SLOWING – Canadian inflation slowed in July as consumers paid much less for gasoline, marking what could be the start of a long journey back to low and stable rates of price growth. Story here.

EXPLOSIONS IN CRIMEA – Explosions went off Tuesday at a military base in Russian-annexed Crimea, which is an important supply line for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Story by Reuters here.

THIS AND THAT

The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.

The Canadian Health Coalition released a statement criticizing the possibility of Canadian Blood Services partnering with a multinational company to pay Canadians to sell their plasma. “Once payment to Canadians for their plasma becomes the norm, recruitment of voluntary donors will decline, as experienced in European countries,” said health safety expert Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards.

THE DECIBEL

Parasite ecologist and University of Washington associate professor Chelsea Wood makes her case to The Decibel listeners for parasite conservation, and why they’re actually beautiful, complex forms of life. Episode here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

The Prime Minister is holding private meetings in Outaouais, Que., and the National Capital Region.

OPINION

Marcus Gee (The Globe and Mail) on the beauty and wonder of Canada, from the view of a recent cross-country odyssey: “It’s impossible to believe the sheer size and natural variety of this country. We’ve passed through the wild north shore of Lake Superior, crossing the countless rivers and streams that spill into that great inland sea; the vast boreal forest in northwest Ontario; the still vaster prairies, green and gold in their midsummer splendour; then the Rockies, where we hiked through an alpine meadow bursting with paintbrush and arctic lupine and along a famous gorge, Johnston Canyon, filled with roaring waterfalls.”

Sabine Nolke, Phil Calvert, Roman Waschuk, John Holmes, Louise Blais (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Ottawa’s centralized decision-making puts local embassy staff at risk: “Recent reports have revealed that on the cusp of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine earlier this year, plans were made to evacuate Canadian staff at the Canadian embassy in Kyiv. However, Ukrainian employees were not adequately informed of the dangers facing them and they haven’t been given sufficient assistance since. As former ambassadors, reading the reports hit a chord and did not entirely surprise us.”

Ali Mirzad (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s need to deliver on its moral obligation to the persecuted Hazaras of Afghanistan: “It is true that the Liberal government cannot evacuate those trapped behind the Taliban’s walls. But it has also strategically ignored people it could actually help – the thousands of highly vulnerable and at-risk individuals, such as the Hazaras, who have fled but remain in limbo in refugee camps. While Canada continues to fail in delivering on its moral obligations, the persecuted Hazaras – who have historically been deprived of basic human rights – must continue to live each day in the midst of persecution and tragedy.”

Michael Bociurkiw (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada is falling short on its promises to Ukraine: “From the very start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has bungled its response to the crisis on almost every step of the way: from the inexplicable tardiness to send lethal weaponry to circumventing its own sanctions on Russia by approving the release of repaired turbines for that country’s Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.”

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Former Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca announces run for Vaughan mayor

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Former Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said Tuesday he has entered the race for Vaughan mayor in the October municipal election.

In a news release, he said his campaign will focus on stemming traffic gridlock in the city that he has called home for 35 years.

“Vaughan has experienced explosive population growth over the years and it’s been hard for our transportation network to keep up,” he said. “The result is obvious and brutal – more of our residents are stuck in traffic every single day – wasting their precious time, while both our economy and our environment suffer.”

Del Duca, who was named Liberal leader in 2020, resigned in June after the Liberals won just eight seats in the provincial election, failing to secure official party status for the second consecutive time. Del Duca was also unable to win his own riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge.

On Tuesday, he said he had taken time to reflect on his future since then.

“Over the past two months, I have reflected a great deal on my personal future and have taken the time to consider how best to continue to serve the community that I love,” he said.

“I believe passionately in public service and I feel that I have a responsibility to give back. I am running for mayor and humbly asking for support to continue providing Vaughan residents with stable, thoughtful and progressive leadership at city hall.”

Del Duca previously served as the province’s transportation minister and economic development minister.

Ontario’s municipal elections are set to be held on October 24.

Former NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced last month she would be running for mayor of Hamilton.

Horwath also stepped down after the June provincial election despite her party returning to official opposition status for a second straight term in the legislature. She led the NDP for 13 years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 16, 2022.

 

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Politics Briefing: One year after Afghanistan fell to the Taliban – The Globe and Mail

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Friday’s Politics Briefing failed to deploy due to a programming error. We apologize for missing it.

Hello,

One year ago, Afghanistan was taken over by the Taliban. Since then, The Globe and Mail’s Janice Dickson has been writing about the challenges faced by Afghans trying to make their way to Canada, including through a special immigration program for Afghans who worked for Canada’s diplomatic and military missions in the country, along with their families.

Today, she brings the story of a young man named Usman and his father, who once guarded Canada’s embassy in Kabul. A week ago, Usman’s father made a rare trip outside their home to pick up some food – and has not returned. Usman fears the Taliban have taken his father and may be coming next for him and his family.

Usman said he has e-mailed Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) countless times on his father’s behalf over the last year. So far, he has only received auto-replies.

In another story, Dickson, along with Goran Tomasevic and Sharif Sharaf, detail the struggles of Afghan girls and teachers at one school – after the Taliban banned schooling for girls after grade six. One 14-year-old girl said in a phone interview that she has always dreamed of a career in economics. But she’s in sixth grade and, in a few months, her education will come to an end.

“Maybe in three or four years I will also marry. I don’t know. This is a very awful thought for me. But it could be my future, like other women,” the girl said.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Marsha McLeod, who is filling in for 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

GOVERNANCE ISSUES KNOWN – Before Hockey Canada became engulfed in controversy this year over its handling of sexual-assault allegations, the government had concerns about its board of directors, including aspects of transparency and accountability within the organization, according to documents obtained by The Globe. Story here.

BLOCKADES COST BILLIONS – Newly-disclosed cabinet documents show that Ottawa produced an internal estimate in February of the GDP impact of countrywide blockades – figures Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland did not provide when asked during a June committee hearing. The estimate showed that the Canadian economy was losing between $2.6-billion and $5.2-billion a week. Story here.

ARRIVECAN GIVES ONE-TIME EXEMPTION – The Canadian government is allowing COVID-19-vaccinated travellers entering the country by land border a one-time exemption from quarantine, testing and fines if they fail to enter their information on the ArriveCan app. Story here.

STRUGGLES TO FIND A FAMILY DOCTOR – More Canadian seniors are finding themselves without a family doctor amid a shortage of primary-care physicians, compelling some older adults to seek private support as advocates highlight serious health consequences. Story here.

RUSHDIE ON ROAD TO RECOVERY – Author Salman Rushdie is “on the road to recovery,” his agent said Sunday, two days after he was stabbed ahead of delivering a lecture in upstate New York. Story by the Associated Press here.

POWER OUTAGE INVESTIGATED – The City of Toronto is investigating a power outage that left many in the downtown core without electricity for several hours on Thursday. Story by the Canadian Press here.

INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE EXEMPTION DISCUSSED – Senior civil servants discussed offering possible exemptions to federal employees who already speak one Indigenous language from having fluency in both English and French, according to new documents. Story by the Canadian Press here.

THIS AND THAT

The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.

MPs OFFER STATEMENTS ON AFGHANISTAN – Liberal MPs referred to the “hardships endured by the Afghan people, with some having undergone harrowing journeys to flee the country and countless others living in fear of persecution and retribution,” and highlighted the thousands of Afghans who have been brought to Canada. NDP MPs, meanwhile, brought up issues with the Liberal government’s program to bring Afghans to Canada who served with Canada’s diplomatic or military missions. “Instead of expediting processing, the Liberal government made the application process confusing and full of bureaucratic red tape,” their statement read. Conservative MPs said that “the Liberals failed to plan for an evacuation of our partners in Afghanistan and continue to struggle to provide thousands of Afghans safe entry into our country.”

NATIONAL ACADIAN DAY MARKED – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement noting the day, writing, “Acadians have always shown courage, resilience, and perseverance. For more than 400 years in North America, they have built a strong and dynamic identity, which they have safeguarded in the face of adversity and hardship. This Acadian identity, deeply rooted in our history, inspires people far beyond the borders of Acadie.”

COMMITTEE MEETS ABOUT POSSIBLE INTERFERENCE – Tomorrow, the House standing committee on public safety and national security will meet for the second day of a study into “allegations of political interference in the 2020 Nova Scotia Mass Murder investigation.” They are set to hear from RCMP and Department of Justice officials. Hearing information is here.

THE DECIBEL

Why do CEOs get paid so much? David Milstead, The Globe’s institutional investment reporter, takes Decibel listeners inside the complex world of executive pay. Episode here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

The Prime Minister is holding private meetings in the National Capital Region today.

LEADERS

No schedules provided for party leaders.

TRIBUTE

Bill Graham was old school. The former Liberal cabinet minister loved politics, loved the Toronto riding he represented through five elections, loved being out and about in the world, loved gossip and good stories, which he could tell better than just about anyone,” wrote John Ibbitson in his obituary of the respected politician, who died last weekend. Obituary here.

OPINION

Mellissa Fung (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on the fight to get Afghans out of the country, amid bureaucratic delays: “During those frantic first days and weeks of the Taliban’s return to Kabul, I made hundreds of calls, to people I knew and to people I didn’t. I wasn’t alone; journalists, aid workers and former military members the world over were similarly desperate to do what we could to evacuate those at risk. It seemed surreal that this work was left to us, but we found ourselves desperately trying to organize convoys and flights, and madly filling out spreadsheets for manifests.”

Rahela Nayebzadah (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on Afghanistan’s descent into the ‘dark ages,’ a year after the West’s withdrawal: “Society needs to come together to support those the West left behind. Afghans in Western countries, especially, need to come together. We need to push political leaders into fighting for women’s rights in Afghanistan and accepting more refugees. Recently, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced that spots for the special Afghan immigration program are nearly full. Millions of Afghans will die at the hands of the Taliban if Western countries do not accept more refugees.”

Adnan R. Khan (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Afghanistan is in a similar place as it was in the mid-1990s: “It truly has been a year of rude awakenings in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban conquered the country on Aug. 15 last year, the situation has devolved to a point where we are now seeing the re-emergence of an Afghanistan that existed in the mid-1990s: an emirate of fear where terrorist groups are again allowed to flourish and basic human dignity is denied to most of the population. That’s not what we were told would happen when the U.S. struck a deal with the Taliban that would allow it to end the longest war in U.S. history.”

Asuntha Charles and Reyhana Patel (The Hill Times) on the need for Canada to allow aid to flow to Afghanistan: “We have united in launching the ‘Aid for Afghanistan’ public campaign to remove these barriers, including the amendment of the Criminal Code, to allow humanitarian organizations to resume their programs. Ultimately, we want our government—and Canadians at large—to understand that this issue is not about the Taliban, religion, or party politics. It is about Afghanistan being on the brink of mass starvation, where 22.8 million people—through no fault of their own—are suffering and in desperate need of urgent help.”

Samra Habib (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on partition’s ‘cruel legacy:’ “Many of us born after Partition have experienced intergenerational trauma. How does so much loss, fear, grief and disconnection manifest in the bodies and lives of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who lost so much? It’s something I often wonder about as I try to unearth the origins of some of my own fears and anxieties. Hopefully, a surge in conversations around the impact of Partition, 75 years later, will help us examine what has been passed down to us.”

David Boyd, Kai Chan, Amanda Giang, and Navin Ramankutty (Contributed to The Globe and Mail): on the need for Canada to take action on the right to a healthy environment: “The world’s future became a little bit brighter recently. On July 28, for the first time in history, the United Nations General Assembly recognized that everyone, everywhere, has a right to live in a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Now it’s time for Canada to step up and take action to ensure that right for all its citizens.”

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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