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what the UN vote says about Canada’s place in the world



Justin Trudeau got Canada on the cover of Rolling Stone, but he could not get Canada a temporary seat on the United Nations security council.

We can debate which of those prizes is more valuable, but Wednesday’s loss is a difficult one to bear for a prime minister who proudly told the world that Canada was “back” after his party won the federal election in 2015.

Nonetheless, winning that seat would not have answered the many questions that can be asked about Trudeau’s foreign policy and Canada’s place in the world.

The Trudeau government’s pursuit of a seat on the security council over the last four years was framed by the former Conservative government’s failure to win a seat in 2010 — and the Liberals’s insistence at the time that the defeat was a de facto indictment of Stephen Harper’s approach to the world.

Not since 1946 had Canada failed when it went after one of the rotating spots. The Liberals argued the loss in 2010 — to Germany and Portugal — embarrassed the country and symbolized the Harper government’s unwillingness or inability to engage constructively with the world.

Turning defeat into a talking point

The Conservatives, never big fans of the United Nations, tried to turn the defeat around by arguing that they’d been rejected only because they had refused to compromise on their principles — including their vocal support for Israel. A year later, John Baird went to the UN as foreign minister and declared that Canada “would not go along to get along” in an attempt to establish this country as an international iconoclast.

In advance of this week’s vote, Conservatives already were beginning to argue that a victory for Canada would happen only because the Liberal government had been less principled in its pursuit.

But the decision by the Liberals to pursue a seat was almost certainly influenced by a desire to demonstrate just how much different and better the Trudeau government’s approach to the world would be.

Watch: Chrystia Freeland is questioned about Canada’s UN loss

Asked by Conservative foreign affairs critic Leona Alleslev whether concessions in USMCA trade talks affected the UN Security council seat, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada is the only country with trade agreements with all G7 countries in a protectionist global trade climate. 1:09

Trudeau’s claim that Canada was “back” was always a bit awkward — the country had not disappeared completely from the planet for the nine years between 2006 and 2015. But it was premised on the return of a certain idea of Canada — the helpful, progressive, productive and alliance-building Canada that was supposed to have existed before Stephen Harper.

The claim that Canada would take a different approach under the Liberals has turned out to be true, basically. But in 2016, Canada was arriving late to a race that already included two decent global citizens and allies — Ireland and Norway — who had been actively campaigning for years.

“The Trudeau government chose the wrong time to run,” Adam Chapnick, a scholar who has studied and written about Canada’s participation at the security council, concluded in January.

This week’s loss might be framed as more of a strategic or political misstep than a wholesale repudiation of Trudeau’s foreign policy. But losing out on a seat will refocus attention on Trudeau’s record — and reinforce recent commentary about the need to rethink Canada’s approach to the world.

Trudeau argues that Canada can be a positive example for the world on important issues — pluralism, economic inclusion, climate policy, gender equality and reconciliation. These are the issues that have allowed Canada over the past five years to present a contrast in the international press to the populists and nationalists who have risen to power in other countries.

A mixed record

But Canada’s record on actions taken outside our borders over the last five years is harder to get excited about.

Canada enthusiastically re-engaged with international climate talks, provided new funds to help smaller countries deal with the impacts of climate change and spearheaded an effort to deal with plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Trade deals were completed with the European Union and Pacific Rim nations, while new labour and Indigenous protections were written into a renegotiated NAFTA.

Foreign aid has been reoriented to focus almost entirely on supporting women and girls, but the actual budget for foreign aid has barely increased. In 2018, the OECD lamented that, as a share of gross national income, Canada’s spending on international development was still below where it was in 2012. Meanwhile, the Liberal promise to revive Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping has amounted to less than might have been imagined.

And there was also that unfortunate trip to India.

The lack of dramatic action on foreign aid and peacekeeping might have held back Canada’s bid for the security council — but what bedevils the idea of Canada in the world most now are the forces that seem to have been unleashed by the American presidential election in 2016.

Multilateralism in a dog-eat-dog world

With the United States threatening to upend and unravel the structures that have largely governed global affairs since the end of the Second World War, Trudeau’s Liberals have become a loud proponent of the rules-based international order. Canada has joined a few potentially interesting efforts at forging new coalitions, including the “alliance for multilateralism” and a recent joint statement on Hong Kong.

But at times over the last four years, it has felt like significant portions of the Canadian economy were being held hostage by the unrestrained whims of the United States and China — with China going so far as to actually hold two Canadian citizens hostage. Maybe things will get better after November, but there’s no guarantee of that.

Trudeau’s approach to such conflicts has been to quietly pursue resolution while generally declining to escalate matters publicly. But the Conservatives like to argue that Trudeau has not been tough enough, particularly when it comes to China.

Being tougher with a country that is significantly stronger than you, and apparently won’t hesitate to block your trade or imprison your citizens, is a lot easier said than done. But the alternative can’t be to assume that this is just the way things are going to be from now on.

The world was a very different place when Trudeau said Canada was “back” in the fall of 2015. Backing that up with action was always going to be important. But explaining what it means to be “back” in the post-2016 world is now a significant part of the equation.

Both the Trudeau government and Canadian voters are likely to be consumed with domestic concerns for the foreseeable future. But a renewed vision of how Canada can be both relevant and secure on the world stage couldn’t hurt.

Losing out on a seat at the security council only adds to the pressure on the Liberals to back up the rhetorical enthusiasm they brought with them in 2015.

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Two-thirds of Canadians support closing businesses again if COVID-19 cases spike: survey – CTV News



As scientists and policy-makers anticipate a second wave of COVID-19 later this year, a new survey suggests a majority of Canadians support closing non-essential businesses again if cases spike.

The new poll conducted by Nanos Research for CTV News surveyed 1,049 Canadians within the past week, and found that two-thirds of respondents support, or somewhat support, another round of business closures in the event of a significant rise in cases and hospitalizations.

Forty-two per cent of respondents said they support the closures, while another 28 per cent said they somewhat support them. About one in four Canadians oppose (16 per cent) or somewhat oppose (11 per cent) the idea.

Support for shutting down businesses during a second wave was strongest in Ontario (53 per cent) and weakest in Quebec (24 per cent). Those older than 55 — who are more susceptible to the virus — were more supportive of the closures, at 77 per cent, than younger Canadians aged 18 to 34, at 64 per cent support.

Businesses were hit hard in March when the pandemic forced many to shutter, leaving millions of Canadians without jobs.

To offset lost wages, the federal government has doled out monthly payments of $2,000 to more than 8 million Canadians without work through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) since April. As of July 3, more than $53.5 billion had been paid out.

In mid-June the federal government extended CERB by eight weeks, offering more time for workers looking for a job. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government is looking for ways to incentivize returning to work rather than staying home and remaining on the program.

In recent months, business has slowly returned to normal as provinces expand their lists of which businesses are allowed to reopen.


The poll also found that most Canadians support the mandatory wearing of masks in all public spaces, with 54 per cent in support and 25 per cent somewhat supportive. Nearly one in five respondents said they opposed (11 per cent) or somewhat opposed (nine per cent) mandatory face masks.

Support for mandatory face masks was highest in Ontario, at 65 per cent. While Ontario Premier Doug Ford has repeatedly rejected this idea, Toronto — which accounts for 12 per cent of Canada’s total caseload — recently made it mandatory to wear a face mask in all enclosed public spaces, such as grocery stores and public transit.

Ottawa’s mayor said he’d be open to a similar rule, if it’s supported by the city’s top doctor.

Support for mandatory masks in public was lowest in the Prairies, which still saw a majority of support at 68 per cent.

A group of Canadian doctors and scientists have been pushing for masks to be mandatory in all public spaces, saying the step is a simple and effective way to quash the outbreak. Many public transit authorities already recommend or require that passengers wear masks, including in Vancouver, Ottawa, Hamilton and Guelph.

Canada Masks 02


The number of daily cases of COVID-19 has been steadily trending downward for months. For example, the country reported 286 new cases of COVID-19 on June 30, a sizeable drop from 772 new cases May 30.

But epidemiologists have been warning for months that, based on what is known about how coronaviruses spread, a second wave of cases is likely in the winter or fall.

This message appears to resone among Canadians. According to the Nanos poll, nearly nine in 10 Canadians say a second wave of COVID-19 infections in the next six months is likely (57 per cent) or somewhat likely (32 per cent). Just five per cent say it’s not likely, with three per cent saying it’s somewhat not likely.


Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,049 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between June 28th and July 2nd, 2020 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The sample included both land- and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

Individuals randomly called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five call backs. The margin of error for this survey is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. This study was commissioned by CTV News and the research was conducted by Nanos Research.

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Canada's long-term care system failed elders, before and during COVID-19: report – CTV News



Canada has failed in its duty to protect vulnerable elders in long-term care, according to a highly critical report that examines the issue in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

The report released Friday by the Royal Society of Canada found the pandemic was a “shock wave” that exposed many long-standing deficiencies in the system and caused high levels of “physical, mental and emotional suffering” for seniors.

“Those lives lost unnecessarily had value,” reads the report by a working group that was chaired by Dr. Carole Estabrooks at the University of Alberta.

“Those older adults deserved a good closing phase of their lives and a good death. We failed them.”

The working group, which was created by the Royal Society’s COVID-19 task force of scientists and researchers, said the causes of the failure are complex but are rooted in what they called “systemic and deeply institutionalized implicit attitudes about age and gender.”

It found that 81 per cent of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths have come in long-term care homes, far higher than what is reported in comparable countries, including a 31 per cent figure in the United States, 28 per cent in Australia and 66 per cent in Spain.

The authors say Canadian homes have allowed staff-to-patient ratios to drop and have increasingly shifted to an unregulated workforce in recent years, even as patients are living longer with diseases that require increasingly complex care, such as dementia.

“(Those unregulated workers) receive the lowest wages in the health-care sector, are given variable and minimal formal training in (long-term care), and are rarely part of decision-making about care for residents,” reads the report, which notes that many of these workers report being overworked and suffering from high rates of burnout.

In contrast, the proportion of registered nurses has fallen, and many residents lack access to comprehensive care including medical, health and social services and therapies, even though the needs are greater than before.

The report notes that authorities have failed to listen to the voices of long-term care residents and those who care for them — both groups overwhelmingly composed of women. Women are also more likely to be the unpaid caregivers who are increasingly called upon to fill the gaps in the system, the authors said.

Long-term care homes were uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19, combining an already-sick patient base with a novel disease to which nobody has immunity, the report says. Homes in Canada are often older and feature shared bedrooms and bathrooms, which made containing COVID-19 a challenge.

However, the report also notes that basic infection controls and personal protective equipment were often lacking and that many employees worked in multiple facilities, increasing the chances of spreading the virus.

“We have a duty to care and to fix this — not just to fix the current communicable disease crisis, but to fix the sector that enabled that crisis to wreak such avoidable and tragic havoc,” the authors wrote.

The report makes nine recommendations, which it says are geared towards addressing a workforce crisis that leaves homes understaffed and employees underpaid and overwhelmed.

The authors called on Ottawa to develop federal national standards for staffing and training, and to make provincial funding contingent upon meeting them.

The federal government should also ensure data is collected on resident quality of life, care standards and worker satisfaction and ensure it is analyzed by a third-party body, the report says. That data should also take into account disparities caused by race, ethnicity, gender identity, poverty and other vulnerabilities.

Provinces must “immediately implement appropriate pay and benefits, including sick leave, for the large and critical unregulated workforce of direct care aides and personal support workers” and offer them ongoing training and mental health support, the report’s authors said.

Unregulated staff should be offered full-time work, and provinces should evaluate “one workplace” policies that prevent employees from moving from site to site, the report concludes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020

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Coronavirus: Canada adds 325 new cases on Friday as Atlantic lifts travel limits –



Canada added 325 new coronavirus cases across the country Friday, as well as 21 more deaths.

The country now has 105,072 cases total, with 27,716 of them active. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to 8,663 deaths total in Canada, while 68,693 people have recovered.

Read more:
Ontario reports 165 new coronavirus cases, lowest increase in deaths since late March

Ontario reported the most cases Friday at 165, bringing the provincial total to 35,535. However, only Toronto and nearby Peel and York regions have reported more than five new cases.

A total of 30,909 cases are considered resolved in the province — 87 per cent of all confirmed cases.

Two new deaths were also announced Friday, the province’s smallest increase since March 31, when no deaths were reported. Ontario now has seen 2,682 deaths total.

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Increased coronavirus concern at Ontario beaches

Increased coronavirus concern at Ontario beaches

Quebec, the province hardest hit by the coronavirus, saw 89 new cases on Friday, bringing its total to 55,682, as well as 19 new deaths to make 5,560 total for the province.

The number of hospitalizations has dropped over the last week, though, with 392 patients in hospital, down 19 from Thursday. Of them, 31 are in intensive care.

Saskatchewan reported one new case to raise its overall count to 796.

The new case is in the far north, which continues to have the majority of active cases in the province. Of its 71 active cases, 40 are in the far north, 18 in the south, eight in the north and five in Saskatoon.

Read more:
Man who posted regret for attending party dies 1 day later of coronavirus

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Alberta announced 57 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province to make 8,259 cases total, with no new deaths. There are currently 572 active cases in the province.

British Columbia has confirmed 13 new cases of COVID-19, but recorded no new deaths on Friday.

The province also revised its number of total cases down to 2,947, after identifying six cases as being residents of other provinces.

Coronavirus: Why reopening the Canada-US border too soon could mean a ‘second wave’

Coronavirus: Why reopening the Canada-US border too soon could mean a ‘second wave’

No new cases of the virus were reported in Manitoba Friday, but health officials warned that passengers on Air Canada flight 295 from Winnipeg to Vancouver on June 19 may be at risk of exposure to COVID-19.

There are still three active cases of the novel coronavirus in Nova Scotia as the province reported no new cases. No new cases were announced for P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick or any of the territories.

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The lack of new cases in the east has allowed travel restrictions to be lifted between the Atlantic provinces, meaning residents can now travel between the four provinces without the need to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving.

— With files from Ryan Rocca, Kalina Laframboise, David Giles, Graeme Benjamin, Kirby Bourne, Simon Little and Shane Gibson

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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