Welcome to The Feed. Your bi-weekly resource to Canadian politics and policies broken down into itty bitty (super witty) bite-sized knowledge by Apathy is Boring. Pun intended.
WHAT'S THE SCOOP?
Sweet summertime is finally here (Happy Canada Day!), but summer is poised to look a whole lot different this year. After all, global infections from the novel coronavirus have now surpassed 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths. In Canada, life continues to kinda return to normal: from reopened movie theatres (where you’ll be assigned a seat) to Canada’s two biggest airlines relaxing physical distancing policies on flights. Meanwhile, Canadian Armed Forces members are preparing to leave Quebec’s long-term care homes as the Canadian Red Cross steps in. All these steps come as COVID-19 outbreaks continue across the country. In Ontario, three migrant farmworkers have died; in Calgary, 40 residents of a highrise tower are infected; and a Vancouver strip club and two Kingston nail salons are linked to outbreaks. Watch why experts say a second wave is a “statistical certainty.” A tiny bright spot during our pandemic summer? Cronk. Learn what Cronk is, and why a beverage from the 1880s might just be this summer’s hit drink.
For another blast from the past… remember Hal Johnson? Canadians who grew up in the 90s know him and his wife Joanne McLeod as hosts of BodyBreak. Now, amid mass protests against anti-Black racism and police violence, Johnson is speaking out about how BodyBreak was created to combat racism. Alongside Johnson, many other Canadians are talking about systemic racism. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was recently expelled from the House of Commons after he called Bloc Québécois MP Alain Therrien a racist because Therrien refused to support an NDP motion about systemic racism in the RCMP. Meanwhile, MPs grilled RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki about systemic racism in her organization, weeks after she said “we don’t have systemic racism” in the force — a statement PM Trudeau countered. This global movement also continues to influence names, from The Dixie Chicks (now just The Chicks), to an Edmonton neighborhood named after politician Frank Oliver, to the Eskimo Pie ice cream company. A reckoning with the past is underway.
A few weeks ago, we told you about Meng Wanzhou. Remember, she’s the Huawei chief financial officer, and a judge recently ruled extradition proceedings against her should proceed. Well, she’s back in the news again, because the Liberal government is facing — and rejecting — calls to release her. This all comes as the two Canadians who were detained in China, shortly after Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver, have been formally charged. After 18 months of detention, Michael Sparvor and Michael Kovrig both face espionage charges. Read more about the charges and trial here, catch up on important background here and listen to an exclusive interview with Michael Kovrig’s wife, Vina Nadjibulla, who tells CBC that Ottawa could do more to get her husband out of jail.
Service by Students: Post-secondary students and recent grads can earn up to $5,000 volunteering in the fight against COVID-19 this summer, thanks to a newly launched federal government program. Woot! But the program is already controversial because the administration of it was outsourced to a charity closely connected to PM Trudeau and his family. Now, the Conservatives are calling for an investigation.
Large Loss: Canada recently lost its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council, following a third-place finish behind Norway and Ireland for two open seats. (Sad trombone.) The loss came after a costly diplomatic push by PM Trudeau, who had earlier said he sought a seat because it is where the world’s most pressing issues are debated. Read what went wrong.
Under Investigation: There’s been a bizarre twist in the Conservative leadership race, with RCMP now investigating a claim candidate Peter MacKay’s campaign team stole confidential data from candidate Erin O’Toole. But the 19-year-old summer student at the centre of this story denies he hacked O’Toole’s video conferencing account; he says he was given the password. Who says politics is boring?!
Double Debates:Speaking of the Conservative leadership race, the four contenders recently faced off in the campaign’s only English language debate. Listen to CBC’s Front Burner podcast to learn what happened. Plus, the Green Party is also in the midst of a leadership campaign. The 10 candidates hoping to replace Elizabeth May recently debated everything from climate policy to deficits to defunding police forces.
What Else We’re Nibbling on
So COVID-19 has brought all sorts of unexpected side effects to society, including this: meet Buckwheat, a donkey in Ontario people are hiring to crash video meetings. For reals. Another, more serious, impact: the federal gov plans to overhaul Canada’s temporary foreign worker program, following coronavirus outbreaks among migrant farmworkers. We’re also reading about the Air India bombing that happened 35 years ago — the largest terrorist attack ever in Canada — and why few Canadians seem to remember this bombing. And we're listening to Front Burner's episode on Dafonte Miller's lengthy fight for justice. A decision in this high-profile Toronto case was given last Friday.