Welcome to The Feed, your weekly resource to Canadian politics and policies broken down into itty bitty (super witty) bite-sized knowledge by Apathy is Boring.
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WHAT'S THE SCOOP?
With just a few weeks before Bill C-18 — aka the Online News Act — set to come into effect, Google and the federal gov reached an agreement in their dispute over the legislation. Rewind: the act forces companies like Google and Meta to pay Canadian media companies for the content they link to. Meta’s response? The company started blocking Canadian news content on Facebook and Instagram this summer — a move Google had also threatened. But now a news blackout is averted! Google has agreed to continue to share Canadian news online, in exchange for making annual payments to news companies in the range of $100 million. While there’s still details to work out, like how the money will be distributed across the news industry, PM Trudeau deemed the new agreement “very good news.” P.S. Now that one deal is done, Canada’s heritage minister says the federal gov is trying to get Meta back to the bargaining table.
Over to COP28, the United Nations climate change conference happening in Dubai. Canada and other developed countries are backing a new deal to create a global climate damage fund, with Canada’s enviro minister announcing an initial commitment of $16 million. Closer to home, however, there’s less consensus on the climate. What’s up? Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is invoking the province’s new Sovereignty Act for the first time. She’s challenging Ottawa’s draft Clean Electricity Regulations, which call for a net-zero electricity grid by 2035. In neighbouring Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe says the province will stop collecting the carbon tax on electric heat, following a similar decision involving natural gas heating. Both moves, btw, are in response to the federal gov’s exemptions on heating oil in Atlantic Canada. And now Ontario First Nations leaders are asking the Federal Court for an exemption from the carbon tax, and they’re calling the policy unfair and discriminatory.
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Ceasefire No More: With a weeklong ceasefire over, Israel’s military has expanded its ground operations and ordered more evacuations in southern Gaza. But residents are running out of safe places to go, and Palestinian health officials say several hundred civilians have been killed since the truce ended Friday. Meanwhile, Global Affairs Canada says another Canadian has been killed due to the ongoing war, with the death occurring in Lebanon.
Concerns at CSIS: A recent investigation is shining light on Canada’s secretive spy agency. Four officers in the CSIS office in B.C. raised concerns about a toxic workplace culture, involving harassment and sexual assault. They also detailed a flawed internal complaint process and challenges going to police, given the organization’s obligation to secrecy. PM Trudeau called the allegations devastating.
Action on Alert: Work is underway to create a public alert system for missing Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, similar to an Amber Alert for missing children. Ottawa began consultations on the proposed “Red Dress Alert” system last week, which all started with NDP MP Leah Gazan’s motion in Parliament last spring. Gazan wants the federal gov to start the program before the next election.
WHAT ELSE WE'RE NIBBLING ON
We’ve got questions this week. Why do rents keep climbing? This pod has answers. Find out why inflation for items like groceries has cooled, while the price for a place to live keeps going up, up and up. (Related: why is a chief economist calling rent the new villain of inflation?). Next question: Is Canada in a recession? Find out if that’s a yay or a nay, who makes that determination and why a few people are actually rooting for a recession. And will pharmacare legislation pass this year? Find out what the Liberals say about meeting a key promise to the New Democrats by the end of 2023.
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Your Wednesday Feed has gotten more flavourful. Each week we will be serving you with words from the previous edition for some morning fun to go with your morning beverage.