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.
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WHAT'S THE SCOOP?
Sweet summertime is here… hello to all you potentials for song of the summer! These days, summertime also means a crush at passport offices across the country. Loooonnng lineups are commonplace, as people overwhelm offices trying to get their travel documents. The situation has gotten so bad the federal gov just created a special task force to review what’s happening, and PM Trudeau has promised to do more to fix what he calls an unacceptable state of affairs. That comes after the gov already added more staff on the ground. Just how bad is it at passport offices? Outside a passport office in Montreal, portable toilets were set up to facilitate the long waits, police had to take over crowd control, and frustrations flared as the system on how requests were processed changed — yet again.
Big news south of the border: the right to abortion was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Now millions of women across the U.S. have less control over their own bodies. For nearly five decades, the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion. Now so-called “trigger laws” in at least 13 states have almost instantly banned or severely limited abortion access, leading to heartbreaking scenes at abortion clinics. Hear more about what’s happening and why with this pod. Plus, Canadian politicians are speaking out: PM Trudeau called what's happening a horrific development, while Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland said Canadian women and girls have a fundamental right to choose what to do with their bodies. P.S. check out Aborsh, a new podcast all about abortion in Canada, including the messy patchwork approach to abortion access.
To more summer news. The Vatican has confirmed Pope Francis’ long-planned trip to Canada this July 24 to 29 is happening, despite ongoing health issues that led him to cancel an Africa trip. He’s coming to Canada to apologize for the abuse Indigenous people faced by the Catholic Church. There’s also more deets known about where he’ll go and who he’ll visit, at stops in Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit. And plans are underway for Ottawa to fund travel for residential school survivors who want to see the Pope. Also, it’s summer break for parliamentarians. Find out what key legislation passed and what’s in limbo until MPs and senators return to Ottawa in late September. Likely to be near the top of the government's agenda? Bill C-29, which would establish a national reconciliation oversight body.
CERB vs. CESB: Remember CERB, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit? And CESB, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit? So nearly 100,000 students were asked to repay CERB benefits, which they received when they should have actually applied for CESB. But now those students could get a break, as the gov says they can deduct the amount they could have collected under CESB from the amount of CERB benefits they’re being asked to repay.
Worrisome Ways: Threats and rising concerns about harassment of MPs has led to parliamentarians being given panic buttons. These mobile duress alarms can be carried by MPs, and will immediately alert the Parliamentary Protective Service or local police for a rapid response. Numerous politicians have spoken up about the safety fears they face.
Latest Leader: For the first time ever, the Canadian Army has an Indigenous commander. Lt.-Gen. Jocelyn (Joe) Paul, a member of the Huron-Wendat First Nation from the community of Wendake, Que. is now the top soldier. Following a change of command ceremony in Ottawa, Paul said if he can inspire a young man or young man to pursue a military career, he will have done his duty.
Rallies Return: Police in Ottawa are preparing for protests and larger than usual crowds this Canada Day. That’s cause several groups that formed out of the Freedom Convoy are planning protests for July 1 and throughout the summer. But officials don’t want a repeat of what happened last winter, obvi. Federal public safety minister Marco Mendicino says it’s important to learn from what happened.
WHAT ELSE WE'RE NIBBLING ON
The final few days in the House of Commons got heated, amid accusations of political interference in the RCMP investigation into the Nova Scotia mass shooting. Whoa, what?! It starts with the Mass Casualty Commission, an independent public inquiry examining the April 2020 rampage, the worst mass shooting in Canadian history. The political controversy began last week, when the commision disclosed documents and notes between RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and commanders overseeing the shooting. In there, an RCMP Superintendent alleges Lucki told the RCMP she had promised the Minister of Public Safety and the Prime Minister’s Office that the force would disclose the type of firearms used in the shooting. Lucki and the former safety minister have pushed back on the allegations, while PM Trudeau says his office did not exert any “undue influence”. Expect to hear more on all this, as just before their summer break, MPs voted to hold a hearing into the allegations.
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