Politics & Policy

Corruption concerns in Ukraine

A “sensitive but unclassified” document indicates that the U.S. State Department is more worried than it admits about corruption in Ukraine. The document outlines how the U.S. is helping to root out malfeasance and otherwise reform an array of Ukrainian sectors. Including its military, banks and schools. [node:read-more:link]

Mexican leader slams U.S.

In a broad attack on U.S. foreign policy, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has criticized its support for Ukraine and for economic sanctions he said are forcing emigration from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. His September 29 comments from Mexico City coincided with the start of bilateral economic talks in Washington. [node:read-more:link]

Swedish NATO membership at risk?

Hours before President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was preparing to reopen parliament on the weekend after a summer recess, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for a suicide bomber attack in Ankara. Deemed a “terrorist” organization by Turkey, the presence of PKK members in Sweden is the key reason why Erdoğan has so far refused to ratify Sweden’s admission to NATO. [node:read-more:link]

Majority dislike carbon tax

The number of Canadians who want the federal carbon tax reduced or eliminated far evidently far outweighs the number who want it to remain in effect. This is according to the results of a new national poll which also indicates that most respondents believe the federal “net zero” emissions goal is impracticable. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP ups security controls

The RCMP says it has introduced mandatory security awareness training for employees, one of several changes prompted by the 2019 arrest of Cameron Ortis, its head of intelligence coordination. Other initiatives including easier reporting of vulnerabilities. [node:read-more:link]

Another congressional cliffhanger

Continued U.S. support for Ukraine was a victim, albeit possibly temporarily, of weekend approval in Congress of budget legislation. The votes prevented a widespread government shutdown for 45 days and were latest in a series of Republican tactics to reduce overall spending. [node:read-more:link]

B.C. restoring some masking

With a new coronavirus variant spreading, the B.C. government plans to restore mandatory masking for staff at all health-care facilities and long-term care residencies October 3. While masks would not be mandatory for patients and residents, a health ministry note states that they “will mask when directed by a health-care worker or based on personal choice.” [node:read-more:link]

Federal emissions caps challenged

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said today that she is prepared to use her province’s Sovereignty Act in a pushback against the federal government’s planned emissions reductions over concerns that they could result in local power blackouts. “I’m hoping we don't have to use it,” she said. “But we are going to defend our constitutional jurisdiction to make sure that we develop our oil and gas industry at our own pace, and that we develop our electricity system so that it achieves the goal of reliability and affordability.” [node:read-more:link]

Huge battery plant for Quebec

Northvolt, a Swedish battery manufacturing giant, confirmed today that it plans to build an electric vehicle battery plant east of Montreal, its first outside Europe. The first $7-billion phase would have annual cell manufacturing capacity of up to 30 gigawatt-hours and the plant is expected to create 3,000 jobs at full production. [node:read-more:link]

Moe will defy judicial ruling

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said today that he will enforce a controversial school “pronoun” policy despite a provincial judge’s decision to issue an injunction. The judge suspended the policy pending the outcome of a legal challenge by the University of Regina Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity. Announced in August, the initiative would require students younger than 16 to have parental consent before changing their pronouns or preferred first names in a school setting. [node:read-more:link]

Emissions curbs falling short

The independent Canadian Climate Institute estimates that national carbon emissions rose slightly in 2022 from 2021, leaving the country well short of its goal of a 40-45% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. Petroleum production and buildings remain the key underlying factors, part of a long-term trend the CCI expects to offset progress elsewhere and underscoring “the pressing need to speed up policy action at all levels of government.” [node:read-more:link]

Canadian population surging

Mainly due to an immigration surge, Canada has become one of the fastest-growing countries, according to data published September 27. They show that between July 2022 and July 2023, the population rose 2.9% to 40.1 million and Statistics Canada said 98% of the growth was from net international migration. [node:read-more:link]

Political gaffe sparks apology

Prime Minister Trudeau apologized September 27 after a Nazi-allied war veteran was formally recognized by then House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota during last week’s visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Embarrassed at home and abroad, the PM also said the government had reached out diplomatically to Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Voluntary AI code of conduct

The federal government is trying to address growing concerns about generative artificial intelligence with a voluntary code of conduct for developers. Innovation, Science & Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne expects it to “build safety and trust as the technology spreads.” [node:read-more:link]

Foreign takeover plan reviewed

The sale of what used to be called the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, now known as Viterra, is to be reviewed by the federal government. It is controlled by Glencore, a Swiss multinational with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board the B.C. Investment Management Corporation as minority shareholders, but a Missouri-based Bunge Limited has agreed to buy Viterra for more than US$8 billion. [node:read-more:link]


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