Politics & Policy

Electoral reform still a dream

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t the government to move on electoral reform, despite his party’s call for a national citizen’s assembly on the issue. The notion has been on the party’s agenda since 2014 but the PM said that while he still hopes “that we will one day reach consensus”, his current focus is on issues such as the economy. [node:read-more:link]

Canada seeking AUKUS role

It’s reported that Canada wants to join the non-nuclear component of the AUKUS security pact between Australia, Britain and the U.S. in a bid to counter China’s growing Indo-Pacific presence. Among other things, it would enhance information-sharing and cooperation on undersea defence. [node:read-more:link]

Pandemic “over” but not gone

The World Health Organization says the coronavirus pandemic is no longer a “public health emergency of international concern” and many Canadians have stopped wearing masks in most public places. However, health professionals are counselling continued vigilance among vulnerable populations and those close to them. [node:read-more:link]

Wildfire emergency in Alberta

Alberta Premier declared a provincial state of emergency on the weekend to deal with an “unprecedented” outbreak of wildfires. Some 25,000 residents have been forced from their homes in north and central Alberta and thousands more were on evacuation alert. [node:read-more:link]

No police uniforms in Ottawa schools

Ottawa Police Service officers have been prohibited by the city’s main school board from wearing uniforms or arriving in police vehicles to speak with students about community services. Premier Doug Ford is calling for a reversal of a “disturbing” trend and a police union official has protested that “opportunities like this to educate the next generation youth and provide a positive interaction with police should be something you strive to achieve.” [node:read-more:link]

UN official defended against attacks

University of Western Ontario associate professor Peter Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territory until a year ago, has joined other former rapporteurs in defending his successor against a “slanderous” campaign to have her fired. The U.S. and Israel are among the critics of Italian lawyer and academic Francesca Albanese who has said there is “zero accountability” for human rights abuses in the disputed territory. [node:read-more:link]

CRA workers returning to work

A day after saying the government had fallen short in contract talks with union leaders representing 35,000 striking Canada Revenue Agency employees, negotiators said today that they had reached a tentative deal. Members were turning to work almost immediately and, subject to ratification, their new contract includes a 12.6 per cent compounded wage increase over four years. [node:read-more:link]

CRA union dislikes contract offer

Union leaders representing 35,000 striking Canada Revenue Agency employees say the government's latest offer to them falls short of what the Public Service Alliance of Canada accepted in a tentative contract awaiting a ratification vote. That deal included a 12.6 per cent compounded wage increase over four years. [node:read-more:link]

More contract woes for government

The Canada Employment and Immigration Union, which represents nearly 36,000 members, is calling on its members to reject the tentative contract between the government and the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Urging its members to vote against the contract, it said May 3 that they are “demanding” higher wages and better hybrid working arrangements. [node:read-more:link]

PM’s brother defends donation

Alexandre Trudeau, brother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, told a parliamentary ethics committee May 3 that he signed off on a controversial donation to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation only to permit the University of Montreal permission to use their father’s name. The committee is probing a $200,000 donation by two men with links to the Chinese government but the PM’s brother called the inquiry “a waste of time” because “there is not a foreign interference issue […] at the foundation.” [node:read-more:link]

CSIS to share more information

Responding to reports that China has tried to target Toronto Conservative MP Michael Chong’s family, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said May 3 that he has directed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to share more information with the government. Chong says he was unaware of the threat but the PM said “CSIS made the determination that it wasn't something that needed be raised to a higher level because it wasn't a significant enough concern.” [node:read-more:link]

China extends polar footprint

The 1959 Antarctic Treaty stipulates that continent could not be used for military purposes, but the evolution of dual-use technologies is raising concerns about China, which has a growing interest in the Arctic, building a fifth Antarctic base which could be used to monitor communications in southern regions. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. benchmark rate increased

The U.S. Federal Reserve has raised the range of its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point to a 5-5.25 per cent range, its highest in 16 years as it tries to stabilize inflation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell signalled May 3 that if inflation continues to ease, the rate would remain at that level. [node:read-more:link]

Two new Atlantic Senators

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced two new Senators from Atlantic Canada who were recommended by an independent advisory board. The appointments May 3 of former Prince Edward Island Auditor General Jane MacAdam and Newfoundland & Labrador fisheries entrepreneur Iris Petten still leave 14 Senate vacancies [node:read-more:link]

New World Bank head confirmed

Ajay Banga, 63, who headed Mastercard for 11 years before joining a private equity firm in 2021, has been elected president of the World Bank, effective June 2. U.S. President Joe Biden, who nominated him in February, said the Indo-American “will be a transformative leader, bringing expertise, experience, and innovation” to the bank as it faces a growing list of global challenges. [node:read-more:link]


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