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FIRST READING: Canadians love their democracy (but hate their politicians) – National Post

Former B.C. premier thinks COVID is a fascist (or communist) plot
First Reading is a daily newsletter keeping you posted on the travails of Canadian politicos, all curated by the National Post’s own Tristin Hopper. To get an early version sent direct to your inbox every Monday to Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (and 9 a.m. on Sundays), sign up here.
Remember Bill Vander Zalm, B.C.’s last Social Credit premier who’s spent a good chunk of his political retirement researching chemtrails and the mind-controlling effects of smart meters? It turns out he has some unconventional views on the current pandemic. Speaking to the blog Press for Truth, Vander Zalm said COVID-19 has been engineered as a secretive way to “reset” society. “I think the end game is fascism, maybe communism,” he said .
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told a press conference his party isn’t just going to go along with the Liberals like last time . Rather, they’ll vote against the government if it “ hurts Canadians .” The Bloc Québécois has been much more specific about their price for propping up the Liberals: More health money to Quebec and some climate change stuff.
In a move that is beginning to have some precedent, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has taken a political position which is the opposite of a position he held previously . This time around, it’s regarding a blanket ban on unvaccinated MPs being allowed into the House of Commons. On Wednesday, O’Toole said he would “respect” the decision. By Friday, however, he was saying it infringes on MPs’ rights .
Earlier this week, this newsletter told you that regardless of the outcome in the Alberta equalization referendum, the non-binding final result could be enthusiastically ignored by Ottawa. That’s exactly what’s happening . Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted that equalization can’t be removed from the Constitution without an amendment (which needs at least seven provinces to sign on). Trudeau also said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is “stirring up sentiment” against an equalization formula that he personally approved while in government.
Canada’s new Governor General gave her first sit-down interview with CBC, and part of it was in Inuktitut, her mother tongue . Interviewer Pauline Pemik asked Simon how she planned to represent non-Indigenous Canadians, to which the Governor General responded , “We all share the same home.” Inuktitut remains the dominant language in Inuit-majority Nunavut and Arctic Quebec, where Simon was born.
Simon also promised not to abuse the staff . Her predecessor Julie Payette, of course, was compelled to resign after a report found that she had a penchant for “aggressive conduct” and “public humiliations” of Rideau Hall employees. Simon told Pernik that she had assured the staff that things would be “positive.”
Ontario’s got a fix to the ongoing Canadian labour shortage: More immigrants . The province’s labour minister, Monte McNaughton, announced a bill that would slash red tape for newcomers who can’t get their foreign credentials recognized in Canada. While the medical field is exempt from the law, the idea is to streamline the process of greenlighting foreign-trained engineers, teachers and plumbers, among others.
It’s emerged that the head of the Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence, Lt.-Col. Raphael Guay, was removed from his post earlier this year due to allegations of inappropriate conduct . He’s just the latest in a raft of senior Canadian Armed Forces officers who have booted out of key positions due to allegations of misconduct. A review:
The Trudeau Government took some flack last week for telling Canadians to avoid travel while simultaneously travelling wherever they wanted at all times. Now, it looks like the Public Health Agency of Canada has quietly withdrawn its “don’t travel” edict. You can once again engage in “non-essential” travel, although the Government of Canada still thinks you should avoid cruise ships .
Exactly 25 years ago, the federal government would have told you that mandatory immunization was unconstitutional . Blacklock’s Reporter recently pointed to the 1996 Canadian National Report on Immunization , which reads, “Unlike some countries, immunization is not mandatory in Canada; it cannot be made mandatory because of the Canadian Constitution.” Although the Quarantine Act is pretty broad on what the government can force Canadians to do in the midst of a pandemic, opponents are trying to take Canadian vaccine mandates to court on the grounds that they impinge on the constitutional right to freedom of mobility and freedom of conscience.
The Meng Wanzhou affair didn’t just get the two Michaels detained, it also threw a wrench into Sino-Canadian trade relations . One of the hardest hit was the canola sector, which found many of its China shipments either banned or slapped with a bunch of new regulations. Now with Meng back home, prairie farmers have their fingers crossed that China might start buying our seed oil again.
The U.K. just named one of their new Maritime Patrol Aircraft after Canada’s most decorated serviceman . The British coast will now be protected by the William Barker VC, named after a Canadian First World War pilot who won the Victoria Cross after shooting down three German planes despite being riddled with bullets . The Manitoba-born Barker even had a great line when he woke up in hospital a few days later: “By jove I was a foolish boy, but anyhow I taught them a lesson.”
Canadians are far more satisfied with their democracy than the Americans , according to a new Pew Research Centre survey . About 66 per cent of Canadians reported being “satisfied” with the state of their democracy, compared to 41 per cent for the United States. The results got even starker when respondents were asked if their political system needed to be “completely changed.” Only 47 per cent of Canadians said “yes” against 88 per cent of Americans. But while Canadians may like their democratic system, they generally despise the people who comprise it . U.S. President Joe Biden’s approval rating is currently approaching historic lows at only 42 per cent. Canadian Prime Ministers, by contrast, can spend whole terms with approval ratings that are even lower, with Justin Trudeau currently nursing a “disapproval” rating of 56 per cent .
More than 1.6 million Canadian homes are vacant , according to new data from the OECD. That’s more than a Toronto’s worth of homes, or enough to cover six straight years of housing construction. According to the real estate blog Better Dwelling , that’s to be expected when Canada is “an ideal place to hoard vacant property” – with low property taxes and a cheap Canadian dollar being notable contributors.
We’re already in the midst of one of the greatest mass firings in Canadian history, with thousands of healthcare workers and civil servants facing immediate dismissal if they can’t show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Chris Selley bemoans the breeziness with which this is taking place, and points out that many of the unvaccinated losing their jobs are from vulnerable demographics that the “fire them all” crowd usually champion.
One of the first acts of Calgary’s newly elected mayor Jyoti Gondek was to announce that she would be declaring a “climate emergency” in order to help her city “move past” oil and gas . Jesse Kline notes that it’s a little weird to brand something an “emergency” when its effects are felt incrementally over decades. And it’s really, really weird for an Alberta politician to speak so readily against the city’s most critical source of money, jobs and existence. As Kline notes , not even Rachel Notley did that.
The Liberals are now hard at work on their signature campaign promise: $10 coast-to-coast daycare. As boosters of $10 daycare note, all they’re doing is giving Canadians a program that has existed in Quebec since the 1990s. There’s just one problem: The Quebec system sucks .   Writing in The Line , Andrea Mrozek notes that Quebec is so desperately short of subsidized daycare spaces that the province has a 50,000 name waiting list for a system that can only handle 100,000 children.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Election 44 with the claim that it was “ maybe the most important since 1945 .” Rex Murphy (who was born two years after 1945) writes that if the election was so important, the House of Commons should probably be back to work by now .
Get all of these insights and more into your inbox every weekday at 6 p.m. ET by signing up for the First Reading newsletter here
American shoe brand Vans has a new “sustainable approach” with the launch of the Eco Theory collection.
Grassroots’ website conveniently adds your vaccine passport to Apple Wallet, Google Pay
A design from the U.K.-based brand Invisibobble that features the company’s trademark spiral hair tie encased in a scrunchie.
Founder of the Canadian brand believes there is a better way — and a better product — beyond what’s generally available
Crawford joins fellow top chefs for Canada’s biggest kitchen party
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