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Good evening to you.
We begin on Parliament Hill, where the House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly this afternoon in favour of a non-binding motion for the government to take further action to reconcile with Indigenous Canadians. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh put the motion forward on June 3, calling on the government to accelerate implementation of some of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’s calls to action, particularly numbers 71 through 76, which concern burial sites and missing children.
The motion passed 271-0. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his other cabinet colleagues did not vote on the motion, which is non-binding, meaning the government isn’t obligated to do anything. Among those who abstained were Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, and Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan. Eighteen other members of the Liberal caucus also abstained.
In addition to urging a greater response to the TRC’s calls to action, the motion would have the government drop its appeal at the Federal Court regarding compensation owed to survivors of St. Anne’s residential school, which operated from 1903 to 1976 in Fort Albany, Ont., on the western shore of James Bay. While it’s not opposed in principle to the compensation, the government claims the tribunal overstepped its jurisdiction. The motion also urges the government to drop a second case dealing with the scope of Jordan’s Principle, which seeks to ensure Indigenous children receive properly administered public services. The principle states that a child is entitled to care, but leaves the different levels of government to figure out until later which one will pay for it. Aidan Chamandy has the details.
Meanwhile, there are calls for Canada Day to be cancelled in the wake of the discovery of childrens’ remains at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops. As CTV reports, the hashtag #CancelCanadaDay is gaining traction on social media with many arguing it should be a day to reflect on the injustices inflicted on Indigenous Peoples and the lives lost at residential schools.
Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault doubled down today on his intention to introduce a new online harms bill “as soon as possible” despite few days remaining on the parliamentary calendar before the summer recess and the looming threat of an election. Guilbeault blamed Conservative “obstruction” on Bill C-10 as one reason why there’s been no movement on the harms bill despite it being outlined in his 2019 mandate letter. Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs called Guilbeault’s explanation a “ridiculous and partisan observation.” Aidan Chamandy has that story as well.
The government’s motion to limit the time the Canadian Heritage committee can continue studying Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act, was passed today. Time allocation is being used “to whip the committee,” and her party wouldn’t support the motion, said Green Party House leader Elizabeth May during debate in the House of Commons. NDP MP Gord Johns said the government was essentially “muzzling the committee.” While time allocation should “remain extremely rare,” in this case, “it was necessary,” said Alain Therrien, the Bloc Québécois’ parliamentary leader, after the vote. Janet Silver has more.
Still with Big Tech: Join iPoliticsLIVE for a panel discussion with Parliamentarians about regulating content on the internet this Wednesday. You can find out more and register here.
As vaccinations ramp up and pandemic restrictions start to loosen, there is the question of international tourists and when to start allowing people into Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today his government is looking at a phased approach that accounts for counts globally — and would require visitors to be fully vaccinated. “Not only have we managed to keep case counts low and manage throughout this pandemic in most parts of the country, but we are also extremely high in terms of vaccination numbers, and that is going to be reassuring to a lot of people who maybe want to travel but don’t want to be putting their families at risk,” he said during a virtual appearance at an event hosted by the St. John’s Board of Trade. “We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. We are looking at how we’re going to start welcoming up tourists in a phased way as the numbers come down in Canada, as the numbers start to come down in the United States and elsewhere around the world.” CP reports.
Still with travel: If Justice Minister David Lametti had any desire to make a post-pandemic jaunt to Russia, it seems he’s going to have to cool his heels. He’s among nine Canadian officials who have been banned from travelling to the country for what the Russian foreign ministry calls “anti-Russian” activities. Along with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, the ministry says they have shown “inappropriate and counterproductive activity in support of the ultra-nationalist regime” in Ukraine and other “Russophobic forces” in the Baltic states. That story from CBC News.
In Ontario, the economy will begin to reopen on June 11 — three days earlier than anticipated. Premier Doug Ford’s government announced the change in a news release this afternoon, saying the province can enter the first of three steps to reopen the economy early because it is “exceeding the best-case scenario” presented in recent modelling. When the reopening plan was announced last month, Ford said Ontario could enter Step One after 60 per cent of adults were vaccinated with one dose and key public health metrics, like hospitalizations and ICU occupancy, continued to improve. Iain Sherriff-Scott has more on what you can do come Friday, where and with whom.
Eating crow for eating out: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has apologized for breaking his own government’s public health measures after he was photographed having dinner and drinks with ministers atop the federal building in Edmonton known as Sky Palace. Needless to say, it ruffled more than a few feathers in the province.
“For the past 16 months, I have tried hard to observe the public health rules. I thought it’s important for me to lead by example, but I have to admit, I haven’t always done that perfectly. I can think of many cases where I’ve been within two metres of people and that I’m sure has been the case for the past 16 months for pretty much everybody in Alberta,” Jason Kenney said during a Monday news conference. More from CTV.
Lobby Wrap: BCE seeks border reopening for pro sports
In Other Headlines:
Canada held secret U.S. talks in bid to free Kovrig, Spavor jailed in China (Globe)
Statue of Egerton Ryerson, toppled after Toronto rally, ‘will not be restored or replaced’ (CBC)
Hundreds of Ryerson professors sign letter demanding university change its name (CBC)
Canada’s border agency urgently developing biometric plans in response to COVID-19 (CP)
Air Canada says senior executives to voluntarily return 2020 bonuses (CP)
Man who killed Indigenous woman with trailer hitch in Thunder Bay sentenced to 8 years (CP)
Moderna seeks Canada’s approval for COVID-19 vaccine use in kids 12 and up (Global)
Nunavut to ease travel restrictions for those fully vaccinated (CP)
Police say driver ‘intentionally’ crashed into Muslim family in London, Ont., killing 4 (CTV)
Do Not Come: That was the word from Vice President Kamala Harris today in Guatemala as she tried to deter immigrants from attempting to cross into the United States. The warning came during a bilateral meeting with President Alejandro Giammattei. In her first major address abroad, she said: “Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.” That echoes the message from the Biden administration in recent months amid an influx of people trying to enter along the southern border.
To coincide with Harris’ trip, today the administration announced the creation of a new task force to combat human trafficking and smuggling groups operating in the Northern Triangle countries and Mexico. The Hill has that story as well.
Again with the election fraud: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies are taking a pathetic page from the Trump playbook and trying to undermine the new government set to take power by falsely accusing the newly-formed coalition of “election fraud.” They’re also trying to drag out the political process, all of which has prompted the head of the Israel Security Agency to warn of incitement to violence. For some, it’s whatever it takes to try and hold onto power. CNN reports.
Jeff Bezos announced today that when when his company’s rocket makes its first flight with a crew next month, he will be on board, along with his younger brother and best friend, Mark. That will make the 57-year-old Amazon founder and Blue Origin owner the first person to ride his own rocket to space on July 20 — the 52nd anniversary of the first moon landing. “I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me,” he said on Instagram.
In Other International Headlines:
Big win for Merkel’s party confounds pundits and pollsters (Politico)
Biden’s to-do list on foreign trip: Rally allies against COVID, Putin (Reuters)
U.S. has recovered ransom payment made after pipeline hack (AP)
US approves first new Alzheimer’s drug in 20 years (BBC)
Burger King trolls Chick-fil-A with LGBTQ+ donations (CNN)
In Featured Opinion:
Shawn McCarthy: Oceans under stress need our protection
Barnali Choudhury and Martin Petrin: Climate change poses triple threat to Canada’s energy sector
For the first time since their frontman Gord Downie died of brain cancer three and a half years ago, The Tragically Hip took to the stage to perform at last night’s Juno Awards, alongside Feist. The band had just accepted the 2021 Humanitarian Award for their decades of philanthropic work, including Downie’s longtime support of Indigenous communities. If you didn’t catch it live, it is most certainly worth a watch.
Have a good night.