Politics Briefing

September 28, 2020

Politics Briefing: Youth-led climate protests hit cities around the world


  Politics Briefing: Youth-led climate protests hit cities around the world

Chris Hannay

The youth-led climate protests started by Greta Thunberg returned to cities around the world today. The message of the protests was for governments and businesses not to lose sight of the long-term dangers of climate change, even as they fight the (hopefully) short-term battle with COVID-19.
“We are scared of bringing up another crisis in 2020. That’s not what people want to hear. And yet, it is absolutely what we need to talk about,” Toronto climate activist Allie Rougeot told CTV.
The Globe and Mail is devoting its weekend edition to the threat of climate change. You can read about how Europe’s rivers are becoming parched, why we must cling to hope that our challenges can be overcome and much more.
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The Canadian government has signed a sixth agreement with a pharmaceutical company for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The government also says it has committed $440-million to the COVAX Facility, a global initiative to pool vaccine resources. Half of that money will procure doses for Canadians, while the other half will help low-income countries around the world.
Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault announced today a temporary fund of up to $50-million to help television and film productions that have to stop work because of COVID-19.
Ontario has ordered strip clubs to close and bars to move last call earlier in a bid to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Many premiers say they are unhappy with the Liberal Throne Speech, because it promises new health and social programs that are under the provinces' jurisdiction.
The Canadian government is looking to expand the size of its embassy in Beijing to accommodate a growing number of staff and programs in China.
The Liberal government says it is urging the RCMP to allow bearded Sikh officers to serve on the frontlines. The national police force has kept bearded Sikh officers on desk duty since the pandemic starting, citing the concern that their personal protective equipment may not seal properly around facial hair.
And former B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver, who helped keep B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan in power for three years, has endorsed Mr. Horgan in the province’s election. Mr. Weaver left the Greens earlier this year and has been increasingly critical of his former party.
Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on Indigenous people, Ottawa and the pandemic: “Despite reassuring pronouncements in Wednesday’s Throne Speech, the reality is stark: Governments are going to need to figure out how they will pay for the colossal nationwide debt generated by COVID-19. And in the devastated forest and in our people’s devastating experiences lie the same old story, even if it’s told through the new lens of an extraordinary pandemic: Every time Canada finds itself in an economic catastrophe, it reverts to some of its most destructive colonial habits – with First Nations people paying the price.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Justin Trudeau and promises that require provincial co-operation: “The premiers are asking Ottawa for a $28-billion annual increase to health-care funding, which they need to help contain COVID-19 outbreaks, fund hospital beds and protect seniors in nursing homes. They emphatically do not need weeks of talks on establishing new national standards or launching new programs, especially in the middle of a pandemic."
Elizabeth Renzetti (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberals' social promises: “We should keep in mind that proponents of a national child-care system have been listening to similar promises for decades, and would be forgiven if they feel like Charlie Brown waiting for Lucy to pull the football away yet again. But in this case, perhaps the government has realized, as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren so wisely put it, that good, universally accessible daycare is actually infrastructure for the economy. It’s the bridge that gets parents to work.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the big picture of the Throne Speech: “In design, then, the speech rather resembled a mullet: Business in front, party in the back.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how a lack of pandemic planning should show the necessity for better climate-change planning: “Canadians are living through – and can therefore easily understand the consequences of – poor planning. The federal government would likely opt for different wording, for obvious reasons, but there’s arguably no better time to emphasize the importance of disaster preparedness than in the midst of a disaster.”
And Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella pays tribute in The Globe to the late U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Before there were widely publicized strategies for how to make your voice heard, your invisibility visible, your fears compartmentalized and your anger constructive, Justice Ginsburg followed the path illuminated by her own dreams, walked right past the censorious, the skeptical and the cynical, and cleared the path for others. She leaned in, she leaned out and she leaned up, but she never leaned down, except to help others.”
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