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One of the biggest public-policy questions weighing on provinces right now is what to do about schools. Taking care of children at home has placed a major burden on parents and may contribute to pushing more women out of the workforce until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. And there is, of course, the financial impact on the students who are hoping to finish school soon and enter the workforce.

But there is some news that might bring a sigh of relief to lawmakers. A new review of multiple studies suggests young children have not been major vectors for the novel coronavirus. The review is based on 33 international studies. The mechanisms of coronavirus transmission are still being investigated but the research suggests even symptomatic children have not spread the virus as much to their classmates as one might think.

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Still, there will likely need to be some mitigation measures when schools reopen in the fall. A new guidance document released by Ontario’s pediatric hospitals today suggests maintain some physical distancing – though only older kids are likely to need masks.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


The federal and Nova Scotia governments have bowed to public pressure and will call a full public inquiry into the April mass shooting. “It’s what we’ve all been hoping for since Day 1,” the relative of one victim told The Globe.

Craig and Marc Kielburger, the co-founders of WE Charity, said their organization has taken a $5-million hit by the cancellation of the contract to administer the Canada Student Service Grant program. The Kielburgers testified at a marathon finance-committee hearing yesterday, in which they defended WE from accusations of conflicts of interest. They said, for instance, that while Margaret Trudeau became a paid speaker with them only after her son became Prime Minister, she was hired for her expertise on mental-health issues. Before they spoke, however, former board chair Michelle Douglas raised some issues with the governance of the multiple WE entities.

New data suggests that the price of cellphone bills has not dropped as much as the government would like, but the major telecoms say they are on track to hit the 25-per-cent-reduction targets.

A Chinese diplomat told a Vancouver radio station that criticism of the national-security legislation that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong is being driven by forces who want to sow division in the “ethnically Chinese community” and damage Canada-China relations.

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And John Lewis, the historic Civil Rights figure and longtime congressman who died this month, was given a major memorial on Capitol Hill yesterday. U.S. President Donald Trump did not attend.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the Kielburgers’ testimony at committee: “The question that was in the air at Tuesday’s committee hearing was whether the Trudeau name was being bought to impress donors, or to get an inside track on a government contract to disburse $500-million in student-volunteer grants. There’s no solid evidence of the latter, but the program was so unusual and so tangled in Mr. Trudeau’s family connections that it invited the question.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on why Ottawa should end the homeowner tax break: “Sell a stock for more than you paid for it, outside of your RRSP, and you will pay a tax on the capital gain, or at least on 50 per cent of it. Sell your principal residence for more than you paid for it, and in most cases you will pay no tax on the gain at all. Indeed, until 2016 you didn’t even have to report the transaction on your tax return. Neither is there any limit on the exemption – as there is, for example, in the United States. The bigger the gain, the bigger the tax benefit. You can guess which income groups benefit the most.”

Joseph Quesnel (The Globe and Mail) on how Indigenous communities can be part of the economic recovery: “The answer to exclusion and resentment is becoming included and empowered. At present, the problem is Indigenous communities and governments lack financial tools that other Canadians take for granted. As Ottawa considers the mechanics of its economic recovery, it must remove barriers to the economic participation of Indigenous communities in the resource economy by providing support for Indigenous communities to become active beneficiaries and partners in the development of large-scale infrastructure.”

Asiya Khalid Rolston (Ottawa Citizen) on how systemic racism and classism are playing out in the pandemic: “Perhaps it is really hard to think of yourself as better off than others. There is always someone you know who is richer and more powerful. But being white, having an education and working remotely throughout the pandemic is actually a privilege. In addition, being able to educate your children at home, while serving healthy snacks and reading interesting books, and knowing that they won’t lose their chance at a successful life, is also a privilege not all are granted.”

Paul Wells (Maclean’s) on the delay from the federal and N.S. governments in calling a public inquiry into the April mass shooting: “These two Liberal governments are the problem. I come late to the McNeil government in Nova Scotia, but I have lived long enough with the Trudeau government in Ottawa to be heartily sick of its crap. They both spend far too much time talking to themselves because they like the answers better than the ones they would get if they listened to citizens.”

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