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This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. 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.

As of Aug. 9, Canada will allow fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into the country, with travellers from the rest of the world allowed for non-essential travel on Sept. 7.

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The new measures were announced Monday by federal cabinet ministers.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said at least 80 per cent of Canadians have received one dose of vaccine and more than 50 per cent are fully vaccinated.

“Thanks to the hard work of Canadians who have followed public health measures and stepped up to get vaccinated when it was their turn, we are in a much stronger position to be able to further ease border measures for fully vaccinated travelers,” Ms. Hajdu told a news conference..

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, at the same news conference, said that Canada is watching pandemic developments closely.

“Our top priority must continue to be the health and safety of all Canadians and that’s why we will continue to monitor the public health situation in Canada and around the world including vaccination rates and risks posed by the variants of concern,” he said.

“Should the situation evolve in any way that is concerning, we are prepared to adjust our border policies as necessary.”

Monday’s announcement comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office said, following a meeting with premiers and territorial leaders last week, that non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border could begin in mid-August for fully vaccinated travellers.

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Mr. Trudeau has been urged to relax the COVID-19 restrictions that have closed the Canada-U.S. land border to non-essential travellers since March 21, 2020.

More details here on Monday’s border announcement.


CHINA CRITICIZED FOR CYBERHACK - Canada has joined the United States and other allies, including NATO, to collectively condemn China for masterminding a sophisticated cyberhack of Microsoft services in early 2021 – but they stopped short imposing sanctions against Beijing.

FACIAL RECOGNITION USED IN DEPORTEE SEARCH - In an effort to identify potential deportees, the federal government quietly tested facial recognition technology on millions of unsuspecting travellers at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in 2016. Story here.

BETTER OUTBREAK ASSESSMENT NEEDED - If Canada does not adopt a new approach to determining the risk posed by major outbreaks, the country could find itself struggling to confront a future health crisis, a former national security adviser says.

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MAY ON GREEN TURMOIL - As the Green Party withdraws a non-confidence vote on its current leader, Annamie Paul, past leader Elizabeth May declines to comment on turmoil surrounding her party.

CONTINUED CONTROVERSY IN MANITOBA - The fallout from remarks by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, on history, and his newly appointed Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister, on residential schools, continues: Two Indigenous men have quit their positions on Manitoba economic development boards over the situation. Story here.

NOVA SCOTIA ELECTION UNDERWAY - After weeks of speculation about a summer election, Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Iain Rankin has called a vote for Aug. 17. On Sunday, NDP Leader Gary Burrill unveiled his party’s 10-year plan for the province, which would include permanent rent control and paid sick days, as the province entered the second day of the election campaign. Global News looks here at how the timing of the Nova Scotia election may affect an expected federal election.

RACISM COMPLAINT AT IRB - A Black public servant has filed a complaint over an alleged ”slaves” comment in the workplace. Monica Agard, who works at the Immigration and Refugee Board, says she was chatting with a colleague about her workload and looming deadlines when a supervisor passing by cut into their conversation. “We should go back to the good old days when we had slaves,” said Ms. Agard. Story here.

O’TOOLE IN SASKATCHEWAN - During a visit to Saskatchewan, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole told Premier Scott Moe he could give the Premier more or less what he wants on carbon pricing after the province’s plan was rejected by the federal government. “We would try and work with exactly what he’s proposed,” said Mr. O’Toole. The federal Tory leader also visited the Cowessess First Nation and met with Chief Cadmus Delorme. Story here , from the Regina Leader-Post.

SINGH IN ALBERTA - In Edmonton, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that his party’s jobs plan will invest in infrastructure and get energy-sector workers back to work in renewables as he continued his tour of Alberta in Edmonton Sunday. From the Edmonton Journal. Story here.

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Private meetings. The Prime Minister, along with Families Minister Ahmed Hussen, Transport Minister Minister Omar Alghabra and others make a housing announcement in Brampton, Ont., and hold a media availability.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet holds a news conference in Rivière-Héva, Que., on Bill C-208 to amend the Income Tax Act and government policy on the use of the pesticide glyphosate.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole - Mr. O’Toole’s office confirmed he is in Ottawa this week, but provided no other details.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul holds a news conference in Toronto.

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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh visits a picket line at the Edmonton-based CESSCO Fabrication and Engineering operation.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on why Canada is going to such great lengths to accommodate the tiny minority of our fellow citizens who refuse to get vaccinated:The inescapable conclusion is that, even though 79 per cent of Canadians aged 12 years and over have had a first shot, and more than 56 per cent a second shot, it’s still not enough. This page has long called for Canada to aim for at least 90 per cent coverage. A recent brief in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says that is likely the level needed to achieve herd immunity against the highly contagious Delta variant. That means public health authorities have to keep reaching out to the unvaccinated; we’ve repeatedly urged copying the door-to-door approach of the census, which has a 98 per cent success rate. Many unvaccinated people are vaccine hesitant, not vaccine hostile. That’s why Canada’s first-shot level is still rising, albeit by less than 1 per cent a week.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the lost art of government planning being sorely missed in border reopening: When Mr. Trudeau made the decision to close the border there were a lot of other massive problems on his mind, and those of his aides. They were scrambling out new benefits to save millions of Canadians from going broke and scrambling to buy PPE to keep hospital wards functioning. But somebody, somewhere inside government, should have had this thought: We’re taking the unprecedented step of closing the border, so we should set folks planning for the unprecedented step of reopening. But when the time came, there was no plan.”

Ken Boessenkool (The Hub) on why Conservatives must emphasize social conservatism to succeed: “Stephen Harper was right. To be successful in the modern age, Conservatives need to emphasize social conservatism over economic conservatism. This is especially true in times of emergencies, such as a global pandemic. I believe Canada’s Conservatives (and conservatives) — both provincial and federal — would have fared much better in these last 16 months had they followed Harper’s advice and leaned more heavily on social conservative insights and language rather than the paths of conventional economic conservatism or the more recent expressions of populism.”

Vaughn Palmer (The Vancouver Sun) on B.C. Premier John Horgan’s fourth anniversary in power:Lately the premier’s communications skills seem to be faltering, amid a propensity for gaffes that has his ministers and staff crafting followup responses of the “what the premier meant to say” variety. Perhaps he’s let the favourable polling numbers go to his head. Polls are only a snapshot and a backward-looking one at that. “Just ask Premier Adrian Dix,” to quote a joke that periodically makes the rounds in NDP circles. Still, Horgan, with his penchant for victory laps, can claim another as he marks the end of his fourth year with for now, no end in sight to his tenure. By early November, he will pass Mike Harcourt (4 years, 109 days in office) to become B.C.’s longest-serving NDP premier. Before the end of 2023, Horgan can pass Christy Clark (6 years, 126 days) to become the seventh-longest serving among B.C.’s three dozen premiers. The next B.C. election is scheduled for Oct. 19, 2024 — not that Horgan will feel bound to respect that fixed-in-law date any more than he did the last one. The premier turns 65 in August of 2024 and some New Democrats wonder if he will run again. He’s not indicated one way or another.”

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Gabriel Poliquin (Policy Options) on why the appointment of a non-French-speaking GG cannot be a precedent for appointing non-French-speaking Supreme Court justices: It does not follow from the appointment of Mary Simon, who is bilingual in English and Inuktitut, as the next Governor General of Canada that the prime minister can, should (or must) appoint Supreme Court justices who do not have a working command of both official languages. Let us not confuse apples and oranges, or issues of representation with issues of equality. Canadians have a constitutional right to be heard in the official language of their choice by federally constituted tribunals without the aid of an interpreter.”

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