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Just as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit was set to run out, the Liberal government says they will keep it going at least another two months.

The benefit payments have been widely applied for by Canadians out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefits pay $2,000 over a four-week period. Some business groups have expressed the concern that the payments have made it harder to convince employees to return to work, while some employees have expressed relief that the payments can keep them out of the coronavirus front lines. Recipients are also allowed to earn up to $1,000 in other income while getting CERB.

And speaking of extensions, the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel will continue until at least July 21.

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.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

The Parliamentary Black Caucus – a group of eight MPs and senators who are Black – is calling on all levels of government to make immediate changes to address systemic racism, such as the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences. The group includes MPs Emmanuel Dubourg, Greg Fergus, Hedy Fry and Matthew Green, and cabinet minister Ahmed Hussen. A number of other parliamentarians signed in support of the letter, including about two-thirds of the Liberal cabinet.

A Globe and Mail investigation uncovers how the novel coronavirus has spread on farms and how migrant workers had few protections as they worked to provide Canadians their food.

The House of Commons industry committee appears set to grill executives from major grocery store chains about why they are cutting the pay premiums for front-line workers. Major grocery stores had given workers a $2-an-hour pay bump to recognize the health concerns they were facing, but last week the stores announced – all on the same day – they were ending the premium.

Telus appears to have contravened an understanding with the federal government not to include technology from Chinese telecom giant Huawei in its wireless network in the national capital.

And as the United States looks at allowing businesses to reopen, the Trump administration is blaming the rise in COVID-19 cases, in part, on an increase in testing, and de-emphasizing that the virus continues to spread.

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on grocery store chains cutting the pandemic pay bumps of front-line workers: “So while these grocers might feel confident in their carefully crafted messages about normalcy returning to their stores, the reality is that in many regions, grocery-store workers will still continue to get sick. The difference is, they will now get sick while back on minimum wage.”

Erica Ifill (The Globe and Mail) on Jessica Mulroney and white privilege: “[Jessica] Mulroney, bolstered by the elite connections of institutional power that [Sasha] Exeter lacks, felt comfortable enough bullying a Black woman for a perceived threat to her brand – which is, of course, just another way she amasses power.”

Chris Selley (National Post) on life after lockdown: “We have known for quite a while now that the only population group to which COVID-19 presents a statistically alarming mortal threat is the elderly and otherwise immunocompromised, and overwhelmingly those living in long-term care homes. This simply did not justify what is shaping up in parts of the country (hello from Toronto! We’re now locked down until at least June 26!) as nearly four months of enforced deprivation, isolation and stress.”

Shannon Gormley (Maclean’s) on the lack of change in Canada-China relations: “If patience is meant to be the sophisticated approach to dealing with Beijing, then we have a good opportunity now to prove how very sophisticated we are as two of our citizens continue to sit under bright lights in Chinese prison cells while Beijing officials threaten that the pain is only just beginning for Canada.”

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