At a news conference Friday, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, gave an update on the coronavirus pandemic and the emergence of monkeypox, saying she is “cautiously optimistic” about the current trajectory of COVID-19, with most epidemiological indicators continuing to decline, but that there are signs of growth in several emergent Omicron sub-lineages.
“COVID-19 has shown us over the past few years that there may be more surprises ahead,” she said. “Maintaining readiness for a potential resurgence that could result in severe impact is our best advantage.”
Dr. Tam said that COVID-19 readiness means maintaining awareness of local disease activity, staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, wearing a well-fitting mask, and improving ventilation. She also said that staying home if you are symptomatic can help prevent other infections, including monkeypox.
As of June 17, there have been 168 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Canada, including 141 in Quebec, 21 in Ontario, 4 in Alberta, and 2 in British Columbia. Many cases, Dr. Tam said, stemmed from sexual contact between men, but said the risk is not limited to any one gender or sexual orientation.
Citing upcoming Pride celebrations, Dr. Tam spoke about the need to raise awareness about transmission – in “non-stigmatizing ways” – and thanked the dating app Grindr, which is popular among gay, bisexual and queer people, for helping get the message out.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written by Marsha McLeod. 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 sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
MÉLANIE JOLY’S OFFICE MISSED E-MAIL – The Foreign Affairs Minister’s office staff did not read an e-mail notifying them that the department was sending a representative to the Russian embassy party. It was sent to Ms. Joly’s chief of staff, as well as four other staff members. Story here.
LONG-TERM LOANS FOR INDIGENOUS INFRASTRUCTURE – The federal government says it is considering a recommendation for Ottawa to work on a pilot project that would involve Indigenous communities using long-term loans to finance new infrastructure, instead of annual federal funds. Story here.
VACCINE MANDATE LIFTED – On Thursday, the House of Commons unanimously agreed to lift its current mandate for MPs, staff and visitors. It would take effect on Monday, the same day that vaccine mandates will be lifted for domestic and outbound international flights and rail travel. Story by CBC News here.
BILL TABLED ON EXTREME INTOXICATION DEFENCE – Justice Minister David Lametti tabled a bill Friday seeking to eliminate “self-induced extreme intoxication” as a defence against serious crimes, following a Supreme Court decision which allowed for such a defence. Story here.
TURMOIL WITHIN THE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS – AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald is facing an external investigation over accusations of bullying and harassment. National Chief Archibald released a statement Thursday saying that this is the second time she’s faced a “smear campaign” and called for a “forensic audit and an independent inquiry” into the AFN’s conduct. Story by CBC News here.
TOO MANY VENTILATORS – Thousands of ventilators are sitting unused in a federal stockpile, with figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada showing that of the 40,000 ventilators ordered by the feds, 27,687 have been received, and of those, just 2,048 were deployed. Story by POLITICO here.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
THE CALM BEFORE THE VOTE – Campaign organizers in the Conservative Party leadership race say that they have entered a short lull between membership cut-off on June 3 and the date they receive membership lists, which will likely be in early July, but that are gearing up for a final “persuasion phase” this summer. Story here.
PIERRE POILIEVRE TAKES AIM AT PATRICK BROWN – Poilievre’s campaign team has issued a formal complaint accusing Patrick Brown’s team of “paid-for party membership fees and other undeclared expenditures.” Story by the National Post here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, June 17, accessible here.
MONEY FOR GREEN HOMES – On Friday morning, Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, announced a new stream of the Canada Greener Homes Loan program. It will provide $4.4-billion in interest-free loans for Canadian homeowners to make energy efficiency retrofits. Press release here.
DEBATE OVER INTERNET STREAMING BILL – MPs butted heads over C-11, the Online Streaming Act, in the House of Commons on Friday morning.
SENATOR APOLOGY FOR DIAL-IN FROM U.S. – A senator has apologized for dialling into a senate committee hearing from the United States, violating rules in the motion concerning hybrid sittings about participating in such events from a designated office or residence in Canada. “I do recognize, dear colleagues, my mistake and my ignorance of this rule is not an excuse,” Rosa Galvez, appointed to the senate in 2016 representing Quebec (Bedford), said this week. “I commit to being more careful and attentive to the details of rules we have adopted to ensure the fair and good functioning of the Senate and its committees.” At issue was Ms. Galvez using her Senate laptop to dial in for committee work while she was in Los Angeles participating in the Summit of the Americas. The senator’s comments are in a transcript here.
On Friday’s episode of The Decibel, Mykola Kuleba, the former children’s ombudsman of Ukraine and now the head of an organization called Save Ukraine, spoke about his work co-ordinating evacuation missions all over Ukraine, particularly for children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
The Prime Minister participated in a meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, convened by United States President Joe Biden. The Prime Minister also spoke with the President of Senegal Macky Sall and the President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as well as Caroline Cochrane, the Premier of the Northwest Territories.
A recent survey by the Prosperity Project found that if asked to return to the office full-time, nearly half of Canadian women say they would quit their jobs – and even more would turn down a promotion to continue working from home. Story by CP24 here.
Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on how women make up the most compelling candidates in the UCP leadership race: “The confirmation of her long-discussed interest in the UCP race will rile some party members wary of federal heavyweights moving to provincial politics as a second act, as Jim Prentice and Jason Kenney did. But the entry of the high-profile MP who is difficult to pin down politically – being both a vocal advocate of LGBTQ rights and supporter of Alberta autonomy and Western Canada’s oil and gas sector – would add a big name to a contest that already stands out for the number of women vying for the top job. If you want to look at where the UCP contest is going, and who is leading the break from the leadership of Alberta’s current Premier, look at the four women who’ve already stated their interest in running in the Oct. 6 contest. They account for half the declared candidates. And they represent a broad range of political views within Alberta’s conservative movement, with each distancing herself from the outgoing Mr. Kenney in one way or another.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on what the crypto crash says about Pierre Poilievre’s judgment: “From the moment he entered the race to become the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre has been up front about the job he really wants. “I’m Pierre Poilievre and I’m running to be prime minister,” he says in campaign videos. Becoming the new leader of the CPC would be a mere stop along the way. Yes, prime minister is the job he wants, with all the attendant seriousness and responsibility the position demands. But since the outset of his campaign, Mr. Poilievre has mostly invited questions about his judgment and suitability for such an office with a series of bizarre policy pronouncements. Somehow, he hasn’t really had to answer for many of his more outlandish positions, such as his vow to fire the Governor of the Bank of Canada. However, he can and should be questioned today about his enthusiasm for, if not outright promotion of, cryptocurrency.”
Lawrence Stevenson (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why Canada should not close its military colleges: “But there is a legitimate reason that all serious armed forces in the world have military academies: They not only cover academics but also train young officer candidates in the military skills that will prepare them to serve as officers. Canada’s military colleges have a long legacy in this country, having been founded in 1876; the RMC flag was the basis for the modern Canadian flag. And over the course of nearly 150 years, Canada’s royal military colleges have graduated outstanding alumni, including Marc Garneau, Chris Hadfield, and Captain Nichola Goddard, a graduate of the RMC class of 2002, who valiantly gave her life in Afghanistan in 2006 so that we could be free from terrorism here at home. I suspect that the families of other RMC soldiers, sailors and airmen who have made the ultimate sacrifice in all our wars, including most recently in Afghanistan, would also strongly object to Ms. Arbour’s recommendation.”
Bill Waiser (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on the history behind the 1935 On-to-Ottawa Trek: “Earlier this year, a trucker convoy descended on Canada’s capital to complain about federal policies and what it saw as government inaction. But going to Ottawa to protest was a Canadian tradition long before that. In December, 1910, for example, 500 Prairie farmer delegates marched up Parliament Hill and into the House of Commons, where they took over proceedings. The next year, a small delegation representing Saskatchewan Treaty 4 bands brought their grievances directly to senior Indian Affairs officials. But perhaps the most popular protest to take to the capital and capture the Canadian imagination was the On-to-Ottawa Trek, in 1935 – even though the intended cross-country demonstration never actually made it beyond Regina.”