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Hello,

The Liberal government has come under criticism for its awarding of a multimillion-dollar contract to the WE Charity, given the organization’s personal connections to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and their families.

But many questions have now been raised about the charity itself that go beyond the contract.

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Earlier this year, as the world came under the grips of COVID-19, the board overseeing WE Charity had an almost complete overhaul. The board was reduced to five members from seven, and dropped to four in June after another resignation. Only one board member has stayed constant throughout.

The charity says the board overhaul was a long-planned process. But Michelle Douglas, who left as board chair in March, is beginning to tell a different story.

“My resignation as the chair of the board of directors of WE charity was as a result of concerning developments,” she told The Globe and Mail on Sunday.

Ms. Douglas did not elaborate. But she will have an opportunity to on Tuesday, when she testifies at the finance committee, which is studying the WE contract. And after her will be Craig and Marc Kielburger, the founders of WE.

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

As cases of the novel coronavirus climb in B.C., Alberta, Quebec and Ontario, Atlantic Canada appears to be faring well. Nova Scotia says it has no active cases of the virus as of this past weekend. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease doctor at Nova Scotia Health, warned, though, that things can change on a dime. “The difference between zero and 50 cases takes no time,” Dr. Barrett said.

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A unit in the Canadian government responsible for monitoring and gathering intelligence on emerging international public-health crises was defanged in the months before the outbreak of the coronavirus, a Globe and Mail investigation has revealed. Current and former employees of the unit – which was once internationally respected for its work – say it missed COVID-19 because it had been ordered by bureaucrats to focus more on domestic monitoring rather than international.

And where once trade was the source of tensions in the U.S.-China relationship, it is now a fairly stable force amid sparring over national security concerns and the World Health Organization.

Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on Alberta’s plan to reopen schools: “But the United Conservative Party government might be getting extra pushback on its plan because it has done little to build trust with cities, teachers or school boards. Premier Jason Kenney’s laser-like focus on bolstering the energy sector in his early months in office, and even through the pandemic, often leaves other groups wanting.”

Shachi Kurl (Ottawa Citizen) on what Canadians think about the WE scandal: “Most say the issue is serious, as opposed to overblown. A plurality, including most who cast ballots for the Liberals in the last election, are inclined to cast the decision to award that contract to WE as unethical, not a mere error in judgment.”

Adam Radwanski (The Globe and Mail) on different factors to balance in the economy recovery: “The longer that COVID-19 drags on, the more obvious it is that its economic effects will be unusual and uneven. There is mounting concern, in particular, about women returning to the work force much more slowly than men and being disproportionately set back in the long run. And there are calls from economists who have Ottawa’s ear to prioritize child care and other social investments that could help make the recovery more equitable instead. Green-recovery advocates are generally sympathetic to those demands. So it’s telling that, try as they might, they haven’t had an easy time incorporating them into their recommendations.”

Aisha Francis (The Globe and Mail) on the challenges of reintegrating a person back into the community after prison: “Effective approaches to reintegration remain fraught, complex and uncertain, and the ones that do exist tend to focus almost exclusively on the needs of the incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individual. But these approaches ignore the fact that incarceration effectively imprisons every person in the individual’s immediate ecosystem. They especially fail to acknowledge the collateral effects and experiences of family members who often have to take on responsibility for the released individual.”

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John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on which statues to tear down: “But if history is constantly on trial, then who is the jury? In Canada’s case, the jury may be the many millions of Canadians who have come here over the past several decades from India, China, the Philippines, the Middle East and other parts of the developing world that also experienced colonialism or other forms of imperial oppression. Their children will dominate Canada’s future. They are breaking down the white-versus-others duality of the historical debate.”

Kenneth Whyte (The Globe and Mail) on the problems with public libraries: “Librarians claim that a borrowed book is not a lost sale. That would be easier to accept if they weren’t claiming a one-to-one relationship between borrowings and savings in their advertisements. But say only one in four borrowings replaces a sale. Gaining that sale would be sufficient to double the income of our starving authors.”

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