“Never let a good crisis go to waste” might be the thinking of the Liberal government as they plan how to restart Canada’s economy after the pandemic. As Adam Radwanski writes in The Globe today, the government is looking at how to advance its climate-change agenda as it addresses what could be the worst unemployment since the Great Depression.
The first priority, of course, is getting Canadians back to work. But there may be ways to do that and reduce emissions, such as stimulus spending on infrastructure for electric vehicles (such as more charging stations) or renovating buildings so they are more energy-efficient.
It’s also a recognition that the Liberals’ biggest environmental policy so far – the carbon price – is a lot less useful when the price of gasoline is the lowest it’s been in a generation
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Today’s announcement of federal aid was that applications are now open (or will open soon) for two programs: rent relief for small businesses and bridge loans for large employers. Note that the latter program comes with its own climate-change strings attached.
The House of Commons has its weekly sitting of the COVID-19 committee today at noon. But whether the House will resume something like a normal schedule is the subject of negotiations this week among the political parties. The House administration says it could do a “hybrid” model that has MPs on the floor in the House working with their colleagues in other areas of the country by video link. The NDP say they could support that model. The Conservatives have pushed for more in-person meetings, while the Bloc Québécois say they want lost sitting days made up for.
British Columbia is preparing to allow businesses to reopen this week with restrictions that will hopefully cut down on the transmission of the novel coronavirus. For instance, operators of bars and restaurants will be asked to gather contact information from their customers to help health authorities trace cases if they pop up. The province reported just two new cases of the virus yesterday and the rate of deaths has flatlined.
Ontario says it will launch a commission into the devastation the virus has wrought at the province’s long-term care homes. Some advocates say a full-blown public inquiry would be better, but the provincial government says that would take too long.
And here is one indication that the Canadian public has started to view the pandemic more as an economic threat than a health one: Nanos Research’s weekly issues-tracking survey shows that jobs is on the verge of overtaking the coronavirus as the most important issue for respondents.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on U.S. President Donald Trump and the World Health Organization: “Even if the accusation [of Chinese interference] is true, it should be pretty clear that you can’t fix a failure in the sharing of global health information and advice by eliminating the co-ordination of health information and advice. The U.S. can’t create its own global health agency and expect that will force China to share information more transparently. Mr. Trump can’t solve that global problem by going it alone.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on Canada-China relations: “We do not have to choose between these two false alternatives: appeasement or mercantilism. It is surely possible to be clear-eyed about the threat China represents without subscribing to crude conspiracy theories. And it is surely just as possible to stand up to China without the mutual ruin of a trade war – to get tough on China, without getting tough on ourselves.”
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on Trump’s purge of watchdogs: “But such is the lurid scale of malfeasance in this administration that the firings barely made the front pages. By Trumpian standards, they’re not even scandalettes.”
Kathryn Marshall (National Post) on reforming maternity leave: “It is painfully bureaucratic, awkwardly shoved under the umbrella of employment insurance and penalizes women who want to do any sort of paid work while on leave, making it challenging to remain connected to our jobs while staying at home with our babies.”
Erica Ifill (The Hill Times) on the Conservative leadership race: “The Tory squawking over the perils of big government doesn’t hit the same when your precarious work doesn’t provide proper benefits or child care and is a breeding ground for COVID-19, such as Amazon warehouses and Cargill meat plants. It’s no surprise this line of messaging from older, white men, who have the privilege to rage about debt and deficits (in a historically low-interest-rate environment) while ignoring the risk to life, isn’t resonating with women.”