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The federal Liberal government has announced a plan to expedite the resettlement of thousands of Afghans who have worked with Canada’s armed forces and embassy but are now facing harm from the Taliban.
On Friday, three cabinet ministers announced a plan that comes following criticism of inaction on the file seven years after Canada withdrew its forces from Afghanistan and as the U.S. military leaves the troubled country.
“Without getting into precise numbers we do anticipate the numbers will be in the several thousands,” Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said of the number of Afghans affected by the program.
Mr. Mendicino, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau declined to provide many details about the initiative, citing security concerns.
Afghans eligible for the program include former interpreters and translators who worked with the Canadian military as well as cooks, drivers and other staff employed at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul.
ADVISORY PANEL LOOKING INTO PRISONER ISOLATION - Former correctional investigator Howard Sapers will chair a federal advisory panel looking into prisoner isolation in Canada for the next two years. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair will announce the move on Friday.
COMMUNITY CALLS FOR CONCRETE ACTON AT ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMIT - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned hatred toward the Muslim community at Thursday’s National Summit on Islamophobia, but community leaders say they need to see the government follow up with concrete actions if the event is to effect real change.
SAJJAN CALLED FOR POSITION - Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told the military to create a position eventually filled by a reserve officer from his old unit who had been ordered suspended from the Vancouver police for an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, according to newly released briefing notes.
REPUTATION “IRREPARABLY TARNISHED”: FORTIN - The military officer who previously oversaw Canada’s vaccine rollout campaign says his reputation has been “irreparably tarnished” by the government’s decision to abruptly replace him in May and publicly reveal he was being investigated for sexual misconduct.
PARLIAMENTARY PRIVILEGE VIOLATED: SPEAKER - A federal attempt to shield documents related to the firing of two scientists is a violation of parliamentary privilege and must be tossed out of court, House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota says in a notice of motion filed Thursday in Federal Court.
PAUL PUSHES BACK AT “SMALL” PARTY GROUP - Green Leader Annamie Paul sought Thursday to frame a legal challenge from her own party as the work of a “small group” of outgoing executives, as she tries to push past the turmoil still roiling the Greens in the shadow of a looming federal election.
QUESTIONS ON O’TOOLE OFFICE AWARDING OF CONTRACTS - Erin O’Toole’s office gave nearly $240,000 worth of taxpayer-funded contracts to Conservative insiders in his first six months on the job, Global News has learned, even while O’Toole and many of his MPs were hammering the Trudeau Liberals for sending taxpayer-funded contracts to Liberal-connected firms. From Global News.
VANCOUVER MAYOR JODY WILSON-RAYBOULD?
There has been speculation that former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould might be considering a run to become Vancouver’s next mayor. The current Independent MP has ruled out a bid for re-election in her Vancouver-Granville seat. Mike Howell of Glacier Media put the question of mayoral interest to Ms. Wilson-Raybould in a Q&A you can read here.
FIRST AUDIENCE: QUEEN ELIZABETH AND GOVERNOR-GENERAL DESIGNATE MARY SIMON MEET:
Video of part of the virtual conversation yesterday between the two has been released and can be viewed here. Ms. Simon is to be installed as Canada’s 30th Governor General, and the first Indigenous Governor General, on Monday.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet - No schedule for today provided by Mr. Blanchet’s office.
Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole is in Ottawa this week. No schedule for today provided by Mr. O’Toole’s office.
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul - No schedule for today provided by Ms. Paul’s office.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh - No schedule for today provided by Mr. Singh’s office.
A Harper-led Conservative Party would cut the Liberal advantage by two-thirds among decided voters, from a 14-point Liberal lead under current leader Erin O’Toole to a five-point lead under Harper, according to a new poll for Maclean’s. Story here. From Maclean’s.
The Editorial Board of the Globe and Mail on the Green party having discovered an inexhaustible source of self-destructive energy: “The spectacle of a party going to war with itself over an issue that has nothing to do with its reason for existing, and which it has no hopes of ever influencing in any way, is beyond bizarre. Imagine watching Scott Moe’s Saskatchewan Party implode over the cod fishery, or the Parti Québécois defenestrate a leader because of something someone said about Flin Flon.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberal ideologues’ continued support of Justin Trudeau: “At some point I think the PMO concluded it was invincible. The Prime Minister could be caught taking free flights from the Aga Khan at a time when he was lobbying the government for funds; he could attend private party fundraisers with Chinese billionaires, even as China was emerging as a primary security threat; he could steer responsibility for a billion-dollar government program to the organization that paid money to his mother, his brother and his wife – and nothing would come of it. Not so long as his praetorian guard among the ideologues stood by him.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how relations between Canada and the United States are far from normal as the Canada-U.S. border reopens: “Although Canada will soon begin letting Americans come here, Canadians not on essential business remain barred from entering the United States via the land border until at least Aug. 21. That’s okay. Some of us don’t feel like visiting, right now.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on the colonialist insult of an investigation into Mary Simon’s nomination for governor-general: “Ms. Simon is the governor-general this country needs right now. Full stop. It’s unfortunate it took a crisis for the federal government to finally appoint someone to Rideau Hall that represented Indigenous peoples in this country. You know, those who were here long before us and who paid a grave price when white European settlers moved in on their territories. Efforts by these same settlers over the years to ‘civilize’ and ’assimilate’ the ‘savages’ whose land they were taking did not go well.”
David A. Robertson (Contributor to The Globe and Mail) on how Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has shattered the relationship between Indigenous people and the Manitoba government: “On June 16, 2017, Mr. Pallister went on a 160 km bike ride that he dubbed a “journey of reconciliation,” from the former site of Peguis First Nation in East Selkirk to where the community stands today. Unsurprisingly, after the kickoff, he didn’t meet with any Indigenous people during, or after, his “reconciliation” ride. His press secretary explained that he’d be resting when he got to the community, but he summoned the energy to attend two events en route, including a fundraiser held by a Progressive Conservative MLA. And the ride itself retraced the steps of Peguis First Nation’s forced removal – more retraumatizing than reconciliatory. Since then, his “work” in the area of reconciliation has gotten progressively worse. That’s tough for a guy who called Indigenous night-hunting rights, which are protected under the Constitution, unfair, and that they were inciting a “race war.”
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