Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is confident police will be able to handle any displays of hate symbols at this weekend’s planned biker protest in Ottawa.
“We trust the police to enforce the laws as necessary when it comes to this weekend, when it comes to any given day,” Mr. Trudeau said during a news conference in Montreal on Friday, when asked about the issue.
Hundreds of motorcycles are expected to roll into the nation’s capital this weekend for what the organizers say will be a peaceful celebration of freedom. The event – called Rolling Thunder Ottawa – has raised concerns about a possible repeat of the trucker convoy protest that paralyzed the city for weeks earlier this year. Kristy Kirkup and Michelle Carbert report on the motorcycle protest here and here.
The Prime Minister was asked about a declaration from Ottawa’s interim police chief that displays of hate symbols like swastikas would result in charges at the biker protest, and the reality that it’s not against the law to display a swastika in Canada.
In response, Mr. Trudeau said, in part, government will defend the right of Canadians to express their agreement or disagreement with governments, but added, “It is not legal to incite violence or to propagate hateful messages. There are laws against that.”
Earlier this month, Mr. Trudeau spoke about the issue of hate crimes, suggesting they can be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and greater political polarization. There’s a story here on that issue.
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FOUR DEAD AT RMC - Four cadets at the Royal Military College in Kingston have been killed in a incident involving a motor vehicle. Emergency crews responded to an incident at approximately 2 a.m. Friday at Point Frederick on the RMC campus. The Department of National Defence confirmed Friday afternoon that the cadets had died in the incident. Story here.
MODERNA SEEKS CLEARANCE FOR CHILDREN’S VACCINE - Moderna, Inc. has officially asked Health Canada to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as six months old, making the company the first to seek Canadian approval to inoculate babies, toddlers and preschoolers against the pandemic virus. Story here.
P.E.I WANTS TO RENAME CONFEDERATION BRIDGE - Members of the Prince Edward Island legislature voted unanimously Friday to ask the federal government to change the name of the Confederation Bridge to Epekwitk Crossing. Epekwitk is the Mi’kmaq word for “something lying on the water,” and it is the traditional name the Mi’kmaq people have long used to describe the Island. Story here.
EX-ETHICS COMMISSIONER NEVER CONSIDERED ASKING RCMP TO PROBE PM - Mary Dawson said she never thought of calling in the RCMP to investigate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for fraud when she ruled as the then-federal ethics commissioner that he had broken conflict of interest rules by taking an all-expense paid trip to the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas in 2016. Story here.
BLOC CRITICIZES LIBERAL, NDP DEAL - The Bloc Québécois joined the Conservatives in criticizing a deal between the Liberals and NDP on the Winnipeg lab documents that would circumvent parliamentary committees and give the records instead to a group of MPs under parameters drawn up by the government. Story here.
AUTOMATIC BLOOD BAN OVER - The federal government will no longer automatically ban sexually active gay and bisexual men from donating blood to Canadian Blood Services, ending a policy that has long been criticized as discriminatory and lacking in scientific justification. Story here.
DETAILS OF ONTARIO BUDGET - Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy unveiled a pre-election budget on Thursday that lists various previously announced plans but also pledges more money for long-term plans to expand hospitals and build highways. However, it puts off eliminating the province’s deficit for another six years. Story here. There’s a highlights package here.
FORMER TRANSLATOR FOR CANADIAN AFGHAN MISSION IN LIMBO - From Berlin, parliamentary reporter Janice Dickson tells the story of Jawed Haqmal, an Afghan national who used to work as a translator for the Canadian military in Afghanistan, and is now in Germany, with his family. He had expected a quick resettlement in Canada, where the federal government promised them and other Afghans refuge. But the federal immigration bureaucracy has since refused to clear the Haqmals for arrival, and won’t publicly say why. Story here.
AUDITOR-GENERAL SEEKS BUDGET REFORM - Canada’s Auditor-General is relaunching a crusade for a new budgeting process that will protect her independence and ensure the office is properly funded to carry out the work of her mandate. Story here from Policy Options.
CANADA’S SOMILILAND COMMUNITY SEEKS FEDERAL HELP - Members of Canada’s Somaliland community have been meeting with MPs to push for federal emergency funding relief in the region after a fire devastated its largest commercial market. Story here.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
KEY DEADLINE IN LEADERSHIP RACE - Friday is the deadline to submit information to become “verified” candidates in the race to become the next Conservative leader. To meet that threshold, candidates, by 5 p.m. ET, must submit the required number of endorsement signatures - 500 party members residing in no fewer than 30 electoral districts representing no fewer than seven different provinces/territories - as well as the $200,000 registration fee, plus a $100,000 compliance deposit. As of 3 p.m. ET, the verified candidates, according to the party website, are Scott Aitchison, Roman Baber, Patrick Brown, Jean Charest, Leslyn Lewis and Pierre Poilievre. Unverified are Grant Abraham, Leona Alleslev, Joseph Bourgault, Marc Dalton, and Joel Etienne. The rules and procedures of the leadership are here.
POILIEVRE RIVALS REBUT HIS BANKING POLICY - As Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre says he would oppose a public digital currency backed by the Bank of Canada and would increase parliamentary oversight of the central bank, some of his rivals respond to the Ottawa MP’s sharp criticisms of the central bank. Story here.
MANNING WARNS AGAINST PERSONAL ATTACKS - Former Reform Party leader Preston Manning is urging Conservative leadership contenders to lay off their personal attacks on each other, arguing they risk damaging the party’s image with voters. Story here from CBC.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, April. 29, accessible here.
On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Janice Dickson, a parliamentary reporter for The Globe, provides an update on the journey of Jawed Haqmal. (See today’s headlines). The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
In Montreal, the Prime Minister held private meetings, made a healthcare announcement, held a media availability, and was scheduled to participate in a Q&A discussion on the federal budget with Conseil du patronat du Québec President and CEO Karl Blackburn. Later, he was scheduled, in the Greater Toronto Area, to meet with Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. Mr. Trudeau was also scheduled to attend a Liberal fundraising event in Toronto.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Victoria, addresses delegates at the 58th annual CUPE B.C. convention.
No scheduled released for other party leaders.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how the Prime Minister has a loophole for conflict of interest: “Is anyone else as mystified as we are by the latest developments in the endless saga of Justin Trudeau’s all-expenses-paid family holiday on the private island of a man whose foundation lobbied for and received hundreds of millions of federal government dollars? The story is now in its sixth year, having been revived this month by the revelation that the RCMP considered filing fraud charges over the matter against the Prime Minister, but didn’t do so for a bizarre reason that we will get to below.”
Patrick Brethour (The Globe and Mail) on how Doug Ford is following the federal Liberals with a laid-back approach to tackling deficits in Ontario 2022 budget: “Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives are heading down the fiscal path carved out by the federal Liberals, with a leisurely approach to unwinding the debt burden of the pandemic’s economic shock that sidesteps any serious austerity measures. Despite their very different political brands, Doug Ford’s PCs and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have laid out remarkably similar plans, in the federal budget three weeks ago, and Ontario’s on Thursday. And the framing of the economic challenge facing Canadians and Ontarians is similar, too.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how the alternative to state regulation of Twitter is not `anything goes, ‘but rather editorial judgement: “Enter Elon Musk. Much of the hysteria surrounding his takeover bid seems overblown. The site is such a mess as it is that it is hard to see how he could make it much worse; some of his proposals, such as opening its algorithms to public scrutiny and weeding out the bots, even have the potential to improve it. What gives people pause, nevertheless, are his stated views on the question of what sort of moderation, if any, to impose on its often vile content. A self-professed “free speech absolutist,” Mr. Musk has referred to Twitter, grandiosely, as “the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” Accordingly, he has seemed to suggest that the only guide to what is prohibited on Twitter should be what is prohibited by law.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how politicians are selling us a myth on housing: that more supply will be our salvation: “Politicians are lying to us all about housing prices: taming the problem will not exclusively entail adding supply. So what should be done? For starters, there needs to be a crackdown on individuals and corporations buying up real estate for their investment portfolios. In places like Toronto and Vancouver, this represents as much as 30 per cent of the market. Put a hefty surcharge on these purchases as they’ve done in other world cities, and watch the demand soften. So what if several of our federal and provincial politicians are among those investors who own multiple properties? They are also among those flipping homes, an activity that is also contributing to rising valuations. Yet, nothing gets done about it.”
Narges Mohammadi (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how her fight for justice in Iran has cost her dearly but will be worth it: “By the time you read this, I probably will have been taken back to Tehran’s notorious Qarchak prison. As I write this, I have been given a temporary medical release from jail. I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to tell you my story. On Nov. 16, 2021, I was arrested for the 12th time. This was the fourth time in the past three decades that I have been subjected to this horrific torture: solitary confinement. Repeated exposure to solitary confinement does not make it normal and habitual – rather it inflicts more and more anguish and suffering on the human spirit and body.”