This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. 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.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is “deeply disappointed “ as a Catholic in the way the church has handled matters related to the issue of children’s remains found at residential schools.
The Prime Minister says the government will apply pressure through means he did not detail to recognize their role in a situation that has caused a furor in Canada.
Mr. Trudeau’s comments on the matter came Friday at a news conference convened on COVID-19 that was largely dominated by questions over reconciliation and the implications of the recent discovery of remains at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
“As a Catholic, I am deeply disappointed by the position the Catholic Church has taken now and over the past many years,” Mr. Trudeau said.
RCMP INVESTIGATING RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL FILE - Former Truth and Reconciliation Commission chair Murray Sinclair told a House of Commons committee on Thursday that the RCMP have opened an investigation in response to the discovery of children’s remains at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
VOTE LOOMING ON RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS GRAVES - All federal opposition parties will unanimously support an NDP motion to accelerate efforts to document unmarked graves at residential schools and drop legal battles against Indigenous people, but the Liberals are keeping mum on how they will vote.
MACDONALD MEMORIALS DEBATED - Cities across Canada are again debating what to do with public memorials of John A. Macdonald after the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in B.C. announced last week it had discovered the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
SCIENTISTS WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN - The whereabouts of two scientists at the centre of a parliamentary showdown over alleged national-security breaches at a high-security laboratory remain unknown, as Ottawa’s explanation for their firing has shifted. The Globe has found that the scientists are no longer living in Winnipeg, and it is unclear if they are still in Canada. The RCMP would not say if they know where the couple are located.
URGENCY RULE FOR LIBERAL NOMINATIONS - The federal Liberal Party has triggered its “electoral urgency” rule for nominations, allowing the party to change any rules governing candidate selection and speed up the pace of nominations.
THE FATE OF C-10 - The Liberal government is moving to shut down debate on Bill C-10, the controversial legislation aimed at bringing online streaming services under the authority of federal broadcasting rules.
CANADA’S STOCK OF PIPELINES - Federal officials were asking themselves how many pipelines does Canada really need in the days after U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled Keystone XL. The query was posed in a briefing note from Natural Resources Canada and released to The Canadian Press under federal access-to-information legislation.
`ARTHUR’ AND PREMIER DOUG FORD - How “Arthur” – a boy from the suburban Toronto area of Etobicoke – helped Ontario Premier Doug Ford with the idea of outdoor graduation ceremonies announced this week. Story here, from The Ottawa Citizen.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Private meetings. An address on COVID-19 as well as a news conference. The Prime Minister participates in a virtual conversation with Ryerson University students and faculty at the Ryerson Democracy Forum.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the case for reopening the Canada-U.S. border: “One reason for Canada’s sluggish approach might be a political fear that opening the border to fully vaccinated people now might draw attention to the fact that, for the next month or two, there will be a lot more Americans that are fully vaccinated while Canadians are still in what Mr. Trudeau called a “one-dose summer.” Maybe Mr. Trudeau figures it’s easier to wait till the end of August, when it will be closer to an expected fall election, too.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on why the shame of residential schools must be worn by all of us - not just historical figures: “The [residential schools] policy could not have been sustained all those years without the tacit support, or at least acquiescence, of prime ministers, members of Parliament, civil servants and ultimately the general population. The shame of it – the immense, unspeakable shame – must be worn, not solely by the individuals most directly responsible, but by Canada. There is, of course, much more that is good about Canada. We are indeed, as [Alberta Premier Jason Kenney] says, “an imperfect country, but … still a great country.” The crimes that have sometimes marked our history must be set against all that we have achieved together, for ourselves and the world. But even a great nation – especially a great nation – must acknowledge its sins, and more than that, atone for them.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on why Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s pandemic response has been the worst of Canada’s premiers: Other premiers made tough, controversial, choices: [Quebec Premier François Legault] put in-class learning above freedom of movement. [Alberta Premier Jason Kenney] arguably put businesses and livelihoods ahead of health care infrastructure. Mr. Ford, meanwhile, has staggered from one priority to the next, taking Ontarians along with him for an unpredictable, unnecessary and unpleasant ride.”
Nancy Dyson (Contributing to The Globe and Mail) on why she and her husband will not be silent about the cruelty they witnesses in residential schools as child-care workers. “But I was there. I know better. The survivors stories’ speak the truth. We read the [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] reports in their entirety and learned that what we witnessed at St. Michael’s occurred across the country. Residential schools were an assault on Indigenous people and their families. Separating children from families led to the loss of identity, language, spirituality and culture. The residential schools were never about education. They were always about something more: The eradication of Indigenous people as a distinct, separate group.”
Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It's not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.