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Ontario judge Michelle O’Bonsawin has been nominated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Pending a non-binding committee review, the fluently bilingual Franco-Ontarian will become Canada’s first Indigenous Supreme Court justice. She was born in Hanmer, Ont., near Sudbury, and is an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation.

The nomination fills the vacancy created by the coming retirement of Justice Michael Moldaver.

As part of the announcement, the government released the text of a questionnaire that Justice O’Bonsawin filled out as a candidate for the position.

The form lists her extensive academic and legal qualifications – including as a judge with the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. It also includes comments in her own words outlining her areas of legal expertise and some of her most challenging cases. She also writes about her experience growing up as a young First Nations person off reserve.

“My childhood was not a privileged one,” she writes. “In addition to having a First Nations father, ours was a working-class household. It was expected that I would contribute in real, financial terms and that no work was not worthwhile. As such, I did whatever jobs were available to me – babysitting, retail and service. These early experiences taught me many things, such as the importance of hard work, but they also permitted me to see the need of others and learn how to see and appreciate the interests and importance of all.”

In another section describing the appropriate role of a judge in a constitutional democracy, Justice O’Bonsawin said a judge must continuously interpret the Constitution as “a living and breathing document” and should also remain politically neutral.

A story on the appointment can be found here.

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The Prime Minister held his first news conference since returning from a vacation in Costa Rica. He was in Quebec’s Îles-de-la-Madeleine region, where he announced $40-million over four years to rebuild a fishermen’s wharf.

He then took a range of questions. Ahead of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Canada, Mr. Trudeau cautioned that there is not much Canada can do to help Europe get through the coming winter when it comes to dramatically increasing short-term energy exports. He said Canada’s focus is on the longer-term transition away from fossil fuels.

He was also asked about this week’s census data, which reported a decline in French speakers in Quebec and elsewhere across the country.

“One of the things that we have to recognize is the numbers that recently came out to show significant decline in French across the country are troubling, are extremely worrisome, but are not entirely a surprise because we could see this coming over the past number of years,” he said. Mr. Trudeau said that’s why his government has proposed legislation to update Canada’s official languages legislation.

Mr. Trudeau was also asked to comment on a potential trip to Taiwan by Canadian MPs and senators.

“We will ensure that the parliamentarians making the decision to travel or not will be done with all the reflections of the consequences and the impacts of it,” he said.


REACTION TO LISA LAFLAMME’S DISMISSAL PROMPTS CTV NEWSROOM REVIEW BY BELL MEDIA - Bell Media will be conducting an independent review of its newsroom, after a town-hall meeting where employees pushed executives to explain why top anchor Lisa LaFlamme was dismissed and raised issues of morale within the newsroom.

The company announced the move Friday in a press release from Bell Media president Wade Oosterman and Karine Moses, the company’s senior vice-president of content development and news. It referred to a “difficult and high-profile change in recent days.” Globe story here.

BELL MEDIA EXECUTIVE WON’T SPECIFY TO STAFF WHY LISA LAFLAMME WAS LET GO - A Bell Media executive refused to give specific reasons for the ouster of CTV National News top anchor Lisa LaFlamme, but told a staff meeting on Thursday that it had been a mistake to announce the newscast’s new anchor the same day Ms. LaFlamme informed the public of her unexpected removal. Globe story here.

OTTAWA TO PROBE ‘DISTURBING’ TWEETS BY CONSULTANT ON GOVERNMENT-FUNDED ANTI-RACISM PROJECT - The federal diversity minister says he’s taking action over “disturbing” tweets by a senior consultant on an anti-racism project that received $133,000 from his department. The Canadian Press story here.

Ahmed Hussen has asked Canadian Heritage to “look closely at the situation” after what he called “unacceptable behaviour” by Laith Marouf, a senior consultant involved in the government-funded project to combat racism in broadcasting.


The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.


The Prime Minister held a news conference in Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Que. His schedule also includes a visit to a microbrewery and a local bakery.


Former senator Hugh Segal (Special to The Globe and Mail) said the disruptions caused by the pandemic warrant a royal commission so that governments can learn from the experience and understand what now needs to change: “A royal commission examining what we have learned from the pandemic, and what those lessons should mean for the organization and priorities of all governments going forward, would not only galvanize positive analysis and objective research – it would also provide open national hearings to allow the many different and strongly held views on the best way forward to be heard, on the record.

Pausing to reflect, in an open and focused way, would not be a sign of weakness. It would be a sign of common cause, national self-confidence and openness to new ideas and different paths.”

Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) writes that the Trudeau government appears to be assisting Quebecor burnish its image as the telecom industry’s golden child: “Although the nitty-gritty of the deal has yet to be made public, it looks like Quebecor is poised to purchase Freedom on the cheap. … It’s apparent the proposed Freedom sale is the culmination of Ottawa’s efforts to champion Quebecor. But it remains to be seen if ordinary Canadians will reap the benefits of this manoeuvring by Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne and his colleagues at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) says current inflation might be easier to tame than inflations past: “The question, then, is: Is this the early 1980s all over again? Or is it more like 1945? Will people take the last year or so of surging inflation as the new normal, and bake higher inflation into their expectations? Or will they see it in the context of the preceding 30 straight years of low and stable inflation – as the exception, born of exceptional circumstances, rather than the rule? Will they conclude that, in the long run at least, inflation is indeed transitory? So far, the evidence is mixed.”

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