In the backdrop of each day’s political news, there is one thing that keeps happening, whether we report it or not: The Earth is getting warmer.
In the decades to come, millions of people will be displaced, driven to poverty or death because of scorching heat waves, rising sea levels and more extreme weather.
But there is still hope.
A new report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there is still a chance to avert catastrophe, if the political will exists. That would require a mix of fiscal solutions – such as the carbon tax favoured by the federal Liberals or regulatory approaches favoured by many conservative parties – as well as technological innovations, such as reforestation, and carbon capture and storage.
Otherwise we will see more of climate change’s devastating effects in our lifetimes and those of our children, the report warns.
Human ingenuity created these problems, through technology that emitted greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Perhaps human ingenuity will be able to solve the problems, too.
As Canada nears the day cannabis becomes legal (next Wednesday for those keeping count), more about who can and can’t use it is coming into focus. Quebec is set to be the most restrictive province, with no public consumption, no growing at home and no using until you’re 21. And the RCMP will be one of the more restrictive police forces, requiring officers to not consume marijuana at least 28 days before a shift – one heck of a long vacation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and incoming Quebec premier François Legault will have ample time to get to know one another as they take a red-eye flight tonight to Armenia and the Francophonie leaders' summit. Mr. Trudeau will be stumping for former Canadian governor-general Michaëlle Jean, who is seeking a second term at the helm of the international organization. Ms. Jean faces a difficult re-election bid because of a perceived desire among African nations to elect one of their own as leader and because of reports of questionable expenses from her office.
The Supreme Court is back in session this week. On Thursday they will hear the Cindy Gladue case, one which raises serious questions about how the justice system treats Indigenous peoples and how it handles sexual-assault cases.
Brazil is heading for an intense presidential run-off between a far-right former army captain and a centrist candidate who only joined the race a few weeks ago.
And this isn’t really a political story, but it might be relevant for those of you who work in or near politics: Science confirms that, if you want to make good decisions, you really do need to get some sleep.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal: “Canada and Mexico have just been through the same kind of trial in trade talks. The aftermath is a little awkward. The two smaller partners in the old North American free-trade agreement talked up a common front, but at key points, they let that slide to look out for No. 1.”
Barrie McKenna (The Globe and Mail) on tariffs: “While Ottawa bowed to a number of U.S. demands in the deal announced late Sunday, the U.S. budged very little. There is no relief on any major Canadian demands, such as relief from softwood lumber duties, recently imposed steel and aluminum tariffs or strict Buy American rules on U.S. government purchases. And the prohibitive tariff wall on Canadian sugar products? It’s still there, even though Canada imposes no restrictions on its sugar market.”
Evelyn L Forget (The Globe and Mail) on what a basic income could look like: “The need for a steady income among middle-class Canadians is accelerating as the labour-market changes. Silicon Valley hyperbole imagines robots replacing human labour, and that has happened for many factory jobs, but a much more likely outcome is that automation will change the way work is done."
Ed Broadbent and Hugh Segal (The Globe and Mail), former NDP leader and former senator, respectively, on electoral reform: “The imperative of moving to proportional representation is neither a right-wing nor a left-wing point of view. It’s simply democratic common sense. And recent Canadian election results underline the urgency of getting a move-on.”
David Reevely (Ottawa Citizen) on Doug Ford and Jason Kenney vs. the federal carbon tax: “They’re a mighty partnership, and they’ll give [Conservative Leader Andrew] Scheer a much better chance of getting elected prime minister next fall than he’d ever have on his own.”
Stephanie Nolen (The Globe and Mail) on economic decline in Brazil: “Rio somehow managed to pull off a fine World Cup and a functional Olympics – but no sooner had the last tourists got on the plane than things began to fall spectacularly apart.”
Stephen Harper (The Globe and Mail) on the rise of populism: “The reality is that, in the eyes of many voters, the correlation between globalization and good economic outcomes is weakening. So is the political consensus around its basic policy ideas such as freer markets, freer trade and freer immigration. In many countries, the global financial crisis, the bailouts for the few and the slow or non-existent recovery for the many have been gradually fraying the democratic social compact.”
Adam Radwanski (The Globe and Mail) on Stephen Harper’s new book: “Perhaps the strongest advice he offers fellow travellers is on tax cuts. Some of Mr. Harper’s, especially slashing two points off the GST, were not hits with economists. But he is able to draw a contrast between U.S. Republicans, who even under Mr. Trump continue to disproportionately focus relief on corporations and the rich, and his own relative focus on cuts that low- and middle-income Canadians would feel. The GOP’s approach, he suggests, remains rooted in the challenges of the 1980s, when economic growth needed to be kickstarted; his was more in line with frustration about how equally that growth is spread.”