Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion is a “devastating setback” for those who have fought for reproductive rights.
The U.S. court, in a 6-3 ruling, has overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and legalized it nationwide.
“Today, I think of those generations of women around the world and specifically in the United States who fought so hard to gain rights and continue to fight today to get more and more rights,” Mr. Trudeau said in Kigali, Rwanda, where he is attending a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government.
The Prime Minister said Canada will always defend women’s rights to choose and continue to work to expand access to a full range of reproductive health services.
Last month, Mr. Trudeau vowed to protect abortion rights in Canada, although the Liberals hadn’t acted on several commitments made in last year’s election, such as new rules on access to service or provided a timeline for their implementation. Story here.
Conservative Leader Candice Bergen said in a statement that access to abortion was not restricted under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the Conservative Party will not introduce legislation or reopen the abortion debate. “Canadians deserve better than the Liberals importing issues from the U.S. in an attempt to wedge and divide Canadians,” she said.
In a statement, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that, with its ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has “walked back women’s rights by making abortion effectively illegal in half the country.”
He added, “These dangerous policies that threaten women’s health and women’s lives must not be allowed to take root in Canada. There is so much more the government can do to ensure better access to health care services for women living in rural and remote communities.”
Candidates vying to lead the federal Conservative Party also reacted to the ruling.
Asked about the development, a spokesperson for the Pierre Poilievre campaign replied with the statement, “A Poilievre government will not introduce or pass any laws restricting abortion.”
Former Quebec premier Jean Charest wrote in a tweet that he is “disturbed” by Roe v. Wade being overturned. “While I recognize there are strongly held beliefs on this issue, reproductive rights in Canada are non-negotiable. I will remain focused on issues that unite Canadians, not divide us.”
Scott Aitchison wrote, “I will always defend a woman’s right to choose.”
Leslyn Lewis wrote on Twitter that “Canada is not the U.S. We can have adult conversations. I think coercive abortions and preferring baby boys over girls via sex selection are wrong, and that we can do better for expecting moms at home and abroad. That’s my platform. Let’s have the conversation.”
Patrick Brown said, in a tweet, that he was “disappointed” that Roe v. Wade was being overturned. “Canadians have strongly held beliefs on this issue, but reproductive rights in Canada will not be revisited by any government that I lead. I support a woman’s right to choose.”
The Globe and Mail podcast, The Decibel, recently looked into how getting an abortion in Canada differs from the United States, with registered nurse Martha Paynter speaking to the subject. That episode is here.
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NEW ONTARIO CABINET – Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced a new cabinet that largely resembles his term going into the June 2 election, but names Sylvia Jones as his new Minister of Health and Deputy Premier. Mr. Ford has also appointed his nephew Michael Ford, a former Toronto city councillor, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. Story here. Toronto Life interviewed the younger Mr. Ford in 2015 here. Lisa MacLeod, who was left out of cabinet after previously serving as Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture, announced Friday that she is taking some time off to “address and improve” her health. Story here from Global News.
HEARING NEXT MONTH ON ALLEGATIONS AGAINST RCMP COMMISSIONER – MPs will hold a hearing next month into allegations RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, at the request of the Liberal government, tried to put pressure on Mounties investigating the Nova Scotia mass shooting to help advance Ottawa’s gun-control agenda. Story here. Also, the inquiry investigating the Nova Scotia mass shooting wants to know why the federal Justice Department withheld notes written by a senior Mountie for several months – and if there are more revelations to come. Story here.
MILLIONS OF HOMES NEEDED TO CUT HOME COSTS: REPORT – Canada needs an additional 5.8 million homes by the end of the decade to help lower average home costs and ensure households are not spending more than 40 per cent of their disposable income on shelter, according to a new government report. Story here.
THOSE WHO AREN’T VACCINATED MUST ACCEPT CONSEQUENCES: PM – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in an interview with CBC Radio’s The House airing Saturday, says people who chose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 must accept the consequences of those decisions. Story here from CBC.
HILLIER LAMETS WANING INTEREST IN UKRAINE WAR – Retired general Rick Hillier is lamenting what he sees as waning Canadian interest in the war in Ukraine as public and political attention turns increasingly toward the rising rate of inflation and other issues closer to home. Story here.
LEGAULT OPPOSES MULTICULTURALISM – Ahead of celebrations of Fête Nationale, Premier François Legault said he’s against the idea of multiculturalism, saying it threatens the French language and Quebec culture. Story here from the Montreal Gazette.
NATIONAL RECONCILIATION COUNCIL IN THE WORKS – Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller has tabled a bill that would create a national council for reconciliation – a recommendation the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made in 2015 and the Liberal government included in the 2019 budget. Story here.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is in Toronto. Patrick Brown is in Quebec City for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. Jean Charest is in Quebec. Leslyn Lewis is in her Ontario riding of Haldimand-Norfolk. Pierre Poilievre is in the Quebec City of Trois-Rivières. There is no word on the whereabouts of Roman Baber.
BROWN ON MP MEETING – Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown is expressing concern that Tory MPs met this week with a Canadian soldier facing military charges for speaking out against COVID-19 vaccine mandates while in uniform as well as a spokesman for the convoy that blockaded Ottawa in the winter. Story here.
CHAREST Q&A – Jean Charest talks the Emergencies Act, updating the Official Languages Act, Western populism and other issues in a wide-ranging interview with Policy Magazine available here.
WHO’S SUPPORTING WHO – The Hill Times has put together a helpful list of which MPs, former MPs, Senators and former Senators are, as of June. 22, supporting which candidate in the race to lead the Conservative Party. The list is here.
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20
NO MASKS REQUIRED IN COMMONS – As of Friday, there is no need to wear masks in the House of Commons precinct, says Speaker Anthony Rota. In a statement, Mr. Rota said masks will, however, be available for those who want to wear them.
GG VISITS THE YUKON – Governor-General Mary Simon and her husband, Whit Fraser, will make an official visit to the Yukon from June 26 to June 28, with an itinerary that includes meetings with Angélique Bernard, the commissioner of the Yukon, Indigenous leaders from the territory and Premier Sandy Silver.
SNOWBIRDS GROUNDED – According to a statement from the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds will be unable to fly in planned air shows and flypasts, until the resolution of a technical issue that relates to a device that sets the timing for the deployment of the parachute during the ejection sequence. The issue arose during routine maintenance on the parachutes at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Sask., on June 19. All aircraft are now being retested and repacked, as necessary, to ensure proper timing is set for their activation in the event of an emergency.
On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Chelle Turingan – co-director of the documentary Small Town Pride – talks about the joys and challenges queer folks face in small Canadian towns and how, despite it all, they manage to organize Pride events. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
In Kigali, Rwanda for a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government, the Prime Minister held private meetings, attended an official welcome by Rwandan President Paul Kagame and participated in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The Prime Minister was also scheduled to participate in the official family photo of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and to hold meetings with Ghana President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Moussa Faki Mahamat – the chairperson of the African Union Commission – as well as Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema. The Prime Minister was also scheduled to attend Her Majesty the Queen’s Dinner hosted by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was in Montreal, with MP Alexandre Boulerice celebrating la Fête Nationale at a pair of events.
No schedules available for other party leaders.
INFLATION POLL – Forty-five per cent of people surveyed in new research by the Angus Reid Institute say they are worse off now than they were at this time last year, the highest level in at least 12 years. Half of Canadians say it’s a challenge to afford their household grocery bill, up seven points since last October. Details here.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the vacuum at the centre of Canadian politics: an incompetent, unethical government faces an intemperate, unhinged opposition: “At the federal level we would seem to be left with something of a vacuum, with neither main party displaying much interest in governing responsibly. This is sometimes described as “polarization,” as if the problem could be solved by everyone agreeing to meet in the centre. Not so: this country has big, challenging issues confronting it, some of which may require radical changes in policy. Radicalism is not the same as extremism. What’s needed is not centrism, if that is interpreted to mean blindly hugging the middle on every issue. Neither is pragmatism the answer, if that means governing without an ideological compass, but merely blowing this way and that according to the latest poll or interest group lobby. What’s needed – what is sorely lacking – is judgment: political, moral, intellectual. Judgment is the foundation of leadership, and leadership is the only way we’re going to get back to something resembling functional politics.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberals failing to act with urgency before a hot summer of inflation: “You’d think Justin Trudeau’s Liberals would be delighted to escape for summer break from Parliament, where they get pressed on an unusually long list of problems from passport backlogs and airport lines to allegations they asked the RCMP to release details of a mass-murder investigation to advance their gun-control agenda. But although Parliament has adjourned till September, escaping to a quiet summer is a mirage. This will be the summer of inflation. That’s a pot that will keep boiling, as Canadians fill up their tanks to go to the cottage or suffer sticker shock when they buy chicken for the barbecue. And seethe.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on a junior hockey scandal that should sicken us all: “Hockey culture in Canada is poisoned and sick. Despite all the so-called educational programs that the Canadian Hockey League says players take part in, there is little evidence that the warped view of masculinity that is pervasive in far too many junior hockey dressing rooms has changed much over the years. There is little proof that an environment that condones the degradation and exploitation of young women is any better today than it was 40 years ago.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how the Neville-Lake family never got justice: “Marco Muzzo is now responsible for the death of five people, even if the law only recognizes his culpability for four. Edward Lake, whose three children and father-in-law were killed when Mr. Muzzo drunkenly drove his Jeep through a stop sign at a Vaughan, Ont., intersection in 2015, died by suicide this past week. The children’s mother, Jennifer Neville-Lake, posted the news on social media, writing that Mr. Lake ‘has joined our kids so they can play together, forever.’”