FIRST READING: Canadian distrust of China hits a new low
Tḱemlúps te Secwépemc – the First Nation on whose land stands the former Kamloops Indian Residential School – had a lukewarm response to Trudeau’s apology for taking a vacation on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. While the First Nation agreed to meet with Trudeau later this month, they wrote in an official statement on Thursday, “We are not interested in apologies that don’t lead to institutional and widespread change.” Last month, Tḱemlúps chief Rosanne Casimir had a similar reaction to an official apology by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, saying that the group could be of better use by helping to release “all relevant records and documents” related to missing children at Catholic-run Indian Residential Schools.
In the opening months of the pandemic, Alberta spent $4.3 million on a COVID-19 contact tracing app. The idea was that everyone in the province would download it, allowing the app to track their movements and note if they ever came into contact with another Albertan who’s tested positive for COVID-19. The only problem was that a mere 158 people ever bothered telling the app they had COVID-19. For those counting, that’s roughly $27,000 in development costs per infected Albertan.
The rubber has started to hit the road for vaccine mandates, with employers beginning to hand out their first pink slips to workers who refuse to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. The Windsor Regional Hospital fired 57 employees who failed to get vaccinated, while Kingston Health Sciences Centre put 59 employees on indefinite unpaid leave.
The Mounties aren’t taking kindly to federal proposals to fire cops who don’t vaccinated. This week, the union representing RCMP officers said it would recognize its members’ choice “to be vaccinated or not.” The National Police Federation is one of several public sector unions angry with Ottawa for what they call an “engagement-by-notification” track record on COVID-19.
Canadians haven’t been this sour on the People’s Republic of China in at least a generation. A new poll by the Angus Reid Institute found that a mere 10 per cent of Canadians held a “favourable” view of the country. Only 15 years ago, by contrast, that figure was at 58 per cent. With the sole exception of Saudi Arabia, China is now the most disliked by Canadians. The most beloved? Germany.
Disinfowatch, a project started by researcher Marcus Kolga, makes it their business to keep an eye on foreign disinformation and propaganda targeting Canada. In a post this week, they delved into how Iran, China and Russia were capitalizing on the summer discoveries of unmarked graves at former Indian Residential Schools. Chinese state media has been hammering particularly hard on this issue, largely to deflect Canadian accusations that Beijing is perpetrating genocide against its Uyghur minority. Left unsaid, of course, is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the 2008 Residential School apology or the outpouring of public attention that accompanied the discoveries: Canada is instead accused of remaining “silent” on the issue.
It was only six weeks ago that Kabul fell to the Taliban, precipitating a humanitarian crisis on which Canada largely failed to provide anything except token assistance. A recent CTV profile of a former interpreter for the Canadian Armed Forces shed light on just how ineffectual Canada was at getting its people out of Afghanistan. The interpreter (identified as “Hamid”) was sent to three locations by Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada, and despite journeying out at great personal risk he didn’t find a single Canadian representative at each rendezvous. Ultimately, he was saved by the U.K.
Everything is going to be much more expensive for a while. Gas prices across Canada are hitting a seven-year high. Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said last week that it will “take some time” for the country’s inflation surge to cool off. And natural gas rates are getting hiked just as Canada heads towards a particularly brutal winter.
The COVID-19 pandemic has almost completely overshadowed the fact that Canada’s already grave overdose crisis has never been worse. A recent analysis by Maclean’s found that during a particularly deadly week in July, overdoses killed 207 Canadians. That’s one death every 49 minutes for an entire week.
The employment rate has returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to new data from Statistics Canada. One million Canadians have also ended work-from-home arrangements and returned to the office. In the first weeks of pandemic lockdowns, 5.1 million Canadians reported working from home offices. By September of this year, that was down to 4.1 million.
National Post alumnus Jen Gerson isn’t the first to notice that we collectively appear to have lost our freaking minds of late. Paranoid shut-ins who are still wiping down their groceries. Conspiracy theorists blockading hospitals. The scores of otherwise brilliant people “acting like raving loons” on Twitter. “Look around; are people acting normal lately?” writes Gerson for The Line.ELOW
John Ivison spends an awful lot of time around the prime minister. He even wrote a book about the guy. And Ivison has noticed something about Trudeau: He has an alarming penchant to run headlong into proverbial coffee tables, even in circumstances that most average Canadians would easily have known to avoid – slipping off for a beach trip on National Truth and Reconciliation Day being just the latest example. Writes Ivison, “How many times has he begged forgiveness for transgressions that would probably have seen him fired in the private sector?”
On the topic of Trudeau begging forgiveness, Warren Kinsella rounded up all the times that the prime minister has officially apologized either for a historic wrong – or because his family was benefiting via an ethically questionable avenue. “Justin Trudeau loves apologies,” writes Kinsella.