A political primer for every kind of concerned citizen co-hosted by Rosemary Barton (The National) and Elamin Abdelmahmoud (BuzzFeed News). From CBC News and CBC Podcasts.
Border brawls and regulating streaming giants
For weeks, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has been urging the federal government to tighten border restrictions in an effort to prevent more cases of COVID-19 from entering Canada. But how much is travel influencing the spread of the virus in this third wave? Elamin and Rosie take stock of what the federal government has implemented up to this point, and weigh Ontario’s asks against the latest data.
The two also dive into the hullabaloo surrounding Bill C-10, the government’s broadcasting bill, and the confusion over whether it would involve regulating people who post to YouTube and TikTok. Rosie and Elamin break down what’s at the core of the proposed legislation, and what’s at stake politically.
Concern and confusion over ‘preferred’ vaccines
For months, the Prime Minister has said that the best COVID-19 vaccine is the first one that’s offered to you. If you’ve been watching the headlines this week, that might have felt hard to square with the message brought forward by the independent body of experts offering guidance on approved vaccines (you may know them as the National Advisory Committee on Immunization). NACI this week reiterated their position that mRNA shots — like those from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna — are their “preferred vaccines” over viral vector shots like AstraZeneca, because of the latter’s rare risk of blood clots. But as Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam underscored this week, it all comes down to weighing that risk against the risk of contracting COVID-19. Elamin and Rosie realize it’s a lot of information for anyone to navigate, which has them wondering: if NACI’s main role is to provide recommendations to those distributing vaccines, namely provinces and territories — should this committee be speaking directly to Canadians?
Rosie and Elamin also turn their attention to Alberta, which is experiencing the highest active case rate per capita compared to any other province or U.S. state. Premier Jason Kenney has announced a new round of public health restrictions, after facing criticism over waiting too long to enact further measures — and additional criticism from even inside his own caucus, as some MLAs have condemned further restrictions. How can Alberta climb out of this?
Doug Ford budges on paid pandemic sick leave
After months of mounting pressure from opposition parties, scientific advisers, labour groups and local medical officers of health across the province, the Ontario government has unveiled a plan to provide three paid sick days by reimbursing employers through a temporary pandemic program that will run through to September. Does it meet what many have been calling for? Rosie and Elamin take a close look at the proposal and how Doug Ford’s government handled the highly anticipated announcement on Wednesday.
The two also reflect on a story that held the attention of many people this week: the death of 13-year-old Emily Viegas in Brampton, Ontario, one of the youngest Canadians to die of COVID-19. Elamin and Rosie examine whether enough messaging is getting through about the severity of this variant-driven third wave of the pandemic.
The Chauvin verdict and Ontario’s COVID crisis
Elamin and Rosie turn their attention south to reflect on Tuesday’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin case. The former Minneapolis police officer was convicted on all three counts including murder and manslaughter for killing George Floyd in May of last year. What — if anything — does this verdict change, when it comes to policing in the U.S. and Canada, where charges and convictions are rare in cases of fatal encounters with police?
The two also focus on the COVID crisis unfolding in Ontario, where a chorus of experts from many fields say Doug Ford’s government has led the province into chaos. But what happens if Ontario can’t or won’t take further necessary action to combat this third wave of COVID-19? What options are on the table then?
Pandemic anger and the federal budget
The pandemic isn't over but many people are over it. They're fed up with COVID-19, fed up with the lockdowns, and fed up with how governments have handled this whole pandemic. So today, Rosie and Elamin talk about the various ways people are expressing their anger, and whether there's anything governments can do to address the reasons for that anger.
Plus, the two check in about the upcoming federal budget. It's the government's first in two years and — in the context of the pandemic and the economic crisis — it may be one of the most important budgets in decades. Will the government take on big, ambitious social issues at this juncture, or will they lay out a path to curb stimulus spending?
Returning to restrictions and what’s ‘left’ for the NDP
Ontario Premier Doug Ford confirmed on Wednesday that Canada’s most populous province would be heading into its second stay-at-home order and third state of emergency as COVID-19 variants of concern continue to spread. Catherine Cullen, senior reporter for CBC News, sits in for Rosie this week and joins Elamin in examining how efforts in several provinces still tend to be reactive versus proactive, and may not reach the “middle ground” that premiers like Alberta’s Jason Kenney often strive to find.
The two also turn their attention to the NDP as the party prepares for its policy convention this weekend. After a year in which the Liberals served up some big policy responses to the pandemic, which would normally be considered the territory of the left — take the CERB, for example — where can the NDP stake their claim as an election looms on the horizon?