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.
After the London attack, politics and Islamophobia
In the wake of a fatal attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont., we've heard some familiar sentiments: “This is not who we are.” “This is not what Canada is about.” “This cannot happen here.”
Elamin Abdelmahmoud, who brings lived experience to this conversation, wants to unpack some of that language — and discuss how it squares with the main messages coming from federal politicians of all political stripes. Nearly all party leaders condemned Islamophobia in general at a massive vigil earlier this week, but most carefully avoided mention of specific policy and legislation (like Quebec’s controversial Bill 21, or the 2017 anti-Islamophobia motion M-103.)
Plus, Rosie Barton connects the dots to last week's conversation about reconciliation, and how this country talks about its past, especially the residential school system. As statues like that of Egerton Ryerson continue to topple, she wonders how Canada plans to move the conversation beyond monuments and names on buildings.
A residential schools reckoning, again
It’s a heavy one this week, as Elamin and Rosie explore the state of Canada’s path to reconciliation with the help of CBC colleague Duncan McCue. Over the past week, many people across the country have reacted with shock and horror at the preliminary discovery on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., where the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said they found the potential remains of possibly as many as 215 children in an undocumented burial site. But is the news surprising, when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission told Canadians more than five years ago it had documented the deaths of at least 3,200 Indigenous children, with likely thousands more yet to be acknowledged? The three take stock of the reaction across the country this week, and what it says about Canadians’ understanding of the reality — and the urgency — of the issue of residential schools.
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
An earlier version of this podcast misattributed the quote indicating the goal of residential schools was "to kill the Indian in the child." That error has been fixed.
Quebec wants to tinker with the Constitution
Anytime the words “Quebec” and “Constitution” come up in political conversation, it’s usually a pretty big deal — and, historically, it’s led to some pretty divisive situations. So why aren’t more federal politicians making noise over Quebec’s proposed Bill 96, which aims to strengthen provincial language laws and tweak Canada’s Constitution to recognize Quebec as a nation? Rosie and Elamin lay out the political stakes and connect the dots to the next eventual election.
Plus: as other provinces unveil their summer reopening plans, Manitoba is running out of hospital beds — sending some COVID-19 patients as far away as Ottawa. The two look at how and why Manitoba is the latest province to face a devastating third wave of the pandemic.
Should Canada share its shots?
This week, U.S. President Joe Biden pledged to ship 20 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines to countries that need them — meaning our southern neighbours will be sending abroad a total of 80 million shots by the end of June. This comes just days after the WHO urged rich countries like Canada and the U.S. to consider sharing shots before vaccinating its youngest citizens. As Canada gets closer to surpassing the U.S. in administering first doses, should the federal government follow Biden’s lead and consider sending shots to countries that haven’t yet had the chance to protect their citizens? Or does a government’s own citizens need to be taken care of first?
Rosie and Elamin also can’t help but notice how the U.S. is reopening far faster than Canada, even as Quebec (and a few weeks ago, Saskatchewan) unveiled its plan to ease restrictions and allow, for example, restaurants and gyms to welcome people indoors as soon as the end of May. Will governments be able to manage the patience of Canadians over the coming months?
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?