Politics Insider for Oct. 19, 2021: A reprimand for the Prime Minister; more military troubles; and a call to end the ‘wasteful’ CEWs
Chief Rosanne Casimir reprimanded Justin Trudeau at Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation on Monday, the Globe reports, for missing a ceremony to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: “Today is bittersweet. When we imagined welcoming Prime Minister Trudeau to our community, it was envisioned that it would be an opportunity for him to interact with a wide array of survivors, intergenerational survivors, and many different First Nations as part of Sept. 30, the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.”
Mr. Trudeau’s visit on Monday to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation is taking place after he faced considerable political backlash for not appearing publicly on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and for instead travelling to Tofino. The Prime Minister said Monday that he has many regrets about travelling on that day. He said he took an opportunity to apologize to Ms. Casimir in person for not having been in the community on Sept. 30.
There are witnesses: The woman behind a misconduct allegation against Adm. Art McDonald has told Global News that “several” eyewitnesses corroborated her story, including at least one senior officer that Global verified. Lt. Heather Macdonald told Mercedes Stephenson she was disappointed that Adm. McDonald sent a letter to senior military officers on Thursday claiming he was exonerated.
Not exonerated: Global has a followup story quoting the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, rebutting McDonald’s repeated public claims that he has been exonerated.
“As stated in August 2021, the CFNIS investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct against Admiral McDonald resulted in no charges being laid based on insufficient evidence,” reads the statement. “This does not mean that the allegation was unfounded, which is defined by Statistics Canada as ‘After a police investigation it is concluded that no violation of the law took place nor was attempted’.”
Time to act: Experts tell the Star that it is time for Trudeau to do something about this mess.
“McDonald has no leg to stand on. His job is at pleasure, and he has created displeasure,” said Stephen Saideman, Paterson chair in international affairs at Carleton University, who researches civilian control of the military in democracies. “For cohesion in the military, the government should make a statement and end this. They have the power to do so … Civilian control of the military stops at (Trudeau’s) desk.”
School head out: Former commandant of the Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence is continuing to serve in the military after being relieved of his command following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct, CBC reports. In April, the Canadian Forces removed Lt.-Col. Raphael Guay from his duties. CBC News has now confirmed that the military decided months ago that Guay would not return to his command post.
Kill CEWS: Economist Miles Corak, a former social policy adviser to the federal government, says Chrystia Freeland should not bend to business pressure to maintain the federal wage subsidy, the Globe reports.
At an estimated total cost of $111-billion, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) has been the largest single element of Ottawa’s $286-billion in direct support measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The subsidy provides money directly to businesses whose income has suffered during the pandemic, to cover portions of their employees’ wages. The program has been adjusted and extended several times. The latest extension, approved just before the federal election campaign, moved the subsidy’s expiry date to Oct. 23.
Corak told the Globe that CEWS is wasteful: “The biggest failing of the program was its inability to target funds where they were most needed. Many, many firms received a great deal of monies that weren’t necessary. It supported firms that weren’t going to shut down and it prevented the shutdown of many firms that would have shut down anyways.”
Fewer sitting days: Opposition MPs say the Liberals are trying to avoid scrutiny by limiting House of Commons sitting days this year and delaying the return of Parliament, the Globe reports.
Moe sought U.S. help: Saskatchewan scoured North America looking for health-care workers before asking Ottawa for help, the Leader-Post reports.
The province formally asked Ottawa for ICU staff on Monday, weeks after the federal health minister first offered it, and only after calls for help through emergency networks went unanswered — including requests to more than a dozen American states. “The decision was made this morning to ask the federal government (for help) because we were unable to get it from our emergency measures partners throughout North America,” Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency President Marlo Pritchard said.
Social watchdog: The NDP wants Ottawa to establish an independent social media watchdog after revelations by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, CP reports. “Ms. Haugen reveals that Facebook knew that its algorithms are driving hate content and leading to breakdown in civic engagement,” said Charlie Angus. “Facebook made the decision to incentivize profits through its use of its algorithms over the well-being of its users.”
Senator leaves ISG: Senator Marilou McPhedran has resigned from the largest group in the Senate before a closed-door hearing was scheduled to decide whether to expel her. The Hill Times has a story.
Ford working on his French: Doug Ford said Monday he stopped taking French lessons during the pandemic but has promised to get back at it, CTV reports. Ford said Caroline Mulroney helps him: “She’s a great French teacher and always gives me the phrases, so I’ll get there.”
— Stephen Maher