This Week in Canadian Politics 2018-06-24

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

“Canadians with disabilities felt a surge of tempered optimism on Wednesday as they watched Canada table its first piece of federal legislation aimed at improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

Disabled residents and advocacy organizations said the introduction of the Accessible Canada Act marked a key step towards greater inclusion and contained several critical points community members had named as priorities during a lengthy cross-country consultation process that helped shape the new bill.

But they also raised concerns about provisions the draft bill appears to lack, such as measures to ensure new accessibility barriers do not work their way into future government laws.

Minister for Sport and Persons with Disabilities Kirsty Duncan, the third person to oversee the legislation in as many years, celebrated the “historic” act as a victory for disabled Canadians.

“We are here because of the disability community and their advocacy for decades,” Duncan told The Canadian Press. “This is the community’s legislation.””

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-federal-government-tables-canadas-first-national-accessibility-law/.

“After the Senate voted to pass a bill legalizing recreational cannabis in Canada, the legislation sparked headlines and social media reaction around the globe.

News of the bill passing made its way onto CNN, Newsweek, and the BBC, to name a few. Most of the international stories chose to compare Canada’s new law to their own and speculate about the possibility of Canada’s rules spreading elsewhere.

While the Washington Post kept it simple with a headline reading “Canada’s Senate votes to legalize marijuana,” Esquire magazine was a tad edgier with “Canada just legalized marijuana throughout the whole damn country.” CBS News had an entire story speculating about the future of legal pot in the U.K., titled “After Canada, will U.K. be next to legalize marijuana?””

Source: https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/canada-s-cannabis-law-makes-headlines-worldwide-1.3981460.

“Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says he knew almost the moment he heard Kinder Morgan was pressing the pause button on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on April 8 that the federal government was likely going to have to buy the whole thing.

Although the final decision to purchase took more than seven weeks of secret negotiations with the company — many of which even Carr was not in on as they were handled by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and a very small team of finance officials — Carr says when he got a phone call in his hotel room during a business trip to New York City he knew what the final outcome was likely to be.

“When that phone call came, I knew that there was a reasonable chance that they would pull out and at the same time there was a possibility Canada would step in,” Carr said.”

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/carr-trans-mountain-pipeline-purchase-government-1.4720119.

“Canadian troops started to take up their positions in the world’s most dangerous peacekeeping mission on Sunday, as a dozen Forces members flew into an isolated United Nations’ base to begin work on Canada’s year-long commitment to help bring peace and stability to this strife-riven African nation.

The sun beat down on the tarmac as defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance led the small contingent out of the Hercules transport plane that had carried them into the country and were met by a German convoy covered in the red dust that seems to be everywhere.

Gen. Vance and the 12-member advance team, whose task will be to lay the groundwork for the eventual arrival of the eight helicopters and 250 military members who comprise Canada’s mission in Mali, were scheduled to arrive the day before.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-first-canadian-peacekeepers-arrive-in-mali-as-yearlong-mission-begins/.

The House of Commons erupting into chaos over a pipeline intended to connect Alberta oil to a greater market. Talk of the government subsidizing resource infrastructure. Conservatives throwing barbs over Liberal arrogance. All this should sound familiar to anyone paying even cursory attention to Canadian politics right now, but the pipeline in this scenario isn’t Kinder Morgan’s. It’s TransCanada’s. And this isn’t 2018. It’s 1956.

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project is not the first pipeline to divide Canada’s major parties and split its electorate. From May 8 to June 7, 1956, a pipeline ripped Canadian politics apart. Debate over the construction of the TransCanada pipeline resulted in what historian William Kilbourn called “the stormiest episode in Canadian parliamentary history.” The House of Commons devolved into bitterness and viciousness, with the debate hitting such a feverish pitch that it supposedly caused the fatal heart attack of one MP. Some political careers were launched, others were destroyed.

At its heart, the 1956 pipeline debate was a microcosm of the greater economic question that had split Canada since Confederation: nationalism or continentalism? The point of division over TransCanada was not whether the pipeline should be built – the expansion of natural-resource infrastructure was considered an unambiguous good – but whether it should be owned by an American company. The U.S.-owned TransCanada Pipeline Ltd. had apprehensions about building a pipeline across the Canadian Shield, so the Liberal government of Louis St. Laurent, driven largely by “Minister of Everything” C.D. Howe, offered to subsidize its construction. Mr. Howe presented a plan to the House of Commons to lend TransCanada $80-million. Describing the pipeline as a “great national project,” Mr. Howe insisted that lending money to the U.S. firm was the only way to get construction under way that year.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-politics-of-pipelines-are-the-politics-of-canadian-sovereignty/.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

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Image Credit: Pixabay.

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