FIRST READING: A doozy of a vaccine mandate

, FIRST READING: A doozy of a vaccine mandate, Nzuchi Times National News

It looks like we won’t meet those emissions targets Trudeau promised we would “blow past”

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First Reading is a daily newsletter keeping you posted on the travails of Canadian politicos, all curated by the National Post’s own Tristin Hopper. To get an early version sent direct to your inbox every Monday to Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (and 9 a.m. on Sundays), sign up here.

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TOP STORIES

The National Post’s Adrian Humphreys took a closer look at Rakesh David, the former Conservative Party volunteer charged last week with murdering his family in Trinidad and Tobago. Humphreys found David as a figure whose fandom for the Tories was great, but who had a penchant to overstate his involvement with the party. David, who suffers from a severe facial deformity, spoke to Postmedia about his condition in 2008. That story also included quotes from David’s mother who spoke of her “instant” love for him upon his birth. David’s mother, along with his grandmother and brother, were found dead in their Trinidad home from gunshot wounds to the head.

The federal vaccine mandate is officially coming at the end of the month and it’s a doozy. By October 30, Ottawa will require every single civil servant, air passenger, rail passenger and cruise ship passenger to prove inoculation against COVID-19. You have natural immunity after recovering from a COVID-19 infection? Too bad. You are willing to undergo regular COVID-testing in lieu of a vaccine? Too bad; exemptions end November 30. You telecommute to your government job and never come in contact with other humans? Have fun being unemployed. According to one public sector union’s reading of the mandate, vaccination will simply be imposed as a blunt requirement of government employment “independent of where (the employee is) physically working from.”

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On Wednesday, Trudeau admitted error in his decision to use Canada’s first National Truth and Reconciliation Day to jet off to vacation in Tofino (while releasing an official schedule saying that he was tied up with “private meetings” in Ottawa). “Travelling on Sept. 30 was a mistake,” he said, although he denied the part about trying to cover up the trip with a misleading schedule.

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The NDP’s Charlie Angus wants Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett to resign, and he wants it because of her actions on a specific file regarding a former residential school in Northern Ontario. Former students who suffered abuse at St. Anne’s Indian Residential School have had their compensation claims stalled due to a federal government refusal to release the details of police investigations into physical and sexual abuse by St. Anne’s staff.  Said Angus, “In order to show that the government is serious about a new direction, the Prime Minister needs to ensure that Carolyn Bennett is no longer in the cabinet, because it was under her watch that the government spent millions in the cover up of the St. Anne’s legal abuses.”

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Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office has concluded that COVID-19 has prompted $170.3 billion in extraordinary government spending in Ontario alone. That’s roughly $11,724 in COVID-19 spending for every single Ontarian. The federal government paid $144.7 billion of the bill, with the rest covered by the Province of Ontario.

DATA NERD

Canadians don’t care as much about COVID-19 anymore. For the first time since the pandemic started, a Nanos survey found that the disease no longer ranks as Canadians’ chief worry. That title once against belongs to “the environment.” The environment ranked as the top national issue for 17.1 per cent of Canadians, while COVID-19 was the top issue for only 14.9 per cent.

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, FIRST READING: A doozy of a vaccine mandate, Nzuchi Times National News

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The country could have as many as three million Indigenous people by 2040, according to new projections by Statistics Canada. This would put the total population of Indigenous Canadians roughly on par with the national populations of Jamaica, Armenia or Qatar. Indigenous Canadians are one of the country’s fastest growing demographics, despite the obvious fact that their ranks can’t be increased via immigration. While part of this is due to higher fertility, Stats Can also chalks it up to the fact that way more Canadians are now checking the “Indigenous” box on their census form.

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It looks like Canada is not even close to meeting the national emissions targets that Trudeau promised just five months ago. In April, Trudeau pledged that by 2030, Canada would be 40 per cent below the country’s 2005 emissions. According to a new report by Montreal’s Trottier Energy Institute, the cut is going to look more like 16 per cent. This might be a good place to mention that the Paris Climate Agreement originally pinned Canada to a more achievable 2030 target of 30 per cent below 2005 emissions, but Trudeau decided to raise that on the eve of Election 44, promising that Canada was “on track to blow past our old target.”

Canada continues to have the highest prices for cellular data service in the entire world. A new ranking by the Finnish research firm Rewheel found that Canadians paid a higher minimum price for cellular data than anyone else. Researchers noted that the average cost of operating a smartphone in Canada was 13 times more expensive than France.

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, FIRST READING: A doozy of a vaccine mandate, Nzuchi Times National News
Chart showing how a 100 gigabyte data plan is exponentially more expensive for Canadians than anyone else on the planet. Note how many of the cheaper countries are also large and decentralized, which is the typical reason offered for why Canadian cell phone bills are so high. Photo by Rewheel

SOLID TAKES

You may know Huawei best as the employer of the woman whose arrest prompted China to take two of our citizens hostage for 18 months. Licia Corbella implores the federal government to keep this in mind before granting Huawei access to the Canadian 5G network. “Imagine if an angry Chinese President Xi Jinping threatened to shut every subway train in downtown Toronto … or worse yet, every power plant in Canada during a winter cold snap,” she wrote.

Former National Postie Robyn Urback has a new guide on how to mark the solemnity of Remembrance Day via a luxury beach vacation. “You may … choose to request that your brunch is served at precisely 11:11 a.m., as the soldiers who perished at the Somme surely would have wanted,” she wrote. Urback may or may not be satirizing the recent actions of a particular national leader, but suffice to say that former Trudeau advisor Gerry Butts really hated this column.

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In Toronto, it’s generally become an accepted fact that newly elected Spadina-Fort York MP Kevin Vuong should resign. Vuong’s the one who was booted from the Liberals on election eve because he was subject to previously dropped sex assault allegations in 2019. Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir was kicked out of the NDP caucus in 2018 for alleged sexual harassment, although a subsequent investigation mostly found only that Weir “failed to read non-verbal cues in social settings.” In a column, he details the original charges against Vuong and calls it “undemocratic” to deem any Canadian ineligible for elected office because of a “single unproven accusation.”

As opposition to Erin O’Toole’s rule stiffens, John Ivison has an update on the state of the Conservative Party. While he notes that disaffected Conservative voters stayed home in droves on Election Day (or voted for the People’s Party of Canada), theirbigger challenge is how to overcome its brand issues with suburban and new Canadian voters, for whom it remains the party of climate deniers, snitch lines and barbaric cultural practices.”

Get all of these insights and more into your inbox every weekday at 6 p.m. ET by signing up for the First Reading newsletter here

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