Politics

The push to save Afghanistan from collapse


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As Afghanistan struggles in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover and teeters on the brink of collapse, today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his fellow G20 leaders were part of a summit that is pushing the country’s new rulers to allow humanitarian aid to better reach the country’s suffering people, and to protect the fundamental rights of all Afghans, especially women. While Canada did not wrap up the day by putting any new money on the table, the European Union announced a $1.4 billion support package, about two-thirds of which was new money. The federal government has been clear that any money flowing into Afghanistan will go through the United Nations and the World Bank, not directly to the Taliban.

As the BBC reports, the G20 leaders pledged to avert an economic catastrophe in Afghanistan, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel making it clear that the country should not be allowed to “descend into chaos.

Still looking globally, the new international agreement to slash methane emissions has the potential to quickly put a big dent in global temperature increases, but Canada needs to do more to live up to its commitments, experts say. The 24-country agreement was brokered by the U.S. and European Union ahead of the COP 26 meetings in November, where countries will meet in Glasgow, Scotland to further discuss how to limit global warming and finalize the rules of the Paris Agreement. The countries agreed to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent below 2020 levels by 2030. Aidan Chamandy has more.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addresses a rally of supporters in Saskatoon on Friday, October 4, 2019. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The NDP’s campaign review is an opportunity to talk to candidates and organizers to find out what worked, and what didn’t, during the party’s $25-million national election campaign, say those familiar with the process. The party picked up one riding in the Sept. 20 vote, giving it 25 seats in the House of Commons. Last week, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Bob Dewar, a veteran NDP political strategist, will lead the review. The debrief process will allow people to share their experiences of the campaign. They can also say what the party should invest in, where it fell short, and what needs to change before the next campaign, said NDP national director Anne McGrath. “It’s a place where people can talk about how they felt about (the campaign), and give their best advice for what to keep doing, what to stop doing, and what to change,” she told iPolitics. Rachel Emmanuel reports.

The head of a non-profit financial-data and -technology association says he’s surprised the federal government hasn’t made much progress bringing open banking to Canadians. On Aug. 4, the Advisory Committee on Open Banking released its long-awaited final report on implementing an open banking system after starting its review in 2018. In general, open banking allows customers more freedom to move and access their financial data. For example, banking customers who want to invest their money can go to any company they want, without getting approval from their bank first. The advisory committee recommended the federal government move quickly to implement an open banking system, since Canadians are already using digital technology to access financial services. Ottawa is still reviewing the recommendations. Jeff Labine has more.

The Ontario government revealed details of a nursing home going up in the Toronto suburb of Vaughan today — before announcing reforms of long-term care in the province, which are expected in days or even months. The new facility will be on former Crown land at 7231 Martin Grove Road in Vaughan, Ont., after the Ford government announced the land’s sale last November.

Arch Vaughan Facility Inc., an arm of the real-estate investment firm Arch Corporation, bought the land “with the requirement that long-term-care homes” be built on it, reads a news release announcing the sale. As part of a plan to increase housing supply — which it released before the pandemic in May 2019 — the Ford government is selling off property it owns for the purpose of building nursing homes on it. It’s expected that the land deal between Ontario and Arch Vaughan Facility will be finalized in early 2022, a news release accompanying the government’s announcement reads. Charlie Pinkerton reports.

Making a language law is like “walking on eggs,” says Simon Jolin-Barrette, sponsor of the proposed bill,  An Act Respecting French, the Official and Common Language of Quebec.

“We can’t make it too strong, because that could shock others in the Canadian federation,” said Jolin-Barrette, who’s also Quebec’s Justice minister and government House leader, on the last day of hearings of his Bill 96. He was responding to the concerns of a group representing French speakers outside Quebec that, by unilaterally amending Quebec’s Constitution to affirm that the province forms a nation, with French its official language, Bill 96 could cause a backlash against francophones outside Quebec. Kevin Dougherty has that story.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin (DND photo)

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin’s request to get his old job back as the head of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force has been denied by a Federal Court judge as he failed to file a formal complaint through the military’s grievance system before taking the matter to court. “Maj.-Gen. Fortin has not demonstrated that the decision to remove him from his (Public Health Agency of Canada) position cannot be redressed through the CAF grievance process,” Justice Ann Marie McDonald wrote in the decision released today. “Therefore, he must avail himself of the grievance process before proceeding on judicial review.” Fortin was removed from the position in May amid an allegation of sexual misconduct. CP reports.

Still with the military, Art McDonald, the military’s top commander who was forced onto leave about misconduct allegations, also wants his job back.

Comings and Goings: Additions at Crestview, Counsel promotion

Net Zero: Canada among new signatories of global methane pledge

The Sprout: Fertilizer Canada wants feds to rethink emissions target

In Other Headlines:

Health-care staff shortages could be on the way as COVID-19 vaccine mandates loom (Global)
Ontario’s online proof-of-vaccination portal inaccessible outside of North America (Global)
Money at the heart of child-care disagreement between Ontario and Ottawa, sources say (CBC)
B.C.’s indoor mask mandate now includes children aged 5 and up (CBC)
Pandora Papers’ bombshells have MPs calling for action (National Observer)
‘Really hopeless’: Canada-bound Afghan family stuck in Ukraine after fleeing Kabul (Global)

Internationally:

As countries get ready to convene at COP26 climate talks next month, a line has been drawn in the sand by the U.K. minister who currently has custody over the climate accord. As Politico reports, in his last major speech ahead of the Glasgow meeting, Alok Sharma made it clear he’ll be pushing hard for all countries in Scotland to cut their emissions during this decade by enough to give the world a chance to stop warming at 1.5 degrees. However, some big emitters, and even the French politician who helped negotiate the 2015 Paris climate deal, say that the original deal primarily aims for a 2-degree target. So, the stage is set for a ‘heated’ battle.

Meanwhile in Italy, the strictest COVID-19 measures in the EU are about to take effect. Little surprise, not every one is happy about that. As CBC reports, many of those opposed are on the far right.

In Other International Headlines:

Line 5 opponents urging White House to reject Canada’s ‘audacious’ treaty gambit (CP)
UK lays out more demands on Northern Ireland as post-Brexit battle continues (AP)
Kim vows to build ‘invincible’ military while slamming US (AP)
Russia hits new record for COVID-19 deaths, resists lockdown (AP)
State Dept. investigating whether Trump officials took gifts meant for foreign dignitaries (NBC)

In Opinion:

Andrew Fleming: War in the Woods 2.0 stays frosty with injunction’s return

Tzi-chin Chang: Taiwan eager to co-operate with the world for a net-zero future

Kicker:

Finally, University of British Columbia Prof. Suzanne Simard isn’t much into streaming TV shows. But now that she’s gotten a shout out on the hit series Ted Lasso, she says she may just have to start watching. And in the process, she’s hoping this new-found pop-culture fame will help promote awareness about trees and the environment, which is the focus of her work that brought this all about. CBC has the deets.

Northern Lights in Yellowknife. (Photo: Loren McGinnis/Twitter)

Still with the great outdoors, the Northern Lights put on quite a show overnight.

Here’s hoping for a repeat performance!

 

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