PPGR Morning Briefing – November 3, 2016

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Good morning and welcome to another edition of the PPGR Morning Briefing!

Each week we will bring you a selection of relevant articles from the PPGR and other publications on policy issues unfolding across the Canadian media landscape.

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New from the PPGR: 

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Surprise, surprise, Trump makes PPGR headlines again this week! Marvin JS Ferrer comments on what the presidential debates tell us about the state of sexual assault in North America. In a country where 40% of Americans believe that Trump’s notorious decade-old comments were just “locker room talk,” it is important to see this statistic for what it really is; evidence of a culture of normalized sexual assault. Although it seems that the Canadian system has intervened to eliminate such a culture with campaigns such as “It’s Never Okay”, launched in 2015 by Ontario’s government, there is still much room for improvement when it comes to evidence-based policy on  sexual-violence reduction.

At an event hosted by the Institute for Municipal Finance & Governance (IMFG) at the Munk School of Global Affairs this month, the topic of the hour was the reality of Toronto’s financial situation, with the kickstart question: “do we have the right fiscal toolkit?” The three major financial challenges proposed by Peter Wallace, Toronto’s city manager, include the city’s long-term structure, the ability to build capital, and the 2017 & 2018 budget gap – challenges that, unfortunately, not even our city’s hero Drake can fix. While the event did not end on a hopeful note, Lauren Birch proposes that policymakers, public servants, and governments at all levels must work towards a viable solution to improve the city’s status quo.

Morning Roundup:

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We begin across the pond this morning, where the High Court of Justice in England has ruled that Parliament must vote on whether the UK can formally commence the process of leaving the European Union. This means that Prime Minister Theresa May’s government cannot unilaterally move to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the mechanism beginning discussions on a country’s exit from the EU, simply explained here. The government will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, arguing that the combined factors of the “Brexit” referendum and ministerial powers provide them with a sufficient mandate to continue with plans to invoke Article 50 by March 2017. Be sure to keep tabs on the unfolding of this story throughout the day.

Back in Canada, the House of Commons voted 289-0 to pass Bill C-224 at third reading. Known colloquially as the “Good Samaritan bill,” C-244 amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act so that those calling 911 to report a drug overdose will no longer be charged with drug possession themselves. Assuming the bill secures final approval in the Senate, it will be the first private members bill passed in the 42nd session of Parliament.

Keep your enemies close, and your cell phones closer. The Quebec police have admitted to monitoring the cell phones of many prominent journalists three years ago as part of an investigation into alleged leaks of confidential wiretap information. LaPresse’s Patrick Lagrace and Marie-Maude Denis were two of six tracked. There have been similar cases brought to the Supreme Court in years prior,  which have allowed for judges to use a four-point test that allows them to weigh competing public interest on a case-by-case basis. LaPresse is prepared to proceed with legal action against the city’s police.

Finally, after a 108-year title drought, the Chicago Cubs are the 2016 World Series Champions. The Cubs defeated Cleveland 8-7 in a thrilling four-hour match up that kept fans on the edges of their seats until the final out of the 10th inning. We’ve included a handy explainer for those subscribers less enthused about baseball, but who can appreciate a moment that made Bill Murray so happy.

Long-form:

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Next up, Policy Options serves up the perfect addition to your weekend reading list with this extended version of a chapter on the Harper government’s economic policy by former Governor of the Bank of Canada, David Dodge. The chapter is an excerpt from The Harper Factor: Assessing a Prime Minister’s Policy Legacy, a new book co-edited by Jennifer Ditchburn of Policy Options, and Graham Fox of the Institute on Research and Public Policy. In the coming weeks, the PPGR is excited to announce that it will be publishing an exclusive review of The Harper Factor, just in time for the holiday season (stocking stuffers anyone?).

If you’re like us here at the PPGR, you’re currently looking for ways to keep the party going between Halloween and the much anticipated Daylight Savings Time’s Eve. Well, look no further than Maclean’s riveting coverage of the Liberal government’s fall fiscal update. First up is John Geddes with his take on how the government’s new infrastructure bank will court private investment. Then, take a step back with Evan Solomon to put the fiscal update in the broader context of Canada’s adjustment to a slow growth economy.

In a time where the topic of immigration has become increasingly contentious, adding fuel to populist movements’ fire across the globe, the Economist praises Canada for its continued success when it comes to an open approach to immigration, and right they should. In a piece that explains our immigration history and policy development, highlighting Canada’s operation as a country that does not see immigrants as a threat, but rather as an integral part of economic growth and prosperity, the statement that “Canada’s losers are less wretched and its winners less obnoxious” holds true. These days, Trump is a quintessential example of this statement. Compared to our friends south of the border, Canadians are significantly more secure about the rate at which our immigrant population is growing (“we’re going to build a wall” anyone?).

That’s all for today! Look out for the next addition of the PPGR Morning Briefing on Monday, November 7th. Happy reading!

 

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