PPGR Morning Briefing
Good morning and welcome to the PPGR Morning Briefing!
On this crisp Thursday morning, may your coffee be strong and your commute not too long!
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:
New and emerging medical research on concussions has underscored the importance of this public health issue. And yet, many athletes, coaches, and parents of youth in sport still do not understand or accept the severity of the impact concussions can have in the long-term — thus perpetuating on ongoing culture of neglect. While Ontario recently became the first jurisdiction in Canada to get “a-head” on addressing concussions in youth sport through legislation, Julia Maiolino, a former varsity athlete herself, argues for increased public awareness and education.
The thought of a nice, long vacation could not be more enticing as assignment deadlines pile up and exam season looms for the graduate students among us. Shannon Brooks’ commentary piece “Why Canadians Need More Vacation” compares Canadian labour policies to those of France, making a compelling argument in favour of the French model. The model puts emphasis on leisure and social well-being, and has demonstrated positive policy outcomes, including increased labour productivity and a boost in social and familial ties. Should Canada take a page from France’s beach read?
While Canada could learn a thing or two from France about the virtues of vacation, we might be able to offer our French friends some tips on how to approach religious and racial tensions. Canada and France have contrasting policy frameworks for immigrant integration: while Canada takes a multicultural approach, France embraces strict secularism. Celine Caira argues that this approach may be harmful, contributing to French immigrants being seen as perpetually foreign. With French immigration forecasted to increase, a multicultural approach could promote tolerance of religious, racial, and cultural differences among residents.
Patrick Lagacé, Mohamed Fahmy, and Tom Henheffer behind journalist Ben Makuch speaking to his experiences on police surveillance and greater protection for journalists.
Following the phone-tapping scandal earlier this month, which uncovered the breach in privacy of many journalists by the Montréal police, there is now a call to create better legislation to protect journalists and their sources. Suggested protections include a shield law that would better protect journalists from having to disclose their confidential sources. Canada lags behind other Western democracies in this regard — Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he is interested in and open to suggestions from journalists and other actors on how to make progress.
Yesterday, Health Minister Jane Philpott referred to the Liberal government’s funding for health-care facilities in Indigenous communities as a “drop in the bucket”. The $270 million was allocated in the 2016 budget simply isn’t enough to put health outcomes on par with the rest of the country, she said. Jordan’s Principle — that an Indigenous child requiring medical care should be cared for upfront, prior to a discussion of which level government is responsible for footing the bill — is being implemented following a unanimous vote in the House of Commons on November 1. This is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.
Falling under the “words we never thought we would write” section this morning, former Presidential also-ran Rick Santorum has weighed in on Prime Minister Trudeau’s decision to signal his openness to renegotiating NAFTA. Speaking at a dinner for the Canadian American Business Council last night, the former Pennsylvania senator decried Trudeau’s negotiating tactics and called on Canadians to view the Trump presidency as “an opportunity, not a source of concern.” No word yet on whether Trudeau plans to offer Santorum a job at the PMO for more direct access to his policy advice.
After last week, you may be feeling higher (than usual) levels of distrust toward polls and pollsters, but CBC poll analyst Éric Grenier has the latest on two key by-elections being held in Ontario today. Voters will go to the polls in both Ottawa-Vanier and Niagara-West Glanbrook. Grenier characterizes the former as a Liberal stronghold and the latter as an easy victory for the Progressive Conservatives, but is quick to point to recent polls suggesting that the Ontario Liberals’ approval ratings sit at just 24 per cent (compared to about 25 per cent for the Ontario NDP and 43 per cent for the PCs).
Many of you heard that on the night of the US Presidential Election, Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship website was inundated with over 200,000 Americans visitors looking for access to information on the process for moving north. But in the middle of all the hype following the election, did you know that Canada discretely tweaked its immigration system, making it easier for Americans to move here? The new rules, set to take effect this Saturday, will allow thousands of Americans currently working and residing in Canada, and many who may want to move here, to become citizens more easily. When asked if the changes were related to President-elect Trump’s victory, Immigration Minister John McCallum’s assistant denied any connection. Timing is a funny thing…
In a year in which a “nation-to-nation relationship” has been lauded time and again as the objective driving the Canadian government’s interactions with Indigenous peoples, it is surprising how little has been said about the Indian Act. In his latest for Policy Options, Mowat Centre Policy Associate Michael Morden addresses explores what is to be done with the outdated statute, and the complexities involved in altering a document that has taken on quasi-constitutional status. Morden maintains that change is possible if policymakers are willing to move beyond the Indian Act’s governing architecture to seriously consider radical reforms.
That’s all for today! Look out for the next edition of the PPGR Morning Briefing on Monday, November 21.