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Albexit would make Brexit ‘look like a walk in the park’




Welcome to a sneak peek of the Maclean’s Politics Insider newsletter. Sign-up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Alberta unbound: Economist Jack Mintz says interest in Alberta separating from Canada — a scenario he calls Albexit — is not just growing quickly, it’s feasible:

Alberta is looking at being forced to sit it out, thanks to political decisions being made by Canadians outside the province. Because of the lack of pipeline capacity promoted by environmentalists who push for Canada to be a “climate leader,” and the politicians who play along, Albertans are losing high-paying jobs, wealth, government revenues and foreign investment in the oilpatch. The lack of support from other provinces — especially British Columbia and Quebec — is raising questions about Alberta’s place in Confederation.

It’s typical to pooh-pooh the possibility of Alberta separation as unrealistic, given the close familial and economic relationships Albertans have with other parts of Canada. But if Brexit happened, then Albexit is just as possible. Probably more so, given the existential threat to Alberta’s prosperity over resource development. (Financial Post)

Others like constitutional scholar Emmett Macfarlane are, shall we say, less convinced: “A secession process under Canada’s system, with its culture of federalism, with its existing constitution, would make the Brexit process look like a f–king walk in the park.” (Twitter)

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Alberta truckers formed a convoy through the town of Nisku in support of building a pipeline. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was also in town and took aim at the Trudeau government’s offer of $1.6 billion in loans and other financial support for Alberta’s oil sector: “In typical Alberta fashion, the message sent back to Ottawa loud and clear: We don’t need handouts, we just want to get back to work.”(CTV News)

Back to basic: A guaranteed minimum income program for Canada may be back on the table. Both Justin Trudeau and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos have recently signalled their interest in the idea of a basic income. Trudeau said “it’s still something that is in the universe of all sorts ofJack Mintz and how to best help Canadians” while Duclos suggested such a program is an inevitability in Canada: At some point, there will be a universal guaranteed minimum income in Canada for all Canadians.” Neither provided a timeline, but in the past the Trudeau Liberals have been cool to the idea. (Global News)

Scheer said the Trudeau government shouldn’t tear up the contract to sell armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. If Canada wants to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen, it should ban all oil imports from the Kingdom. (Globe and Mail)

For what it’s worth, the Saudi’s are falling behind in their payments, to the tune of $1.8 billion as of September. (London Free Press)

Huawei is working to build 5G networks across Canada, however there have been calls from security analysts to ban the company from such work. In a worst-case scenario, where international relations between Canada and China seriously devolved, China would hold the technological keys to disrupt Canada’s 5G network:

In short: if Chinese authorities want access to Huawei data, they can have it, a scenario all the more worrying as Huawei continues to helpbuild the next generation of Internet, known as 5G, across Canada.

Besides faster Internet speeds at home, 5G will open up the potential of interconnected devices: self-driving cars, remote surgeries, and streaming virtual reality. But if, hypothetically, relations between the two countries were to hit a rough patch, then Beijing could conceivably decide it wants access to any of that vital data spanning across Canada’s 5G networks via Huawei. (Maclean’s)

For its part Huawei is telling Canadian officials it will do whatever it takes to “ensure the integrity and security of 5G networks in Canada.” (Financial Post)


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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa




With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV




A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence




Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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