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Is America ‘unhinged’, or does its case against Meng Wanzhou have merit?

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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.

As the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou expands into a diplomatic crisis for Canada, which arrested her in Vancouver on Dec. 1, opinion on her arrest remains divided.

Economist Jeffrey Sachs says Canada is being “used and manipulated” by the U.S. which is “unhinged” by the rise of China and is creating “a new Cold War.” (CBC News)

Writing in the South China Morning Post, Ankit Panda argues the case against Meng appears to have merit, but that Washington has jeopardized the rule of law with President Donald Trump’s offer to intervene in her case. “The U.S. should stand with Canada and affirm that Meng’s arrest is legally justifiable and will be handled as any other bank fraud prosecution might be, without being prejudiced by broader geopolitical factors.” (South China Morning Post)

Here’s a question: Can Trump even follow through on his offer to free Meng in return for China agreeing to a trade deal? It turns out, the answer is yes. But the result could prove disastrous for both the U.S. and Canada. (Maclean’s)

To say NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh had a heard time being heard in 2018 would be an understatement. Speaking with Maclean’s Ottawa bureau chief John Geddes, Singh sketches out his plan to get heard in 2019:

Singh doesn’t deny that he has struggled. “There were some challenges that I faced this year, absolutely,” he said in an interview. “And they took away from the things that I wanted to focus on.” Beyond media attention to his positions on Indian politics and his handling of the Weir affair, Singh suffered from trying to lead his party from outside the House. He jumped from Ontario politics to win the leadership in 2017 and isn’t an MP. Although Singh announced he will run in the vacant Burnaby South riding, just east of Vancouver, Trudeau has delayed calling that by-election, but it is expected to take place in February.

That will leave Singh, who is from Toronto, spending a lot of time working to build his presence in B.C.—away from the fray in Ottawa. But he told Maclean’s he plans to put distinctive NDP policy positions in front of Canadian voters well before next fall’s campaign. In the past, federal parties have sometimes released their platforms far in advance of elections, sometimes just before or even during the campaign. While he wouldn’t be pinned down on precise timing, Singh said he’s firmly in the “release it in advance, in its entirety, camp.”

Before reconciliation is possible, Canadians must admit the truth about the country’s relationship with Indigenous people, writes Riley Yesno:

 The truth is, there is no Canada without Indigenous people; they are the original, foundational, fundamental parts of this land. Instead of trying to make room for them in colonial systems and institutions that were never meant for Indigenous people to exist within, we need to find the willingness to tear it all down and reimagine what a nation that respects truth might look like—and then build that nation. (Maclean’s)

Forget Liberal talk about Canada’s respect for the rule of law, writes Tom Parkin. Late last month, the Trudeau government tabled a bill ending the charter-protected freedom of postal workers to form and act in association. It’s been tried before and it ended badly. (Maclean’s)

In a year-end sit down with Evan Solomon for CTV’s Question Period, Trudeau said Canada is still looking at whether it can cancel the sale of Canadian-made armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, in the wake of the regime’s killing of a journalist. “We’re  engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia,” Trudeau said. (CTV News)

In the same interview Trudeau also ruled out an early election, so now we know Canadians are going to the polls on Oct. 21.

Oh, and the Prime Minister’s biggest regret this past year? “The India Trip.

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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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

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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

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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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