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But who will stand up for the autocrats?

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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.

“Grave consequences”—that was China’s threatened response to Canada after police in Vancouver arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on a warrant from the U.S. (Associated Press)

China hasn’t elaborated on what those consequences might be, but China watchers were quick to guess. David Mulroney, the former Canadian ambassador to China, said that country will put any trade talks with Canada in a “deep freeze for sometime.” The ice is already setting. On Sunday the B.C. government suspended a trade mission to China because of the Huawei case. (Global News, Vancouver Sun)

It’s becoming a tradition: former foreign affairs ministers-turned-private-sector mouthpieces siding with autocratic nations to tsk-tsk Canada. After Meng’s arrest John Manley seemed to suggest the Trudeau government should have directed the RCMP to practice “creative incompetence” and let Meng slip through their fingers. “China is the second largest economy in the world, we need to have our own China policy driven by our own national interests. And unfortunately we’ve got ourselves caught in a situation where our China policy is being very much fashioned by some hardliners in Washington,” Manley, who was foreign minister in the Chretien government and is now the CEO of the Business Council of Canada, told CTV.  In August former Conservative foreign affairs minister John Baird appeared on Saudi state TV to berate the Trudeau government for tweeting about the Kingdom’s human rights abuses. Baird now collects his paychecks from Barrick Gold, which has operations in Saudi Arabia. (CTV)

While China threatens Canada for executing a U.S. arrest warrant, America still considers Canada to be a national security threat, its justification for tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. In an interview with the CBC aired Sunday, Justin Trudeau suggested the key to getting those tariffs lifted lies away from the White House: “I mean we, obviously, want to get rid of those steel and aluminum tariffs. But we also see the path toward ratification as a place where there are continued conversations from members of Congress, from business or associations in the U.S., from governors who also want to see these tariffs gone, and we’re going to keep working on that. Every step of the way there continue to be levers to pull on and we’re going to continue to do what Canadians expect us to do, which is look at every opportunity to stand up for our interests.”

Trudeau and the premiers met Friday. Nothing concrete came out of the talks. That was by design, writes Paul Wells, who examines how these types of meetings have evolved through successive prime ministers:

[Trudeau] does not gather the premiers to  decide anything. Everyone’s just checking in. Several days before Friday’s meeting in Montreal, Trudeau’s office sent premiers a proposed agenda. It made no room for a series of issues of capital importance to several provinces, especially the gap between oil prices in Alberta and those in global markets. Several premiers complained. Some wondered aloud whether a trip to Montreal was even worth their time. Did Trudeau’s office tell them to stuff it? Not at all. The feds gave a lot of ground, and in the end no premier reported that his or her favourite issues was ignored. Because when discussion is the only goal, discussion is easy. (Maclean’s)

Doug Ford and Jason Kenney have taken a page out of Donald Trump‘s playbook of treating the media as enemies, because it works:

“It’s changed dramatically, but the change is subtle if you’re not paying attention,” says Tim Abray, a Queen’s University PhD candidate studying voter psychology and a former press secretary to a cabinet minister in Mike Harris’s PC governments in Ontario. “Some politicians aren’t running against the media; they’re vilifying the media. There’s an important difference.”

Abray explains this trend as part of an ongoing effort to negate the effectiveness of unfavourable coverage in the mainstream media. “If you’re a partisan and want to maintain power, you want to neutralize critique as much as possible,” he says. “If the media is a major source of reliable critique, the best you can do is erode people’s confidence in that institution to provide objective critique.”

In short: if politicians undermine the media’s credibility, then whatever criticism of government emerges in the press is chalked up to media bias rather than a party or leader’s shortcomings. (Maclean’s)

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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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