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Provinces to Trudeau: It’s always about you

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Ahead of Friday’s first ministers’ meeting, the attendees are already at each others’ throats. The feds and the provinces can’t even agree on who should be allowed to attend a pre-meeting luncheon on Thursday—Ottawa says just the Prime Minister and premiers with one note taker, while the provinces want each leader to bring in an official. The main dispute though is over the agenda of the meeting. The provinces have a broad set of complaints they want to bring to the table—pipelines, carbon taxes, the GM plant closure and oil prices—but none of those things are spelled out in the agenda. The Trudeau government, meanwhile, wants to make the meeting about issues it views as important: competitiveness, clean energy initiatives and greater economic collaboration. “If the agenda doesn’t change, the premiers will change the agenda during the meeting itself,” Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said Wednesday. (CTV, Canadian Press)

As far as Raj Grewal and his lawyer are concerned, they’re done explaining the former Liberal MPs millions in gambling debts, how the money was repaid, his name appearing on wiretaps of a money laundering investigation, and his use of his position on a finance committee to urge a higher reporting threshold for financial transactions before they need to be flagged to authorities. In short, everyone can just butt out. “This is now a private personal family matter,” Grewal’s lawyer Joel Etienne said, after clarifying that the money was borrowed from “family and friends” and “repaid back only by family.” (Toronto Star)

If the Trudeau government gets its way, the David Suzuki Foundation should be granted intervenor status at the upcoming Saskatchewan Court of Appeal fight over his government’s carbon tax, but the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party should not. (Global News)

At the funeral for former president George H. W. Bush, Brian Mulroney delivered an emotion eulogy. If you missed it, you can see the video at Maclean’s or read the transcript.

President Bush’s decision to go forward with strong environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act that resulted in the acid rain accord with Canada, is a splendid gift to future generations of Americans and Canadians, to savour in the air they breathe and the water they drink; in the forests they enjoy and the lakes, rivers and streams they cherish.

There’s a word for this: it’s called leadership. Leadership.

And let me tell you that when George Bush was president of the United States of America, every single head of government in the world knew that they were dealing with a gentleman. A genuine leader. One who was distinguished, resolute and brave.  (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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