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Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Theresa May faces no confidence vote after Brexit shellacking

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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.

During her time as Indigenous services minister, Jane Philpott won respect from Indigenous leaders. Now Seamus O’Regan, friend-of-Trudeau and target of much criticism in his old role as Veterans Affairs minister, must try to fill her shoes. Needless to say, not all Indigenous leaders are thrilled with his appointment:

I’m a little disappointed, mainly for selfish reasons,” says Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. “Minister Philpott brought a breath of fresh air into the relationship that we had with the federal government and was truly willing do things in new ways.”

O’Regan steps into the role during a tenuous time between Indigenous people and Ottawa—this after the RCMP raided a camp held by a clan of the Wet’suwet’en in northern B.C., who were protesting a proposed gas pipeline on their traditional territory. “There’s been some unrest and some discord,” Dumas says, adding that despite the unfavourable comparisons between O’Regan and Philpott, he doesn’t believe the new minister “comes without any skills.” (Maclean’s)

This month’s print issue of Maclean’s duelling back and front cover stories features examining Canada’s entrenched partisanship from the perspective of the left and the right. Rick Smith of the Broadbent Institute argues the two sides don’t share equal blame for the sad state of politics in Canada:

On all of the major questions facing humanity today—climate change, inequality, defending and deepening pluralism in an age of globalization —the left is working to find answers. True, in some areas we are still coming up short. For all the achievements of left movements in the 20th century, from the welfare state to universal healthcare to progressive labour legislation, inequality remains a deep and abiding fact of Canadian life. Despite successfully making the environment a major issue of public concern, there is still much work to be done if we are to avert the coming climate crisis. Racism and the discriminatory treatment of racialized Canadians are still tragic realities, human rights and equity laws notwithstanding.

Challenges like these and the moral necessity of tackling them is precisely what animates today’s left in Canada and abroad. Yes, their urgency may inspire impassioned, even angry critiques of the political status quo and what can sometimes be difficult, needlessly fractious debates within our own ranks. Some believe this makes the left and right fellow travelers amid the ongoing crisis of liberal democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

At least one poll shows NDP leader Jagmeet Singh with a comfortable lead in the Burnaby South byelection. The survey by Mainstreet Research gave Singh 38.8 per cent support, ahead of Liberal Karen Wang at 26.3 per cent and Conservative Jay Shin at 22 per cent. Conservative strategists were no doubt focussed on the fourth place position of Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson of Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. She held 8.7 per cent support, which if that had gone to the Conservatives would have catapulted the party into second place. Says Mainstreet’s president and CEO Quito Maggi: “The People’s Party at this stage has significant support and is likely peeling support away from the Conservatives. If the People’s Party is still this strong coming into election day, the Conservatives will have no chance of winning.” (Burnaby Now)

Canada has asked China for leniency in the case of a Canadian convicted of smuggling drugs into that country and sentenced to death during a hastily-arranged retrial.  Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada has spoken with China’s ambassador “and requested clemency.” (CTV News)

Meanwhile, Canada-China relations continue to deteriorate. Mimicking Canada’s travel advisory update that warned Canadians they could face “arbitrary” arrest in China, the Chinese government shot back with its own travel advisory telling Chinese travellers about the risk of “arbitrary” arrest in Canada. (Shanghaiist)

There won’t be a winter caucus meeting for NDP MPs ahead of the next parliamentary sitting at the end of January. Instead the party is deploying its MPs to get Singh elected in Burnaby. “Most, if not all, of the B.C. caucus and others will be going out to help out Jagmeet,” one NDP MP told the CBC. “All of this hinges on what happens in Burnaby.” (CBC News)

While Singh battles for Burnaby South, an old familiar dipper face is campaigning in the riding of Burnaby North-Seymour. Svend Robinson hopes to return to politics, 15 years after the theft of a pricey diamond engagement ring ended his political career: “I am asking the people of Burnaby North-Seymour and Canadians to judge me not on the basis of one serious mistake 15 years ago, for which I paid the price, but to judge me for my lifetime of service to my community, to my country and for the past decade, internationally.” (Canadian Press, Twitter)

Theresa May’s Brexit plan suffered a deafening defeat Tuesday. Her deal, which laid down the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union in just 72 days, was shot down, with 432 MPs voting no, versus just 202 who voted in favour of the deal. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which is set to take place at 2 p.m. ET today. Here’s the moment when the vote was announced and Corbyn called for the no confidence vote. (BBC News)

A no-confidence vote doesn’t necessarily mean an election would happen right away. Nor is it certain to carry, despite May’s thrashing on Tuesday. The Guardian provides a good synopsis of what happens today depending on how the no confidence vote unfolds. Meanwhile this roundup of newspaper front pages in the U.K. says it all: “A Complete Humiliation,” “No Deal… No Hope… No Clue… No Confidence,” “Brextinct: May’s Brexit Deal as Dead as the Dodo” (The Guardian)

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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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