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Should Wilson-Raybould have resigned on principle if SNC allegations are true?

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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.

Given Jody Wilson-Raybould‘s prominence in the Trudeau government’s “Sunny Ways” imagery of gender equality, reconciliation, climate change, governance and transparency, the allegation that she rebuffed pressure from the PMO to go easy on SNC-Lavalin in its fraud and corruption case, and her sudden shuffled out of the Justice portfolio, will leave a bruise no matter how this ends, writes Anne Kingston:

There may or may not be a commission of inquiry into the grave allegation that PMO officials put heavy pressure on Jody Wilson-Raybould when she was Justice Minister and Attorney General to help Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin secure deferred prosecution; then, when she refused, she was demoted to Veterans Affairs. We don’t know. There may or may not be a shoe store of shoes yet to drop. We don’t know. Questions swirl in the vacuum of silence and absence of anything approaching clarity, their answers unknown. What we do know is this: the allegation involving Jody Wilson-Raybould and its aftermath has effectively kneed the Liberal government where it hurts the most—squarely in its Real Change™ optics. (Maclean’s)

For two years a remediation agreement was at the heart of SNC-Lavalin’s makeover plan, writes Paul Wells. And anyone who read a Montreal newspaper knew it. The problem was the Public Prosecutions Service of Canada needed the approval of the Attorney General of Canada to proceed. In October, then-AG Wilson-Raybould didn’t give her approval. (Maclean’s)

Should Wilson-Raybould have resigned on principle? If the allegations are true that the PMO pressured her to interfere in the SNC-Lavalin case then yes, she should have, the University of British Columbia law professor Andrew Flavelle tells John Geddes in this Q&A:

A: If these allegations are true—and I have no idea if they are or not—there’s a very good argument the attorney general and minister of justice should have resigned when they happened. There’s some disagreement in the literature about when the attorney general should resign. The one thing pretty much everyone agrees on is the Prime Minister and cabinet can’t interfere in decision-making in a criminal case.

Q: Why should she resign if somebody else acted improperly? Shouldn’t they resign?

A: That’s a separate question, whether they should or not. When there’s been such interference in the attorney general’s criminal responsibilities, there’s a strong convention that he or she should resign, in the same way sometimes people talk about how the Bank of Canada governor, if he was directed to do something by the Prime Minister, would have to resign. It’s not that he’s done something wrong, it’s that the attack on the office is so egregious. (Maclean’s)

More commentary from the weekend about the SNC-Lavalin affair:

  • Andrew Coyne: Hard to overstate seriousness of SNC-Lavalin allegations (National Post)
  • Susan Delacourt: Can Jody Wilson-Raybould continue to serve in Trudeau’s cabinet? (Toronto Star)
  • Tom Brodbeck: PM interference in prosecution is grounds for resignation (Sun)

The sheer wealth of Scheer’s wealth: The Conservative leader loves to tell stories about his frugal upbringing as a contrast to Justin Trudeau’s “vast fortune”, writes Geddes, but the two have a lot more in common than it seems. (Maclean’s)

Wish you were here: Brian Pallister shared Winnipeggers’ wintertime pain with posts on Twitter and Instagram about frigid temperatures and snow in the province’s capital. “Do you like the snow?” one message asked, while another advised:”Expect blowing snow and gusting wind this afternoon! #staywarm my fellow Manitobans!” But unlike his most of his fellow Manitobans, Pallister was at his Winter Legislative Building, otherwise known as his vacation home in tropical Costa Rica. Latest weather there? Clear with a high of 19 degrees Celsius. (Canadian Press)

Weekend politics show roundup

Didn’t catch the politics shows this weekend? Here’s what you missed:

  • New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says his province stands to be hit hardest by the Trudeau government’s carbon tax, and that will hit Trudeau’s results in the province in the election this fall: “If you look at industries here, you look at the state they’re in environmentally, we’re starting from a whole different point of view. I don’t have five coal plants to close,” he said on CTV’s Question Period. “We don’t need more tax, and that’s the goal.”(CTV News)
  • Jody Wilson-Raybould‘s replacement as attorney minister, Justice Minister David Lametti, said the prime minister did not apply any pressure to Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin in its fraud and corruption charges, because the prime minister said so: “I can speak for myself that I’ve had certainly no pressure on me. No attempt to direct me on the matter,” Lametti told CBC’s The House. “And the prime minister has been clear that the same is true of (my) predecessor.” Asked how he knows Wilson-Raybould wasn’t pressured, Lametti said he’s “relying on what the prime minister had said.” (CBC News)
  • Is the Trudeau government’s Bill C-69 a deliberate attempt to kill the oil sands? Sen. Doug Black, a former Conservative in the Upper Chamber who now sits as an independent, thinks so. “There will be no new development in the oilsands. Many would argue that’s the very intent of the legislation,” he said on Global’s West Block. “I believe there are parts of the government that believe that would be a desirable outcome.

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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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