/Morning Brief: Experts warn Canadians without reliable internet access being left behind

Morning Brief: Experts warn Canadians without reliable internet access being left behind

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Good morning, readers.

Experts in the telecommunication sector are warning the federal government that Canadians without reliable high-speed internet connection will be left behind as more services move online amid COVID-19 closures. 

MPs on the House industry committee met via teleconference Thursday night to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, and heard from stakeholders about how rural communities are being affected. Laura Tribe, executive director of Open Media, a Canadian non-profit which advocates for open communication systems, said the current target of 2030 for national connectivity means rural Canadians will be economically disadvantaged while the internet holds the country together as Canadians stay home.

Rachel Emmanuel has the details.

Canada’s oil patch is not dead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau retorted Thursday, as political pressure mounted on the government not to provide any further bailouts to the struggling sector. His comments come a day after Green Parliamentary leader Elizabeth May declared that “oil is dead” and Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet urged a focus on renewables, not oil, for post-COVID-19 economic investments.

More on this from The Canadian Press.

A significant majority of Canadians who responded to the federal government’s recent consultation on medical assistance in dying supported expanding access to patients with dementia, documents tabled in the House last month reveal.

Roughly four of every five respondents — 235,838 in total or 79.4 per cent, to be precise — said they supported people with dementia-causing diseases like Alzheimer’s arranging medically-assisted deaths before losing decision-making capacity. The government, however did not heed that request and introduced less expansive changes to the MAiD framework earlier this year, in hopes of quickly passing court-mandated amendments.

Charlie Pinkerton has this story.

As Ontario faces calls from Toronto public health to consider new measures to combat overdose deaths — including ‘safe supply’ programs like one in British Columbia — its top medical officer is drawing a contrast between the challenges faced in the two provinces. “They have big challenges there. We don’t exactly have that,” David Williams said this week — claiming that Ontario’s overdose challenge was more wide-spread.

Victoria Gibson’s got this one.

And a new study has found no evidence of benefit from hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug widely promoted as a treatment for COVID-19. The comparison of nearly 1,400 patients treated at New York’s Columbia University, the results of which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the drug didn’t lower the risk of dying or needing a breathing tube. The Associated Press reports.

The Rebel to Rabble Review: Rebel taking Trudeau government to court over press conference access

In Other Headlines

Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs abandons Toronto smart-city project (The Globe and Mail)

Canada stays quiet as China’s handling of COVID-19 comes under scrutiny (Toronto Star)

Firearms group launches charter challenge of weapons ban as Blair clarifies rules for shotguns (CBC News)

Supreme Court agrees to review Ontario ruling that jeopardized multiple verdicts (Canadian Press)

Markham Stouffville Hospital built a new emergency department — with no ‘negative pressure rooms’ in the critical care area (Toronto Star)

ICYMI from iPolitics

Trudeau, in his latest media update yesterday, said a cost-sharing agreement has been reached with the provinces and territories to provide lower-earning essential workers wage top-ups.

It will be up to provincial and territorial governments, some of whom have already introduced wage increases for certain essential workers, to decide who qualifies and how much they’ll receive. Ottawa will provide up to $3 billion for the effort with the provinces and territories offering $1 billion. Jolson Lim has the details.

Meanwhile, the federal government is leaning on provincial and territorial governments to chip in to help cash-starved municipalities facing large financial shortfalls because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has asked the Trudeau government for at least $10 billion in aid to cover an estimated $10- to $15-billion loss in revenue for local governments in the near term, arguing that Ottawa was in the strongest financial position to provide support. But Trudeau emphasized the provincial role in dealing with municipalities when asked about the subject by opposition MPs yesterday.

Lim’s got this one, too.

Hill Movers: Staffing changes in the offices of ministers Hajdu, Garneau and Blair

Around the World

In the United States, the justice department has dropped its criminal case against Michael Flynn, the first national security adviser of president Donald Trump, who had previously pleaded guilty to lying to F.B.I. agents about his conversations with a Russian diplomat. In recent days, Flynn’s lawyers said the department had uncovered new documents pointing to misconduct, particularly in investigators’ interview of him in 2017 as part of an inquiry into whether Trump advisors conspired with Russia’s election interference. (The New York Times)

Croatia’s defense minister, Damir Krsticevic, has resigned after a military training plane crashed in the country’s south, killing two pilots. “It is difficult for every defense minister and commander to lose a soldier. It is important to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into what happened,” Krsticevic said during a news conference yesterday, where he announced his decision to step down. (Reuters)

And European Union officials yesterday defended their handling of relations with China during the coronavirus pandemic, one day after the E.U. ambassador to Beijing allowed an opinion article about E.U.-Chinese relations that he co-wrote to be censored before publication in a state-run newspaper. (The Washington Post)

Cartoon of the Day

Theo Moudakis cartoon


Three men in Toronto have been ticketed for “skateboarding on a prohibited highway” (there’s a charge you don’t see every day!) after a video was posted to TikTok showing three people gliding down Toronto’s Gardiner expressway. Local police say they’re seeing more “grandstanding and publicity stunts,” CTV News reports. But the trio’s ride down the highway was met with a slightly less chastening reaction by some online.

Have a great day!

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