Saturday, June 19, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Joe Vipond, Kashif Perzeda and Danielle Cane write that Canada's failure to talk about the airborne transmission of COVID-19 (or the public health implications of what we've learned) is making it difficult for people to protect themselves and their communities. Gabrielle Douaud et al. study (PDF) the effects of COVID on the brain and nervous system. And William Werbel et al. find that  a third dose of vaccine may be needed to produce a full antibody response in transplant patients.

- Meanwhile, Kellyanne Navare discusses the rush to remove improvements to accessibility implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic - including ones which have long been requested by people with disabilities. 

- Christopher Reynolds reports on Jagmeet Singh's justified outrage in response to a terrorist attack on a Muslim family which reflects bigotry stoked for political purposes. 

- Finally, Jen Gerson writes that Justin Trudeau exemplifies a hollow national vision in which appearances trump any meaningful action. And Mumilaaq Qaqqaq writes about her experience in Parliament - and the failure of the people with power to improve the lives of her constituents:

I’m glad people are finally listening to what I’ve been saying over and over in my time in federal politics: Nunavummiut live in some of the worst conditions in Canada and the federal government is to blame. We have the highest suicide rate in the world. Housing costs are far beyond the reach of most Inuit. Mouldy and overcrowded public housing is the norm. Many don’t have clean water year-round. There’s a food security crisis. In Iqaluit, a gallon of milk costs $20. Even on an MP’s salary, raising a family in my riding would be extremely challenging.


Dealing with these constraints is one thing, but then I have to listen to flowery rhetoric from Liberal MPs, cabinet ministers and, yes, the prime minister, about “reconciliation” or “transformational change,” all the while seeing little to no real change on the ground.


Government members have told me over and over that they know action on housing is needed, but in two years they have done almost nothing to address the crisis. The minister for Indigenous Services, Marc Miller, told me that he hadn’t even bothered to read my report and Adam Vaughan, the Liberal point person on the housing file, answers my pleas for immediate assistance by tweeting “more to do, more to come” on social media. The situation is so dire that even the Conservatives are asking hard questions about mouldy homes and federal underfunding of housing in Nunavut during Question Period.

Even small proposals with tiny price tags have been dismissed out of hand by the Liberal government. Take my amendment to Bill C-19, which would have put Indigenous languages on election ballots. A COVID-19 election seemed like a perfect time to protect Canadian democracy through adding Indigenous languages on ballots. I thought that breaking down a long-standing barrier would be a no-brainer for the Liberals and Conservatives on the committee. I was wrong. They shot it down.

Every time I’ve tried to make change, I’ve been blocked by a Liberal (or a Conservative) who smiles at me and condescendingly compliments my courage while they slam the door on me. Sometimes my work feels meaningless when those with power keep acknowledging that I’m right while they continue to do wrong themselves.

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