Kenney’s Keystone Tantrum
Jeremy (@JeremyAppel1025) here to guide you through the cosmos of today’s news. On this lovely Thursday, we’ve got stories on: Jason Kenney’s meltdown over the long-anticipated cancellation of Keystone XL; the dangers of private nursing homes; a largely-unexamined mental health crisis among kids during the pandemic; a major increase of COVID-19 cases on First Nations reserves.
Jason Kenney Throws A Shit Fit Over Keystone XL Cancellation
On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, he did what anyone who’s been paying attention knew he would and cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have brought oil from Alberta’s tar sands to Nebraska.
Kenney had three years to plan for this scenario and, you know, maybe diversify the province’s economy, but he decided to instead invest $1.5 billion in the risky project. Biden was vice president when Barack Obama cancelled the project for the first time, and he has made no secret of his desire to reverse Donald Trump’s decision to allow more of Canada’s uniquely-toxic oil into the United States.
Alberta’s premier held a characteristically grievance-filled press conference yesterday, in which he described the decision as a “gut punch” and an “insult directed at the United State’s most important ally and trading partner.”
He called on the federal government to impose sanctions on the U.S. if they don’t accede to his demands, otherwise he may have to throw another temper tantrum directed at the feds.
Kenney is fond of responding to critics of his policies with the slogan, “Promise made, promise kept.”
In CBC, journalist Graham Thomson wrote, “Perhaps Biden should simply send Kenney a four-word email the premier would understand: ‘promise made, promise kept.’”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s response was much more measured, but also revealing of where his heart lies on climate policy — to the right of Biden.
”While we welcome the President’s commitment to fight climate change, we are disappointed but acknowledge the President’s decision to fulfill his election campaign promise on Keystone XL,” said Trudeau.
Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like Trudeau will push Biden much on the subject, but this is only due to the political capital he’s investing in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from Edmonton to Burnaby, not some sort of higher environmentalist principles.
So now we must focus our efforts on stopping TMX.
- Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s science advisory panel has issued a new report that confirms what many have been saying for months — for-profit nursing homes are deadly.
- The for-profit facilities in question, which are run by large companies such as Chartwell and Extendicare, have had almost double the infections as non-profits, and 78 per cent more fatalities.
- The majority of nursing homes in Ontario are for-profit companies, while a quarter are private not-for-profits, and 16 per cent are public.
- From the Toronto Star: “The scientists, including doctors and epidemiologists, call for less crowding of residents in Ontario’s 626 nursing homes, paid sick leave and more full-time jobs for workers to limit the number of transient temporary staff that spread illness from one facility to another.”
- It’s no secret that the social isolation caused by pandemic restrictions is having a negative impact on our mental health, but Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children says it’s specifically seen a large increase in youth requiring hospitalization for eating disorders.
- Debra Katzman, professor of pediatrics at the hospital and the University of Toronto, says the children they’re treating are on aggregate more underweight than those who sought treatment pre-pandemic, and as a result require longer stays in the hospital. The influx of kids seeking outpatient treatment has led to wait time doubling to six months.
- This is consistent with data from the rest of the country, as well as the U.S. and United Kingdom.
- Beyond the limits on social interaction and extracurricular activities, kids are spending more time on social media, where they’re inundated with messages about weight gain.
ICYMI: Public Health Officials Address ‘Alarming Rate’ Of COVID-19 Infections In Indigenous Communities
Indigenous Services Canada says it’s seen a troubling spike in COVID-19 cases in First Nations communities, with a significant concentration in the prairie provinces.
There are more than 5,500 active cases on reserves throughout the country, bringing the total confirmed case count to more than 13,000, with at least 120 deaths. By contrast, the single-largest active case count during the pandemic’s first wave was 99.
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller attributes this increase to cities easing up travel restrictions, which brought the virus onto reserves.
Vaccines have reached 169 reserves across the country, but the vaccination of Indigenous people outside reserves isn’t part of phase one.
This particular concern has been heightened by the tragic death of Raphael Andre in Montreal. Andre was a homeless First Nations man who died in a porta-potty, where he is believed to have gone to hide from police after being out past the province’s 8 p.m. curfew.
That’s a wrap on your Passage Daily for January 21. Stay tuned to your inbox tomorrow for more.
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