Hiii passengers — Sarah (@sarahkrichel) here. How are you faring in lockdown #2? A scientific study showed that the mental state of “flow,” meaning you’re so focused on the thing you’re doing that you don’t notice your external surroundings, is good for quarantine mental health. This is your sign to get lost in something new, like a painting or a fresh book. Get your five minutes of news out of the way and then give it a try.

Today we cover: why the CERB and the Liberals’ new rent relief frustrates more than it relieves; why the Toronto van attack trial is so contentious; how the slightly less rich want to tax the slightly richer; why we should shift the “should I travel right now” debate from safety to ethics.

Let’s do the thing!

CERB Is An Anxiety-Inducing Mess And Rent Relief Is For Businesses, Not People. I Feel So Much Better Now!

The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) is warning 213,000 Canadians that if they somehow received a Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) double-payment, they have to pay it back to the government by the end of 2020. If they don’t, the CBC reports, the charge will appear on their T4A tax slips and will have to be reported as income. The CRA said it can come up with arrangements for those who aren’t able to pay right away.

This “benefit” has arguably caused more stress than benefit to Canadians who needed to cover their bills — A.K.A., everyone. Moreover, students had to wait months before seeing a benefit specific to them. Qualifiers received a grant total of $1,250 or $2,000 — hardly enough to cover the costs of rent, tuition, kids, mortgages, food, etc. (And, was I the only one terrified of committing fraud by accident?)

Canadians reported immense anxiety over the new benefit last month, including Hajar Pittman, an Ontario mother of two who was laid off during her maternity leave this year. She told the CBC she’d “never felt this hopeless” when getting a message saying she was ineligible for unexplained reasons. 

Additionally, yesterday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced another relief program for businesses, where owners can apply for a rent subsidy ranging from 65 to 90 per cent. But, businesses are anxious about that too.

It also begs the question … where the hell is the rent subsidy for citizens? Speaking in the provincial and federal governments’ languages — where is the support for the citizens that support your precious businesses? 

The newfound acknowledgement of anxiety and mental health issues by our governments have been a relief, but the anxiety inducers keep on coming. 

Go Deeper: The Media Keeps Blaming Overdoses on the CERB. They’re Wrong

Toronto Van Attack Trial Judge Recommends Media No Longer Names Fame-Seeking Perpetrators of Violence

  • The Toronto van attack is reigniting a debate around whether journalists should name killers or perpetrators of violence who seek fame through their actions after an autism expert said he would only testify if the court agreed that his interviews with Alek Minassian would never be seen by the public, in order to help make copycat killers less likely.
  • In April, Trudeau, too, asked that journalists not name the mass shooter in the killing of 22 people in Nova Scotia so as to not “give him the gift of infamy.”
  • This isn’t the only debate-worthy part of this case — Autism Canada denounced Minassian’s lawyer’s argument, which said autism is similar to being in a state of psychosis. The autism community expressed outrage and frustration over the misleading and harmful idea about people with autism.
  • “Autism Canada wishes to respond emphatically that these claims are […] made carelessly without any published evidence proving autism, on its own, is a risk factor for becoming violent against other people.” Autism Canada

Even the Slightly Less Rich Want the Really Rich to Pay for the Pandemic

  • Abacus Data found that 79 per cent of Canadians support a 1 per cent wealth tax on those with more than $20 million in assets. 
  • The idea has support from: at least 75 per cent of people in every region across all age groups and levels of education; 73 per cent of households in the top income bracket; a majority of Conservative voters.
  • One expert said the support is due to a current openness to circumstance-specific taxes, given the state of the world right now — combined with the preexisting concern about the current wealth gap. Another expert said there was already broad support for a wealth tax, and the pandemic has only strengthened it.
  • If this is the case… I’ll say it again: Dream big, Canadian politicians.

ICYMI: To Vacay Or Not To Vacay: It’s Not About Safety, It’s About Ethics

Check out (and then send to your rich friends) this Walrus piece on debating the ethics of travelling right now — a well-timed read for Lockdown: The Sequel.

The piece explores the “need” to travel post-major lockdown, the sudden increase of the social acceptance of travel and the overlooked discomfort of, as well as the imposed danger on, the people who call those hot destinations their home. Beyond that, it makes a key point about the currently suffering tourism industry that our governments should take note of: saving tourism and investing in it won’t save us from COVID-19. 

From The Walrus: Tourism has always been entwined with privilege—a luxury accessible only to those who can afford it, often reliant on less-advantaged workers—but the pandemic has thrown its ethics into sharper contrast. Maybe the question people should be asking isn’t “Is it safe for me to travel yet?” but rather “Is travel even ethical right now?”

Send your flow activities to @sarahkrichel and I’ll see you on the next ride, passengers.

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