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Politics Briefing: U.S. land border opening to fully vaccinated Canadians in early November

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Hello,

The U.S. land border will soon be open for non-essential travel to Canadians who are fully vaccinated.

The announcement came in a Wednesday news release from U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. He said the change would take effect some time in early November, but did not specify an exact date.

The decision was based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said, and the country will also begin allowing travellers from Mexico to enter at the same time. Anyone crossing into the U.S. will need to show proof of vaccination.

Canada opened its land border to fully vaccinated Americans in August, but the U.S. did not follow suit at the time. Both countries closed the land border to non-essential travel when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, 2020.

As the fourth wave continues to spread across Canada, provincial health officials are working to decrease case counts and increase vaccination rates.

Manitoba is tightening restrictions in the southern part of the province, a region that has slow vaccine uptake. B.C.’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, issued an order in her province on Tuesday for children five and up to wear masks in public spaces. Previously this was only required for those aged 12 and up.

A vaccine for children aged five to 11 could be approved by Health Canada as early as next month, and Dr. Henry said that priority will be given to those in areas of the province where there are already low vaccination rates.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written with Menaka Raman-Wilms. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

The Independent Senators Group, the largest bloc in the upper chamber, is considering expelling one of its members from caucus. The ISG is calling Manitoba Senator Marilou McPhedran before a closed-door hearing next Monday to decide if she will be kicked out.

A new human-rights campaign is targeting the Canadian practice of holding some asylum seekers and refugee claimants in jails. Led by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the campaign urges Canadian provinces to cancel arrangements with the Canadian Border Services Agency that allow thousands of immigrant detainees to be held in provincial jails each year without a time limit.

Environmental activists who are opposed to Line 5 are urging U.S. President Joe Biden to support Michigan and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in their legal effort to shut down the cross-border pipeline. Canada wants formal negotiations with the U.S. under terms of a 44-year old treaty to address the Line 5 dispute.

Canada, along with its G20 allies, is pushing the Taliban to allow Afghans better access to humanitarian aid. This follows a virtual summit on Tuesday where G20 leaders discussed the continuing crisis in Afghanistan. From the CBC.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

The Prime Minister is in Ottawa on Wednesday, according to his public itinerary.

In the morning he virtually delivered remarks at Sweden’s Malmo International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism. In the afternoon he’s scheduled to meet with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors’ Caucus.

LEADERS

No public itineraries were issued by the other leaders for Wednesday.

HOW TO BE A PRIME MINISTER

From Governing Canada, A Guide to the Tradecraft of Politics by Michael Wernick (Published by On Point Press, an imprint of UBC Press)

The Politics Briefing newsletter is featuring excerpts from Governing Canada, a new book by Michael Wernick, the former clerk of the privy council. Our focus is a key chapter, Advice to a Prime Minister. (Parliamentary reporter Kristy Kirkup reported on the project here.)

Today’s excerpt features some key points of, Mr. Wernick’s advice on everyday decisions away from cabinet meetings:

“A lot of the actual work of the prime minister is done away from the cameras and the spotlight. It is about going to meetings and reading and signing documents. Images from British television of an endless flow of red briefcases- dispatch boxes -aren’t far from the mark. One recent prime minister agreed to cap the flow at eighty notes per week. Another agreed to bundle smaller information updates into a weekly package Another pressed the PCO to get the essentials of any note down to a one-page summary box. It was the intelligence briefers who first became skilled at the use of photos, maps, charts, and infographics to convey information, after years of writing long, dense texts Make your preferences clear, and revisit them at least one a year…

“You will be tempted to do a lot of business through oral discussion at meetings. There are reasons why getting things in writing is often in your interest. One is that your reaction or decision can be garbled, ambiguous, or misunderstood when received by others. People tend to hear what they want to hear or expect to hear. There is far less room for that if you have a document that lays out what you are agreeing to. Implementation will be smoother. Notes can be a touchstone later when people may be arguing about what was decided. They can always come back with new information or new advice.”

OPINION

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on why in Canada, the rule of law is giving way to the rule of will: “A constitution is more than the written text. It depends on a cultural consensus that the constitution is something to be respected, and not ignored, or overwritten, or bent out of shape by interpretation. In Canada, the institutions responsible for upholding that consensus – governments and courts – have repeatedly shown themselves incapable of it.”

Brahma Chellaney (contributor to The Globe and Mail) on why the U.S. must deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan: “The worst stance the United States could take would be to oppose a Chinese takeover of Taiwan without credibly signalling a genuine willingness to defend the island militarily. Mr. Xi, who has grown accustomed to acting with impunity, would only be emboldened. With that, the Indo-Pacific order would be overturned, dealing a mortal blow to the United States’ global pre-eminence.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on how unwinding pandemic policy measures will ease foot off inflation gas pedal: “Pandemic-related measures on both the fiscal (government spending) and monetary (Bank of Canada) sides are poised to recede in the coming weeks, removing a significant amount of policy stimulus from the economy. Turns out policy, like a lot of other contributors to the current inflation picture, can also be transitory.”

Naomi Alboim, Karen Cohl (Policy Options) on a postelection to-do list for the Afghan crisis: Afghan refugee claimants in Canada should be fast-tracked at the Immigration and Refugee Board, as has been done for groups from certain other world areas. We also need to expedite the transition to permanent residence for Afghans who entered the country on a temporary permit because they didn’t have the opportunity to complete their immigration processing overseas. Individuals on a temporary permit are not eligible for federal programs available to permanent residents, including income support and the sponsorship of family members.”

Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It’s not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.

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