National Newswatch

Profanity hurled at Deputy PM Freeland part of ‘darkening trend of aggression,’ as ‘tenor, tone’ of political debate has degraded, say experts

Sep 5 2022 — Mike Lapointe — Following yet another incident where a high-profile Canadian politician faced verbal harassment—in this case, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland accosted outside an Alberta city hall elevator—public safety and national security experts say the lines between legitimate criticism of elected officials, online harassment, and direct, face-to-face harassment are becoming increasingly blurred. “This hollowing out of civic […]

‘Prevailing sense that toxicity is continuing to rise,’ as report finds one in six tweets analyzed during 2021 federal election ‘likely to be toxic’

Aug 19 2022 — Mike Lapointe — An analysis of over two-and-a-half million tweets over 36 days during the 2021 federal election campaign by the Samara Centre for Democracy found that over 475,000—or one in six—were identified as “likely toxic,” meaning they likely contained sexually explicit content, profanity, identity attacks, threats, and insults. Amid an increasing trend in toxic exchanges, threats, and […]

Co-ordinated, vitriolic online attacks against female journalists prompt police reports, calls for action from media organizations

Aug 17 2022 — Mike Lapointe — An uptick in hateful, racist, and sexist vitriol directed at female journalists in recent weeks has prompted a trio of news organizations to co-sign a letter addressed to police and federal ministers calling for greater co-ordination, regular updates, and a formal role for media to file complaints on behalf of or with journalists who have […]

‘It’s real, it’s serious, and it’s prevalent’: Parliamentarians, experts call for more funding, research into long COVID

Jul 13 2022 — Mike Lapointe — With most public health restrictions across the country already lifted and officials confirming Canada is headed towards, or already in, a seventh wave of COVID-19, Parliamentarians and public health experts are increasing calls for more resources and co-ordination to understand the impacts of “long COVID,” which is likely affecting millions of Canadians. Dr. Kieran Moore, […]

‘We will have another situation at some point’: politicians, experts eye fix to ‘disturbing’ security trends

Jun 21 2022 — Mike Lapointe — National security experts, including the former national security and intelligence adviser to the prime minister, say increasing threats to politicians are “reflective, unfortunately, of the society we live in where we’ve seen this growing polarization.” “This is not something new, what we’ve been seeing over the last three or four months,” said Vincent Rigby, who […]

Too soon to gauge staying power of ‘freedom’ theme in Conservative politics, now at fore of leadership race, say strategists

May 18 2022 — Mike Lapointe — Conservative strategists are in agreement that while there has always been a campaign for more freedom and smaller government at the heart of conservatism in Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the theme particularly relevant today—most notably in the ongoing Conservative Party leadership race. But some argue that it’s too early to say whether or […]

Brown rips Poilievre over ‘slow and selective’ response to Buffalo shooting, as politicians of all stripes denounce ‘white replacement theory’

May 17 2022 — Mike Lapointe — In the wake of a mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., that left 10 Black people dead, Conservative leadership hopefuls and MPs of all stripes are strongly condemning the “ugly racist hate” that motivated the act. But as politicians and the public continue to take stock of the tragedy that occurred just south of the Canada-U.S. […]

Modernization of CSIS Act ‘long overdue’ say national security experts

May 16 2022 — Mike Lapointe — National security experts—and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service itself—are calling for major updates to the CSIS Act, first passed in 1984. The Act should be changed to reflect a rapid growth of online threats, changing attitudes and legislation around privacy, and the exploitation of both conventional and technological means for nefarious ends by authoritarian regimes, […]

‘A first step’: $2B health-care top up welcomed, but better collaboration needed to tackle challenges, say experts

May 10 2022 — Mike Lapointe — Health industry experts are largely welcoming Bill C-17, which would see a $2-billion infusion of federal cash shared between every province and territory meant to address troubling backlogs in health-care systems created throughout COVID-19. But they also say the money is not nearly enough after so many months of a system stretched to the limit, […]

Industry stakeholders, experts applaud feds’ critical minerals spending, as geopolitics loom large in supply chains

May 3 2022 — Mike Lapointe — The federal government’s recent $3.8-billion budget proposal to develop Canada’s increasingly important critical minerals sector has been met with support from industry experts. But David Billedeau, senior director of natural resources and environmental sustainability at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says it’s still “the start of a very long journey—other countries are more advanced in […]

Unions wary of Treasury Board’s $6-billion ‘strategic policy review,’ and want more details on transforming some federal buildings into residential properties

Apr 25 2022 — Mike Lapointe — With the Treasury Board president now engaged in a “strategic policy review” surrounding government operations after years of record spending and after COVID-19 upended workplace arrangements for federal public servants, Public Service Alliance of Canada national president Chris Aylward warned that “we’ve seen deceptive language like this before,” referring to former prime minister Stephen Harper’s […]

‘There are still many unknowns,’ says epidemiologist, as MPs report public anxiety as mandates lift amid COVID sixth wave

Apr 5 2022 — Mike Lapointe — As the sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic comes crashing down on Canadians across the country, MPs and epidemiologists are expressing concerns that mask and vaccine mandates were lifted too soon, and are emphasizing that the pandemic is nowhere near over—despite public fatigue after more than two years of lockdowns and mandates. Dr. Raywat Deonandan, […]

Amnesty International backs Black public servants’ proposed class action suit

Mar 3 2022 — Mike Lapointe — Amnesty International, a global organization with a mandate to protect and promote human rights, has thrown its support behind a multi-billion-dollar proposed class-action lawsuit against the federal government by current and former Black public servants alleging discrimination and lack of advancement opportunities stemming as far back as 1970. “This is a widespread discrimination with 1,300 […]

Feds deny delay as lawyer in multi-billion-dollar Black bureaucrats’ class-action suit calls Crown’s ‘overlap’ arguments ‘insulting’

Mar 2 2022 — Mike Lapointe — The leading lawyer in a multi-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit representing current and former Black federal public servants, filed against the federal government and now involving nearly 1,300 individuals, says the government’s lawyers are attempting to delay proceedings by claiming the Black class action overlaps with other ongoing cases—an argument which he calls “insulting.” “It’s not a […]