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Opinion

Public health is not dependable without independence

By Hakique Virani and Elaine Hyshka      

Provincial public health officials have legislated authority to act independently in emergencies, but organizationally, they remain beholden to their political masters and government employers.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam convenes a press conference in August to discuss the state of the pandemic. The federal government must leverage Canada’s internationally recognized public health expertise and immediately establish and fund an independent pandemic response observatory, write Hakique Virani and Elaine Hyshka of the University of Alberta. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Canada’s public health system is failing yet again. Our governments struggled to respond effectively to the 2003 SARS outbreak and 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, and they still have not controlled the staggering epidemic of fatal street-drug overdoses. Now, far less wealthy jurisdictions are outperforming our response to COVID-19. Our system is floundering because of two missing ingredients: public health independence and public trust.

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100 days in, Greens’ leader Paul says she’s close to homing in on where to run

News|By Beatrice Paez
Mobilizing younger voters, especially millennials, would be a 'political windfall' for the Greens, especially in ridings where left-leaning voters have a say in the outcome, says Nik Nanos.

House and Senate joint committees haven’t met since 2019

News|By Neil Moss
'We simply have to find the bandwidth for the joint committee to meet virtually or in a hybrid format,' says Independent Senator Yuen Pau Woo, who is designated to become co-chair of the Scrutiny of Regulations Joint Co

Only, but not lonely: former broadcaster and political rookie Marci Ien brings community to solitary House role

News|By Paige Peacock
She follows former MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who also sat as the only Black woman in the House of Commons between 2015 and 2019.

No deal yet on remote House proceedings, with app process and Chamber-wide testing still to be resolved

A House-wide test of the new remote voting application developed by the administration has yet to take place, and questions on how exactly voting by app would work and look in the Chamber remain to be ironed out.

Federal departments miss quarter of annual targets, with Transportation Safety Board, National Defence among poorest performers

In 2019-20, federal departments and agencies met 1,352 performance targets, missed 556, and tracked 431 more that didn’t have available results.

Twitter’s crackdown on Trump ‘a Band-Aid on a wound,’ say politicos

News|By Palak Mangat
Liberal MP Ken Hardie, former broadcaster, says he doesn't want to see lawmakers or social media companies 'running rampant over free expression,' but there is a 'fine line' that needs to be walked.

NCC proposal for new embassy row could boost diplomatic presence away from the Hill

News|By Neil Moss
The NCC has proposed building six new embassies in the Mechanicsville neighbourhood, which would increase the diplomatic presence west of downtown Ottawa.

Bloc MP Gill tops MP spending for first half of 2020-21

News|By Alice Chen
New disclosure reports for MP spending contain more information about travel and associated costs in a one-report format.

Trudeau reflecting ‘public mood’ in insisting he isn’t eager for an election, says strategist

For the Liberals, triggering their own defeat by putting a 'poison pill' in the upcoming budget, isn’t a surefire strategy for recouping their majority, as it could mean 'killing your chances with some NDP voters.'
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