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FIRST READING: ‘Tough on guns’ Liberals making it easier to commit gun crimes


Canada bravely joins Biden’s not-really-a-boycott Olympic boycott

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First Reading is a daily newsletter keeping you posted on the travails of Canadian politicos, all curated by the National Post’s own Tristin Hopper. To get an early version sent direct to your inbox every Monday to Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (and 9 a.m. on Sundays), sign up here.

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TOP STORIES

Canada – along with Australia and the United Kingdom – has officially signed on with the United States’ diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing . The boycott does not prevent these countries from sending their athletes to Beijing. Rather, all it does is declare that politicians and other officials won’t be accompanying the national teams. Which is why critics have argued that one of the only real effects of a diplomatic boycott is that it gives China fewer VIPs to worry about. “Canada should not be going,” David Mulroney, Canada’s ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012, told Maclean’s recently . “Participating in the Games as a genocide is happening is profoundly wrong.”

The Bloc Québécois got approval Tuesday to form a special parliamentary committee to probe the smuggling of illegal firearms. Ironically, this will be occurring simultaneously with a Liberal drive to make it easier for criminals to smuggle firearms . Specifically, a new bill is seeking to remove mandatory minimum sentences for a host of gun crimes, including several related to weapons trafficking. As to why, the Liberals have framed it as a bid to remove “ systemic racism in Canada’s criminal justice system .”

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All of these crimes are set to lose their mandatory minimum sentences, including on second and third offences in certain cases. This is probably where we should mention that Toronto and Montreal, among others, are currently seeing a dramatic spike in gun violence involving precisely these sorts of crimes.
All of these crimes are set to lose their mandatory minimum sentences, including on second and third offences in certain cases. This is probably where we should mention that Toronto and Montreal, among others, are currently seeing a dramatic spike in gun violence involving precisely these sorts of crimes. Photo by Department of Justice Canada

Remember when Meghan Markle complained to Oprah Winfrey that the Queen “pulled our security ”? It turns out you were paying for that security all along. Documents obtained by CBC confirmed that Prince Harry and his family have cost the Canadian taxpayer more than $330,000 in security expenses in their various visits to the country since 2017 . This includes the brief episode in early 2020 where Harry and Meaghan fled London for Victoria, B.C. and first announced their intention to leave the royal family. At the time, protecting the couple in B.C. – which Canada was compelled to do as Harry and Meaghan were officially considered diplomats – was costing the federal treasury more than $1,000 a day. Contrary to Meaghan’s comments to Oprah, that security was pulled because once the couple were no longer royals, Canada’s obligations to surround them with Mounties officially ceased.

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Nathan Cullen, a junior minister with the government of B.C. Premier John Horgan, sent a stern letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki objecting to some videos he saw online purporting to show Mounties dealing out some rough treatment to activists who illegally blockaded a Coastal GasLink work camp last month. There’s just one thing he left out: The entire reason the RCMP was there was to fulfill an order issued by Cullen’s own government .

Canada just barely made Forbes’ list of the world’s powerful women . The 97 th spot this year was occupied by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland . (Our 95-year-old Queen also made number 70).

The new logo for the Parti Quebecois (left) isn’t only confusing, but it was allegedly plagiarized from the logo of a Kazakhstani consulting company (right). In an analysis, Quebec graphic designer Jean-François Proulx called the design “identical” to that of Kazakhstan’s QazContract.
The new logo for the Parti Quebecois (left) isn’t only confusing, but it was allegedly plagiarized from the logo of a Kazakhstani consulting company (right). In an analysis, Quebec graphic designer Jean-François Proulx called the design “identical” to that of Kazakhstan’s QazContract. Photo by Parti Quebecois/QazContract

ECONOMIX

The Bank of Canada is no longer calling our more-than-doubled rate of inflation “temporary,” but they’ve also decided they won’t be doing anything about it for a while . An updated policy statement by the central bank admitted that inflation is likely to continue well into 2022, well beyond their prior forecasts that this whole thing was “temporary” or “transitory.” The inflation rate currently stands at 4.7 per cent – more than double the usual two per cent.

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Meanwhile, the bank also said it would continue to keep interest rates at a rock bottom 0.25 per cent . In sum, your dollar is hemorrhaging value because the economy currently has too much money chasing too few goods, and there is basically zero incentive for people to remove their dollars from said economy because putting it in the bank will currently net them -4.5 per cent per year.

It’s probably just a coincidence that mortgage debt is absolutely soaring in Canada’s ongoing Era of Rock Bottom Interest . Analysis by Better Dwelling found that mortgage debt has grown more than twice as fast as GDP in the last 10 years. If you add up all Canada’s outstanding mortgage debt, meanwhile, it’s equal to 71 per cent of GDP. As Better Dwelling observes, Canada’s economy is increasingly resembling a “housing Ponzi” scheme.

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It’s that time of year again when the Canadian Army starts shooting at snow. Operation Palaci, staged every winter at Rogers Pass in B.C., has artillery units bombard the snowpack in order to prevent avalanches from striking the Trans-Canada Highway.
It’s that time of year again when the Canadian Army starts shooting at snow. Operation Palaci, staged every winter at Rogers Pass in B.C., has artillery units bombard the snowpack in order to prevent avalanches from striking the Trans-Canada Highway. Photo by Department of National Defence

SOLID TAKES

Terry Glavin has never been a big fan of former ambassador to China Dominic Barton, so he bristled when Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly said Barton would be remembered as one of “Canada’s great diplomats.” Writes Glavin , “If Barton should be remembered for anything, it’s that he played a key supporting role in Canada’s catastrophic  lurch towards China .” He also dredges up a factoid that in Barton’s last year as a managing partner at McKinsey & Company, the firm literally held a global retreat within walking distance of a Uyghur concentration camp .

Despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promises to end the AIDS crisis, Canada is actually doing worse on HIV than any other country in the G7 , notes Sabrina Maddeaux . “Our number of new HIV cases increased by 25.3 per cent between 2014 and 2020,” she wrote, noting that during the same period HIV cases in the U.K. and the U.S. plummeted. As to why, Maddeaux says it’s due to the same thicket of bureaucratic incompetence that repeatedly screwed up Canada’s response to COVID-19. The most glaring example is that while most of the world is now fighting HIV with liberal access to take-home HIV tests, Canada has rigged it so that self-tests can’t even be purchased at pharmacies .

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