Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pipelines, Asylum Seekers, Tuberculosis: How Politics Touched Us This Week

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pipelines, Asylum Seekers, Tuberculosis: How Politics Touched Us This Week

Article excerpt

Three ways federal politics matters this week

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OTTAWA - Parliament Hill was a swirl of fresh faces and a storm of news this week in the rush to get things done and square events away before the Thanksgiving break.

In a sea of pageantry, the next Governor General, astronaut Julie Payette, was sworn in to her new position, replacing David Johnston. Premiers and Indigenous leaders from across the country then gathered nearby for a meeting with the prime minister -- a meeting that led to a more solid picture of what legalization of cannabis will eventually look like.

The next day, the NDP's new leader, Jagmeet Singh, took a victory lap through his party's caucus room, inspiring a jubilance not seen since the days of Jack Layton.

Personalities aside, there were impactful developments on pipelines, asylum seekers and tuberculosis. Here's how politics affected Canadians' everyday lives this week:

PIPELINE APOPLEXY

TransCanada has followed through on its hints this summer and cancelled its $16-billion plans for the Energy East pipeline -- an announcement that prompted a vicious round of finger-pointing, blame-casting and, in some corners, celebration.

Whether the cancellation was because of market forces (as the Liberals contend) or unreasonable public policy (as the Conservatives argue), environmental activists and the mayor of Montreal claimed victory.

The animosity exposed unresolved quandaries for Canadian public policy. Will companies in the West find other, better, ways to export oil and gas, and will the public buy in? Will climate policy lead to depressed demand and low prices -- and eventually mean Canada turns forcefully away from the natural resources that have buoyed its economy for an eternity? If not oil and gas, then what?

And as political leaders in Western Canada lash out at their eastern counterparts, is there any hope of forging a national consensus on how or whether the oil industry can or should coexist and prosper alongside a warming earth?

THE FATE OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

Canadians are beginning to learn about what is happening to the thousands of asylum seekers who walked across the Canada-U.S. border illegally over the past few months. …

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