QUEBEC’S NEW GOVERNMENT (la CAQ) PLANS TO BAN RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS IN ITS MOVE TO SECULARIZE

QUEBEC’s new Legault government is now selling secularism – Bill 21 – to Quebec’s population. Needless to say, the plan has hit the fan.

The minister responsible, Simon Jolin-Barette <shown above with an applauding Premier Legault; photo – Jacques Boissinot / Canadian Press> said he expects groups threatening not to respect the new law of the land, will eventually conform. “I am convinced that people targeted by the bill, will respect the law.”

Bill 21 would prohibit any public worker (teachers, judges, police officers, etc.) in a position of authority, including new public school teachers, from wearing religious symbols, including hijabs. The Immigration Minister said all religious symbols — regardless of the size of the object — would be prohibited. A religious tattoo or a hairdo, such as Rastafarian dreadlocks, are not considered religious symbols, he said.

<Front page Le Journal de Quebec, March 29/2019 – ‘C’est Reparti’ – ‘Here We Go Again’>

MONTREAL Mayor Valérie Plante is concerned. Neighbouring ONTARIO has no such law.

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CANADA WON’T BE SUCKERED INTO SIGNING THE NEW NAFTA AGREEMENT – TARIFFS HAVE TO GO

Speaking to a high-profile gathering of American state governors, Canada’s Minister of Transport MARC GARNEAU said time is running out to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal – otherwise known as ‘new’ NAFTA (or in some quarters USMCA).

MARC GARNEAU also said that Canada would lift its own tariff counter-measures on $16.6-billion worth of American imports. These are affecting many US companies, especially among the northern states.  And they’re certainly not doing Canada any good either.

Once the tariffs on Canadian steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) are removed by Donald Trump’s government, the negotiated agreement will be signed. Until then – it’s no deal for Canada.

TORONTO IS INTERESTED IN BUYING THE HEARN GENERATING STATION FROM A PRIVATE DEVELOPER

The Hearn power station is a big hunk of real estate – a landmark building – near the waterfront. Since de-accession it’s not been sitting idly by, having been used by Studios of America, the present owner, as a film location since March/2002. The Luminato Festival had a successful run in the Hearn, and it’s also been an occasional concert venue.

City councillor PAULA FLETCHER sees value in the Hearn site as a park, and believes the building itself could be saved and adapted for public use along with movie-making.

“It’s one of the most important buildings on the TORONTO waterfront,” she said in an interview, after putting forward a motion to “initiate negotiations on an expedited basis.”

Mayor JOHN TORY agreed, seconding the motion. The idea was passed by city council 20-2. In 2017 Ms. Fletcher worked hard to save TORONTO Island’s rare antique carousel, and she succeeded.  Maybe Paula can land the Hearn.

FIRST TORONTO GOT IT – EVERYBODY GETS IT NOW AS THE PC’S ‘REVIEW’ 82 TOWNS, CITIES & REGIONS

<STAR METRO TORONTO front page, January 16/2019>

From out of the blue TORONTO’s city council was cut in half by Premier DOUG FORD’s Progressive Conservative government. Now we’ll all be in the drink together (no sympathy from the capital city) as “Ford takes aim at regional reform”.  Ontario’s mayors have greeted the news from Queens Park with excitement and dread, saying the promise of consultation must be legitimate (we’ve heard that song before).  One concern is the possibility of forced amalgamation, which was once handed to TORONTO by former P.C. premier Mike Harris.

Municipal Affairs Minister STEVE CLARK announced plans to review regional governments and cut red tape in Peel, Halton, Durham, York and other municipalities. “We will be looking at ways to make better use of taxpayers’ dollars, and make it easier for residents and businesses to access important municipal services,” Clark said in Tuesday’s statement.

“The last time DOUG FORD meddled in municipal governments, (he) abruptly axed more than two dozen local elections (in TORONTO and four) regional chair elections,” observed JEFF BURCH, NDP MPP, Niagara Centre.

CANADA’S HOUSE OF COMMONS AND SENATE ARE MOVING INTO NEW DIGS FOR THE NEXT 12 + YEARS

<PHOTO – carpeting design for the temporary Senate chamber>

Probably it will take longer than a dozen years, but Canada’s Senators and Members of Parliament have left behind their home in the Centre Block and are in the process of moving. While they’re gone, the Centre Block will be refurbished, cleaned, and restored.  The temporary Senate chamber, all in red <ABOVE>, will be across Wellington Street from Parliament Hill. Once it was OTTAWA’s beaux-arts railway station, then a government conference centre, and now an elaborate home for the 105 members of the Upper House of Parliament.

The temporary House of Commons is a glass-and-steel addition within the courtyard of the West Block on Parliament Hill. It was designed by MONTREAL firms ARCOP and EVOQ. The glass ceiling will capture heat in the winter and expel it in the summer.  Underground levels include a welcome centre where visitors will go through security screening before entering. Parliament is one of Canada’s top tourism sites and despite the move, tourists will still be able to visit it.

<PHOTO – THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang>

PREMIER FORD UNINTENTIONALLY AWARDED MAYOR JOHN TORY A HUGE ELECTION VICTORY – THE STAR

From The TORONTO Star – Suburbs versus Downtown isn’t what it used to be. Ontario’s premier DOUG FORD chopped the wards and councillors almost in half (47 down to 25), just as the election was getting underway – a move many downtowners thought was designed to hobble progressive forces on council.

JOHN TORY seemed to transcend that divide on election night, winning every ward across the city except one (Davenport), and resoundingly defeating his former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat. Experts say he was able to win the entire city by appealing to stability in an especially chaotic election dominated by DOUG FORD.