Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

Top Story CP

Trump closer to declaring emergency; 800,000 won’t get paid

Published

7 minute read

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is edging closer to declaring a national emergency to fund his long-promised border wall, as pressure mounts to find an escape hatch from the three-week impasse that has closed parts of the government, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers without pay.

Some 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, were to miss their first paycheque on Friday under the stoppage, and Washington was close to setting a dubious record for the longest government shutdown in the nation’s history. Those markers — along with growing effects to national parks, food inspections and the economy overall — left some Republicans on Capitol Hill increasingly uncomfortable with Trump’s demands.

Asked about the plight of those going without pay, the president shifted the focus, saying he felt badly “for people that have family members that have been killed” by criminals who came over the border.

Trump visited McAllen, Texas, and the Rio Grande on Thursday to highlight what he calls a crisis of drugs and crime. He said that “if for any reason we don’t get this going” — an agreement with House Democrats who have refused to approve the $5.7 billion he demands for the wall — “I will declare a national emergency.”

Trump was consulting with White House attorneys and allies about using presidential emergency powers to take unilateral action to construct the wall over the objections of Congress. He claimed his lawyers told him the action would withstand legal scrutiny “100 per cent.”

Such a move to bypass Congress’ constitutional control of the nation’s purse strings would spark certain legal challenges and bipartisan cries of executive overreach.

A congressional official said the White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to look for billions of dollars earmarked last year for disaster response for Puerto Rico and other areas that could be diverted to a border wall as part of the emergency declaration. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.

“We’re either going to have a win, make a compromise — because I think a compromise is a win for everybody — or I will declare a national emergency,” Trump said before departing the White House for his politically flavoured visit to the border. He wore his campaign-slogan “Make America Great Again” cap throughout.

It was not clear what a compromise might entail, and there were no indications that one was in the offing. Trump says he won’t reopen the government without money for the wall. Democrats say they favour measures to bolster border security but oppose the long, impregnable barrier that Trump envisions.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said at one point that he didn’t “see a path in Congress” to end the shutdown, then stated later that enough was enough: “It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier.”

Visiting a border patrol station in McAllen, Trump viewed tables piled with weapons and narcotics. Like nearly all drugs trafficked across the border, they were intercepted by agents at official ports of entry, he was told, and not in the remote areas where he wants to extend tall barriers.

Still, he declared: “A wall works. … Nothing like a wall.”

He argued that the U.S. can’t solve the problem without a “very substantial barrier” along the border, but offered exaggerations about the effectiveness of border walls and current apprehensions of those crossing illegally.

Sitting among border patrol officers, state and local officials and military representatives, Trump insisted he was “winning” the shutdown fight and criticized Democrats for asserting he was manufacturing a sense of crisis in order to declare an emergency. “What is manufactured is the use of the word ‘manufactured,'” Trump said.

As he arrived in Texas, several hundred protesters near the airport in McAllen chanted and waved signs opposing a wall. Across the street, a smaller group chanted back: “Build that wall!”

In Washington, federal workers denounced Trump at a rally with congressional Democrats, demanding he reopen the government so they can get back to work.

On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the president of engaging in political games to fire up his most loyal supporters, suggesting that a heated meeting Wednesday with legislators at the White House had been “a setup” so that Trump could walk out of it.

In an ominous sign for those seeking a swift end to the showdown, Trump announced he was cancelling his trip to Davos, Switzerland, scheduled for later this month, citing Democrats’ “intransigence” on border security. He was to leave Jan. 21 to attend the World Economic Forum.

The partial shutdown would set a record early Saturday, stretching beyond the 21-day closure that ended Jan 6, 1996, during President Bill Clinton’s administration.

___

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Alan Fram, Deb Riechmann and Zeke Miller in Washington and Nomaan Merchant in McAllen, Texas, contributed to this report.

___

For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. government shutdown: https://apnews.com/GovernmentShutdown

Catherine Lucey, Lisa Mascaro And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Top Story CP

Canada’s chief medical officers plan some downtime after months of hard work

Published on

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s chief medical officers were hailed as the nation’s rising stars. Their regular public briefings made them familiar faces and household names to thousands of Canadians, and their scientific expertise helped shape government policies that gradually flattened the domestic curve over the past four months.

But how have Canada’s top doctors coped during a time of unprecedented stress, and can they start to relax now that numbers are on the decline? Several weigh in with their thoughts:

— Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada

The federal chief public health officer said she and her team have been working flat out since the pandemic shifted into high gear in mid-March, sometimes putting in work days of as long as 20 hours. Tam said she has not always been good at following her own regular advice to balance public health restrictions with mental health self-care, but said she hopes to address that during some vacation time later this summer. A break is also necessary to help health officials brace for the prospect of a second wave of COVID-19 cases in the fall, she added. 

“It is a time to make sure we recharge everything so that we’re ready for any resurgences,” Tam said at a news conference. “That is very important, because I think most of the public health workers, and anyone in the health system … have been working extremely hard.”

Part of that effort involves scaling back Tam’s once daily news briefings to roughly biweekly affairs.

 

— Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec

In the province hit hardest by COVID-19, Arruda has peppered his regular briefings with calls for residents to concentrate on activities to help them unwind from the stress of living through a pandemic. The province’s director of national public health even cited his own fondness for baking as an example. But when pressed about his pending vacation plans, Arruda offered few specifics other than the fact that he was decompressing on command.

“I’ve been asked by my minister to take vacation. The prime minister, too,” he said. “I will be in Quebec … sleeping well if possible, listening to music.”

Arruda said biking and sports also figure into his staycation plans, adding he would be wearing a face mask through most of these leisure activities.

 

— Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto

The last few months have been a demanding time for Toronto’s chief medical officer of health, who spent eight weeks living away from her family in order to limit their potential exposure to COVID-19. She said that phase was defined by almost non-stop work punctuated with Facetime calls to catch up, adding such an arrangement was not conducive to a strong work-life balance. Now that she’s back home again, however, de Villa said striking that equilibrium has gotten easier.

“I can’t just do work all the time, because they’re there,” she said of her husband and teenage sons. “It gives me a break. I get the chance to recharge from them, I do get energy from them.”

De Villa said she too intends to take some time off at some point this summer. In the meantime, she tries to vary her work routine by getting up and moving around her home and neighbourhood as much as possible to stave off fatigue.

  

— Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta

Alberta’s chief medical health officer is already enjoying some downtime. The doctor who made sartorial waves by wearing a dress featuring the periodic table of elements early in the pandemic has remained a regular fixture at the province’s COVID-19 updates. At one of those briefings last week, she said that COVID-19 will be with us for some time.

“We cannot wait until the pandemic is over to take a break or recharge,” she said as she announced plans for a week’s vacation. “Self-care is important and summer is a wonderful but brief time in Alberta. We all need to take care of our physical and mental health for the weeks and months to come.”

Hinshaw said she planned to spend her break with her family.

“I sometimes fear (they) will soon no longer remember my name,” she quipped.

 

— Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, also scheduled time off for the week of Canada Day. A written statement from the province’s health department says Roussin plans to take more time off later in the summer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 8, 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Top Story CP

U.S., Mexican presidents meeting at White House to talk USMCA, without Canada

Published on

WASHINGTON — The president of Mexico is in Washington to meet with President Donald Trump and celebrate North America’s new trade deal — a celebration in which Canada is not taking part.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to join the talks, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this week’s pressing parliamentary business and the continuing threat of renewed U.S. tariffs against Canadian aluminum exports.

The coming into force of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a win for all three countries at a time of serious economic uncertainty, Trudeau said Wednesday as he suggested — without stating directly — that he intends to discuss the matter with Trump in the near future.

“I speak reasonably regularly, and have over the past many years, with the U.S. president, and look forward to congratulating him and all of us on the coming into force of the new NAFTA, the USMCA,” the prime minister told a news conference.

“I think it’s really important that at a time of economic strain and stress that we continue to have access to the world’s most important market. This is good for Canadian workers and Canadian jobs right across the country.”

The formal debut of the agreement, which took effect last week, was sullied by the U.S. trade representative’s claim that Canada has exceeded limits on aluminum exports to the United States established when Trump lifted national-security tariffs on Canadian-made steel and aluminum in May 2019.

The threat of renewed tariffs “is a little bit difficult to understand,” Trudeau said.

“The U.S. doesn’t make nearly enough aluminum to be able to cover its needs, particularly at a time when we want economies to get going again across North America. What tariffs would do would be to raise prices for manufacturers in the United States and put extra stresses on them at a time when stresses abound.”

Higher prices may be precisely the goal: the two U.S. producers that are urging the USTR to take action have ties to a Swiss metals company that holds the exclusive rights to sell Russian-made aluminum in the United States. China, Russia, India and Canada are the four largest aluminum producers in the world.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s visit to Washington, his first foreign trip since being elected in 2018, has prompted widespread criticism at home for a leader whose campaign trafficked heavily in criticizing Trump.

Since then, the leader known in Mexico as AMLO has been pilloried for his deference to a U.S. president famous for aggressive anti-immigration policies at the southern border.

With a U.S. presidential election now just four months away, it’s Trump who stands to benefit politically from a bilateral visit, experts told a Wilson Center panel discussion Wednesday — and if Lopez Obrador hopes to secure safe harbour from Trump’s unpredictable foreign-policy whims, he may be sadly mistaken.

“If he thinks that going to Washington in this moment … is going to insulate him or protect him from future actions by this president, especially in a campaign year — against tariffs, against some kind of other punitive measure — I think he’s fooling himself,” said Roberta Jacobson, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico under both Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama.

“Witness the fact that obviously we have the discussion of aluminum tariffs vis-a-vis Canada right now, as we’re celebrating USMCA. This is not a president who necessarily says, ‘These are my new partners, I will not penalize them no matter what.'”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer made a similar point, but not without twisting the partisan knife a little.

“Usually when Justin Trudeau leaves the country, it hurts Canada’s position on the world stage, so maybe it’s a good thing he stayed home,” Scheer said. “He has a perfect losing record when it comes to Donald Trump, so maybe we’re better off that he didn’t go.”

New Democrat trade critic Daniel Blaikie, meanwhile, is urging the federal Liberal government to spell out during a House of Commons trade committee meeting Thursday how it plans to protect Canada’s aluminum sector from the threat of an “arbitrary attack.”

“A second tariff levelled at an industry that is already hurting could very well be devastating,” Blaikie wrote in a letter this week to International Trade Minister Mary Ng. “The current global pandemic only makes matters worse.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020.

— Follow James McCarten on Twitter @CdnPressStyle

James McCarten, The Canadian Press


Continue Reading

july, 2020

No Events

Trending

X