In The News This Week – August 7, 2016

Here at mPolitics, we have your weekly update on political news in Canada and around the world:

1. The 2016 Rio Olympics are here! Canada is sending 314 athletes and has already won a bronze medal in the womens 4×100 freestyle relay. You can keep up to date with the events and the medal count here. From a political perspective, the Rio Games have been controversial due to the ongoing Zika virus, the political and economic instability in Brazil, and various doping scandals. We break down the various controversies:

  • Zika Virus: The effects of the relatively new mosquito-borne virus are not yet well understood, but are linked to serious birth defects. The virus has been declared a public health emergency, causing many athletes (including top Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic) to forego the games due to the uncertainty and risk around Zika. – CBCSportsnet
  • Political and Economic Instability: Brazil is currently in the worst recession since the 1930’s and over the last year, has attracted much press about its political scandals. The former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is undergoing an impeachment trial for allegedly violating budget laws (among other non-proven scandals). Furthermore, there is much upset from the general public about the governments spending on the Games in a time of great financial strife. All of this might lead you to wonder (as I did), why on earth would the International Olympic Committee (IOC) award the Games to Brazil? Well apparently back in 2009 when the games were awarded, Brazil was in a much better economic and political state. This leads to the bigger question: should the Olympics be awarded to developing countries, no matter how good their growth prospects? – CBC
  • Russian doping scandal: Evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russia during their hosting of the 2014 Olympics came to light in the last month, leading to cries for the IOC to ban all Russian athletes from the Rio 2016 games. The IOC deferred the decision to the individual sport bodies, instead of placing an outright ban on the country. This came after the IAAF (the body governing Track and Field) had already decided to ban the Russian Track and Field team for doping. Furthermore, just this morning, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), contrary to the IOC, did decide to place an outright ban on the entire Russian Paralympic team. – CBCGlobe and MailGlobal News

2. The Canadian government has officially launched their Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, beginning this week by appointing five commissioners. Starting in September, the commissioners will spend 2 years researching “the systemic factors behind the inordinate number of indigenous females who have been murdered or gone missing” (Globe and Mail). There has been agreement by all provinces and territories on the terms of the Inquiry, which will allow for access to all levels of government across the country. Although there are many applauding the Liberal governments commitment to this Inquiry (one that was dismissed under the Harper Conservatives), there are also many calls that the Inquiry will not do enough to get counselling, support and justice for victims and families of victims. – Globe and Mail

3. This week, the Trudeau Liberals announced a new selection process for judges to be appointed to the Supreme Court. At its heart, the new process is meant to increase the diversity of the bench, to better reflect the Canadian population. The new process will allow “any qualified Canadian  lawyer or judge who is functionally bilingual and “representative of the diversity of our great country”” to apply (CBC). Applications will then be reviewed by a new, independent advisory board chaired by former Conservative Prime Minister Kim Campbell, and further reviewed by the chief justice of Canada, various attorneys, MPs, and other relevant parties. While the new process appears to be much fairer and merit-based, versus the partisan and secretive process of the past, there are concerns from Atlantic Canada that it will lose its representation on the Supreme Court bench. – CBCGlobe and Mail

Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony
Rosannagh Maclennan carries the flag of Canada during the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Source: Associated Press, Matt Slocum, 680 News

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