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U.S. to open the border to vaccinated Canadians in November



The Ambassador Bridge in Detroit on Oct. 4, 2021. (Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

Politics Insider for Oct. 13, 2021: America relents; Chrystia Freeland’s possible moves; and Michael Wernick’s best advice

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The Buffalo News reported Tuesday night that the U.S. side of the Canadian border will open to vaccinated Canadians starting in early November.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced the coming reopening.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures,” said Schumer, a New York Democrat. “That pain is about to end. Very soon, the link between New York and our northern neighbors will finally be re-established, reuniting families, bolstering businesses and ending a frustrating cycle of waiting for everyone involved.”

Rep. Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, said he received word of the pending reopening from Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

“It was a long time coming,” said Higgins, who had relentlessly advocated the reopening for months. “It should have happened six months ago.”

Lobbying from politicians on both sides of the border was getting increasingly intense. There is still uncertainty about whether the opening will apply to those with mixed doses.

Mulcair: Freeland is positioning herself: After Sunday’s interesting story about Chrystia Freeland’s youthful adventures dodging the KGB in Ukraine, Tom Mulcair has a provocative column at CTV, suggesting it is a sign that she is positioning herself to take over from Justin Trudeau.

Much like Michael Ignatieff, Chrystia Freeland became almost famous south of the border with her writings and media savvy. Unlike Ignatieff, she’s actually got some experience in government having ably run key ministries and, most admirably, outfoxed Donald Trump during the renegotiation of NAFTA. If she succeeds, she’ll be taking over from one of the world’s major media figures, Justin Trudeau. A little bit of profile doesn’t hurt.

Mulcair thinks, though, there will be other contenders for Trudeau’s job.

The most obvious one is the genial and exceptionally accomplished Mark Carney. Earlier this year at an event at l’Université de Montréal, where I teach, he was brilliant, generous with his time, and able to do the entire gig in French. I was impressed that he’d somehow managed to keep up his knowledge of the language of Molière during his lengthy stint in London as Governor of the Bank of England. This guy’s got game. Carney recently published a work on values (very progressive) and is a world leader on the issue of climate change and economic transition. He is currently working at the highest level of the United Nations, deepening his contacts and developing experience and expertise in areas outside of central banking. This promises to be one heck of a battle.

Wernick’s thoughts: Paul Wells had an interesting conversation with former top bureaucrat Michael Wernick, who has written a book, Governing Canada: A Guide to the Tradecraft of Politics, which sounds like it is full of interesting insight, even if he never spills the tea on a certain secret recording.

The resulting book is nearly devoid of juicy insider gossip—never Wernick’s style—but full of pithy advice to political leaders in general. “If you can end a meeting early and gain a sliver of time,” he tells prospective prime ministers, “get up and leave.” And, elsewhere, “It is rarely to your advantage to meet the premiers as a group.” And, ahem, “The longer you are in office, the more courtiers you will attract.”

There’s lots of stuff that politics nerds will like:

One of the recurring themes in Wernick’s book is how little time everyone has. A federal cabinet will have 100 hours in a year for all of its plenary discussions. Maybe 120. It’s never enough. “It’s overbooked from day one until the day they leave. And you’re always making choices: to do one thing means not doing something else. And mindful management of the allocation of time is really important. It can get away on you.”

Pandemic privilege: Conservative MP Mark Strahl told the Star on Tuesday that he opposes any vaccination requirement for MPs. He argues a vaccination mandate on the Hill would violate parliamentary privilege: “I know it’s kind of quaint — archaic, maybe — to talk about parliamentary privilege during a pandemic, but it’s been upheld through many crises … We’d better be very, very careful that we don’t cavalierly toss it aside.”

Fortin loses: A judge has struck down Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin’s request for reinstatement as the head of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution campaign, CP reports. Fortin should have filed a formal complaint through the military’s grievance system before resorting to the courts, the judge ruled.

Fortin was removed as head of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout effort in May, five days before military police announced they had referred an investigation of alleged sexual misconduct to Quebec’s prosecution service.  The senior military officer, who previously served in Afghanistan and commanded a NATO training mission in Iraq before being assigned last November to lead the federal government’s vaccine rollout effort, was formally charged with one count of sexual assault in August. That case, which relates to an alleged incident dating back to 1988, is due back in a Quebec court on Nov. 5.

‘I’ve been exonerated’ The Globe has an interview with Admiral Art McDonald, who wants his job back. McDonald spent a month as chief of the defence staff before going on leave during an investigation into a 2010 incident alleged to have been misconduct. That investigation concluded without charges in August. “I’ve been exonerated,” McDonald told the Globe. “It is now time for the institution to step up, accept the results of the investigation, return me to my duties – or at least start a dialogue around an alternative approach.”  A spokesman for the Privy Council Office, says the “suspension remains in force” and that the “government is assessing all circumstances in determining next steps.”

External oversight: The Star has a thoughtful story based on interviews with experts who study military sexual misconduct. They are pleased that the government has recognized that the military does not “get it,” but they have not taken the steps necessary to force change.

“The military is not going to solve this on its own. There needs to be this external oversight,” said Maya Eichler, Canada research chair in social innovation and community engagement at Mount Saint Vincent University, who specializes in military sexual misconduct.

Some may get it: Writing for Saltwire, Scott Taylor opines that it is going to far to say the military doesn’t get it. Senior brass don’t, he writes, but the rank and file do.

Regrettably, Trudeau’s blanket statement should have been more targeted at the very senior command level of the CAF. The fact that the news of Dawe’s appointment generated enough internal reaction that it was subsequently leaked to the Ottawa Citizen means that many of the rank and file do in fact “get it.”

G20 Afghan summit: Canada joined its G20 allies in pushing Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers to allow humanitarian aid, CP reports. The European Union announced a support package of $1.4 billion. Canada did not announce new money, but pushed for the resettlement of refugees, noting Canada will accept 40,000.

Macron wants a chat: Emmanuel Macron wants face time with Trudeau. The French ambassador tells CP that Macron wants to discuss the alliance formed last month between the United States, Britain and Australia, which angered Macron. Trudeau has shrugged off Canada’s exclusion.

Could be more useful: Ontario’s vaccine website, where Canadians from the province can download the proof of vaccination, can’t be accessed from outside North America, Global reports. Canadians travelling abroad tell Global that the Ontario vaccine webpage was blocked. The province says it plans to fix the site.

NDP ponders election: The Toronto Star reports on the NDP’s internal debris-sifting. The party entered the recent campaign with high hopes but gained just a single seat. The party has appointed Bob Dewar — brother of the late Paul Dewar — to lead an internal “debrief.”

— Stephen Maher

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‘After The 90 Days’: Annie’s Aunt Calls David ‘Unhealthy’ After He Struggles On A Hike



‘After The 90 Days’: Annie’s Aunt Calls David ‘Unhealthy’ After He Struggles On A Hike

David tries to hike up a mountain this EXCLUSIVE preview of ‘After the 90 Days,’ and he gets winded quickly. Annie’s aunt says that David is ‘fat’ and ‘unhealthy.’

David really wants to impress Annie’s family, and he thinks he can do that by leading the pack on this trail. “As I’m going up the mountain, all of a sudden, gravity is now catching up to me. My mind says one thing, and my ass is telling me another,” David says in this EXCLUSIVE preview of the January 17 episode of David & Annie: After the 90 Days.

David begins struggling to breathe as the hike continues. He starts lagging in the back. “You are so slow. If you take the kids with you, how will you be able to take care of them?” Lom, Annie’s aunt, asks David after they reach the top.

David in the January 17 episode. (TLC)

Lom doesn’t hold back on David when it comes to her concerns for Amber and Jordan. “They are going to get fat like you and become unhealthy,” Lom tells David straight-up.

Annie gives some context for Lom’s worries about David. “Lom very concerned because Amber and Jordan is the youngest generation there for the family, who they look after. For Lom, it’s kind of like you’re taking their baby away too,” Annie says.

David doesn’t want Lom or the rest of the family to feel this way at all. He wants them to feel like Amber and Jordan are in a good spot. “I don’t know what I can do to prove to Annie’s family that I have the ability to take care of Amber and Jordan,” David admits.

David 90 Day Fiance
David and Annie discuss Amber and Jordan in the January 17 episode. (TLC)

On David & Annie: After the 90 Days, the couple is trying to bring Jordan and Amber, Annie’s brother and cousin, to America. They’ve traveled all the way to Thailand to get them, but they’ve been faced with a number of challenges ever since they got there, especially when it comes to Annie’s family. The 90 Day Fiance spinoff series airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on TLC.

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Jax Taylor Reveals He’s Had COVID 3 Times, and Misses Vanderpump Rules



Jax Taylor Confirms He's Had COVID-19 Three Times After Hosting NYE Party, Admits He Misses Pump Rules, and Reveals If He's Watching Season Nine

Credit: O’Connor/AFF-USA

Jax Taylor has come down with COVID-19 not once, but three times.

Just over a week after throwing a New Year’s Eve party with wife Brittany Cartwright for their friends, including some of their Vanderpump Rules cast mates, Jax was caught admitting to contracting the virus multiples times in a comment shared and deleted on Instagram.

After Gary Janetti, a Bravo super fan and the husband of celebrity stylist Brad Goreski, seemingly joked about the many who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 multiple times, saying that if you get the virus three times “they should give you like a car or something,” Jax weighed in.

“I’ve had it three times, I’ll take the car. Fricking miserable. Hope you have a great new year,” Jax replied.

Although Jax appeared to delete the comment soon after it was written, the screenshot below was shared on Reddit.

Vanderpump Rules Jax Taylor Says He's Had COVID-19 Three Times

Jax’s revelation comes after he and Brittany hosted their New Year’s Eve bash at their $1.9 million home in Los Angeles.

“Don’t worry, we all tested negative,” Jax said at the time, via Heavy.

In March 2020, Jax vented about the pandemic on Twitter, suggesting that the virus was “punishment from the man upstairs.”

“I really think he’s tired of the way we treat people, he’s tired of how we treat the planet, probably thinks some of us are ungrateful. I mean I could go on and on.. but this is like a serious ‘time out’ for the world,” he stated. “When we come out of this, we need to change for the better. All of us need a wake up call, we need to change our ways because obviously it wasn’t working and we needed a punishment and this is it… the true test will be how we come out of this, and when we do, remember what it was like when our freedom was taken from us. Let’s show the man upstairs that we can do better for ourselves and humanity. He’d done so much for us, it’s time to pay him back.”

Also on social media recently, during a Q&A with fans at the end of last month, Jax was asked a number of questions in regard to Pump Rules. And, when one particular person asked him if he missed the show, Jax admitted he misses certain parts.

“I miss the first couple [of] years… we had a lot of fun,” Jax explained, via Heavy.

Then, after a second fan wondered, “What do you think of season 9 of Vanderpump Rules?,” Jax confirmed, “I don’t watch it.”

Vanderpump Rules season nine airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.

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#MLKDay: Dr. Bernice King Encourages Everyone To ‘Shift Priorities’ Ahead Of Today’s Beloved Community Commemorative Service, Shares Facts & Photos Of Her Father



#MLKDay: Dr. Bernice King Encourages Everyone To ‘Shift Priorities’ Ahead Of Today’s Beloved Community Commemorative Service, Shares Facts & Photos Of Her Father


Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty

Today, the nation is commemorating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and in Atlanta in particular, his home church will be filled with dignitaries and community leaders honoring his legacy.

Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church is hosting the annual MLK Day Commemorative Service a.k.a. “The Beloved Community Commemorative Service” which begins at 10 a.m.

Fox 5 Atlanta reports that the keynote speaker will be the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, the Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church

Additional speakers during the service will include Georgia Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Director Marcia L. Fudge, former Cobb GOP Chair Rose Wing, and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Maria Ressa. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will also be in attendance.

Also on hand will be MLK’s daughter Dr. Bernice King who’s been tweeting about her father all weekend leading up to today.

2021 King Holiday Observance Beloved Community Commemorative Service

Source: Paras Griffin / Getty

She has graciously shared rare photos and quotes from her dad, and Dr. King says she wants the world to “shift priorities” in her father’s honor.

With that, she’s encouraging everyone to course correct so we can “create the beloved community” via respect, agape love, intergrity, justice, empathy and more.


Dr. Bernice King will share more on that during today’s service.


Ahead of the MLK Day service, we’re remembering the actual history of the freedom fighter who many have revised to fit a more palatbale narrative, something Dr. Bernice King says happens often. We all know the basics about Dr. King; his civil rights work, sit-ins, and speeches. We’ve learned about him since we first learned how to read.

But there are some interesting facts about his life that the school books don’t teach you. With that, take a look below and learn some interesting and surprising facts about the only non-President to have a national holiday dedicated in his honor.


Mike Check? – Until he was five, Martin’s name was Michael on his birth certificate. Some accounts say his name was changed to Martin after a trip to Germany convinced his father to change the name to Martin Luther as inspired by Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. reports that as a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.


Choir Boy – On Thursday, Thursday, December 14, 1939, MLK was part of the choir for the grand opening of Gone With The Wind. A 6-year-old King was part of the negro boys choir from his father’s Ebeneezer Baptist Church.  Ironic especially considering how incredibly racist that movie is.



No High School? – Dr. King started at Morehouse at the age of 15 because he skipped 9th and 12 grade. But since he skipped, he wasn’t officially recognized as graduating high school student. He went to Morehouse in 1944 and although he was the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Baptist ministers, he was reluctant to become a Pastor.

He was convinced however by Dr. Benjamin E Mays and ordained before graduating college with a sociology degree. 



Freestyle King – According to legend, the infamous “I Have A Dream” speech was mostly improvised on the spot. Forbes reports that the second-half of the speech was largely “riffed” and in the video of the speech you’ll see he rarely looks down at the page. The “I have a dream” refrain was improvised as well.

That beats any freestyle rap your favorite rapper could spit.


Reparations – Dr. King expressed the belief that African Americans should get repaid somewhat for slavery. It was a sign of a more radical King.

“At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land,” King argues, “through an act of Congress our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor.” Building a full head of steam, King rolls his rhetoric down the track of just compensation for blacks by contrasting even more sharply the unequal treatment of the races in education, agriculture, and subsidies.

“But not only did they give them land,” King’s indictment speeds on, “they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms.”

King links white privilege and governmental support directly to black suffering, and thus underscores the hypocrisy of whites who have been helped demanding that blacks thrive through self-help.

“Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign, we are coming to get our check.”


He didn’t fear death- In a Playboy interview with writer Alex Haley, King said he wasn’t afraid to die and knew it would help fuel the movement. “I have a job to do,” said King.

Haley: Haven’t both the White Citizens’ Council and the Ku Klux Klan been implicated in connection with plots against your life?

King: It’s difficult to trace the authorship of these death threats. I seldom go through a day without one. Some are telephoned anonymously to my office; others are sent—unsigned, of course—through the mails. Drew Pearson wrote not long ago about one group of unknown affiliation that was committed to assassinate not only me but also Chief Justice Warren and President Johnson. And not long ago, when I was about to visit in Mississippi, I received some very urgent calls from Negro leaders in Mobile, who had been told by a very reliable source that a sort of guerrilla group led by a retired major was plotting to take my life during the visit. I was strongly urged to cancel the trip, but when I thought about it, I decided that I had no alternative but to go on into Mississippi.

Haley: Why?

King: Because I have a job to do. If I were constantly worried about death, I couldn’t function. After a while, if your life is more or less constantly in peril, you come to a point where you accept the possibility philosophically. I must face the fact, as all others in positions of leadership must do, that America today is an extremely sick nation, and that something could well happen to me at any time. I feel, though, that my cause is so right, so moral, that if I should lose my life, in some way it would aid the cause.



Grammy Award-Winner – In 1971 King won a posthumous Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for “Why I Am Opposed To The War In Vietnam.”

Dude even had a Grammy?! That’s impressive.


Thanks, Reagan? – Ronald Reagan of all people signed the bill to make MLK day an official holiday back in 1983. In 1987 he also gave this speech slamming racism:

Good to know he did a smidgen of something right.


Arizona…Of Course – The last state to recognize MLK day was, of course, old racist Arizona. They only acknowledged the holiday because the NFL wouldn’t bring its Super Bowl there without the acknowledgment. 

Arizona isn’t new to this racist thing.


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