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Leadership candidate Kelli Leitch, MP for the riding of Simcoe-Grey, talks with reporters at the national Conservative summer caucus retreat in Halifax on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. The leadership campaign of Conservative party hopeful Kellie Leitch is jumping on Donald Trump's surprise U.S. victory to fire a shot at so-called Canadian elites. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Leadership candidate Kelli Leitch, MP for the riding of Simcoe-Grey, talks with reporters at the national Conservative summer caucus retreat in Halifax on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. The leadership campaign of Conservative party hopeful Kellie Leitch is jumping on Donald Trump's surprise U.S. victory to fire a shot at so-called Canadian elites. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Politics Briefing

Outsiders say they are joining Conservative Party to vote against Leitch Add to ...

POLITICS BRIEFING

This is the daily Globe Politics newsletter. Sign up to get it by e-mail each morning and let us know what you think.

By Chris Hannay (@channay)

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

> Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues his trip to Cuba today.

> The chief of the defence staff says the military will reassess its use of the antimalarial drug mefloquine, now that Health Canada says it could cause permanent brain damage. At committee, General Jonathan Vance also said that Canadian troops have shot first in encounters in Iraq, but insisted they continued to do so defensively.

> What the Canadian military could be walking into if it gets involved in Mali.

> Canada’s livestock and lumber producers could be the targets of a Trump administration’s tearing up of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

> Private media companies are telling a parliamentary committee that CBC – which has seen its funding increase under the Liberals – is crowding out its news competitors and should face some kind of limits. “It’s not [a level playing field] if taxpayers’ dollars directed to the public broadcaster make the competition for digital ad dollars more difficult,” said Phillip Crawley, publisher and CEO of The Globe and Mail.

> Liberals say they will support a Conservative private member’s bill – also backed by senators – to create a national strategy to deal with dementia.

> Stephen Harper is urging members of Alberta’s Wildrose Party to join the Progressive Conservatives and vote for Jason Kenney as leader, in a bid to get the right-wing parties to unite.

> It’ll cost $6.6-million to replace the stone wall behind Parliament Hill.

> And an Ontario judge has apologized for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat the morning after Donald Trump won the election.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE ATTRACTING OUTSIDERS

By Laura Stone (@l_stone)

Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch may have lost some supporters, but some former Green Party members – and a Canadian musical celeb or two – say they are joining the party in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in an attempt to influence the Tory leadership race.

In a tweet last week, singer Amy Millan said she was joining the party to stop Ms. Leitch, and “YOU SHOULD TOO.” Ms. Millan linked to a tweet from her bandmate in Stars, Torquil Campbell, who urged his 7,300 followers to join the party as well.

Ms. Leitch has proposed screening immigrants for anti-Canadian values and praised Donald Trump’s victory last week as an example of voters who “threw out the elites,” drawing criticism from fellow candidates who have accused her campaign of engaging in divisive tactics.

Dave Bagler, former president of the Green Party, said he joined the Conservatives last week after Mr. Trump was elected.

“There are candidates who are echoing Trump’s style of bigotry and I don’t think that I can sit back and let this kind of attitude take over a national political party,” Mr. Bagler said.

He said he hasn’t made a decision about who he’s supporting, but he believes candidate Michael Chong presents a “positive vision” for the future.

“I want to support the candidate for the Conservative Party who can communicate the Conservative Party’s vision for Canada but who can do so without using fear and intolerance.”

Kevin O’Donnell, who ran twice as a provincial candidate for the Greens, said he too joined the Conservatives after Mr. Trump’s victory.

“Sitting back and just hoping for the best isn’t an option this time. I refuse to do that. I’m choosing to give myself the opportunity to vote in a leadership race and then benefit as a result because reasonable people are in charge of the political parties,” he said.

“My prime motivation for joining in this case is to vote against racism, xenophobia, intolerance.” He expressed dissatisfaction with Ms. Leitch and candidate Chris Alexander, who along with Ms. Leitch presented the “barbaric cultural practices tip line” during the last election, although Mr. Alexander has since criticized Ms. Leitch’s proposal and said the tip line was intended to protect women and girls by fighting forced marriage.

Mr. O’Donnell said he hasn’t decided who yet he’ll support but also pointed to Mr. Chong and candidate Lisa Raitt as favourable options.

Neither men said they were current members of the Green Party.

A spokesman for the Conservative party pointed to membership rules that show a member should support the principles of the party and should not be a member of another federal party in order to join.

The reaction from Ms. Leitch’s campaign?

“Kellie's thrilled. More members makes the party stronger and she looks forward to leading the strongest party ever in May,” a spokesman said in an e-mail.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Tony Keller (Globe and Mail): “There is almost nothing new under the sun, and building infrastructure through public-private partnerships is not a new idea. Nor is it a crazy idea. But it’s not a magic idea. It doesn’t conjure money out of the air. At the end of the day, somebody has to pay. And to the extent that it isn’t the taxpayer, it will be the user.”

Lawrence Martin (Globe and Mail): “Today, many think Donald Trump will be barbed wire for Justin Trudeau. But if he handles Mr. Trump like papa did with Mr. Nixon, maybe not. Republican presidents who are deeply unpopular in Canada make it rather easy, politically at least, for prime ministers. The PMs need only stand up to them as Mr. Trudeau sometimes did with Mr. Nixon, as Jean Chrétien sometimes did with George W. Bush, as Justin Trudeau can do with Donald Trump.”

Denise Balkissoon (Globe and Mail): “I was not surprised by the results of the election, though I was sickened, and I am not surprised by these events, though I am distraught. What I’ve been pondering is how hate crimes fit into larger systems of injustice: white supremacy in America predates Donald Trump, and would not have ended had Hillary Clinton won. What does a new wave of violence in the U.S. do that wasn’t being accomplished by the mass incarceration of African-Americans?”

Tristin Hopper (National Post): “CBC is supposed to fill the gaps that regular broadcasters can’t: Getting news coverage to remote areas, backing years-long investigative projects, taking risks that just aren’t possible for a programming director who has to answer to investors at the end of a quarter. Instead, CBC acts as if it’s just another fish in the Canadian media pool – albeit one that doesn’t need to worry about ratings, debt or subscriber numbers. … This isn’t just uncreative, it’s predatory – and has the predictable effect of kneecapping CBC’s non-subsidized competitors.”

Robyn Urback (CBC): “So rather than pretending Leitch doesn't exist and feign surprise at her continued success, how about we acknowledge that she does exist, and at the same time recognize that she is running a completely inauthentic, deliberately provocative campaign?”

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