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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Justin Trudeau has issued an ultimatum to the provinces on carbon pricing./Reuters)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Justin Trudeau has issued an ultimatum to the provinces on carbon pricing./Reuters)

Trudeau tells the provinces: You price carbon or I will Add to ...

POLITICS BRIEFING

By Chris Hannay (@channay) and Rob Gilroy (@rgilroy)

The Globe Politics is pleased to include a roundup of news and opinion on U.S. politics, through until this year’s election in November. As always, let us know what you think of the newsletter. Sign up here to get it by e-mail each morning.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW IN OTTAWA

> Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has finally issued his ultimatum to the provinces: either you price carbon or I will. Some provinces didn’t take so well to that approach yesterday, with the environment ministers of Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador walking out of a federal-provincial meeting in Montreal. Most other provinces, such as Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, are fine with the plan, because they already have forms of carbon pricing in the works. Alberta, which has its own carbon tax, said it would be fully on board if Mr. Trudeau also approves another pipeline from the oil sands. One analyst says the national plan to price carbon at $50 a tonne by 2022 will “level the playing field” among provinces and may even be beneficial for Alberta.

> A senior Ukrainian envoy says Canada should be very wary of cozying up too close to Russia and Vladimir Putin.

> The federal government’s new housing rules (we break them down here) are aimed at keeping homeowners from piling up more mortgage debt than they can handle. Globe columnist Barrie McKenna says the changes won’t exactly cause an earthquake in real estate, though Rob Carrick says they should temper prices in hot markets.

> A large Western union says the federal government needs to address the impact of temporary foreign workers in the construction industry.

> Ontario provincial politician John Yakabuski has apologized for providing a character-reference letter used in a sexual assault trial.

> And in Nanos polls, right now the second most popular option for prime minister (after Justin Trudeau) is “unsure.

U.S. ELECTION 2016

> The VPs have their turn: It may not get the 84 million viewers that the first Clinton-Trump match had, but tonight’s vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine could be the “battle of the normals.

> Race and reckoning: Jamelle Bouie of Slate writes on the ‘Democratic Party’s racial reckoning.’ Bill Clinton, he says, had to pander to white bigots to win the White House in 1992, but Hillary Clinton – who called birtherism out as a ‘racist lie’ in the first presidential debate – “can talk openly about white racism because she doesn’t need the old Democratic electorate.”

> A Trump TV blitz?: Seth Masket of Pacific Standard says Donald Trump might have one ace left up his sleeve that could close the gap with Hillary Clinton with five weeks to go in the campaign: advertising. “So if Trump’s campaign is rational, it will start running a massive ad blitz in swing states. … And that might just be influential enough to bring the race to a dead heat.”

> The third-party nightmare: Brian Beutler of The New Republic takes a shot at U.S. voters considering pulling the lever for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. “The nightmare scenario is that this turns into a runaway free-rider problem. If too many people assume Clinton has the election locked down, and use that assumption as their basis for not voting for her, she could lose.”

> Trump and taxes: Timothy O’Brien is one of the few people who has seen Donald Trump’s tax returns. “While I can’t write specifically about what I saw,” he says at Bloomberg View, “I can say that the returns would give voters useful and tangible insights into Trump’s actual track record as a businessman, philanthropist and taxpayer. … they would reveal that the career he boasts so much about is built on sand.”

> Trump still close in polls: Nate Cohn of The Upshot takes a look at the current state of the polls, and finds that while Hillary Clinton clearly got a bounce after winning the first debate, “Mrs. Clinton’s big weakness among white working-class voters is still enough to keep Mr. Trump fairly close — perhaps closer than he’s been for much of the year.”

> The white apocalypse: Michael Gerson in The Washington Post worries about the post-election future of an America rife with white anger. “A very real culture war will be in full swing, not between social conservatives and social liberals, but between a movement of white economic and cultural grievances and a party of social elites and ascendant minorities. This struggle — rooted in race and class — would be far more bitter than the old culture war of ideas.”

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail): “Any comparison between [Liberal minister Maryam] Monsef and the birther movement is ridiculous. U.S. President Barack Obama never misstated his place of birth – it is the birthers who do that. Ms. Monsef did misstate hers. At any rate, nobody much cares where she was born. The trouble is that her explanation seems a little shaky.”

Nik Nanos (Globe and Mail): “The research suggests that on many of the big issues Canadians have less confidence under the current Liberal government than the Conservative government they just ousted.” (for subscribers)

Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star): “The upside of those decades of federal lethargy [on climate change] is that the vast majority of Canadians will not — at least initially — feel the impact of Trudeau’s incoming carbon price or even see it. Nor will most provinces, starting with the four largest ones, have to rush to tweak their existing climate change strategies to meet the federal benchmark. That’s because they already have schemes in place that meet or exceed the initial $10 a tonne floor price the federal government intends to put on carbon in 2018.”

Aaron Wherry (CBC): “But if, 50 years from now, the worst that can be said of Justin Trudeau's implementation of a national plan on climate change is that he wasn't terribly polite about it, he will have presumably done fairly well for himself.”

Don Braid (Calgary Herald): “The truth is that the premier, after working furiously to get ahead of the federal climate change agenda, has ceded control to people whose goodwill is not assured. A $50 carbon price is going to be a lot tougher on provinces with oil and gas than those without. And it will be hardest of all on Alberta, which has the biggest industry by far.”

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