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Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall arrives for a meeting of provincial premiers in Whitehorse, Yukon, on July 21, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall arrives for a meeting of provincial premiers in Whitehorse, Yukon, on July 21, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Politics Briefing

Only two premiers in Canada have positive approval ratings: poll 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

> The Prime Minister's Office staffers who expensed a total of more than $200,000 to move to Ottawa are Justin Trudeau's top two aides,  sources tell The Globe. Both chief of staff Katie Telford and principal secretary Gerald Butts made half a million dollars on the sales of their Toronto homes earlier this year, land records reveal.

> Democratic Reform Minister Maryam Monsef, touted as Canada’s first Afghan-born MP, says she had no idea she was actually born in Iran until The Globe raised the issue with her. Ms. Monsef spent the first years of her life in Iran before her family moved back to Afghanistan, where her parents were from. She, her mother and sisters came to Canada as refugees in 1996.

> Mr. Trudeau says an extradition treaty with China will help Canada “make gains on human rights and consular files.” The Prime Minister is meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Ottawa this morning.

> Canada’s new ambassador to the United Nations says the Liberal government can teach the UN a few things about breaking through bureaucracy.

> Conservative MP Lisa Raitt, who may run for her party’s leadership, says her husband has early onset Alzheimer’s. “I don't know how long I'm going to have the best husband in the world, but I'm going to have it as long as I can, and I'm a fighter,” she said.

> Canadians who contracted hepatitis C from tainted blood before 1986 or after 1990 say the federal government is being unfair in not giving them the same level of compensation as those infected between those two years.

> The National Research Council’s apple trees may be imposters.

> Could an NHL game be played on Parliament Hill?

> And the bitter fights in small Newfoundland fishing villages, where residents are being offered $250,000 by the government to walk away from their homes.

PREMIER APPROVAL RATINGS

Angus Reid Institute’s quarterly survey testing premiers’ approval ratings is out this morning, and the overall picture remains the same: only two premiers (Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall and Manitoba’s Brian Pallister) are approved of by more than half of respondents in their provinces.

A few of the trendlines are of note, however. While Mr. Wall remains far and away the most popular premier, the shine may be beginning to come off after nearly nine years in office. His approval dropped nine points, from 66 per cent to 57 per cent, the biggest change the poll has recorded for him. Further surveys will be needed to know if it is a statistical blip or the start of a new trend.

Meanwhile, B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s approval went up seven points as her government begins cracking down on foreign buyers in Vancouver’s real estate market. However, that bump brings Ms. Clark up to just 34 per cent in the survey.

And Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne hit a new low in the approval score. Ms. Wynne, who scored as high as 41 per cent after winning the 2014 provincial election, is down to just 20 per cent – or one-out-of-five respondents.

U.S. ELECTION 2016

> Too many bricks in Trump’s wall: Donald Trump wants to build a wall, but there’s already one right in front of him – and it’s solid blue, The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson writes. The wall to the White House is built from the core of Democratic states that “collectively represent 242 Electoral College votes, just 28 votes short of the 270 needed to win. This is the Blue wall. ... To defeat Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump must either tear down that wall, or find a way around it.”

> Trump’s demographic challenge: A new Upshot/Sienna College poll released this morning show a tie between Trump and Clinton in North Carolina, a normally Republican stronghold that is undergoing rapid demographic churn.  “The state is in many ways still culturally Southern, but it has been transformed by rapidly growing metropolitan areas like Raleigh and Charlotte. These areas are full of migrants from outside the state, especially from the Northeast.”

> The Trumpian web: Politico.com is reporting that “Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has paid his family's businesses more than $8.2-million.” Politico said it analyzed campaign finance filings, “which reveals an integrated business and political operation without precedent in national politics. ... Even the wealthiest of candidates have refrained from tapping their businesses’ resources to such an extensive degree.”

> The problem with protest voting: Charles Blow of The New York Times believes too many younger black Americans are falling into the trap of false equivalency by refusing to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. He says their reasoning comes down to the principle that both are flawed candidates. “Clinton and Trump are not equally bad candidates. One is a conventional politician who has a long record of public service full of pros and cons. The other is a demagogic bigot ... who openly courts white nationalism.”

> The election heard around the world: In The Washington Post, E.J. Dionne says President Barack’s Obama’s speech to the UN on Tuesday, in which he pointed to the “growing contest between authoritarianism and liberalism,” was as much directed at U.S. voters as it was at world leaders. Dionne, a liberal, and author of Why The Right Went Wrong, pleads with voters “to support Clinton. ... She is the only person standing between us and a United States that abandons our shared commitment to the ideals of inclusion, toleration and, yes, democracy itself.”

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Globe editorial board: “The decision to allow two personal allies and friends to bill for such huge amounts is a demonstration of poor judgment. This is not a glass of orange juice. This is way more than that.”

Stephen Maher (iPolitics): “Senior staffers set the tone for the government. If they’re not seen as careful stewards of the public purse, why should their underlings?”

Michael Kirby and Hugh Segal: “The power of partisans can be cut by restoring the original organizing principle of the Senate: representation by region. Without it, Confederation would not have occurred. We call for a return to roots: Regional caucuses should replace party ones as the basis for regulating committees, debates and questioning of government ministers.”

Robyn Urback (National Post): “The Senate will remain a place where unelected senators have the power to kill legislation from elected members of the House of Commons, only now many of them will not be accountable to any leader or party. They may still bill taxpayers for living expenses in Ottawa, while pretending their 'primary' residence is elsewhere, and turn up their noses at cold cheese and broken crackers. Indeed, the new Senate still looks very much like the old, even if the new appointees choose to call themselves ‘independent.’ ”

Aaron Wherry (CBC): “Either as an exercise in controlling the story or a means for avoiding trouble, the prime minister seems to have decided to limit the noteworthy sentiments he is ever heard uttering. While he perhaps talks more than his predecessor, it's not clear he says much more. And though perhaps not an entirely novel approach to public relations (and there were, if you listened closely and applied your magic decoder ring, some interesting words expressed this afternoon), his reticence is perhaps getting to be conspicuous.”

Chantal Hebert (Toronto Star): “While Trudeau leads a government that has never shied away from publicizing its actions, it is also no more averse than its predecessors to doing so selectively — sometimes hiding newsworthy developments in plain sight or dumping them in the public domain in the dead zone of a late Friday afternoon.”

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Follow us on Twitter: @rgilroy, @channay

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