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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during the Private Sector Forum on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York City, U.S. September 19, 2016. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during the Private Sector Forum on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York City, U.S. September 19, 2016. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Politics briefing

Trudeau to speak in New York as polls remain at record high Add to ...

POLITICS BRIEFING

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 is scheduled to speak today at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Yesterday he addressed the global migrant crisis, and promoted Canada as a place that is welcoming to refugees.

> Canada has quietly agreed to begin negotiating a bilateral extradition treaty with China, a country whose justice system is often questioned and still sentences some criminals to the death penalty. Of extra interest, a high-ranking Canadian official was in China last week for talks, shortly before Canada's Kevin Garratt was released from jail.

> Back at home, Assembly of First Nations national chief Perry Bellegarde says he’s still waiting for the Liberals to deliver on many of their promises to indigenous Canadians. “All I can tell you is I have been across Canada and I have been listening to chiefs and leaders, and everywhere I go, when I start talking about the $8.4-billion [in the March budget], they say, ‘Well, Chief Bellegarde, yeah, that’s a really high figure, but we’re not seeing it out on the ground yet.’ We’ve got to find more effective ways to get the funding flowing out,” he said. Meanwhile, the Liberals are expected to launch a new round of consultations with B.C. First Nations on the Northern Gateway pipeline.

> In the House of Commons: the human resources committee (dominated by Liberal MPs) is recommending major changes to the temporary foreign worker program; Conservatives say a national carbon price will hurt the Prairies; and, for the first time in a decade, MPs can actually say Stephen Harper’s name.

> It’s not clear when Shared Services Canada will actually save the government money.

> Foreign farm groups are itching to challenge Canada’s dairy industry at the World Trade Organization.

> And a followup to last week’s story on the temporary House of Commons being built in West Block: the Speaker’s chair will be staying put. Apparently it is too large to fit through the doors in the new chamber.

TRUDEAU STILL RIDING HIGH

By Chris Hannay

Just in case you were wondering, nearly a year after the last election, Justin Trudeau’s polling numbers remain at a record high. This morning’s weekly tracking from Nanos Research shows 69 per cent of respondents think Mr. Trudeau has the qualities of a good leader and half pick him as their preferred prime minister, a level of support that has remained steady since last October. 

Mr. Trudeau held a 65-per-cent approval rating in an Angus Reid Institute survey released last week, which was the highest that firm has seen. The previous Conservative government peaked at 42 per cent approval in their last majority mandate.

U.S. ELECTION 2016

> Birthers of a nation: In The Globe and Mail, Sarah Kendzior gets to the heart of Donald Trump’s fixation on Barack Obama’s birthplace. Birtherism, she writes, was never about where the President came from, “it was about where he was allowed to go. Power, for Mr. Trump … was rooted in birthright. … as he insisted to supporters that illegitimate outsiders like Mr. Obama had taken what was rightly theirs. In ways both subtle and overt, Mr. Trump promoted whiteness as assurance, for white Americans, of immunity from hard times.”

> At The Washington Post, Greg Sargent says the Republican Party’s aid in trying to help Donald Trump whitewash his birther movement has institutionalized the candidate’s racism in the GOP. “So it’s come to this: The institutional position of the Republican Party in the great birther controversy roiling the 2016 campaign … is now essentially that Donald Trump did the nation a service by forcing the first African American president to finally show his papers.”

> Seven ways Trump will affect Canada: The Globe’s John Ibbitson writes: “the deeper you dive, the darker it gets,” between Canada and the U.S. under a Trump presidency. Among Ibbitson’s fears would be a dismantling of the North American free-trade agreement, an end to easy border crossing and giving up on the fight to slow climate change. On the other hand, Trump is “a big supporter of the pipeline that would send Alberta bitumen to Gulf refineries. This would be good news for the oil sands, but cold comfort in a world reeling from the chaos.”

> Florida, inside baseball edition: Steve Schale, who calls himself a “grizzled veteran” of Florida politics, scoffs at the idea that the sunshine state should be a solid blue for Hillary Clinton because of the high percentage of Hispanic voters. “Florida is gonna Florida” he writes. “Let’s settle one thing, for good.  Until further notice, Florida is an exceptionally competitive swing state. In fact, it is the most competitive.” Need proof? In the past four U.S. general elections, “30.5 million voters have had a Presidential vote counted, and the difference between Republicans and Democrats?  Try 71,000 votes.”

> Backward is forward: Sean Trende won Monday’s award for hottest election take with his RealClear Politics posts titled: “Why her poll decline could be good news for Clinton.” Trende says a “a truly terrible news cycle [for Clinton] was still not enough to put Trump ahead. … The rhythm of the campaign is such that news cycles are almost guaranteed to swing the other way, and, well, Trump has a history of giving them an assist.”

> A preview of Trump’s America – in Poland: Anne Applebaum remembers a time when conspiracy theories were not a staple of the Polish political diet. But that all changed in the Sprint of 2010, when a plane carrying president Lech Kaczynski crashed during a flight to Russia. “As Trump used birtherism to inspire his core voters, [Jarslaw] Kaczynski, in the years that followed, used the Smolensk crash to motivate his supporters, that minority of the Polish population that remains convinced that unnamed secret forces control the country, that the ‘elite’ is manipulated by foreigners and that everything that has happened in the country since 1989 is part of a sinister plot.”

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail): “[Justin] Trudeau isn’t very comfortable with the darker, more unpleasant side of life. His specialty is sunny ways. Here’s a preview of what he’s supposed to say in his debut speech to the UN General Assembly: Prosperity leads to peace. Canada is prosperous and is determined to invest in peace. We love refugees, and everybody else should love them, too. If only the whole world were more like us! By the way, you can forget about those nasty politicians who called the UN a soapbox for dictators. They’re out of power now. Canada believes in the UN again, so please, please, vote for us to get that seat on the Security Council in 2021.”

Barrie McKenna (Globe and Mail): “Maybe you don’t think it’s a big deal that tens of thousands of federal government workers are going unpaid because of the botched roll out of a new pay system. Most civil servants are overpaid and underworked anyway, right? Many Canadians may feel similarly untroubled that government data centres are frequently crashing, downing websites and leaving key agencies, such as Statistics Canada, unable to get timely economic information to financial markets. But it does matter. Canada isn’t some tin-pot country that can’t pay its workers, run a computer or produce timely data. It’s a G7 country, a modern, advanced economy that should be a model of good governance.” (for subscribers)

Andrew Coyne (National Post): “If Canadians are in a less belligerent mood than our American and European cousins, it may be because we have not endured anything like the series of calamities they have. In contrast to the United States, median incomes in Canada have grown steadily for most of the past 20 years; inequality, whether measured from the top or the bottom, is nothing like as bad. Our housing market did not collapse, nor did our banking sector. We have no experience with terrorism on anything like the scale of recent attacks in the United States or Europe, let alone 9/11. Neither has immigration presented the kinds of challenges here that it has elsewhere.”

Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star): “It is, of course, easier to support a tax in theory than to pay for it in practice. Still, the experience of British Columbia where a carbon tax was introduced almost a decade ago has been that the political cost of such a measure — at least initially — is not exorbitant.”

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Follow us on Twitter: @rgilroy, @channay

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