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Canada Morning Update: Breaking down the Wilson-Raybould and Philpott caucus expulsions

Good morning,

These are the top stories:

What all sides are saying about the Wilson-Raybould and Philpott caucus expulsions

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With his party in turmoil ahead of the fall federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau booted two former star ministers from the Liberal caucus and as party candidates. He pointed to their criticism of his role in the SNC-Lavalin affair, and took particular aim at Wilson-Raybould’s decision to record her phone conversation with the Privy Council Clerk.

What Trudeau said:

  • “The trust that had previously existed between these two individuals and our team has been broken.”
  • “If a politician secretly records a conversation with anyone, it’s wrong. When that cabinet minister is the attorney-general of Canada secretly recording the Clerk of the Privy Council, it is unconscionable.”
  • “Our political opponents win when Liberals are divided. We can’t afford to make that mistake.”

Wilson-Raybould’s reaction: “I did what I was required to do and what needed to be done based on principles & values that must always transcend party,” she tweeted. “I have no regrets. I spoke the truth as I will continue to do.” Wilson-Raybould said she has yet to decide whether to seek re-election, presumably as an independent. Earlier yesterday, she had sent Liberal MPs a last-minute letter lamenting Trudeau’s 2015 promise to launch a new era of openness in federal politics.

Jane Philpott’s response: “I did not initiate the crisis now facing the party or the Prime Minister. Nor did Jody Wilson-Raybould,” she said, noting that instead of apologizing, “a decision was made to attempt to deny the obvious – to attack Jody Wilson-Raybould’s credibility and attempt to blame her.” The former Treasury Board president resigned last month, saying she lost confidence in how Trudeau handled the SNC affair.

Liberal MPs: Caucus members offered resounding support for Trudeau. Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, said “there was a consensus that they didn’t feel that they could operate with the two people that betrayed them in the room.”

Opposition parties: Tory Leader Andrew Scheer said: “Elected officials are supposed to protect individuals who blow the whistle on government misconduct and corruption, not punish them.” And NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tweeted that Wilson-Raybould “wanted to do politics differently – putting integrity & what’s right for Canadians over what helps the Liberals.”

Subscribers can go here for all the latest updates on the SNC saga.

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The view from our opinion section

Campbell Clark: “A fair number of Liberal MPs suspected Wilson-Raybould was motivated by ambition, or anger or revenge. But none of them seriously thought that about Philpott. So, to be clear, her transgression was being a Liberal who thought ill of Trudeau’s Prime Minister’s Office.” (for subscribers)

Andrew MacDougall, former communications director for Stephen Harper: “The Liberals were the ones who ran on the proposition that ‘better is always possible.’ Now it seems like they might not clear even the low bar set by the Republicans who have enabled the powerful miscreant south of the border.”

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Canada’s environmental watchdog says Ottawa isn’t doing enough to fight climate change

The failure of successive federal governments to cut greenhouse-gas emissions is “disturbing,” outgoing Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand said. She said Canada isn’t on track to meet its climate targets: Despite a vow to cut carbon emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, projections show emissions will be reduced by no more than 19 per cent. Gelfand also criticized the Liberals for not fulfilling a commitment to end “inefficient” fossil-fuel subsidies (Canada has pledged to phase them out by 2025).

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The scathing comments came a day after a federal study found Canada is warming two times faster than the global rate, with the Canadian North warming at three times the rate.

On the Arctic front, scientists are pointing to evidence that shows Banks Island in the Northwest Territories is turning to mush. The rate of landslides has surged 60-fold over the past three decades as permafrost that was frozen for thousands of years softens and collapses into mud and gravel.

Asylum seekers should go through ‘appropriate’ channels, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. says

David MacNaughton is defending the federal government’s move to close a loophole that would allow Canada to turn away most people who enter from the U.S. via unauthorized points of entry. When asked how that aligns with Ottawa’s position on welcoming refugees, he said: “We’re open to immigration. We’re also open to legitimate refugee claimants who go through the process that is established.”

Canada is currently starting the process to renegotiate the Safe Third Country Agreement, which would enable Canadian officials to bring those who cross at unofficial points to border crossings, where they could be deported back to the U.S. More than 40,000 asylum seekers have entered Canada since 2017 amid President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown.

Theresa May’s latest Brexit plan is to work with the opposition on a compromise

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The British Prime Minister will sit down with Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, a decision that opens the door to a much softer break from the European Union. The two will try to come to terms on an exit agreement, and if they can’t, May said she will let MPs vote on different options and abide by their choice.

What this means for the April 12 deadline: May will ask for another exit extension from the EU, but said she didn’t want Britain to participate in European Parliament elections on May 23. EU leaders will meet on April 10 to consider whatever May has put forward at that point.

Unrest in May’s party: A major obstacle in getting her previous three plans through Parliament has been opposition from Conservative MPs. Tory rebels argue that her deal, which includes a backstop for no hard Irish border, would leave Britain too closely tied to the bloc. May is betting that Corbyn’s support would be enough to secure approval.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

The Saudi kingdom has been paying Jamal Khashoggi’s children $10,000 to $15,000 a month in addition to providing each with a house, The New York Times reports. The payments appear designed to deter the four adult children from speaking out against the Saudis over the killing of their father in an Istanbul consulate last fall.

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The deceased founder of the Quadriga cryptocurrency exchange appears to have mixed personal and corporate funds. Gerald Cotten may have used Quadriga funds “to acquire assets” outside the company, according to a court-appointed monitor trying to track down millions of dollars owed to Quadriga users. (for subscribers)

Another measles case has been confirmed in B.C., bringing the provincial total to 22 so far this year. Amid rising global concern about measles outbreaks and anti-vaccine messaging, public health officials across Canada have recently started implementing more aggressive strategies to counter misinformation.

MORNING MARKETS

Stocks rise

World stocks rallied to six-month highs on Wednesday as investors cheered signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks and reassuring economic data, helping push Germany’s 10-year bond yield back up to zero per cent. Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 1 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite each gained about 1.2 per cent. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was down marginally by about 6:40 a.m. ET, with Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 up by between 0.6 and 1.2 per cent. New York futures were up. The Canadian dollar is above 75 US cents.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

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It’s time for Canada to ban handguns

Globe editorial: “Banning handguns would not mean the end of murder in Canada’s cities. But there is reason to believe that ending legal access to handguns would reduce the murder rate. At the same time, it would leave long-gun owners and those who want to use other firearms for traditional purposes free to do so. Gun control shouldn’t be an either/or proposition, not when there are people living in fear in their communities.”

Getting to the real cost of cheap groceries

Sylvain Charlebois: “Consumers have been conditioned to expect cheap food, and that they can go to the market to get whatever they want, whenever they want it. However, Carbon pricing will challenge these notions over time; the types of food available and where they come from will eventually change.” Sylvain Charlebois is professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.

If you’re a Democratic presidential hopeful, get ready to say sorry

Lawrence Martin: “In America’s new victim culture, politicians are on the defensive like never before – for anything they’ve done going back a half-century. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and candidate-in-waiting Joe Biden have been prostrating themselves for past sins every second day of the week. Before them, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have had to repent or fight off calls to do so.” (for subscribers)

TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

(Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail

LIVING BETTER

Our ties with technology: Two personal pieces from Globe readers

“Dear Algorithm,” writes Stephane Lavoie, “Things were different when I first met you. You had my back. I remember the first time you mapped a transit route for me. That was hot. … Things were going really well, but at some point you changed, and I can’t keep it bottled in anymore. I have to let you know how I feel.”

Bobbie Jean Huff writes about the whirlwind of changing your Facebook relationship status: “On a whim – and because there was no 12th option for “In an Uncivil Union,” I chose, from the convenient drop-down menu, It’s Complicated. … A few minutes later, I was back in my study checking my e-mails. There were 13!”

MOMENT IN TIME

Leon Trotsky held in Halifax

Leon Trotsky is seen in 1922. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

April 3, 1917: Leon Trotsky was living in exile in the Bronx when he heard the news in March, 1917, that Czar Nicholas II had been forced to abdicate. The aspiring revolutionary decided to return to his native Russia at once, and with his wife and two children boarded a liner for Europe. But British authorities, worried about the threat of socialist revolution in Russia – and the likelihood it would end Russia’s role as an ally against Germany in the war raging in Europe – ordered that he be detained when the ship stopped in Halifax. On April 3, Trotsky and five fellow Russians were seized and soon sent to Nova Scotia’s Amherst Internment Camp, which primarily housed German prisoners of war. (Trotsky’s family was given lodgings in Halifax.) The future Bolshevik leader was not charged with any crime – he had not committed one, and was legally travelling under the passport of a major ally – and domestic pressure soon mounted on the provisional Russian government to demand the release of its citizens from unlawful detention. After being held for a month at Amherst, Trotsky became a free man and soon afterward was steaming to Russia – and his appointment with destiny. – Christopher Harris

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