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B.C. Premier Christy Clark, left; NDP Leader John Horgan, middle; and B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver. (Jimmy Jeong, Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark, left; NDP Leader John Horgan, middle; and B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.

(Jimmy Jeong, Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Politics Briefing

B.C. election campaign officially under way Add to ...

THE B.C. ELECTION

B.C.’s election campaign is officially under way after the lieutenant-governor dissolved the legislature, and the two main party leaders are reaching back into the 1990s. Liberal Leader Christy Clark has repeatedly pointed to the NDP’s time in power, from 1991 to 2001, to warn that a return to those policies would bankrupt the province and cause businesses and jobs to flee. NDP Leader John Horgan is echoing his party’s message from 1996, when a “class war” campaign portrayed the Liberals as elites while promising that the New Democrats would stand up for the working class. It was a message that worked in 1996; it hasn’t worked since.

Today, Mr. Horgan is taking his campaign to North Vancouver-Lonsdale, one of several close ridings the NDP would likely need to win to form government. The riding has been Liberal since the early 1990s, but the margin of victory was just 4.9 percentage points in 2013. Ms. Clark is also in the Lower Mainland but the Liberals have not publicly released her itinerary.

And Gary Mason says the odds are stacked against the NDP, even if the polls (which were spectacularly wrong during the 2013 campaign) appear to give them an edge: “As a rule, the only time the NDP has a chance of winning in British Columbia is when the coalition cracks and fractures enough (generally it’s been the party’s right flank that has been upset enough to leave) to allow the province’s left-wing party to win. There is certainly no sense that Ms. Clark has done anything to cause conservatives to abandon her; she has run one of the most conservative administrations in the country.”

Ms. Clark spent her first news conference of the campaign responding to the sister of Roderick MacIsaac, a government health researcher who killed himself after he and seven of his colleagues were falsely accused of wrongdoing. The province’s ombudsperson released a scathing report last week that concluded the government misled the public when, in 2012, it announced the workers had been fired due to a data breach – and incorrectly said the RCMP was investigating. The head of the civil service apologized last week, but Mr. MacIsaac’s sister, Linda Kayfish, said Ms. Clark’s reaction has been “callous and cynical.”


CANADIAN NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Global education activist and 19-year-old Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai will address Canada’s Parliament at about noon Eastern Time. She will also receive honorary citizenship today and meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Liberals have finally tabled the legislation that implements their budget of last month. The wide-ranging bill -- from a party that has condemned omnibus bills in the past -- features enabling legislation for the Canada Infrastructure Bank, hikes to service fees, and changes to the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. “There are those kind of issues that, to me, are the constraints that may, in practical terms, affect the PBO in a negative way. But there are other aspects in terms of the appointment [of the PBO] and those kinds of things that are certainly improvements,” said assistant PBO Mostafa Askari.

Will you remember this in six months? In general, focus groups show Canadians don’t remember much about budgets.

“Assad must go”: Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Russia must stop backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Liberal government is speeding up approvals for producers of marijuana in time to meet what will likely be increased demand after the drug is legalized. The Liberals are set to introduce legislation on Thursday.

The United States has complained about Canada’s tardiness in replying to an international treaty on endangered species.

Canada lags behind many other countries in its foreign-aid spending, and the minister responsible says that’s not likely to change.

And the CBC has apologized for the content of its historical series The Story Of Us after some groups feel they weren’t featured enough on the TV show. “After the first two episodes, some people felt misrepresented and for that, we apologize,” the CBC said.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter. If you're reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Let us know what you think.

U.S. NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Moscow today. When it was first reported that he would be visiting Russia but skipping NATO talks, the trip drew ire. But now, in the shadow of the U.S. actions in Syria and the White House’s subsequent accusation that Russia helped cover up the Syrian chemical gas attack, the trip takes on an entirely new dimension. Mr. Tillerson, who at G7 talks earlier this week asked for international support, is now under pressure to turn his tough talk into a cohesive strategy.

Kelly Knight, the Trump White House’s reported choice for ambassador to Canada, is being questioned on her conflicts of interest as part of vetting for diplomatic posts. It’s one part of a glacial approval process for the numerous White House allies and donors who expected cushy diplomatic postings, CNN reports. The State Department has pushed back training sessions for prospective ambassadors because only one person has been confirmed, and only four others nominated.

In 2013, 30 per cent of Americans supported air strikes on Syria. Following last week’s attack, just over half approved of U.S. military actions, according to a Washington Post poll. Four years ago, 38 per cent of Democrats backed strikes, while 37 per cent say they supported retaliatory strikes against the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons. Republican support, on the other hand, went from 22 per cent in 2013 to 86 per cent.

Democrats fell short of an upset in a Congressional special election in deep-red Kansas. The margin of victory, in a district that went Republican by 31 points in the fall, was over eight points. The spate of special elections offers an early litmus test of whether anti-Trump activist energy can be channelled into winning elections and promises to have some influence on how lawmakers view the 2018 midterm season. Another race to watch is a district in the wealthy suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia that hasn’t gone blue in 40 years but that Hillary Clinton only lost by 1.5 points.

SECUREDROP

Did you know you can share information with Globe journalists with much more security and anonymity than traditional means? Read more about SecureDrop and encrypted communication.

LUNCHTIME LONG READ

Bruce Linton is a CEO of a company whose products he has never used. Rapper Snoop Dogg has signed a promotional deal to help market for the company. The product? Marijuana. The company? Canopy Growth, which closed Tuesday’s trading valued on the TSX at $1.77-billion. With legislation regulating marijuana set to be tabled in the House of Commons later this week, Canopy Growth is looking to capitalize on being the biggest player in the market once pot is finally legalized. ROB Magazine looks at how Canopy Growth became Canada’s first billion-dollar pot company and what comes next. (for subscribers)

QUOTABLE

“We know now that the global warming is unprecedented and at the same time, it may be happening much faster than the capacity to adapt. Which means that sooner or later, the concern about cascading risks and the irreversibility in certain ecosystems becomes a real concern.” Dr. Hoesung Lee, head of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail): “In any new big power clash, [Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia] Freeland, whose animosity toward [Vladimir] Putin knows few bounds, would like to see Canada play more than a role of bystander. Pierre Trudeau was a contrarian who sought to have a disproportionate influence in the Cold War. But Justin Trudeau does not possess his father’s prickly outsider streak and is too much the new kid on the block to start throwing his weight around.”

Ian Buruma (The Globe and Mail): “[Donald Trump] has stumbled onto the best way to achieve his goal of being applauded as a tough guy: military action. His efforts to portray himself as a great president have faltered, but as commander-in-chief he appears to have scored a big victory where it really matters to him: the mass media.”

Tina Rosenberg (The New York Times): “Climate policy is in the hands of climate deniers now, and we are staring at catastrophe. The only path is for businesses, especially oil companies, to seize the lobbying machinery they have used to deny climate change and block regulation, and throw it behind the carbon tax that at least the largest of them claims to support. What an irony that the best hope for the climate right now seems to be for Exxon Mobil to lead the charge.”

Erin Gloria Ryan (The Daily Beast): “To the young and anti-war faction of voters who supported Obama and then Clinton, perhaps without spending much time considering what his ideological peers would do in Syria, they must now reckon with the fact that no major party represents their views. And maybe no major party ever really did.”

Written by James Keller, Chris Hannay and Mayaz Alam.

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