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politics briefing

POLITICS BRIEFING

> Canada will contribute soon to a new NATO force in Latvia that is designed to be a deterrent against Russian aggression, sources say. U.S. President Barack Obama, in his speech in the House of Commons yesterday (here are the highlights if you missed it), hinted that more had been asked of Canada for NATO. "And as your ally and as your friend, let me say that we'll be more secure when every NATO member, including Canada, contributes its full share to our common security. … the world needs more Canada, NATO needs more Canada. We need you," Mr. Obama said.

> Two of the world's biggest human rights watchdogs – Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – are calling for Saudi Arabia to be suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

> Governor-General David Johnston has named 113 new appointments to the Order of Canada, one of the highest honours in the country.

> The federal Public Services department is taking further steps to help bureaucrats caught up in the government's malfunctioning pay system.

> And the fallout from Brexit continues to be thoroughly unpredictable: now Boris Johnson, Conservative MP and former mayor of London, says he will not run for his party's leadership, left vacant by departing prime minister David Cameron, even though Mr. Johnson led the successful Leave campaign.

WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT

Armine Yalnizyan (Globe and Mail: "It was worse than disingenuous to target immigrants as the root of Britain's problems. Even as rich but aging countries rely more and more on immigration, political leaders have normalized racist sentiment by their own rhetoric, and by their tolerance of others' xenophobic behaviour. Years of austerity have taken their toll, and slowing growth assures that more cuts lie ahead, regardless of who forms the government. The slower the growth, the more the economy feels like a zero-sum game. Everyone is seen as a competitor: For someone to make gains, someone else has to lose. Trade-offs are more difficult, politics are more fractious. All over the world, pro– versus anti-status quo positions line up along the 'have something to lose/have nothing to lose' spectrum. Neither erecting borders nor taking them down resolves anything. Historically, populism has not offered a way forward, only a way back."

Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): "Mr. Obama's trip to Ottawa for the North American summit was a stage to argue against the forces of isolationism and protectionism, symbolized by Brexit and led in the United States by Mr. Trump. This was Mr. Obama, the rhetorical force, a President in his last months making his case for what comes after."

Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail): "Maybe the majority of Americans understand that whatever Mr. Obama's failures, they pale in comparison to those of his critics, especially the Republican congressional leaders who – on Day 1 of his first term – decided to oppose, by any and every means, all of his initiatives." (for subscribers)

Neil Macdonald (CBC): "In a sense, Obama has used his intellectual gifts for motivational speaking. He tells audiences what they want to believe, as though that makes those things true. It was almost rich to hear him, standing in the legislature of a country whose chattering class is rife with anti-American sentiment and whose government intervenes as a matter of policy to protect Canadian culture and business, bang on earnestly about how Canadians, like Americans, abhor protectionism and understand the 'awesome power of free markets.'"

Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star): "To be fair, for all the glitter that attends such presidential visits to Canada, it is a rare one that has lasting geopolitical impact on the rest of the planet or, for that matter, the national scene."

Editor's note: This is the final Globe Politics newsletter for the summer. We will return after Labour Day bigger and better than ever. Let us know what you would like to see in the newsletter when we return: More provincial politics? Longer or shorter? Different delivery time? More on staffing or the buzz on the Hill? We look forward to hearing from you, and have a great summer.

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