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Politics Politics Briefing: Americans like Trudeau more than Trump, poll suggests

U.S. President Donald Trump waves next to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, following a family photo at the G7 Summit expanded session in Taormina, Sicily, Italy May 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


Good morning,

Pop quiz: What do Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron all have in common? They're all more popular among Americans than U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a new poll. Each of the world leaders had a higher net favourability than Mr. Trump, though about half of the respondents didn't have an opinion about them. (So, who knows, perhaps if the Americans who took the poll knew more about Mr. Trudeau and the rest they wouldn't like them, either.)

Speaking of U.S. politics, if you were the type who was glued to a TV or livestream to watch former FBI director James Comey testify last week, today's the sequel: Attorney-General Jeff Sessions will be grilled today by his former Senate peers.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa and Mayaz Alam in Toronto, with James Keller in Vancouver. 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.


A U.S. congressional commission says Canada may be putting its allies in danger by not conducting a full national-security review of a Chinese takeover of a Vancouver-based tech firm that supplies goods to key military clients. "Canada may be willing to jeopardize its own security interests to gain favour with China," said Michael Wessel of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

One of the most influential legal minds of a generation is set to retire: Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin says she will leave the top court in December, months shy of her mandatory retirement next year. Chief Justice McLachlin is the longest-serving chief justice in Canada's history at 17 years, and has sat on that bench since 1989.

A Liberal MP who is battling cancer made an emotional plea to his colleagues in the House of Commons to be more civil with each other.

The loonie saw a mini-resurgence after Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins told a crowd in Winnipeg that growth in the Canadian economy has spread to most regions and sectors. Ms. Wilkins' comments are the most recent sign that the Bank may be looking to raise the policy rate for the first time in nearly seven years.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark and her cabinet have been formally sworn in, even though their minority government could be thrown out of power in just a few weeks. The BC Liberals are planning to recall the legislature later this month, when they will almost certainly lose a confidence vote in the face of an NDP-Green alliance. Nonetheless, the premier is using her cabinet appointments — and the expected Throne Speech — to set an "urban agenda" designed to bridge the party's gap with voters in the province's largest cities. The goal? To position the party for a provincial election that could be months, not years, away.

The B.C. NDP continue preparing to seize power, reannouncing planks of the party's campaign platform as Leader John Horgan lays out his early priorities. Mr. Horgan says an NDP government will follow through on a pledge to create a dedicated ministry for addiction and mental health in the face of a worsening overdose crisis. While he's not overly critical of how the Liberal government has handled the file, Mr. Horgan says the issue deserves a dedicated ministry to guide the response. B.C. health officials declared a public-health emergency last year.

And the Nova Scotia Liberals have retained their slim one-seat majority in the provincial legislature after a judicial recount confirmed they won a riding by 91 votes.

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on the return of separatism: "These are difficult, fractious times for Quebec's sovereignty movement. It's having little luck renewing itself. Support for a referendum is the lowest it's been in decades. The last thing federalists should be doing is stirring up sovereignty's embers."

Kevin Page, Azfar Ali Khan and Randall Bartlett (The Globe and Mail) on the Canada Infrastructure Bank: "Fundamental questions remain unanswered in the House of Commons review, notwithstanding the significant taxpayer money ($35-billion) at play."

André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on health care: "In Canada, when we discuss the merits of other countries' approaches, we tend to cherry-pick what we like and conveniently forget what we don't. The bottom line is that, in countries that deliver care efficiently and cost-effectively, publicly funded care is administered well, and privately funded care is regulated well. In Canada, we do neither and, unsurprisingly, we get waits, queue-jumping, extra billing and much frustration."

Geoff Plant (The Globe and Mail) on B.C.'s minority legislature:  "Sooner rather than later, the party leaders may prefer another election to the difficult business of managing the house on a day-by-day basis. But while it lasts, the house itself has been empowered in a way that we have not often seen in British Columbia."

Chantal Hébert (Toronto Star) on Jagmeet Singh: "It is not rare for a Canadian politician to trade one political arena for another. But the road from Parliament to a provincial legislature has been the less rocky of the two paths."

Andrew Coyne (National Post) on the Senate: "It is the elected representatives of the people in the House of Commons to whom the government is supposed to be answerable. It is they who should be proposing amendments, and it is their support the government should have to court. The Senate, by contrast, is elected by no one, accountable to no one; as such it has no business amending or defeating anything, let alone a budget bill."

Susan Delacourt (iPolitics) on parties and partisanship: "Political parties aren't essential to Canadian democracy; municipalities, by and large, operate fine without them. Partisanship isn't all it's cracked up to be, either, unless you like politics served to you like pro wrestling, absent of nuance."


U.S. President Donald Trump is running into problems with the judiciary. Yesterday saw a federal appeals court rule against his immigration ban that targets citizens of several Muslim-majority countries. The attorneys-general of Maryland and Washington D.C. also launched a joint lawsuit alleging that Mr. Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. constitution. The clause disallows U.S. officials from receiving payments or other gifts from foreign governments.

President Trump's defenders, meanwhile, are saying special counsel Robert Mueller and former FBI director James Comey are too close for comfort as Mr. Mueller begins his investigation into the Trump team's ties to Russia. As well, Republicans have seized on Mr. Comey's admission of leaking information to the media as part of their overall campaign to stop sources inside the government from speaking to journalists. But there may have been a good legal reason why Mr. Comey owned up.

British Prime Minister Theresa May told her party yesterday that she would remain in office as long as they want her there. Ms. May and the Conservatives' poor performance in last week's general election has left many in the U.K. wondering about the future of Brexit negotiations and the influence that the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party, who are helping to prop up the Tories, will wield.

@realDonaldTrump tweets. Users reply. Then come the retweets, likes and follows. The space underneath one of Mr. Trump's tweets is becoming increasingly hot property and users who are able to effectively leverage a reply reap the digital rewards.

And Politico has a deep-dive on how to get more women to run for office. A few tips include encouraging politics as a career earlier in women's lives and stressing that elected office can be a way to fix problems in our communities -- not just a path for self-advancement.

Laura Zizzo (The Globe and Mail) on the stock market and climate change: "The transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy is under way and investors are increasingly demanding to know what boards of directors and their management teams are doing to respond to climate risk. U.S. companies that agree with President Donald Trump's decision to exit the Paris accord cannot escape climate change within their own borders or globally, and risk investor wrath if they remain unprepared for the inevitable."

Martin Lukacs (The Guardian) on the Canadian Liberal Leader and the British Labour Leader: "Justin Trudeau is a counterfeit, while Jeremy Corbyn is the progressive. Their way of doing politics is the difference between real change™ and transformation: not an empty spectacle orchestrated by elite technocrats beholden to bankers and oil barons, but an electoral program, pushed for and shaped by a mass movement, that would concretely improve the lives of millions of people."

Ramesh Ponnuru (National Review) on the ideologies of the U.S. parties: "Both victory and defeat have been radicalizing experiences for the Democratic party during this century. Democrats moved left after losing to George W. Bush; they moved farther left after winning with Barack Obama; and now they seem to be moving farther left still under President Donald Trump."

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