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Politics Politics Briefing: Gender-neutral anthem bill may not pass before Canada Day

BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver, left, and NDP Leader John Horgan sign an agreement that likely spells the end of Premier Christy Clark's BC Liberal government.

Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press

Good morning,

It was one year ago today that Liberal, NDP, Green and some Conservative MPs voted to change a few words of the national anthem from "in all thy sons command" to "in all of us command." It was the final legislative bid by veteran Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, who died just a couple of months later. The goal was to make the anthem more "gender-neutral" in time for Canada's 150th birthday celebrations on July 1, 2017, but, like many bills, the Senate took a leisurely approach to studying it. One year later, and with just a few weeks left in the sitting, an 11th-hour move by a Conservative senator could effectively kill the bill and Canada's national anthem may not change after all. More on the story here.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa and 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.

B.C. UPDATE

There was a moment during negotiations to navigate B.C.'s unprecedented minority legislature when it seemed Premier Christy Clark's Liberals were close to a deal to remain in power. The Liberal negotiating team, which was trying to win the support of the Greens' three seats, had reached agreements with the party on key issues such as electoral reform and campaign finance. But it soon became clear there remained too large a gap on environmental issues, and the Greens faced tremendous pressure from supporters not to prop up the Liberals, whose brand of politics the party campaigned so loudly against. The Globe's Justine Hunter looks at how those negotiations unfolded, and why Ms. Clark's government lost out.

The prospect of an NDP minority government in B.C. supported by the Greens continues to cast doubt on the future of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. Much of the concerns in B.C. focus on protecting the coast from increased tanker traffic, but Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the coast is a resource that belongs to all Canadians, not a single province. Ms. Notley has warned there is nothing B.C. can do to stop the pipeline project.

CANADIAN HEADLINES

The Liberal government is set to announce $860-million in aid for the softwood lumber industry today, which has been at the centre of a long-running trade dispute with the United States. The Canadian government will be careful not to characterize the money as a bailout, so as not to give new fuel to the fire of U.S. lobbyists.

The Liberals' new political financing bill may make fundraising more transparent, but opposition parties say it won't actually stop the criticized "cash for access" events.

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, who had a hand in selecting former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Madeleine Meilleur to become the federal Official Languages Commissioner, may have a connection with the watchdog: some of her current staff used to work directly for Ms. Meilleur.

More and more federal bureaucrats who work in the Privy Council Office, the nerve centre of the government, are facing lifetime gags from ever talking about what they did.

A Russian activist is warning Canadians not to let Vladimir Putin influence elections here and in other western democracies. Vladimir Kara-Murza has been poisoned twice and almost died, allegedly for his political activities, but he says it won't keep him from continuing to speak out. "There's no better gift we could give the Kremlin than to give up and run away. And we are not going to give them that pleasure," he told The Globe.

A body near the Canada-U.S. border in Manitoba has been identified as a Ghanaian woman who may be the first to have died trying to illegally cross the border this year.

First Nations leaders are urging the government and RCMP to address a "policing crisis" in Thunder Bay, after a spate of deaths of local indigenous people.

Ottawa Police are the latest service to adopt new ways of dealing with sexual-assault investigations, after a Globe investigation shone a light on how often those complaints are dismissed.

And new Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has his work cut out for him: only about 8 per cent of respondents to an Angus Reid Institute survey say they are "familiar" with him, and 75 per cent say, at most, they've heard his name.

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on the Trump administration and climate change: "In the broader context, a U.S. pull-out would rock the international order. It would be a sign that the America Firsters are winning the internal White House debate, that the President is preoccupied with his populist base, which, along with reactionaries around the world, would surely celebrate his repudiation of the Paris accord."

Kathryn Harrison (The Globe and Mail) on the B.C. election and the Kinder Morgan pipeline: "Prime Minister Trudeau on Tuesday restated his government's support for the Trans Mountain pipeline. But as for Trans Mountain's IPO investors, that support comes with significant risks. Just how much political capital is Mr. Trudeau willing to spend to see the pipeline built?"

Drew Fagan (The Globe and Mail) on the Canada Infrastructure Bank: "The perception that Ottawa is in cahoots with Bay Street and Wall Street has been sowed by Ottawa's own actions. It spoke to moneyed interests, often behind closed doors, more assiduously than it explained the CIB's role to the public. How did BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, get so close as to appear to be both pitcher and umpire? However, this doesn't change the fact that Canada needs the CIB."

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on Canada's economy: "This no longer looks like a mere bounce-back from a rough first-half of 2015, and the severe but temporary impact of the Fort McMurray wildfires. This looks like an economy that has quite definitively turned the corner."

Marni Soupcoff (National Post) on freedom of speech on campus: "Let's be clear: there's more at stake here than an Ann Coulter speech or two. Whether it's forming a student group for the sympathetic discussions of men's issues or the intellectual questioning of the mandatory use of gender neutral pronouns, expressions of unpopular or controversial opinions are now regularly shut down by Canadian university administrators and activist students alike. The negative results range from an impoverished education for Canadian post-secondary students – who are denied the opportunity to debate views in the very spot that is supposed to be devoted to a free exchange of ideas – to an outright infringement of civil liberties."

Vicky Mochama (Metro) on prison policy: "By making changes that are less punitive and more humane – for example, counseling and drug therapies rather than solitary confinement and prolonged sentences – the justice system can help prisoners escape the cycle of poverty and criminality. "

GLOBE TALKS

Are you a Globe reader in Toronto? On June 7, we are hosting a live panel discussion called "Globe Talks: NAFTA in Play," on the future of trade with our biggest partner. It features Globe journalists Barrie McKenna and Joanna Slater with experts Dan Ciuriak, Laura Dawson and Michael Kergin. Click here for details and tickets.

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