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Politics Briefing: Jagmeet Singh on Sikh separatism

Good morning,

After a week in which questions were raised about NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh's past attendance at Sikh separatist rallies, Mr. Singh finally laid out his rationale in a series of interviews with media outlets.

"I wasn't consorting. I attended an event," Mr. Singh told The Globe. "For me, I can understand the pain that people in the Sikh community felt, a community that suffered a violent attack by the military where thousands of civilians were killed at one of the most important places of prayer. I wanted to use the opportunity to get people, who feel marginalized, to do something that is positive."

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Mr. Singh elaborated in an opinion piece for The Globe, in which he explained the historical context of the Sikh separatist movement, its past associations with violence and how those acts can still reverberate decades later:

"Sadly, the pain and trauma of violence cannot be left behind in the country of origin. It was brought with them to Canada, as it affected the victims to their core. That trauma is often passed down through generations.

"In Canada's history, there are also examples of creating this kind of pain, suffering and lasting trauma. The legacy of residential schools, the last of which were closed just two decades ago, continues to be felt in Canada today. The system of residential schools denied First Nations, Inuit and Métis children the love and nurturing of their own families and communities; the pride and self-esteem that comes from learning one's heritage, language, culture and traditions.

"Genocide and intergenerational trauma are complex issues. Our answer to them must be thoughtful and compassionate."

And some other recent opinions:

Margaret Wente (The Globe and Mail): "You've got to wonder how thoroughly Mr. Singh was vetted for his job. Did his beard and bespoke suits bedazzle people into skipping the tough questions? Did anybody worry how the divided politics of the Sikh community would spill over into federal politics? Did anybody worry about the consequences of such a major shift to voting-bloc politics? Or were those questions considered too rude to ask?"

Arshy Mann (CBC): "But the differences between the Khalistani extremism of the 1980s and the push for greater Sikh autonomy today are vast. The Referendum 2020 campaign is largely peaceful. And while a small minority of Sikhs may still venerate terrorists like Air India mastermind Talwinder Singh Parmar as freedom fighters, the vast majority abhor that sort of violence and want nothing to do with it."

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This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa, Mayaz Alamin Toronto 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. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

Editor's note: Ironically, given the subject matter we wrote about in Thursday's newsletter, we ourselves accidentally misstated the nature of the trade relationship between Canada and the U.S. In fact, as the website of the U.S. Trade Representative, which we linked to, notes, the U.S. has a $12.5-billion trade surplus with Canada -- not the other way around.

CANADIAN HEADLINES

The chief of the First Nation where Tina Fontaine grew up is calling on the Manitoba government to hold a public inquiry into the 15-year-old girl's death. Chief Derrick Henderson of Sagkeeng says only an inquiry can get answers about the case, which ended in an acquittal for the man accused of killing the girl. The Manitoba government has rejected calls for an inquiry.

The federal government is spending more than $9-million to develop technology designed to save killer whales from collisions with ships.

coalition of business and environmental leaders is urging Ottawa to use new tax incentives and streamlined regulations to speed up the adoption of clean technology in the resource sector.

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The B.C. government said it respects a court ruling that found child-welfare officials didn't explore alternatives before they seized a newborn from her Indigenous mother. A judge has ordered the child be returned to her mother, who is a member of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. The province's children's watchdog has said the way the children's ministry handled the case was paternalistic and racist.

Bloc Québécois founder Lucien Bouchard says he's saddened by what's happened to his party.

The number of Canadian soldiers on United Nations peacekeeping deployments is at an historic low.

And Patrick Brown has been barred from running for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in the provincial election this summer. Shortly after the party handed down its decision, Mr. Brown said he had changed his mind about running again, anyway.

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Trump and Trudeau: "Donald Trump, the Manchurian President, tells bald-faced lies to his closest allies, and then laughs about it with his friends. To be honest, that's not fair. Mr. Trump is not a secret agent controlled by a foreign power bent on destroying the Western alliance. He just acts like one."

Vincent Gasparro (The Globe and Mail) on basic income: "Those on the left of the political spectrum have supported a basic income because of the impact it would have in the war on poverty, an impact which the initial Ontario data show is extremely positive. People on the right of the political spectrum support a basic income because it would allow government to become smaller by streamlining redundant government programs, which are much more costly to administer."

Globe and Mail editorial board on Doug Ford: "It's been more than a month since he announced his candidacy, and presumably longer since he started following provincial politics. Yet Mr. Ford has displayed little in the way of in-depth knowledge of the issues. The PC leader has since promised a new, streamlined election platform that will contain just 'five points.' That, too, is a worrying prospect. Having priorities is great, but there are dozens of issues that party leaders must take a stand on before asking Ontarians for their vote. We hope Mr. Ford sees his way to providing a detailed, costed-out platform before the election. The stakes are high, and voters deserve more than slogans and brash assertions that prove false. Low-information populists like Mr. Ford seem to be in the ascendance these days, but so too is a skepticism about what they can actually deliver once in office."

Calgary Herald editorial board on the Kinder Morgan pipeline: "Trudeau mumbles a few supportive words in favour of expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, but does nothing to move the project forward. This, despite the fact the project would create billions of dollars of wealth for governments at all levels in Canada."

David Schindler and Craig Orr (Vancouver Province) on the Kinder Morgan pipeline: "The reality Canadians need to acknowledge...is that the science will likely never be certain on this issue. No new study will guarantee that a bitumen spill as big as the one that could happen thanks to an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline won't cause irreversible harm to B.C.'s coast."

Help The Globe monitor political ads on Facebook: During an election campaign, you can expect to see a lot of political ads. But Facebook ads, unlike traditional media, can be targeted to specific users and only be seen by certain subsets of users, making the ads almost impossible to track. The Globe and Mail wants to report on how these ads are used, but we need to see the same ads Facebook users are seeing. Here is how you can help.

INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES

U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to remove H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser. General McMaster was named to the job after Michael Flynn, who plead guilty as part of the special counsel's probe into collusion, was ousted. It's unclear who will replace Gen. McMaster.

Russia is threatening to retaliate against the United Kingdom and its allies — including the United States, France and Germany — putting natural gas supplies in danger. Britain and its allies issued a joint statement that claimed Russia was responsible for the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Sripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The U.S. also announced several sanctions against Russia.

Ahead of Sunday's Russian election, which President Vladimir Putin is assured of winning, there is little campaigning by the man himself. Opposition candidates are taking part in the the usual activities ahead of an election, holding events and talking to potential voters. Mr. Putin, however, exists mainly on omnipresent billboards and posters.

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the kingdom will develop nuclear weapons if archrival Iran does. The two regional powers have been fighting a proxy war for control over the Middle East region.

Slovakia is now without a prime minister and a government, after Robert Fico and his government resigned after a political crisis was triggered when an investigative journalist and his fiancee were killed.

Peru's congress has voted to reopen impeachment proceedings against President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former Wall Street investor, over his ties to a Brazilian construction giant at the heart of Latin America's sprawling corruption scandal.

Benjamin Shinewald (The Globe and Mail) on close elections: "voters are the real losers. Each time candidates refuse to concede victory, voters question the legitimacy and value of their votes, and democratic institutions crumble just a little bit. When candidates appeal election outcomes to the courts, it generally gets worse. If voters think election losers are just trying to win by other means or, worse, if they think judges are usurping their electoral voice, then democracy suffers."

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on presidents and prime ministers: "Pierre Trudeau looked good, as would most any leader, by comparison to Richard Nixon. Bill Clinton helped Jean Chrétien in his fight against separatists with a brilliant speech in Quebec on federalism. The same Mr. Chrétien won a legacy imprint by staying out of George W. Bush's Iraq war. Now it's Justin Trudeau's turn. An American president is his route to resurgence."

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