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Politics Politics Briefing: B.C.’s NDP government is sworn in

Premier John Horgan smiles at cabinet members after being sworn-in as Premier during a ceremony with his provincial cabinet at Government House in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Globe and Mail Update

Good morning,

British Columbians have a new government for the first time in 16 years, after NDP Premier John Horgan and his cabinet were formally sworn in. Mr. Horgan and his 20 cabinet ministers must immediately begin work on several significant issues, including a state of emergency related to wildfires and the softwood lumber dispute. Mr. Horgan plans to fly to Washington soon to represent the province's interests on the softwood file, but it's not clear who he'll meet with or what he hopes to achieve when he's there. B.C. is Canada's largest exporter of softwood lumber to the United States and stands to lose the most from duties imposed by the Trump administration. Mr. Horgan also hasn't said whether he'll continue the push for retaliation started by his predecessor, former premier Christy Clark, who wanted to target American coal. Read more about who's in cabinet and what issues they'll be tackling.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Mayaz Alam and Eleanor Davidson in 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. Let us know what you think.

CANADIAN HEADLINES

Tory outrage over the Liberal government's $10.5-million payment to Omar Khadr has spilled across the border. Conservative MPs Peter Kent and Michelle Rempel have both used American media to condemn the settlement. Kent called the payment a "cynical subversion of Canadian principles" in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, while Rempel told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that Canadians are "absolutely outraged." Eastern Ontario MP Cheryl Gallant took the criticisms one step further: She created a faux newscast-style Facebook video, and accused the "elite-stream media" of creating "fake news" stories about Khadr in order to keep the Liberal government in power.

The federal government has announced a series of new measures that will limit the ability of wealthy Canadians to use private corporations to reduce their tax bills. The reform, which will not be instituted immediately, will add an estimated $250-million per year to federal coffers.

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on the B.C. NDP's cabinet: "It's one thing to scream from the opposition benches about what a terrible job the government is doing about these and other matters; it's quite another to suddenly have the roles reversed and become the ones being judged. I'm sure there are some Liberal MLAs, including former premier Christy Clark herself, who are looking forward to the first Question Period this fall."

Zarqa Nawaz (The Globe and Mail) on a Muslim cemetery in Quebec: "The argument that the good citizens of Saint-Apollinaire suddenly grew very concerned about helping Muslims participate in a multicultural world of inclusion, even if it's only underground, coming from a town with no real history of multiculturalism and inclusion, is suspicious at best. As is the suggestion that Muslims asking for a Muslim-only cemetery is special treatment, given the number of Christian and Jewish cemeteries that have existed without controversy for centuries."

Perry Bellegarde (Maclean's) on Indigenous deaths in Thunder Bay: "The words of Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler at a recent special emergency chiefs meeting have stayed with me: Our school gymnasiums shouldn't be used for funeral services for our children. But in 2017, that is exactly what is happening in Canada. First Nations children are growing up knowing grief and trauma each and every day; pre-teens who have never left the north are being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder."

NAFTA UPDATE

For Donald Trump, renegotiating NAFTA includes a list of more than 100 objectives. Yet Justin Trudeau has remained tight-lipped about what Canada hopes to achieve from the talks. A particularly contentious American objective is scrapping the Chapter 19 dispute resolution panels, which Canada fought hard to secure in trade talks decades ago. For Canada, Chapter 19 was a way to appeal American attempts to slap duties on Canadian goods without having to appeal to the U.S. court system, and the panel has ruled in Canada's favour in the past. But Ottawa's stance on scrapping Chapter 19 is unclear. Derek Burney, a former Canadian ambassador to the United States, called on Trudeau to be more upfront about the negotiations. "What is the substance of our negotiating position? What are the things we are hearing that we are prepared to negotiate on? Don't you think Canadians want to hear that?" Burney asked.

One thing the Trudeau government and the Trump administration have in common is they both want to forge a new North American energy strategy. This would bring Mexico fully into the energy chapter of NAFTA to lock in its recent free-market reforms. Mexico is receiving increasing exports from oil and gas companies in Texas and New Mexico, and even from neighbours much further north -- TransCanada Corp., based in Calgary, is building several gas pipelines to Mexico.

While Mexico's growth is good news for energy, it's hurting the Canadian auto sector. Unifor president Jerry Dias is calling on Canada and the U.S. to impose tariffs on vehicles imported from Mexico, as a way to force automakers to "isolate Mexico from future investment." Increased investment in Mexico's auto industry led 14 assembly plants to be shut down in Canada and the U.S. over the past decade. In that same period, eight new plants opened in Mexico.

INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES

The director of Amnesty International in Turkey was jailed Tuesday, along with five other human rights activists. They will remain in jail until they face trial for allegedly aiding an armed terror group. The Turkish government has garnered international criticism over human rights abuses and narrowing freedoms in the country since last July's failed coup. Over the past year, more than 50,000 people have been arrested and more than 110,000 people have been dismissed from government jobs. Media outlets and NGOs have also been shut down.

The eighth participant in a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked lawyer has been identified as Ike Kaveladze, a representative of Emin and Aras Agalarov. Emin Agalarov's publicist Rob Goldstone organized the meeting while his father Aras is a billionaire friend of Vladimir Putin. The Agalarovs met U.S. President Donald Trump in 2013 and the family has been called the Trumps of Russia. Oh, and Mr. Kaveladze was the subject of a congressional probe into money laundering by Russians in 2000.

A Saudi woman has been arrested after a video of her sparked outrage online. The cause of her arrest was "immodest clothes." In the video, the woman walked around an empty historic fort wearing a miniskirt and crop top. Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic dress code means all women, including foreigners, must wear long, loose robes (known as abayas) in public. Most women also wear headscarves and full-face veils.

An Australian Senator has resigned from her role. The reason? She was a dual citizen of Australia and Canada. Larissa Waters, co-leader of the Green Party, was born in Winnipeg, while her parents were studying in Canada and mistakenly assumed that in order to be a Canadian citizen she had to actively seek citizenship, whereas she actually needed to apply to renounce her citizen status.  Australia's constitution states that people with foreign citizenship are barred from holding public office.

Malorossiya may soon be the world's newest country, if separatists in Eastern Ukraine have their way. Translated to "little Russia," the area has seen thousands die in armed conflict between Russian-backed rebels, who proclaimed the new state, and Ukraine after the rebels took control of several regions following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

And Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a previously undisclosed hour-long meeting at the G20 summit.

Patrick Leblond (The Globe and Mail) on NAFTA: "Contrary to President Donald Trump's rhetoric about NAFTA in the past, the objectives document's overall tone is very much in line with a much-needed modernization of NAFTA. Notwithstanding some protectionist objectives and measures announced in the document, it's actually something that Canada and Mexico can work with."

Trita Parsi (The Guardian) on war and Iran: "President Donald Trump should roll back Iranian influence through pressure and sanctions, the argument goes. Some even suggest pressure can lead to regime change, failing to see the contradiction in warning about Iran's rising influence while predicting Tehran's downfall if only a few more sanctions are imposed. This near-mythological potency of sanctions is rooted in Washington's narrative on why the nuclear deal came to fruition in the first place: sanctions and pressure brought the Iranians to their knees, forcing them to negotiate their way out of their nuclear rabbit hole.  Indeed, sanctions were so effective that had Barack Obama not shifted to diplomacy and eased the pressure on Iran, the clerical regime would likely have fallen by now, critics of the nuclear accord claim. But this narrative is simply false."

Michael Gerson (The Washington Post) on Somalia's security bubble: "Somalia generally gets bad press, focused on starvation, terrorism or piracy. But it's not a country composed mainly of hungry Islamist pirates. It is a country in the midst of re-founding itself. It recently elected a promising new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who has Somali/American dual citizenship and once worked for the New York State Department of Transportation in Buffalo. But Mohamed is now under considerable pressure to produce tangible social and military results."

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