Good help is hard to find – and expensive, too. As the Liberal government works to set up the Canada Infrastructure Bank, it is still in the process of appointing that bank's senior leadership. In the House of Commons this week, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi revealed the government paid headhunting firm Odgers Berndtson $350,000 (plus tax) to find the agency a CEO and board of directors. So far only one position has been announced, that of chair of the board. The Liberals said in July the bank's inaugural chair would be former Royal Bank executive Janice Fukakusa.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in New York this week for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. He has a series of bilateral meetings today, and will address the Assembly later in the week. U.S. President Donald Trump took a hard line in his speech to the world yesterday, pledging, among other things, to "totally destroy" North Korea if the country threatens the United States.
Before heading to New York, though, Mr. Trudeau left some lingering questions about his personal finances and whether his family trust shields him from paying some taxes. "Obviously, we follow all the rules and I am assured that the folks who are managing my personal finances are following all the rules," he told reporters in Ottawa. He also urged Canadian companies to back up Bombardier in a trade dispute with Boeing.
Fifty Liberal MPs – including a cabinet minister – have written to the Finance Minister to ask that the government finally fix the no-fly list. "The error in the Passenger Protect Program results in certain Canadian children being subject to security problems at airports because the affected person's name is the same as an individual on Canada's no-fly list," Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen wrote.
Veterans are gathering on Parliament Hill this week to push the government to further investigate the long-term effects of the antimalarial drug mefloquine.
B.C.'s Premier is defending his government's decision to provide tens of millions of dollars in public subsidies for political parties, despite previously insisting that wasn't the plan. The NDP government tabled its campaign finance rules this week, banning corporate and union donations, as well as setting a $1,200 limit for personal contributions. The legislation also introduces a per-vote subsidy program that would pay out nearly $5-million next year alone. Premier John Horgan made campaign finance reform a key election promise for his New Democrats, but he promised any decision about public subsidies would be handed to an independent committee. Mr. Horgan now says the subsidies are worth it to get big money out of politics. He insists they are temporary — but the legislation says they will be reviewed, but not necessarily cancelled, in 2022.
And the caucus of independent senators is electing its next leader soon. Despite being on track to become the largest group in the Senate, only one person so far is interested in the top job.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the Prime Minister's personality: "It's worth noting when tough Trudeau comes out because, despite what his opponents say, it's a real part of this PM's personality. Mr. Trudeau himself usually prefers to play up his touchy-feely image as an empathic listener. But the tough side is there, like an iron hand inside rainbow-coloured cotton candy, and occasionally he displays it."
Susan Delacourt (iPolitics) on the Liberals: "Tonally, however, something seems to have changed with Trudeau and his team over the summer — a certain hardening of the political skin, a resolve to fly in the face of criticism, to worry less about trying to make everyone happy."
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on campaign finance reform in B.C.: "It's unfortunate, because the NDP Leader's flip-flop has largely overshadowed what should have been a good day for his government. And the degree to which B.C.'s political system has been improved this week must not be lost in the discussion about whether taxpayers should be footing any of the bill."
Jared Yates Sexton (The Globe and Mail) on U.S. President Donald Trump: "The sad truth is that democratic norms are being tested every single day by the Trump administration, and though journalists and citizens are doing their part, there is a price to pay with staying informed. This restless onslaught takes a toll as each new development and encroachment desensitizes the country and ultimately makes possible future trespasses."
Dana Milbank (Washington Post) on women in Washington: "Recent events make it feel as if we're in an earlier time, when a woman's job in politics was simple: sit down and shut up. This no doubt is the work of a president who, by word and deed, made sexism safe again, giving license to shed 'political correctness' and blame troubles on minorities, immigrants and women."