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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally at Kent State University in Ohio on Oct. 31, 2016. (John Minchillo/AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally at Kent State University in Ohio on Oct. 31, 2016. (John Minchillo/AP)

Politics Briefing

Trudeau sought audience with Clinton before election, e-mails show Add to ...


By Chris Hannay (@channay) and Rob Gilroy (@rgilroy)

The Globe Politics is pleased to include a roundup of news and opinion on U.S. politics, through until this year’s election in November. As always, let us know what you think of the newsletter. Sign up here to get it by e-mail each morning.


> Finance Minister Bill Morneau will unveil his fall economic statement this afternoon, which will include an update on the budget and potentially some new fiscal and infrastructure policy.

> Also up in the House of Commons today is an NDP motion on boosting the amount spent on the welfare of First Nations children. The Liberals say they will support the motion.

> A law firm that does work in the mining and resources sector hosted a private fundraiser for Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr earlier this year.

> The Liberals are planning to reverse a key reform of the justice system made by the former Conservative government: harsher mandatory minimum sentences.

> The Liberals are keeping immigration levels steady next year at 300,000 new permanent residents, despite calls (internal and external) for increases.

> A group of former military members who lost their jobs because of their sexuality are launching class-action lawsuits against the government.

> Bank of England Governor Mark Carney – the former Canadian central banker – is staying on a little longer.

> The Senate is a-changin’: within days, a plurality of senators will be “non-affiliated” – not belonging to a political party – which will put increasing pressure on how the Red Chamber functions.

> And, in case you missed it, the Economist’s cover story is about Canada and why it’s bucking the trend of many other developed countries in remaining open.


By Rachelle Younglai

Back when Justin Trudeau was learning the ropes as Liberal leader, he tried to meet with Hillary Clinton before she was the Democratic presidential nominee, new e-mails from Wikileaks show.

Mr. Trudeau was one year on the job as the head of the Liberal Party, which had been decimated from the previous election. Ms. Clinton, who had resigned as the U.S.’s top diplomat, was deciding whether she would run for president and was on her way to Ottawa to give a speech.

The Liberal Party was anxious to connect Mr. Trudeau with Ms. Clinton and a party staffer sent an e-mail to Mr. Trudeau’s top aides wondering how to arrange a one-on-one meeting with the former secretary of state.

“Both the Leader and Sophie will be in the crowd to hear the speech, but there is a strong desire to work on a private one-on-one with HRC during her visit,” Marlene Floyd, the Liberal Party’s then-director of operations and outreach, said in a September 2014 e-mail.

Included on the e-mail was Gerald Butts, now the prime minister’s principal secretary, who sent the e-mail to his contact at Democratic think tank Center for American Progress.  That e-mail was then forwarded to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, who queried Ms. Clinton’s longest serving aide.

“Does she want to try to see Justin Trudeau?” Mr. Podesta asked.

The Prime Minister’s Office said Monday that the two got a photo together, but didn’t hold a formal meeting.

The hacked e-mails from Mr. Podesta’s Gmail account have been trickling out since early October and provide a window into Ms. Clinton’s operation. The e-mail dumps have showed Clinton staffers casually interested in Mr. Trudeau’s 2015 campaign to become Canada’s prime minister.

The most recent e-mail disclosure showed the Clinton campaign’s director of communications passing around one of Mr. Trudeau’s tweets when the Liberal Party was trailing in the polls in July, 2015.

“Wow. In less than 24hrs you've reached 1.1M people with our positive msg of #realchange. Keep sharing on FB & RT now,” Mr. Trudeau tweeted late July, 2015.

The Clinton aide said: “This is pretty good deflection of personal attacks.”

Since Mr. Trudeau became prime minister last year, he has enjoyed a friendly relationship with the Obama administration and was feted at a state dinner in Washington.

The Clinton campaign has refused to verify the authenticity of the e-mails. The Clinton campaign and Obama administration believe the Russian government is behind the hacks. They have accused Russia of working with Wikileaks to influence the U.S. election and help Republican nominee Donald Trump.


> Edging closer to history: The Globe and Mail’s Elizabeth Renzetti says the toxic election campaign and controversy surrounding Donald Trump is obscuring the historic possible first election of a female president of the United States. “As we watch one small step taken by a much-maligned woman, are we ignoring the great leap for womankind? And, after witnessing this election’s carnage, will more women be encouraged to jump into the fray – or will they run away in horror?”

> Is it over yet?: The Globe’s Margaret Wente looks at the kerfuffle over another Hillary Clinton e-mail probe, and has just one take: “I want this to be over. I want it to stop. But I’m afraid that it will never stop. I’m afraid that we’ll wake up on Nov. 9 only to discover that one nightmare may be over, but the next has just begun.”

> More tax troubles for Trump: The New York Times, which last month revealed tax information that showed Donald Trump may not have paid any taxes for up to 18 years, has “obtained documents show that in the early 1990s, Mr. Trump avoided reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in taxable income by using a tax avoidance manoeuver so legally dubious his own lawyers advised him that the IRS would most likely declare it improper.”

> The heartland is blue-ish: The Washington Post looks at the blue-red divide in the United States and suggests that the stereotypical Republican-leaning small town in the heartland may be a myth. “This understanding of the Democrats as the party of metropolitan America and the Republicans as the party of smaller post-industrial cities and towns is deeply ingrained in the American political discourse. … It is also completely wrong.”

> Comey under fire: The heat remained squarely on James Comey on Monday after it was discovered the FBI director advised the Obama administration against publicly accusing Russia of hacking the DNC and other political groups. “Nonetheless, Comey’s concern about election timing has some officials scratching their heads in light of his decision last week to notify Congress – 11 days before the election – that the FBI was planning to review newly discovered e-mails in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server.”

> Is Clinton really slipping in the polls? Politico writes that “Democratic fears that the FBI’s new review of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails might sap party enthusiasm at exactly the wrong time may turn out to be unfounded. In the three days since the news surfaced, early voting data and public polling suggest the rank and file are responding with a collective shrug.”


Nik Nanos (Globe and Mail): “What are the key takeaways of the research? That the government’s focus on lifting the standard of living of indigenous peoples and preserving water resources are considered the most urgent priorities for Canada. Likewise, initiatives that bolster the broader sharing of Canadian culture also resonate. The less certain areas for the government to tread relate to Canada’s role in the world. A focus on human rights was seen as more important than new trade agreements, and a UN focus was at the bottom of the priority list.” (for subscribers)

André Picard (Globe and Mail): “Put another way, suicide rates are far lower where people have a sense of belonging, self-worth and resiliency – the very things that the Indian Act, residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and other initiatives set out to destroy by isolating and fencing in nomadic groups, breaking up families, banning cultural practices and choking off traditional languages.”

Philippe Lagassé: “Rather than allowing the upper chamber to exercise sober second thought, the new appointments [by Mr. Trudeau] may be transforming the Senate into a progressive vanguard. Instead of acting as a cautionary check on the House, a Senate with a majority of progressively-minded independents could provide Liberal governments with political and institutional cover to pass legislation and enact policies that are further to the left than the Liberal Party is prepared to publicly champion at the time.”

Stephen Gordon (National Post): “It’s already been pointed out that Canada is one of the few industrialized countries where anti-globalization has not (yet) become a major political force. Immigration and freer trade enjoy broad cross-party support, and economic nationalism is not the cause it once was. Why is Canada different? The obvious answer is that the Canadian economy has been performing relatively well over the past 10 or 15 years, and the benefits have been broadly shared. Inflation-adjusted incomes in the top one per cent have been falling since their peak in 2006, even as real median incomes increased. Middle-class resentment is more difficult to sustain when elite incomes are falling and median incomes are rising.”

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