Politics Briefing

May 19, 2019

Politics Briefing: How a push from Trudeau eventually led to Norman charge
  Politics Briefing: How a push from Trudeau eventually led to Norman charge - Also: Canada-Philippines garbage spat escalates and Andrew Scheer lays out his economic plan

Aron Yeomanson

Good morning,

An angry Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed for the RCMP investigation that led to a breach-of-trust charge against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

The Globe and Mail’s Robert Fife and Janice Dickson report that, according to sources, Mr. Trudeau was frustrated and angry that a cabinet decision had been leaked to the CBC in late 2015. Mr. Trudeau wanted to find out who was responsible and that percolated through the Privy Council Office, sources said.

Leaks of confidential information are common in Ottawa but rarely does the Prime Minister get involved in summoning the RCMP to investigate. Mr. Trudeau’s involvement would have sent a powerful signal throughout the government, which sources say may have accounted for the energy and effort the RCMP invested in a two-year probe of Vice-Adm. Norman.

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Vice-Adm. Norman, the former commander of the navy, was charged with a single count of breach of trust in 2018 after being accused of leaking cabinet secrets involving a contract the Harper Conservatives awarded to Quebec-based Davie Shipbuilding.

The public prosecutor abruptly stayed the charge against Vice-Adm. Norman last week.

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The Philippines has escalated a dispute with Canada over tonnes of mouldering Canadian garbage sent to Manila half a decade ago, recalling its ambassador and consulate heads.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, reacting to Beijing’s formal arrest of two Canadians accused of violating national security, says China’s behaviour is increasingly at odds with that of democratic nations around the world.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said that his economic policy will be a dramatic departure from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s, and promised that a future Conservative government would live within its means and not treat the taxpayer’s pocket as a “bottomless pit.”

Senators have thrown a wrench in the government’s environmental agenda as a committee failed to pass legislation on a long-promised ban on oil tanker traffic off B.C.’s northern coast.

Conrad Black says he has been vindicated after receiving a pardon from Donald Trump, but the man who prosecuted him says the pardon marks “another sad chapter in the demise of justice in the United States under President Trump.”

Canada said it plans to introduce regulations for online platforms that will include financial penalties for the spread of misinformation, a day after signing a global pact to address violent speech on the internet.

Media organizations are urging the Supreme Court of Canada to use a recent law to strike down a lower-court ruling that would force a reporter to reveal the identity of her sources in an investigation into allegations of political corruption and favouritism.

The Senate will review the rules on public opinion polls after the Conservatives accused Trudeau-appointed senators of using a $15,000 poll to support the Liberals’ re-election effort.

The cost of a new pay system for federal civil servants should pale in comparison to the cost of stabilizing the failed Phoenix system, says a new report from Parliament’s spending watchdog.

Britain’s tumultuous divorce from the European Union was again in disarray after the opposition Labour Party declared last-ditch talks dead due to Prime Minister Theresa May’s crumbling government.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says “nothing is off the table” in pushing the White House to comply with subpoenas for information, including fining administration officials through what’s called inherent contempt of Congress.

Margaret Wente (The Globe and Mail) on Conrad Black’s pardon: “No doubt, he will be welcomed by the kind of moneyed men who live in the vicinity of Mar-a-Lago – the kind of men who hang around with Donald Trump. It’s not the A-list. It isn’t even the C-list. But in his own mind at least, he’s vindicated. ”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on a Huawei ban: “The sooner Ottawa spells it out for China and the Canadian public alike, the better it will be for everyone. If Australia can do it, so can we.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Andrew Scheer’s speech on the economy: “At root, Mr. Scheer’s message is Stephen Harper’s message. The current Conservative Leader envisions a Canada ‘where taxes are low, government is limited, but potential is unlimited.’ That line could have come straight out of a Stephen Harper speech. (And in classic Harper fashion, Mr. Scheer took no questions from reporters afterward.) The two Conservative leaders were and are convinced that this passive approach to creating wealth and increasing opportunity will resonate with voters over the Liberals’ more interventionist tendencies. We’ll see.”

Paul De Jong (The Globe and Mail) on the Trans Mountain pipeline: “The onus is on the government that owns it, to build it. Contractors signed up to build this pipeline and finish the job – it’s what we do. Now Ottawa needs to show us that they believe in it, and finish theirs.”

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