Politics Briefing

November 21, 2019

Politics Briefing: Trudeau to unveil his new cabinet
  Politics Briefing: Trudeau to unveil his new cabinet - Also: Judge raises alarm about bail system in Manitoba

Chris Hannay


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil his new cabinet this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. ET. Here are some of the broad strokes.

Chrystia Freeland, who has served as foreign minister during a difficult time, will take over as deputy prime minister, a role that hasn’t existed in more than a decade. (Anne McLellan, deputy PM to Paul Martin, was the last to hold the title.) Ms. Freeland’s own portfolio will pivot domestic, with a focus on relations within Canada as intergovernmental affairs minister.

Bill Morneau will stay as finance minister.

David Lametti will stay as justice minister.

François-Philippe Champagne, who has been in charge of trade and infrastructure, is the new foreign affairs minister.

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On the resources files, Jonathan Wilkinson of B.C. will move from fisheries to environment and Seamus O’Regan of Newfoundland and Labrador will take on natural resources, after serving at Indigenous services and veterans affairs.

Catherine McKenna will take over at infrastructure after being at environment for four years.

Check back to theglobeandmail.com this afternoon for full coverage after the announcement.

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As the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong stretch on and violence increases, China’s central government says Hong Kong’s courts must defer to Beijing on constitutional matters. The protests were kicked off because of an extradition bill that Hong Kong residents feared would cede too much judicial power to China’s courts over those of Hong Kong. The new decree from Chinese officials could be a sign that the delicate balance of the “one country, two systems” that has governed Hong Kong for more than 20 years could change.

The U.S. Senate has passed new bills that seek to protect human rights in Hong Kong and ban the export of some arms to police there.

A new White House regulation, along with asylum agreements with Central American countries, could affect the number of asylum seekers crossing the Canada-U.S. border.

A Carleton University student group is warning its members not to talk about delicate subjects when talking to Chinese diplomats.

The federal NDP says the Liberals should hike taxes on businesses and the rich to pay for new spending promises.

The Alberta NDP is asking the Lieutenant-Governor not to sign a bill from the United Conservative government that eliminates the province’s election watchdog. Constitutional experts say such a move would be quite unorthodox.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says his province is not violating the Canada Health Act by refusing to fund out-of-hospital abortions. Mr. Higgs’s comments come as a Fredericton clinic says it will have to close soon because of a lack of provincial funds.

And a judge in Manitoba is warning that the bail system in the northern part of his province has “collapsed,” leading to accused people, many of whom are Indigenous, waiting for days or weeks to find out whether or not they will get bail.

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s tepid response to the situation in Hong Kong: “Canada’s trepidation is thus no mystery: We know, and China knows, that we depend far more on China than the other way around. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s probably to Canada’s benefit that our “progressive trade agenda” of 2017 did not take hold. Canada needs fewer ties to China, not more, and Canada was never going to export its progressive values anyway.”

Welsey Wark (The Globe and Mail) on Trudeau’s looming decision on Chinese telecom giant Huawei: “The choice that the Liberal government faces is essentially binary. They can ban Huawei and range themselves alongside the U.S. and Australia, absorbing the costs to consumers and the economy as best they can; or they can announce a regime of security standards for all 5G telecommunications providers in Canada, one that Huawei would have to meet and for which there would be rigorous and continuing testing. If the government chooses the security-standards option, it will have to do so in as transparent a manner as possible, to reassure the telcos, the Canadian public and Canada’s allies.”

Globe and Mail editorial board on Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and the termination of election commissioner Lorne Gibson: “Investigation aside, the public could be left with the clear impression of cronyism. Between that case and the firing of Mr. Gibson, it is apparent that Mr. Kenney believes that his party’s electoral dominance gives him a green light to ignore the norms of parliamentary fair play, and to shape the rules in his favour and that of his supporters.”

Lisa Young (Edmonton Journal) on letting the commissioner finish his investigation: “If the Kenney government was only concerned with saving a few dollars, it could postpone the implementation of the decision for 12 or 18 months, to allow all matters relating to the 2018 leadership contest and 2019 election to be closed before the reorganization took place. But instead, the legislation will take force immediately.”

Jason Markusoff (Maclean’s) on Kenney’s other moves: “Meanwhile, Jason Kenney has shown a yen for holding wrongdoers to account, and perceives the public is behind him—if they’re the wrongdoers Kenney wants to pursue. He has dedicated $2-million to a public inquiry into the foreign funding sources of environmental activism, though his inquiry head has stumbled into ethics quagmires of his own. And there’s $30-million for the energy “war room” that will respond to and counterprogram environmental advocacy and journalism the new body deems ‘misinformation.’ The UCP government said its elections commission move also comes in the name of deficit-fighting, and will save $200,000 a year—or roughly 2½ days’ worth of this dubious war room’s operating budget.”

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