Politics Briefing

July 16, 2019

Politics Briefing: Trudeau urges Canadians to avoid extremes of energy debate during quick trip to Calgary
Politics Briefing: Trudeau urges Canadians to avoid extremes of energy debate during quick trip to Calgary - Also, Queen’s Park to upgrade security, MP says politics can be a health hazard, and Trump doubles down on ‘go back’ tweets

Michael Snider

Good morning,

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a quick visit to Calgary Sunday shaking hands at a community breakfast and later speaking at a party fundraiser. Although it was the closing weekend of the Calgary Stampede, Mr. Trudeau did not visit the Stampede grounds and instead attended a pancake breakfast west of the rodeo and fairgrounds. The Globe’s ';described the crowd of hundreds as “polite but grumbling when they saw the Prime Minister.”

Mr. Trudeau and his federal Liberals have found themselves increasingly at odds with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who campaigned aggressively against the federal carbon tax and the government’s plan to overhaul the environmental assessment process for major resource projects.

After the breakfast, at which he wore a white cowboy hat and huge belt buckle, Mr. Trudeau spoke at a Liberal fundraiser and reiterated the fact construction will begin this summer on the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. He urged Canadians to avoid the extremes of the energy debate and seek compromise.

“There will be extreme voices on either side choosing to attack us for one half of that equation and ignoring the other part of the equation. The people who are angry about the carbon price do not spend any time saying: ‘Thank you for the TMX, by the way.’ The people who are angry about TMX don’t spend any time saying: ‘Well thank you for putting a price on pollution and protecting our oceans.’ Those are the voices on the fringes,” Mr. Trudeau told about 75 people at a Liberal Party fundraiser in downtown Calgary.

Today, the Prime Minister meets with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at CFB Petawawa.

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A new Nanos research poll released exclusively to The Globe and Mail says more than 80 per cent of Canadians support a ban on single-use plastics such as cutlery and straws. The poll found 56 per cent of Canadians support a total ban on single-use plastics, while 25 per cent somewhat support a ban. Ten per cent of Canadians somewhat oppose a total ban, while 8 per cent are opposed. Last month, the Liberal government announced a national strategy to regulate plastic waste.

The pressure of political life has some Members of Parliament speaking out. Winnipeg MP Kevin Lamoureux said 30-hour voting marathons, such as the one that occurred in March, not to mention the regular pressure of high-stakes politics and relentless work schedules, could pose a danger to MPs’ health. “I believe it’s only a question of time before someone will in fact die from it,” Lamoureux told the Canadian Press. “It’s insane and completely irresponsible.”

Construction is set to begin this week on a visitor screening centre at Queen’s Park, which will require all visitors to pass through metal detectors. Ontario is one of the last provinces to institute airport-style security, which will include metal detectors and X-ray scanners for bags, in order to gain entrance to the legislature. The security upgrades come in the wake of two deadly attacks in Toronto last year where 10 people were killed and 16 injured in a van attack in April and two people were killed and 13 injured in a shooting on Danforth Avenue in July.

In the United States, U.S. President Donald Trump has stirred up racial tensions after tweeting Sunday that four congresswomen of colour should go back to the “broken and crime infested” countries they came from. He was referring to representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, all of whom are American citizens and of whom only Ms. Omar was born outside of the United States. This morning, Mr. Trump repeated his attack, accusing Democrats of uniting around “the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen...”

Global Affairs Canada has confirmed another Canadian has been detained in China. The Chinese foreign ministry said today the as-yet unidentified Canadian was detained in Yantai in the eastern province of Shandong in relation with a drugs case involving a number of foreign teachers and students in the city of Xuzhou, in eastern China. Diplomatic tension between Canada and China has escalated since the Dec. 2018 arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

In Hong Kong, tens of thousands protesters clashed with police on Sunday with many throwing umbrellas, hard-hats and plastic bottles at police, who responded with pepper spray and batons. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam called the protesters “rioters,” which is a serious accusation because those convicted for rioting in the financial hub can carry a 10-year prison sentence. More protests are expected in the coming days and weeks.

Kevin Chong (The Globe and Mail) on the Hong Kong protests: “I’m curious about what [my father would] make of the diversity of opinions about these protests among the nearly 1.8 million Canadians of Chinese descent – the largest non-white population in the country – and how these fractures expose generational and subethnic tensions that are complicated by our experiences in the East and West.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberal campaign strategy: “So, while Mr. Scheer is Mr. Trudeau’s chief rival, the Liberals aren’t really competing for Conservative voters. They have a lot more hope of winning over New Democrat and Green supporters, along with the undecided.”

Amira Elghawaby (The Globe and Mail) on the death of Canadian-Somali journalist Hodan Nalayeh: “While in life she was able to spotlight all she adored about Somalia, as well as highlight the immense contributions of Somali communities here in Canada, her death represents the very story she so desperately wanted to change.”

Charles M. Blow (The New York Times) on Donald Trump’s tweets: “White people and whiteness are the center of the Trump presidency. His primary concern is to defend, protect and promote it. All that threatens it must be attacked and assaulted. Trump is bringing the force of the American presidency to the rescue of white supremacy. And, self-identified Republicans absolutely love him for it.”

NP View (National Post editorial) on Bombardier and Doug Ford: “A company whose survival depends on an endless stream of government orders is not a model of commercial success. It’s not Ontario’s duty to rescue Bombardier. Buying votes and propping up struggling companies with tax dollars is bad business, whether practiced by Liberals, the NDP or Tories.”

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