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Twenty Liberal MPs broke with the majority of their caucus and supported an NDP bill to lower the voting age to 16 this week, but it wasn’t enough to keep the idea alive in the House of Commons.

NDP MP Taylor Bachrach’s Bill C-210 came to a vote Wednesday afternoon at second reading. A successful vote would have sent the bill to committee for further study.

However the final result was a 246 to 77 defeat. In addition to the NDP’s 24 votes and the 20 Liberal votes, the Bloc Québécois provided 31 votes in favour and two Green Party MPs also supported the bill. Voting against were 130 Liberal MPs, 114 Conservative MPs and two independents, Alain Rayes and Kevin Vuong.

Following the vote, Mr. Bachrach, who represents the B.C. riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley, told reporters that the Liberal government needs to explain its position to Canada’s youth.

“I think this is a change that eventually is going to pass in our country and it feels good to be on the right side of history,” he said.

Prior to the vote, Mr. Bachrach asked the government in Question Period whether it will support his bill.

“Our government has constantly taken steps to ensure that our democracy is open and inclusive for all people, particularly young people,” replied Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc. “I had a very good conversation with my colleague from Skeena-Bulkley Valley and we look forward to working with him on this important issue in the months ahead.”

Following the vote, Mr. Bachrach said he was confused by the Minister’s comment.

“It seemed like he was implying there was some kind of opportunity, but the opportunity was really just a few minutes ago when we could have voted to send this to committee and move the bill forward and hear from witnesses. So I’m certainly open to talking to the government about how we make this bill a reality in the future, but today was a big opportunity and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed to see the vote result and to see so few Liberal MPs supporting it.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written by Bill Curry. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


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SENIOR BUREAUCRATS PROBED CRYPTOCURRENCIES AFTER PIERRE POILIEVRE’S COMMENTS – Senior federal bureaucrats examined whether cryptocurrencies protect against inflation not long after Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre made the claim as a candidate in the Conservative leadership race, according to an internal government document. Canadian Press story here.

OPIOID TOXICITY DEATHS DOUBLED IN CANADA – Deaths from opioid toxicity nearly doubled in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the two years before, according to a grim new report from the federal government that reflects a worsening of the toxic drugs epidemic. Globe story here.

MACKENZIE ARRESTED – Jeremy MacKenzie, the founder of the online group “Diagolon,” was arrested in Nova Scotia on Wednesday on charges related to an allegation of assault in Saskatchewan from last year. On Monday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre asked the RCMP to investigate Mr. MacKenzie after he talked about sexually assaulting Poilievre’s wife, Anaida, during a livestream on the weekend. Canadian Press story here.

LIFE OF PICKERING PLANT TO BE EXTENDED – Ontario will unveil plans on Thursday to extend the life of its nuclear power plant in Pickering for an extra year, running it until September, 2026, while launching a study on whether to spend billions refurbishing the aging facility. Globe story here.

TORY HEALTH CRITIC CALLS FOR NUANCED APPROACH ON MILITARY VACCINE MANDATE – Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is demanding an end to the vaccine mandate for military members, but his health critic suggested the situation might need a more nuanced approach. Canadian Press story here.

GG VISITS JAMES SMITH CREE NATION – Governor-General Mary Simon placed tobacco Wednesday on the graves of some of the people who died in a stabbing rampage on the James Smith Cree Nation earlier this month. Canadian Press story here.

FRONTRUNNER IN B.C. NDP LEADERSHIP RACE PROPOSES MAJOR HOUSING PLAN – David Eby, who is viewed as the front-runner in the B.C. New Democratic Party leadership to replace Premier John Horgan, is promising sweeping changes to provincial housing policy, including measures to increase housing density in communities zoned for single family homes. Globe story here.

SINGH CALLS OUT TORIES ON DENTAL PLAN – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says it’s “ridiculous” that Conservative MPs will vote against a proposed dental benefit for children in low-income families when they enjoy far more comprehensive dental care coverage for their own families. Story here from CTV.

QUEBEC ELECTION – As Quebeckers prepare to go to the polls Monday in the Quebec election, there’s a Canadian Press overview here on what the five main parties are promising on major themes.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Sept. 29, accessible here.

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POLITICAL PODCAST WATCH – Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith takes issue with the Liberal government’s view of a private members’ bill to lower the voting age to 16 in an edition of his podcast Uncommons released this week. He calls the rationale for the government’s approach “nonsense.” The podcast edition accessible here features an interview with the author of the bill NDP MP Taylor Bachrach.


On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Globe and Mail columnist Konrad Yakabuski unpacks the immigration debate in Quebec where the subject has been a ballot-box issue in the provincial election campaigns. The major parties are vowing to set different limits on how many permanent residents the province can let in without compromising its French identity. Meanwhile, its labour force is in decline and businesses are calling on provincial leaders to bring in more immigrants to help fill open jobs. The Decibel is here.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Que., held private meetings and was scheduled to meet with local seniors, fishers and small business owners impacted by Hurricane Fiona.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was scheduled to attend Question Period, meet with clean drinking water activist Autumn Peltier, and then speak with Amanda McDougall, Mayor of Cape Breton, on the impact of Hurricane Fiona.

Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchette is scheduled to speak with reporters on Thursday afternoon before Question Period.

No schedule was distributed for the Conservative Leader.


Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) writes that something is rotten at Canada’s broadcasting regulator: “These are not good times for Canada’s broadcasting regulator. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has not only managed to contradict itself in two recent decisions affecting the CBC, but it stands accused of both shirking its mandate and sticking its nose where it does not belong. The accusations are well-founded – and they speak to deeper problems at the regulator.”

John Ralston Saul (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why the world must stand with Salman Rushdie and writers like him: “Salman Rushdie, a fellow writer, remains in hospital, recovering from 10 wounds, each one of them intended to end his life. Salman would be the first to remind us that this attack was not one of a kind. It was symptomatic of our time. The pressure against free expression – sometimes subtle, sometimes violent – has been growing, everywhere, over the last two decades. For so many writers this era has been anything but free. Libel chill. The courts being used to bankrupt writers and publishers. Prison cells. Torture. Assassination attempts. Assassination itself. We in the West are quick to assert that all of this is happening somewhere else far away, in places less democratic, more autocratic, dictatorial. Yet the preaching of legal and physical violence against those who use words to free the imagination – to encourage doubt, debate, change – has been almost normalized, as if it were a sign of intellectual vibrancy.”

Amy Knight (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on whether Russian President Vladimir Putin could be forced out: “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surprise announcement to his country last week that he had authorized a conscription of reservists to fight in Ukraine suggests the Kremlin is in a panic over its military losses there. A former Russian prime minister even says Mr. Putin’s seemingly desperate decision could eventually cost him his presidency. Adding to the sense of crisis, the Kremlin has also hastily conducted sham referendums on joining the Russian Federation in four occupied regions of Ukraine. Mr. Putin is clearly facing the greatest challenge of his leadership tenure – but is he really in danger of being forced out?”

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