Allegations of a toxic workplace culture involving harassment and sexual assault at Canada’s spy agency are “devastating” and “absolutely unacceptable,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today.
Trudeau was responding to a Canadian Press investigation that revealed four officers with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service raised concerns about the toxic culture within the British Columbia office.
One CSIS officer said she was raped nine times by a senior colleague while in surveillance vehicles, while another said she was sexually assaulted by the same man.
“These allegations are absolutely unacceptable,” Trudeau told a news conference in Ajax, Ont.
“We need to make sure that everyone in every workplace, no matter how delicate or sensitive or secret the work is that they are doing is protected, particularly for people who serve their country.”
Trudeau said his government has taken such allegations “incredibly seriously” since the start and is following up “very directly on these issues.”
Full story here.
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Canada reaches deal to buy Boeing surveillance aircraft for $5.9-billion – The agreement ends months of speculation and was made after a challenge from Canadian plane maker Bombardier, which called for an open competition.
Saskatchewan to stop collecting carbon levy for electric heat – Premier Scott Moe says many people in northern Saskatchewan use electricity to heat their homes, and that they should be exempt from paying the price.
Ontario First Nations file judicial review over federal carbon tax – The First Nations are alleging Ottawa’s pollution policy unjustly and disproportionately burdens their communities, which already face increased hardships owing to climate change and poverty.
Canada expected to unveil oil and gas emissions cap at COP28 climate summit – Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault set out the expectations for the global COP28 gathering just before departing for the summit. Story here. Meanwhile, the summit kicked off today with delegates adopting new climate disaster fund.
Hockey Canada says almost 1,900 maltreatment complaints received in 2022-23 – The data is contained in the national sport organization’s latest report on the issue – which covers abuse, discrimination and harassment – released today as part of its numbers-based push to address the problem across the game. Story here.
Ambassador David Cohen says U.S. ‘disappointed’ with Ottawa’s Digital Services Tax plan – “We will continue to engage with our Canadian counterparts to find a productive way forward,” said Cohen, who added the U.S. will continue to support talks toward an international tax agreement. Story here.
Higgs and his PCs face more internal division over party’s direction – Internal e-mails obtained by CBC News include criticism of New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, the party and its newly hired campaign manager over the direction they’re taking. Story here.
Ottawa taking legal action to recoup anti-racism funds from Laith Marouf, bureaucrat says – The federal government terminated a contract last year with the Community Media Advocacy Centre after Laith Marouf, a senior consultant with the centre, was accused of posting antisemitic content on X, formerly known as Twitter. Story here.
Quebec Legislature adopts motion in defence of Christmas – Christopher Skeete, the province’s anti-racism minister, introduced the motion today condemning the Canadian Human Rights Commission for describing Christmas as an “obvious example” of systemic religious discrimination linked to Canada’s history of colonialism.
THIS AND THAT
New head of the Public Service Commission of Canada – Marie-Chantal Girard has been nominated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be president of the Public Service Commission of Canada, an independent government organization that oversees aspects of the federal public service. The appointment must be approved by a resolution of the House of Commons and Senate.
Kitchener, Ont., by-election – Voters are going to the polls in a provincial by-election in Kitchener Centre today. There are 18 candidates on the ballot, the highest number in an Ontario provincial election. The vote was prompted when the NDP member of the legislature for the riding stepped down, saying, as a single parent, she was facing challenges with child-care expenses.
MP wearing keffiyeh – Hamilton Centre MP Matthew Green says he was wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf at his seat in the Commons chamber this week to make a point. In an e-mail exchange today, Green noted yesterday was the annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People as set by the United Nations. Green said he has seen Palestinians harassed for wearing their keffiyehs in public. “So wearing my keffiyeh into the House of Commons in solidarity on the international day of solidarity was intended to support the Charter-protected rights of Canadian Palestinians to proudly wear and display their culture symbols with fear of violence, criminalization, or vilification.”
Today in the Commons – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, accessible here.
Deputy Prime Minister’s day - Private meetings in Vancouver. Chrystia Freeland also toured a social-housing project, discusses housing policy.
Ministers on the road – Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault is in Dubai for the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference through to Dec. 12. Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan, in Toronto, was scheduled to speak at an Empire Club of Canada event on labour relations in Canada, and structural changes in the labour market. Later, O’Regan was to visit a rental housing construction site in Toronto. Mental Health Minister Ya’ara Saks, in Toronto, announced the launch of a 9-8-8 helpline, supported with $156-million in funding over three years, to provide access across Canada to mental-health crisis and suicide prevention support.
Commons committee highlights – Treasury Board President Anita Anand appeared before the government operations and estimates committee on supplementary estimates. Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree was scheduled to appear before the Indigenous and Northern affairs committee, on Bill C-53, respecting the recognition of certain Métis governments in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Former PEI fisheries minister Jamie Fox, who has resigned from the provincial legislature to run for the federal Conservatives, appeared before the fisheries and oceans committee on the subject of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu appeared before the public accounts committee on topics including access to safe drinking water in First Nations communities. Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Harpreet Kochhar, president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, were among witnesses appearing before the agriculture and agri-food committee. Various witnesses including Bridgitte Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, appeared before the international trade committee on the 2023 strike at the Port of Vancouver.
Senate committee highlights – Sébastien Beaulieu, director general and chief security officer for security and emergency management at Global Affairs Canada, was among the witnesses appearing before the foreign affairs and international trade committee on a general study on foreign relations and international trade.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
In the Toronto and Hamilton area, Justin Trudeau held private meetings, met with families to discuss affordable housing, made a housing announcement in Ajax, and was scheduled to meet with seniors.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves François Blanchet held a scrum in the foyer of the House of Commons.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre was scheduled to attend a party fundraising event at a Toronto home.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is arriving in Dubai to attend the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference as a member of the government of Canada-Environment and Climate Change delegation through to Dec. 12.
No schedule provided for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
On today’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Ethan Lou – an editor in The Globe’s Report on Business – explains why multiple crypto bosses have been charged recently. The founder of Binance, the world’s largest crypto trading platform, has been charged criminally in the U.S. The Decibel is here.
Inflation impact – New research by the Angus Reid Institute finds that 55 per cent of those surveyed say they will spend less on holiday preparations this year, and 61 per cent say they have cut back on discretionary spending overall in recent months. Details here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how `blame Harper’ is Rule Number One for the federal Liberals: “Canada is experiencing a housing crisis. (It’s Stephen Harper’s fault.) Food prices are through the roof. (It’s Stephen Harper’s fault.) The climate crisis is worsening. (You know who’s to blame.) The former Conservative prime minister is responsible for every ill that has befallen society, or so says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others in his Liberal government, even though they’ve been in power for more than eight years.”
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on how the NDP shouldn’t get its hopes up after blowing it in Quebec: “The New Democrats appear to be closing in on the free-falling Trudeau Liberals. In a recent Abacus poll, the Liberals are down to 24 per cent support – dungeon-dwelling numbers for them – while the New Democrats are at 20. Pollster Nik Nanos has similar findings. If an election were held today, the NDP would win 46 seats, only six shy of the Liberals. The trendlines have stirred hopes among New Democrats of a repeat of the 2011 campaign, when they overtook the Liberals of Michael Ignatieff to become, in a first for them, the Official Opposition. Are hopes of a repeat misplaced? Yes. Very much so.”
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how Pierre Poilievre’s fearmongering on NextStar moves the Tories in the wrong direction: “Flash forward almost a decade to an apparently amnesiac Pierre Poilievre’s tantrum about the South Korean workers coming here to install equipment at the NextStar electric-battery plant that Stellantis and South Korea’s LG Energy Solution are building in Windsor, Ont. Now Conservative Leader, Mr. Poilievre was a member of the government that signed the free-trade deal with South Korea, and even served as employment minister when it took effect in 2015. He of all people should know what is in it, including provisions that enable “contract service providers” from each country to work in the other on a temporary basis.”
Dónal Gill (The Montreal Gazette) on how a leadership vacuum is dragging down the Quebec Liberals: “Political discussion in Quebec has been set ablaze by the release of last week’s opinion poll showing the Parti Québécois taking a commanding lead in voter intentions: 30 per cent of survey respondents in the Pallas Data poll indicated they would vote PQ if an election were held immediately. The governing Coalition Avenir Québec has slumped to second place, at 24 per cent. This bump for the PQ has been coming. Its status in polling data has been on a steady upward trajectory since the early spring. The double-digit victory of Pascal Paradis in the Jean-Talon by-election at the beginning of October then added concrete evidence to substantiate the narrative of a remarkable resuscitation of a party that many were writing off as a cooked goose not long ago. There are a few notable take-aways from this development.”
Don Martin (CTV) on a Conservative nightmare as Trudeau resignation fever rises: “Nova Scotia MP Sean Fraser is the one to watch as whispers become a resignation roar in an electorate which desperately wants Trudeau gone to prevent a Conservative annihilation, with the potential to revert the Liberals to third-party status. Now, some Conservatives argue it would be to their advantage if Trudeau quits in the next year to kick-start an acrimonious hunger game to further weaken and divide the flailing, ailing party. But the more Fraser takes centre stage in the Liberal cabinet, the more he impresses as leadership material who would stand in sharp, fresh-faced contrast to often angry and abrasive Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre. And, notwithstanding the potential formidable entry of former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, Fraser could represent the biggest threat to Poilievre’s plan to repaint the PMO Tory blue.”
Newsletter Editors’ Note: Fraser was asked about leadership ambitions this week, and downplayed any ambition to replace his boss. “That job ain’t open right now,” the Nova Scotia MP told journalists on Parliament Hill.