Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer is facing criticism for comments he made during a stop in Saskatoon on Wednesday when he spoke at the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s annual general meeting. Mr. Scheer’s main speaking points focused on the Liberal government’s failure to announce details of a compensation package for recent trade concessions with the European Union, but he also criticized the new Canada Food Guide, and pledged that, if elected, he would review recent changes such as the reduced emphasis on meat and dairy.
“[The guide] seems to be ideologically driven by people who have a philosophical perspective and a bias against certain types of healthy food products,” he told the group.
That has prompted health experts to accuse Mr. Scheer of ignoring scientific evidence in an attempt to win favour from the dairy industry. Mary L’Abbé, director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Nutrition Policy for Chronic Disease Prevention and professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Toronto, called Mr. Scheer’s comments irresponsible. “[Updating the food guide] was done based on the huge body of evidence that’s clearly well-documented,” she said.
As The Globe’s National Food Reporter Ann Hui eplains, the new Canada Food Guide promotes broader guidelines rather than specific food groups. And although dairy is still included as a component of a healthy diet, the guide no longer advises Canadians to consume specific daily portions of dairy products.
Sylvain Charlebois (The Globe and Mail) on Mr. Scheer’s criticism of the food guide: “The problem is that Mr. Scheer is clearly motivated by a desire to politicize the food guide and healthy eating. And that is never a good thing.”
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written today by Michael Snider. 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 signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced yesterday that Canada and the European Union are closer to an agreement on how to manage an effort by the United States to block appointments to a World Trade Organization body that hears appeals on international trade disputes. The Trump administration is barring appointments to the WTO’s Appellate Body, saying its judges have overstepped their mandate and ignored their instructions. If the block is not lifted, the body will be unable to hear appeals after Dec. 11, reports Reuters. A joint statement issued after the Canada-EU meetings this week in Montreal said the fix involved setting up an interim appeal arbitration arrangement based on existing WTO rules.
Mr. Trudeau also criticized Jagmeet Singh at the Montreal summit. The New Democrat Party Leader, along with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, signed a letter this week encouraging French lawmakers to reject the comprehensive trade agreement between the European Union and Canada, known as CETA. Although the trade agreement, which eliminates tariffs on goods flowing between Canada and the EU, went into effect in 2017, fewer than half of the EU’s 28 members have ratified it. The NDP and Green Party object to the so-far unbalanced benefits of the deal, particularly in agriculture. The Liberals are pushing to finalize the trade deal and are trying to raise awareness about its benefits among business leaders.
The NDP’s financial future is a little cloudier today after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal from the New Democrats over a $2.7-million dispute with the House of Commons about salaries paid to political staff after the 2011 election. In 2014, the Commons board of internal economy determined the NDP paid salaries to staff, some of whom were not working in Ottawa. The board ordered the NDP to repay the salaries and the party appealed the order, maintaining it was politically motivated. The Federal Court agreed with them, but in February the Federal Court of Appeal disagreed, saying the courts had no jurisdiction to intervene in the internal affairs of Parliament.
In Victoria, Mr. Trudeau told supporters that Ottawa is open to private sector proposals for a refinery in British Columbia as province’s gas prices soar. As the Canadian Press reports, the Prime Minister said he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to hearing businesses’ cases and working with people to find solutions so they can pay their bills.
Where are the leaders today: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is in Toronto to lay out the party’s plan to give municipalities greater autonomy and protections from provinces, and boost affordable housing.
In the United States, President Donald Trump tried to distance himself from the “send her back” chant supporters shouted after he questioned the loyalty of a Somali-born congresswoman at a campaign rally on Wednesday. “I was not happy with it. I disagree with it,” Mr. Trudeau spoke again about the President’s tweet that sparked the chant, and called the comments “hurtful, wrong and completely unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, tensions with Iran spiked yesterday after the United States claimed to have shot down an Iranian drone that came within about a kilometre of a U.S. warship. Iran has denied they have lost any of their drones.
Elsewhere in the world, a diplomatic rift has intensified between South Korea and Japan over Japanese compensation for Koreans who were forced to work for Japanese occupiers during the Second World War. The two countries have retaliated through court orders and trade sanctions and this week South Korea launched a widespread boycott of Japanese products and services.
And in the United Kingdom, economists polled by Reuters say the chance that Britain will leave the European Union without a deal is higher than it has ever been as Boris Johnson appears set to take over as prime minister next week. Despite British lawmakers approving proposals to make it harder for the next prime minister to force through a no-deal Brexit, Mr. Johnson, who leads Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative Party race, was the face of the 2016 Brexit campaign and has said he would be willing to leave on Oct. 31 without a deal.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Mr. Scheer and blame related to detained Canadians in China: “Andrew Scheer is right to criticize Justin Trudeau’s China policy, but he was emphatically wrong when he blamed the Prime Minister for two Canadians still languishing in Chinese jails.”
Omar El Akkad (The Globe and Mail) on Donald Trump’s supporters showing the power of communal hatred: “As they chanted, some of the audience members turned and looked at one another – they looked to one another, searching for the validation that only a communal expression of hatred can provide. Many of them were smiling – not in a way indicative of joy, but sheepishly, almost nervously. It’s the smirk of a high-school bully who’s gotten away with something. Look at the old black-and-white photos of the teenage boys who poured sugar and ketchup on civil-rights activists during the lunch-counter sit-ins of the sixties and you’ll see the same smirk. It’s what cowardice looks like.”
Margaret Wente (The Globe and Mail) on how The Democrats (and the Squad) play into Trump’s hand: “The controversy over the Squad isn’t about the trouble that Mr. Trump’s in. It’s about the trouble the Democrats are in.”
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on why Quebec’s anglophones are under “attack” by their government: “Quebec anglos still voted massively for the Liberals in last October’s election, despite Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault’s vow to never hold a sovereignty plebiscite. Nearly a year into his first term as Premier, Mr. Legault has kept to that promise. But the province’s English-speaking population feels betrayed, and under siege, in a myriad of other ways.”
Don Braid (Calgary Herald) on The UCP “kamikaze” leadership scandal and Jason Kenney’s growing popularity: “But many Albertans are not interested in this scandal. They think [Jason] Kenney’s main job is to fix the economy. Anything that detracts from that is best ignored.”