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Politics Politics Briefing: Another appointee with links to Dean French out

Good morning,

Another appointee has resigned from a paid Ontario post after ties were revealed to Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s former chief of staff amid a patronage scandal. Andrew Suboch resigned as chair of a committee that helps choose justices of the peace after The Globe and Mail revealed his ties to Dean French.

Mr. Suboch was named to the committee last September and became chair in February. In an e-mail to The Globe on Wednesday night, Mr. Suboch confirmed he resigned but did not provide any additional comment.

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The Globe first reported the ties June 25, at which time Mr. Ford’s government put the appointment under review. Mr. Suboch is a long-time friend of Mr. French and their sons played lacrosse together.

Mr. French resigned on June 21 after it was revealed that two people – a former lacrosse player who is friends with his son and the second cousin of his wife – were both given lucrative foreign appointments. Since then, Mr. French’s niece resigned from the Public Accounts Council and Peter Fenwick was fired as Ontario strategic transformation adviser. The Toronto Star reported Mr. Fenwick was a “long-time life insurance customer” of Mr. French.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

Liberal sources said Mr. Trudeau plans to ask his former chief of staff, Cyrus Reporter, and his current senior adviser, Ben Chin, to join him on the plane and bus that will transport him across the country during the fall election campaign. The party is holding a retreat Thursday to finalize its election strategy.

Former Canadian envoy to Beijing John McCallum told the South China Morning Post he warned Chinese officials that further sanctions against Canada over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou could help spur the election of a Conservative government, which would be far less favourable to Beijing. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Mr. McCallum’s comments invite foreign interference in the election.

A slim majority of Canadians, 53 per cent, oppose a new law banning some public servants in Quebec from wearing religious symbols at work, while 45 per cent support the measure, according to a new Nanos Research poll. In Quebec, 62 per cent support Bill 21, while 36 per cent oppose. However, 48 per cent of Canadians agree with Ottawa’s decision to stay out of the legal process.

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Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders are meeting for the final day of their annual gathering with Quebec expected to be at the centre of talks. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney wants to work with Quebec Premier François Legault on moving oil through the province by pipeline and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister plans to express concerns over Bill 21.

With the second-in-command of the Canadian military, Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk, abruptly stepping down and Vice-Admiral Mark Norman deciding to retire, the Official Opposition is calling for Ottawa to immediately begin the search for a new top soldier to replace General Jonathan Vance. Gen. Vance has had five vice-chiefs serve under him – an unusually high turnover for such a key position. When The Globe asked the Prime Minister’s Office whether Mr. Trudeau still has confidence in Gen. Vance, Cameron Ahmad, the PMO’s director of communications said, “Yes, he does.”

The Liberals have nominated star candidate and anti-pipeline activist Steven Guilbeault to run in the Montreal riding of Laurier-Sainte Marie. The riding has been NDP since 2011, but the Liberals are hoping Mr. Guilbeault’s name recognition and environmental record will allow them to take the seat. He is against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but thinks he can do more to fight climate change from inside the Liberal party than outside it.

Mr. Trudeau has nominated Nicholas Kasirer, a Quebec judge and former professor with a passion for civil law, to the Supreme Court of Canada. Justice Kasirer served on the Quebec Court of Appeal for a decade and has spent 20 years as a law professor at McGill University. Members of the House justice committee will question Justice Kasirer in a special hearing July 25.

In international political news this morning, U.S. President Donald Trump plans to hold a news conference at 3:45 p.m. where he is expected to announce executive action over an effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census despite ongoing court challenges.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is scheduled to begin nationwide raids Sunday to arrest thousands of people living in the country illegally. The operation, backed by Mr. Trump, was postposted earlier due to resistance at his own immigration agency.

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Also in the U.S., two long-time heads of NASA’s human exploration wing were demoted in a slew of administrative shakeups. The moves come as NASA scrambles to meet Mr. Trump’s mandate to return humans to the moon by 2024.

And in France, the Senate gave final approval to a tax on big technology companies Thursday, potentially opening up a new front in a trade row between Washington and the European Union. The tax, which could be levied on multinational internet companies like Facebook and Amazon, could lead the U.S. to impose new tariffs or other trade restrictions.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on who’s to blame for the Bombardier layoffs: “On the one hand, Doug Ford’s Ontario government has left the province’s transit requirements sitting unfunded while it claims to have a bigger, better transit plan for which it has offered only laughably vague details. On the other hand, Justin Trudeau’s federal government was pushing the bounds of cynicism when it started telling people that is the only reason that Bombardier is laying off 550 workers at its Thunder Bay rail-car plant.”

John Ivison (National Post) on Mr. Scheer’s climate plan: “Voters know there is no such thing as a free lunch — but that doesn’t stop them wanting one. Andrew Scheer’s climate plan plays on such grasping delusions — claiming to meet Canada’s Paris emissions targets at little or no cost.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Canada having its ‘deplorables’ moment: “Most Canadians with a postgraduate degree would no longer dream of voting Conservative; working-class voters with a high-school education have come to see Justin Trudeau’s Liberals as elitist and out of touch with their everyday concerns. How did that happen? Maybe it’s because common folks can see through all the virtue-signalling and high-minded tweeting the Liberals engage in.”

Aaron Wherry (CBC) on if the premiers are serious in wanting a climate policy: “if Kenney's crew wanted to mount a serious response to the federal carbon price, it could start by squaring the tensions within its own coalition and presenting a plan for putting Canada on track to meet its 2030 target. (How they would do so without a broad carbon levy, and without imposing even higher economic, public or consumer costs, would be particularly interesting to see.)”

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John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on who would better handle Trump: “Mr. Trudeau is a Trump veteran, having fought to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement. He has forged ties with other leaders seeking to contain the damage the U.S. President has inflicted on the Western alliance. He knows the game. On the other hand, there is no love lost between Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Trump, who has called the Liberal leader ‘dishonest and weak.’”

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