Canadian bank CEOs warned Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on the eve of the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act about risks to the country’s reputation, saying that Canada was being called a “joke,” as several key border crossings remained blocked by protesters.
During a Feb. 13 call, one bank CEO relayed the comments of an investor, who had said, “I won’t invest another red cent in your banana republic in Canada.”
A read-out from the call was tabled with the inquiry studying the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act last winter. The leaders’ names are redacted.
“If the investor you speak of is American, tell them we are not like the USA who had people literally invade their legislature,” Ms. Freeland told the CEOs. “If they are a Brit, remind them of Brexit. If they are French, remind them of the Yellow Vests. If they are German, look at how badly they are handling Russia right now.”
Another leader expressed a concern about the banking system being seen as a “political weapon of the government” if they were directed to close bank accounts, while another raised negative coverage of Canada on Fox News.
She told the leaders that she was “resolute in ending this occupation of our democracy” and said she would never support negotiating with those “who hold our democracy hostage.”
In testimony before the Public Order Emergency Commission on Thursday, Ms. Freeland said the CEO’s comment about a banana republic was “heart-stopping” for her. She described it as a moment which crystallized her understanding that the protests were “profoundly jeopardizing” the Canadian economy.
Also: Within the first week of protests gridlocking Ottawa last winter, Attorney-General David Lametti was already raising the idea of invoking the Emergencies Act and said the Canadian Armed Forces might be “necessary” to end the protests. Story here.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. 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.
CLIMATE-CHANGE PLAN RELEASED - The federal government has finally released its long-awaited plan to build Canada’s resilience to climate change, including $1.6-billion in new spending focused on safeguarding infrastructure. Story here.
ALGHABRA HOLDS MEETING ON LESSONS FROM TRAVEL DISRUPTIONS - Transport Minister Omar Alghabra met with members of the air transport sector to discuss measures to modernize and digitize the industry and to learn from the mistakes that led to major travel disruptions this summer. Story here.
QUEBECKERS FACTOR IN SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE RULING - The United Kingdom’s highest court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the Scottish Parliament cannot hold a second independence referendum – without the consent of the British government – citing grounds that the Scots are no more oppressed than Quebeckers. Story here.
BLACKSTOCK NAMED TO CHANCELLOR POST - Cindy Blackstock, the advocate for First Nations child-welfare rights, has been selected as the first chancellor of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) University, chosen for her tenacious, inspirational leadership and steadfast moral courage, according to a statement released by the school Thursday. Story here.
OTTAWA SEEKs JUDICIAL REVIEW OF $40-BILLION SETTLEMENT - The federal government is asking a judge to review some aspects of the $40-billion settlement agreement over discrimination in the Indigenous child-welfare system, after the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rejected the deal in late October. Story here.
BANK OF CANADA GOVERNOR QUESTIONED - Parliamentarians questioned Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem about inflation and historic financial losses at the central bank on Wednesday, with top opposition politicians looking to frame the bank’s continuing dilemmas to their political advantage. Story here.
GARNER CRYPTOCURRENCY BILL DEFEATED - Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner’s private member’s bill calling for a national framework to encourage growth in the cryptocurrency sector has been defeated in the House of Commons. Story here from CTV.
COMMONS PASSES PENSION BILL - After a decade of false starts, a federal bill to give pension members the highest priority when plan funding falls short in a company bankruptcy has unanimously passed a vote in the House of Commons, pushing a long-debated protection for pensioners closer to becoming law. Story here.
TRUDEAU EXPLAINS `INTERFERENCE’ ASPECTS OF TALKS WITH CHINESE PRESIDENT - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his most detailed explanation yet on Wednesday about what kind of “interference” he brought up with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a meeting earlier this month. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Nov. 24, accessible here.
DAYS SINCE CONSERVATIVE LEADER PIERRE POILIEVRE TOOK MEDIA QUESTIONS IN OTTAWA: 72
WITNESSES THURSDAY AT PUBLIC ORDER EMERGENCY COMMISSION IN OTTAWA:
-Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister
-Katie Telford, chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
-Brian Clow, deputy chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
-John Brodhead, director of policy, Prime Minister’s Office.
GOVERNOR-GENERAL ATTENDS UKRAINE FILM - Governor-General Mary Simon and her husband Whit Fraser attend the screening of the film Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom by director Evgeny Afineevsky at the National Gallery of Canada. They are to be welcomed to the event by Ukrainian Ambassador Yuliia Kovaliv, Chief of Defence Staff General Wayne Eyre and Colonel Viktor Siromakha, defence attaché to the Ukrainian Embassy. There’s a recent interview here with the film’s director as part of The Director’s Cut podcast of the Directors Guild of America.
CONSULATE BEING OPENED IN ARMENIA - Global Affairs Canada announced Thursday that it will officially open a consulate in Yerevan, Armenia, as of Dec. 15, 2022. The new consulate in the capital and largest city in Armenia will offer essential consular services to Canadians living, studying, working, and travelling in Armenia.
DJURIC HEADED FOR CP-OTTAWA -Mickey Djuric, the Canadian Press correspondent in Regina, is moving to Ottawa to start work at CP’s Ottawa bureau on Jan. 3. Ms. Djuric said here she will be covering the New Democrats and federal heritage policy.
NEW PRESIDENT FOR THE BC FEDERATION OF LABOUR - Sussanne Skidmore has been elected the new president of the BC Federation of Labour at the federation’s 60th convention in Vancouver. Hermender Singh Kailley is the new secretary-treasurer. Both have been acclaimed to two-year terms. Ms. Skidmore, the organization’s first out and queer president according to a federation statement, has previously served as secretary treasurer, and was an executive vice-president of the B.C. Government Employees Union.. Mr. Kailley has previously served on a local of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union. He is, says the federation, its first South Asian BCFED secretary-treasurer.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD: Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne continues a trip to Japan and South Korea that concludes on Friday. In Mexico City, International Trade Minister Mary Ng met with Raquel Buenrostro, Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, at the Pacific Alliance Summit hosted by Mexico. (Global Affairs Canada announced Thursday afternoon that Ms. Ng and Julio José Prado, Minister of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries of Ecuador, have launched exploratory talks toward a potential free-trade agreement between Canada and Ecuador.) In Lindsay, Ont., Filomena Tassi, Minister Responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, made an announcement in support of a local equipment manufacturer, and held a media availability. Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, in North Vancouver, made an announcement on the National Adaptation Strategy on how the Canadian economy and society can be more prepared for the impacts of climate change.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the Ottawa region, held private meetings and attended Question Period.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is in France on a trip that runs through to Nov. 26.
Green Party Leader, MP Elizabeth May, and Deputy Leader Jonathan Pedneault were scheduled to hold a news conference, with Green MP Mike Morrice to comment on the government’s recently released National Adaptation Strategy.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, participated in Question Period, and was scheduled to meet with the president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.
No schedule released for the federal Conservative leader.
Cancer patients are facing lengthy wait times to see a doctor and get treated in British Columbia. These delays are not only stressful for the patient, they allow the disease to grow and become more complicated. This is a massive change from a few decades ago when B.C. was seen as a leader in cancer care. Globe and Mail reporter Andrea Woo explains how these delays got so bad. The Decibel is here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how Canada has many problems, one of them being a lack of wise leadership: “Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre released a video on social media this week whose title contained the archetypal opposition message: “Everything feels broken. But we can fix it.” Despair followed by hope: that’s the formula for going from government-in-waiting to government-in-fact. Of course, the content of the video itself was problematic to a legendary degree. Mr. Poilievre’s digital sermon was about the drug overdose crisis in Canada; his proposed solution – ending safer supply programs, narrowly focusing on treatment and recovery, and ramping up the war on drugs – was met with indignant criticism from across the political spectrum. Even a former adviser to Stephen Harper, Benjamin Perrin, berated Mr. Poilievre for the way he factually misrepresented safer supply and callously oversimplified the realities of addiction. But we’re not here to relitigate that episode. The more pressing issue is the assertion that Canadians are despairing over their country; that everything feels broken to them. If that is true, then the real question becomes: Are our politicians, in government and in opposition, up to the task of fixing things?”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on thanking Doug Ford for exposing the lie at the heart of Canada’s modern democracy: “I think Doug Ford has done us all a favour. I think we owe him a debt of gratitude. Canadian democracy has been in such an advanced state of decline for so long that it no longer seems as if anyone even notices. Parliament barely meets any more. The government passes half its agenda in a single omnibus bill, with scant hours for what passes for debate. MPs are programmed voting machines. Even cabinet ministers have been reduced to running errands for the Prime Minister – or rather, for the Prime Minister’s staff. Unsurprisingly, people no longer bother to participate or pay much attention. Turnout is down to roughly 60 per cent in federal elections; to 43 per cent in the last Ontario election; and in Toronto’s recent municipal election, to a remarkable 29 per cent of eligible voters, the lowest in the city’s history. So Mr. Ford’s decision to put a bullet into the old nag is a welcome nod to reality.”
Marsha Lederman (The Globe and Mail) on how the hateful rhetoric of our toxic culture wars can have deadly consequences: “It would be irresponsible, with what we know as I write this, to draw a direct line between the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs last weekend and the proliferation of hate speech targeting LGBTQ communities online, on certain media platforms, and in once-respectable political circles. It would also be irresponsible to pretend there is no connection between the hate speech that has become so ubiquitous – and somehow acceptable in some polite company – and the mass shootings that target specific communities. The sticks and stones mantra does not apply. Names can hurt – or worse.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s inflation-relief package is a pre-election goodie bag: “If there is one province in this country whose hallmark has been reckless, indulgent spending over the last several decades, it’s been Alberta. Moreover, several economists are saying Ms. Smith’s pre-election spending splurge is also inflationary. The Premier said Ottawa’s “anti-energy policies” were to blame for the high cost of fuel in Canada. Again, not true and she knows it. The war in Ukraine has had a lot to do with rising energy prices, worldwide. And there are other factors. Ms. Smith devoted a whole section to how devious and unscrupulous Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is. A government, she said, that has been “intentionally and systematically attempting to control and regulate all aspects of our province’s economy, resources and social programs.” Again, a complete untruth and she knows it.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how, when it comes to dumb protests, there is such a thing as bad press: “The difficulty in forming an effective protest is that grassroots movements tend to prioritize big splashes over strategy, particularly when participants are deeply passionate about their cause. Messages also tend to get diluted as protest movements grow; the Occupy Wall Street movement, for example, which was initially about undue corporate influence on government and elite business corruption, evolved to be a protest about just about everything, including Israel and Palestine, reproductive rights, police brutality and so on, to the point that it became difficult to recall why protesters pitched tents in Zuccotti Park in New York in the first place. Though the movement went global and lasted for months, it failed to achieve any significant tangible changes.”