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The Bank of Canada issued a terse statement Thursday underscoring Governor Tiff Macklem’s seven-year term, a day after Conservative leadership candidate and Ontario MP Pierre Poilievre said he would fire the head of the bank if he formed the government.

Poilievre was accused by his leadership opponents of politically interfering with the bank. It is designed to operate outside of the political fray in order to set interest rates and manage inflation without fear of voter backlash or influence from elected politicians.

“It’s not the Bank’s role to comment on political debates,” Bank of Canada spokesperson Paul Badertscher said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail on Thursday.

“Governor Macklem was appointed by the Bank of Canada’s Board of Directors with the approval of the Governor in Council for a 7-year period, and his term runs until June, 2027.”

Parliamentary Reporter Marieke Walsh, Economics Reporter Mark Rendell and I report here.

There’s a report here on Wednesday’s Conservative leadership debate in Edmonton where Mr. Poilievre first raised the idea.

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.

TODAY'S HEADLINES

INFLATION DEVALUES FEDERAL SCHOLARSHIPS: RESEARCHERS - Federal scholarships intended to support some of Canada’s most accomplished graduate students in science have become so devalued by inflation that those who receive them are effectively earning below the poverty line absent any additional means of income, a coalition of senior researchers has warned. Story here.

COURT APPROVES DEFERRED SNC-LAVALIN PROSECUTION - Quebec prosecutors have received court approval for a deferred prosecution agreement with Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., the first such deal since the new legal mechanism became law in 2018. Story here.

SINGH SPEAKS TO TROUBLING VERBAL HARASSMENT EXPERIENCE - NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the aggressive verbal harassment he endured outside a campaign event in Peterborough, Ont. was one of the most troubling experiences of his political career. Story here from CBC.

PRESSING QUESTION IN ORDER AT B.C. LEGISLATURE - Politicians ask a lot of questions in British Columbia’s legislature, but for New Democrat member Rick Glumac, his question posed Wednesday was especially important. Story here.

ONTARIO ELECTION, THURSDAY

The leaders of Ontario’s main political parties are making stops across southern Ontario, with the NDP set to announce details of its mental-health plan, and the Green Party releasing a costed platform. Overview here. It’s day nine of the Ontario election.

FORD BACKS SLAVE-AUCTION CANDIDATE - Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford says his candidate Stephen Lecce has his full support, a day after Lecce apologized in the wake of a published report about a so-called slave auction during his time as a fraternity leader in university. Story here.

ONTARIO LIBERALS DROP CANDIDATE - The Ontario Liberals have dropped a candidate after the NDP unearthed comments he made on Facebook using a slur for gay people. Story here.

Want to hear more about the Ontario election from our journalists? Subscribe to Vote of Confidence, a twice-weekly newsletter dedicated to the key issues in this campaign, landing in your inbox starting May 17 until election day on June 2.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

CAMPAIGN TRAIL - Scott Aitchison is in Edmonton - the site of this week’s first official candidate’s debate - on Thursday, and Calgary on Friday before a trip to Vancouver. In Edmonton Roman Baber was scheduled to hold a Thursday evening “meet and greet.” Patrick Brown was in Alberta on Thursday. Jean Charest was returning to Montreal from Edmonton. Pierre Poilievre was scheduled Thursday to hold a “meet and greet” with supporters and party members at a golf club and resort in Cape Breton.

LEISURE POLICY FOR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES - Wednesday’s first official debate for Conservative leadership candidates took a twist into their leisure habits, with questions on such comments as the books they are reading, the music they listen to and what they are streaming.

To be specific, moderator Tom Clark asked:

-What books the candidates are reading.

-What are their political heroes, not including Winston Churchill.

-What music they listen to?

-What they last binge watched?

-What historic figure they would most like to have dinner with?

Scott Aitchison

Book: Mr. Aitchison said he is reading a book called “Water” that’s about the future of water, and the importance of water in geopolitical issues.

Political Hero - Former prime minister John Diefenbaker. “He was a tremendous orator. He brought us the Bill of Rights. He was a tremendous Canadian who defended Canadian freedoms, and enshrined them in law.”

Music: Oscar Peterson, but added that he is listening to more country music during his campaign road trips.

Streaming: The comedy TV series Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He said his parliamentary colleague Eric Melillo got him hooked on the series while they were doing French immersion in Quebec.

Historical Dinner Guest: Nelson Mandela. “He’s a hero, how he brought South Africa together and ended apartheid is nothing short of miraculous and incredible.”

Roman Baber

Book: “It’s been difficult since the leadership started, but before that, a friend suggested that I read David and Goliath. That’s been a theme throughout our campaign, that we can continue to exceed expectations.”

Political Hero: Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. “She was not afraid of making difficult decisions. She stood up to the radical, left-wing mob.”

Music: Amy Winehouse. “When I hear Amy Winehouse, I can see into her soul. She speaks to issues of addiction and mental health, something people know I am very passionate about.”

Streaming : Married ... with Children, the American TV sitcom that aired between 1987and 1997. “I learned the English language watching Married .. .with Children, with subtitles.”

Historical Dinner Guest: Former U.S. president Ronald Reagan. “He opposed one of the greatest evils of the 20th century, opposed the radical left and communism and did it with grace and with courage.”

Patrick Brown

Book - “On the leadership campaign, let’s be honest, there’s no time, to be laying around reading books, but historically I have loved legal novels, the John Grisham books. Growing up I loved Horatio Alger, the rags to riches stories, which is our Canadian dream.”

Political Hero: Former Ontario premier Bill Davis, well known for his connections to Brampton. Mr. Brown is the mayor of Brampton. “I felt he radiated decency. I learned more from him than anyone else. He lived only a few doors down from me in Brampton, Ontario, and I think his legacy is one that is enormous in our country.”

Music - Alessia Cara, and the British rapper M.I.A.

Streaming: His wife got him into Ozark, the Netflix TV series, which they binge watched although he said he is too busy to watch the latest, final season.

Historical Dinner Guest: Former Canadian prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald. “I resent the cancel culture we’re seeing on great figures who built our country. That ... would be a fascinating dinner.”

Jean Charest

Book: “The most recent book I have been reading is about Russia, and I forget the title right now.”

Hero: Thomas D’Arcy McGee. “Born in Ireland, went to the United States. Chose to come to Canada. Renounced Irish nationalism, and gave his life for his country because he was assassinated, one of the only political assassinations in the country, by Fenians.”

Music: For jazz, Pat Metheny, but he and his family love Charles Aznavour.

Streaming: Call My Agent, the French TV series. “It was absolutely spectacular.”

Historical Dinner Guest: “I am a great fan of the partnership between Sir John A. Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier. My son and I wrote a chapter in a book about George-Étienne Cartier, who showed extraordinary resilience, promoted property rights and was one of those who allowed this country to actually come to be.”

Leslyn Lewis

Book - Shackleton’s Way. “It’s about sacrificial leadership. It’s about lending yourself to service for others and being a leader that people can admire and aspire to.”

Political Hero - British abolitionist William Wilberforce. “He spent his life fighting for the abolition of slavery even though he never knew whether or not he would see that materialize, but he had convictions to stand up for what he believed in and [it] did not matter if it sacrificed his political career.”

Music: Jazz, with a particular interest in John Coltrane.

Streaming - Bridgerton. She said she loved that it was a different era. “And people did not see race. They just existed and coexisted, and it was very beautiful because I also watched it in French and it also improved my French.”

Historical Dinner Guest: Nelson Mandela. “He existed at a time when his country was divided, torn apart by racial hatred, and yet he fought against it. He was able to overcome and bring people together.”

Pierre Poilievre

Book: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson.. “A great book, a lot of good lessons. We all need to improve ourselves and I think he has a lot of good wisdom in that book that can help anybody.”

Political Hero: Former prime minister Wilfrid Laurier. “He opened up the West to immigration, brought many of my ancestors here. Although he was a Catholic, he made a point of reading a Protestant bible so he could understand the other side. He said that he used to pick fights with the Scottish boys and flirt with the Scottish girls and managed to bring all the Canadian nations together into this wonderful country we call Canada, based on the principle of freedom.”

Music - Alberta country singer Paul Brandt.

Streaming - ”Netflix had a series on Trotsky, actually. And it helped me to better understand the diabolical of communism and totalitarian socialism. The bright side is it helped me appreciate the freedom that we have in Canada that we have to stand up and defend.”

Historical Dinner Guest - Former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. “Through principle and courage, he saved the American union and ended slavery. He did so, obviously, at great personal sacrifice with his eventual assassination.” Mr. Poilievre also admires the point that, Mr. Lincoln was an autodidact, a self-taught person, who taught himself, coming from humble beginnings as a working-class person.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, May.12, accessible here.

BLAIR IN LYTTON - In the village of Lytton, B.C, federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair is holding a media availability after a meeting with municipal officials and residents. In June, 2021, much of the community was destroyed by a wildfire. Story here.

JOLY IN GERMANY - Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly was in Germany on Thursday to participate in G7 and NATO foreign ministers’ meetings, taking place through to May. 15.

MURRAY IN NEWFOUNDLAND - Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray is in Corner Brook, NL, on Thursday, where she announced that her department will host a Seal Summit this fall in St. John’s - a commitment that responds to one of nine recommendations by the Atlantic Seal Science Task Team. CBC reports here that the industry-led report — commissioned by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans— found that DFO efforts to measure the impact of the massive seal population in Atlantic Canada are “woefully inadequate,” and disputes the department’s claims that, for the most part, seals are not harming fish populations.

THE DECIBEL

On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, western arts correspondent, Marsha Lederman, joins us to talk about her new book Kiss the Red Stairs and the responsibility she feels to share her family’s stories as the child of Holocaust survivors. Story here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

In Ottawa, the Prime Minister participated in private meetings, participated virtually in the Global COVID-19 Summit, co-hosted by Belize, Germany, Indonesia, Senegal and the United States, and spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron. The Prime Minister also held a virtual meeting with Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš and held a joint media availability with the Latvian Prime Minister. Trudeau was also scheduled to meet with Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok, and meet with recipients of the Indspire Awards.

LEADERS

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh met with representatives of the Canadian Dental Association, and was scheduled to attend a Rally for Choice on abortion services, and participate in question period.

No schedule for other leaders.

PUBLIC OPINION

EMERGENCIES ACT - Canadians remain unsure whether the use of the Emergencies Act was the best path to resolution in breaking up the protests that besieged Ottawa earlier this year, according to a new study by the Angus Reid Institute. Details here.

OPINION

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how Ottawa wants to tackle `online harms’ though it’s still not clear what it’s going after, or how: The Trudeau government went into the election last fall with two promises about “protecting Canadians from online harms.” Having won re-election, they’ve discovered that doing so is easier said than done. One promise, to “strengthen the Canada Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to more effectively combat online hate,” implied that they would revive a bill that died in the last Parliament, and which would have given the Canadian Human Rights Commission the power to go after alleged hate speech, under the rubric of discrimination law. We discussed the problems with that bill, which the Liberals have not yet reintroduced, in yesterday’s editorial.”

Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s team is timid in the face of global disorder:In confronting the Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as other threats to liberal democracy, the government is being overly cautious, reactive instead of proactive. There’s a lack of enterprise, leaving this country’s potential on the foreign stage markedly unfulfilled. In the past, inaction wasn’t so costly. Given the new world disorder, standing back won’t do. “We have to have a greater presence,” the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations Bob Rae told the gathering, “or we will lose out.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta’s court ruling on pipeline law sees Trojan horse where none exists: “To listen to Premier Jason Kenney and his government colleagues tell it, Alberta’s Court of Appeal ruling that Ottawa’s Impact Assessment Act is an unlawful infringement into provincial jurisdiction instantly overturns the federal law. It does nothing of the sort. What it does is offer Mr. Kenney an opportunity to gloat and argue that the gobs of taxpayer money the province spent on the legal venture was all worth it: Alberta put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government in its place. The two sides will almost certainly meet again on this issue and I would wager it will be Mr. Trudeau who emerges victorious next time around.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on Pierre Poilievre fanning frustration about Canada’s inflation woes: Mr. Poilievre’s repeated public disparagement of the Bank of Canada’s deflation worries represents a fundamental misunderstanding, or misrepresentation, of what the bank was actually talking about two years ago. The bank’s concern about deflation risk wasn’t a horrendous mistake that set off today’s inflation problem. Rather, it informed policies that shielded the economy from a much worse fate, and enabled a remarkable recovery from one of the most severe and unpredictable economic shocks in history.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how Canada needs to put up or shut up on missile defence: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, has forced Canada to put up or shut up. We can no longer get away with merely paying lip service to doing our part to defend this continent and meeting our North Atlantic Treaty Organization obligations. After finally conceding in March that Canada would purchase 88 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets – the same plane Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had dismissed as a lemon during the 2015 federal election campaign – Ottawa committed $8-billion in new defence spending over six years in last month’s federal budget. However, it put off the most expensive and politically sensitive spending decisions by promising “a swift defence policy review to equip Canada for a world that has become more dangerous.”

Yasmin Khaliq (Policy Options) on when Canadians will benefit from the promised mental-health transfer: “When is the Liberal government going to make mental health a priority? The 2022 federal budget outlined plans to engage the provinces and territories in the development of a Canada mental health transfer. It also repeats the 2021 federal budget plan to create national standards on mental health. But, in reality what do these budget plans mean to the average Canadian seeking mental health services in the community today? Nothing.”

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