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John Horgan has announced his exit as British Columbia premier.

At a news conference in Vancouver, one of Canada’s highest-profile New Democrats said Tuesday afternoon that he will be standing down as leader of the British Columbia New Democrats, and has asked the party to organize a leadership convention for the fall.

Mr. Horgan, who has been treated for throat cancer and said he is now cancer free after 35 treatments, said his health is good but his energy flags as the days go by.

“There has been endless speculation as a result of my recent battle with cancer about what my plans would be. I want to put the speculation to rest so we can get back to what really matters, and that’s the issues before British Columbians,” he said.

Mr. Horgan, a Vancouver Island member of the legislature since 2005, has been premier since 2017 after forming a minority government with support from the BC Greens, and ending 16 years of BC Liberal government.

He led the party to a majority government in the 2020 election. Although critical of the federal government on issues such as health-care funding, the 62-year-old has been supportive of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in other areas.

Mr. Horgan is chair of the Council of the Federation, and was scheduled to host a gathering of Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders in Victoria early next month. He said he remains committed to that event and the issues of importance to the leaders.

The Angus Reid Institute measured Mr. Horgan’s popularity with other premiers and territorial leaders earlier this month. Of Mr. Horgan they said, “British Columbia Premier John Horgan’s approval continues a downward trend. Just under half of British Columbians approve of Horgan, the lowest approval measured for the BC NDP leader since before the onset of the pandemic in 2020.” Details 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.

TODAY'S HEADLINES

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TURNS OVER ADDITIONAL RCMP FILES IN N.S. MASS KILLING - The federal Justice Department said Tuesday that it had turned over a further 17 pages of RCMP investigative files to the public inquiry into the April, 2020, mass killing of 22 people in Nova Scotia. Department spokesman Ian McLeod said another three pages have been withheld as lawyers determine if they should be disclosed to the Mass Casualty Commission, which is investigating the worst mass shooting in Canadian history. Story here.

Reporter’s Comment, Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife: “The fact that the Justice department withheld documents and did not bother to inform the commission should be taken seriously. The opposition parties are right to ask Justice Minister David Lametti and officials to appear before the House of Commons public safety and national intelligence committee next month to explain why this happened.”

SCOTIABANK SUSPENDS SPONSORSHIP TIES WITH HOCKEY CANADA - Scotiabank is suspending its sponsorship of Hockey Canada after the national sport organization paid an undisclosed sum last month to settle allegations that eight Canadian Hockey League players sexually assaulted a young woman after a Hockey Canada Foundation gala in June, 2018. Story here.

FEDS MISSING $23.4B IN UNCOLLECTED TAXES - The federal government is missing out on up to $23.4-billion a year in uncollected taxes, according to the Canada Revenue Agency’s most detailed effort to date to estimate Canada’s tax gap. Story here.

LICH HAS BEEN ARRESTED - A lawyer for “Freedom Convoy” organizer Tamara Lich says the Alberta woman has been arrested. Story here.

TRUDEAU DEFENDS MILITARY SPENDING - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending Canadian military spending as a new report released ahead of a major NATO meeting this week shows Canada heading in the wrong direction. Story here.

STANDING GRANTED IN EMERGENCIES ACT INQUIRY - The commissioner of the inquiry examining Ottawa’s use of the Emergencies Act to bring an end to the “Freedom Convoy” protest in February has granted standing to the organizers, police and representatives of all three levels of government. Story here.

ONTARIO NDP NAMING INTERIM LEADER - Ontario’s NDP was set to name an interim leader Tuesday to replace Andrea Horwath and the party is expected to select a longtime Toronto caucus member. Story here.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

CAMPAIGN TRAIL - Scott Aitchison is in Ontario. Roman Baber is hosting a meet and greet in Mississauga. Patrick Brown is in Brampton. Jean Charest is in Calgary. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa. There is no word on the campaign whereabouts of Leslyn Lewis.

PARTY CHANGE INEVITABLE: MACKAY - Elmer MacKay, a veteran cabinet minister under Brian Mulroney, says the evolution of the Conservative Party is an inevitability that some critical veteran party members should accept. He also said he is supporting Pierre Poilievre for the leadership. Story here.

On Tuesday, Elmer MacKay’s son, former Stephen Harper cabinet minister Peter MacKay, said in a statement that he is not making any endorsements in the Conservative leadership race, and is supportive of all of the six candidates. He said his father is entitled to his own choices. But he added, “I honestly don’t feel former leaders should weigh in too heavily in these critically important decisions that remain in the hands of the broader membership. That has been the tradition in our party for a long time [with] a few notable exceptions.”

THIS AND THAT

The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20

MURRAY HAS COVID-19 - Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray has tested positive for COVID-19 while attending a UN fisheries conference in Portugal. “I’m feeling fine and I’ll be isolating in my hotel room, following public health guidance,” Ms. Murray wrote in a tweet. She offered thanks to the Canadian Embassy team and fisheries department staff for continuing to ensure a Canadian presence at the conference.

IEN IN TORONTO -Women’s Minister Marci Ien made a funding announcement in Toronto supporting sexual and reproductive health services for LGBTQ communities across Canada.

THE DECIBEL

Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast looks into the controversy over Hockey Canada’s handling of a civil lawsuit filed by a women who alleges she was sexually assaulted by eight Canadian Hockey League players in 2018. The public did not hear about this until 2022, after TSN broke the news that Hockey Canada settled a civil lawsuit with the woman. Now the government has cut off funding for the national organization until more details of their investigation are provided to a parliamentary committee. Taylor McKee , an assistant professor of sports management at Brock University, talks about how hockey has built a culture of secrecy and what that means for a sport deeply connected to Canadian identity. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

In Elmau, Germany, the Prime Minister, attending the G7 summit, held private meetings and met with Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, attended the G7 Working Session entitled Shaping International Cooperation: Multilateral and Digital Order/G20, and held a media availability. The Prime Minister was then scheduled to depart for Madrid, Spain, and participate in the official NATO leaders’ arrivals. The Prime Minister was then scheduled to participate in the official family photo with Their Royal Highnesses the King and Queen of Spain and NATO leaders and to attend a dinner they hosted.

LEADERS

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet will be in the Quebec City region to meet with his local MPs, Caroline Desbiens and Julie Vignola, and to hold private meetings.

No schedules released for other party leaders.

PUBLIC OPINION

SWEARING ALLEGIANCE OATH TO QUEEN - Most people in Canada do not think people should have to swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen, according to a poll ahead of Canada Day. Story here.

OPINION

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on whether the Conservatives are heading for a cataclysmic rupture: There will be many Conservative MPs and party supporters who will dismiss the warnings of Ms. LeBreton, Ms. Rempel Garner and Mr. O’Toole as the bleatings of disgruntled losers, a small rump that represents the out-of-touch moderate old guard. Anyone who holds that view is deeply misguided. Mr. Poilievre is taking the Conservatives in a radically different direction, one in which it has never been. It is a deeply divisive and corrosive path as well, one along which not all party members and elected representatives will be comfortable travelling. When the party ruptures, as it surely will, Mr. Poilievre can’t say he wasn’t warned.”

André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on why legislating abortion access in Canada would be a mistake: “Once you have a law, even one that guarantees access to abortion and other reproductive health services, it can serve as a platform for opponents to launch attacks, and protections can be whittled down with restrictions on who has access, when and how. These issues are summed up brilliantly by the National Association of Women and the Law and Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights in its response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.”

David Moscrop (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on America’s social contract with its citizens lying in tatters: Just this month, decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on abortion, gun control and Miranda rights, for instance, will make the country far less safe and far less just. In the wake of the decision to leave abortion laws up to the states, several states immediately banned it; more will follow. Former vice-president Mike Pence called for a national ban. This is the stuff of theocracy. The court’s decision not only limits the rights of people who may become pregnant, it will lead to deaths. It is a fundamental violation of the right to life. So is the lack of adequate gun control measures in a country where more than 45,000 people were killed by guns in 2020. A recent effort to impose some control resulted in a bipartisan bill – shocking, of itself – but it leaves much to be desired. If the country continues on its current course of decline, the U.S. will face violent revolution or oblivion – maybe even both.”

Jad Saliba and Neil Desai (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the new cybersecurity bill needs to be backed by resources: “Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino recently tabled legislation that would mandate that businesses in four federally-regulated industries report cyberbreaches. It makes sense for the government to try to tackle this growing global challenge given that it’s estimated that an attack occurs ever 11 seconds and the cost of cybercrime to the global economy will top US$10.5 trillion annually by 2025. However, without wider applicability and a thoughtful implementation strategy that includes training and technology solutions for police agencies, the legislation may do little to actually protect Canadians, especially the most vulnerable among us.”

Murray Mandryk (Regina Leader-Post) on how overcoming dwindling NDP support will be the first test of the party’s new leader:Much of the not-so-great 2022 Saskatchewan NDP leadership race centred around whether this party wants to be a broad-based, inclusive government-in-waiting or something more akin to a special-interest lobby group. The frightening reality for new leader Carla Beck is that the NDP’s voting numbers suggest it’s more the latter than the former. Beck took the Saskatchewan NDP leadership on Sunday with 3,244 votes (or 68.5 per cent of the mere 4,741 total ballots cast) compared with 1,492 votes (31.5 per cent) for Kaitlyn Harvey. Those 4,741 ballots represented 65 per cent of the announced 7,294 NDP membership. Think about those numbers in the context of NDP bravado purporting to having just selected the next Saskatchewan premier.”

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