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politics briefing newsletter

Good morning,

The Earth keeps getting warmer – about a fifth of a degree each decade, at the current rate – but the global political environment is getting cooler to the idea of doing something about it, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says.

The Paris accord, which was agreed to almost exactly three years ago, would be “much harder” to reach today, she told the Canadian Press.

Ms. McKenna said the federal government will try to set more ambitious targets in the next couple of years to reduce greenhouse gases.

But one of Canada’s biggest provinces is already going ahead with their own plan.

British Columbia is set to unveil today its climate plan. It will require a major expansion of electricity infrastructure to convert oil-and-gas processing plants – one of the province’s biggest emitters – to using electrical power instead of fossil fuels.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa. It is exclusively available only to our digital subscribers. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


Canadian Security Intelligence Service director David Vigneault said in his first public speech that there is an increasing risk of state-sponsored espionage in new technologies. “I’m talking about areas such as A.I., quantum technology, 5G, biopharma, and clean tech. In other words, the foundation of Canada’s future economic growth,” he said. Britain’s spy chief, Alex Younger, also said this week there are serious concerns about Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s involvement in the 5G mobile network, in particular. “In China, they have a different legal and ethical framework,” he said. “They are able to use and manipulate data sets on a scale that we can only dream of.”

A wealthy Vancouver real estate developer won a defamation case against a Chinese-language journalist and was awarded $1 by the judge.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says Toronto police commander Ron Taverner’s appointment as head of the provincial police had nothing to do with Mr. Taverner’s status as a Ford family friend. “If Ron Taverner wasn’t qualified, he wouldn’t be there. But he has the utmost respect of police officers not only just across Ontario, but across the country,” Mr. Ford said. iPolitics reported yesterday that the job posting for OPP commissioner was changed two days after it was posted, and that Mr. Taverner would not have been qualified for the job under its initial requirements.

Quebec’s Coalition Avenir Québec government says it will slash the number of immigrants the province takes in, from 53,300 in a year to 40,000. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was not impressed. “What I hear from business people across Quebec is that companies are worried about a labour shortage. I’m not sure that this is the best moment to reduce the intake of newcomers,” he said in Ottawa.

The Conservatives and NDP want to grill Mr. Trudeau’s top advisers about what they knew about Raj Grewal.

And the state funeral for former U.S. president George H.W. Bush is today. The Canadian contingent will include former prime minister Brian Mulroney, current cabinet minister Scott Brison and Canadian ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton.

Globe and Mail editorial board on Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s governance: “The Taverner appointment is the latest in a series of moves by the Ford government that show contempt for rules designed to protect the public from government, and government from its own worst impulses.”

Linda Nazareth (The Globe and Mail) on the rise of automation at companies like General Motors: “All of this is great for efficiency and productivity, and ultimately that tends to drive profitability. Without that profitability, job prospects are pretty dim for human beings. That said, there is no denying that in the short term there are going to be disruptions to employment as companies such as GM reassess and restructure their processes.”

Pat Morfee (CBC) on the General Motors plant closing: “The automotive industry in Ontario has always had ups and downs, but the outlook right now is very bleak and it’s hard to see a silver lining. Oshawa’s fate might follow St. Thomas’s, which will mean a hard landing for workers and their families. The life of an autoworker has always had some degree of uncertainty, but unfortunately now, the future seems fairly certain.”

Ihsaan Gardee (Montreal Gazette) on the rise in hate crimes: “Today, however, there is a sense of resilience driven both by faith and love of community — a refusal to let fear overcome all the good that we can accomplish together as Canadians. But goodwill is not enough. Communities and people from all backgrounds, along with our elected leaders, need to stand united against Islamophobia and all forms of hate if we are to succeed in drowning out the voices of division.”

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