Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has made his first major team announcement since winning the leadership some 10 days ago.
He has named Manitoba MP Candice Bergen as his deputy leader, Quebec MP Gérard Deltell as his House Leader and Alberta MP Blake Richards as the party’s whip. Richard Martel, a relatively new MP and former junior-hockey-league coach, will become his Quebec lieutenant.
At the news conference, Ms. Bergen said a focus for her will be western alienation, the worry that residents of western provinces feel that Ottawa ignores them.
“Westerners need to know that Conservatives know this is an issue and they will not be ignored,” Ms. Bergen said.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. 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.
There may not be an election campaign on, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is doing his best imitation of hitting the hustings: he has a number of virtual events with B.C. businesspeople and the Premier today, and will do a virtual tour of Atlantic Canada tomorrow. In a radio interview in Vancouver, Mr. Trudeau indicated he does not support the decriminalization of drugs as a strategy to fight the opioid crisis. He also said he thinks Julie Payette is an “excellent” Governor-General and he has no plans to try to replace her.
Health Canada has changed its mind and will review applications for at-home coronavirus testing devices after all.
A John A. Macdonald impersonator says he hasn’t been getting a lot of gigs in recent years as the legacy of Canada’s first prime minister is getting more scrutiny.
And residents of the Nova Scotia village where a gunman killed 22 people in April say they are taking down memorials for the victims because it is drawing too many tourists. “People travelling down Portapique Beach Road, that is just not necessary,” Tiffiany Ward, head of a local volunteer group, told the Canadian Press. “There is nothing there. There is no reason … other than a morbid tourist attraction.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Erin O’Toole’s criticism of the Liberals’ early emergency benefits: “The pandemic isn’t over. Canadians still feel vulnerable. They want leaders to keep them and their livelihoods safe and secure. Mr. O’Toole is – rightly or wrongly – pointing to a part of the Liberal record that most people found reassuring. And he didn’t do it by offering something better.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on what O’Toole will be like as Conservative Leader: “The image that emerges, combining exposures from before, during and after the campaign, is of that rarity in Conservative politics – a relatively normal person. Mr. O’Toole comes across as a professional, serious but agreeable, bland but not guileless, unburdened either by Andrew Scheer’s crippling insecurity or Stephen Harper’s stewing resentments. In policy terms, he might best be described as a Mike Wilson Conservative, stolidly centre-right, less interested in the culture wars – beyond the ritual nods to crime (against) and guns (for) – than sound finance and free markets.”
Ken Coates and JP Gladu (The Globe and Mail) on reconciliation in the resources sector: “The mining, forestry and oil and gas industries are in some cases leading the way on reconciliation. That’s because resource projects are almost always in sparsely settled areas, and Indigenous peoples in northern and remote regions have precious few opportunities for economic development. So the projects are of crucial local importance.”
Catherine Ford (Calgary Herald) on the stress of being a teacher during the pandemic: “Tempting as it is to believe the canard of a soft life, I challenge anyone to give teaching a try and come out at the end of a course with the same benighted opinion. It’s a hard job and one that can take an emotional toll. One elementary school teacher told me years ago her biggest fear was inadvertently making a huge mistake and affecting some student for life. I think she used the word ’scarring.’ Such fears are the bane of a teacher’s existence.”
Kelly Egan (Ottawa Citizen) on a backyard Shakespeare production’s tussles with bylaw officers: “Ottawa already has a reputation as a city full of overpaid, pencil-pushing, rule-making, meeting-loving, policy-worshiping square-heads who, after careers with no heavy-lifting, are rewarded with early and beautiful pensions — and now this?”