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politics briefing newsletter

Good morning,

Within the next 24 hours, Britain will have a new prime minister: Boris Johnson.

The colourful former foreign secretary, mayor and author was crowned this morning as the winner of the race to succeed Theresa May as leader of Britain’s governing Conservative Party.

Ms. May’s three-year stint as prime minister came to an end when the deal she negotiated with the European Union for Britain to exit the group of nations was rejected by her colleagues in Parliament three times.

Britain is set to leave the EU – the so-called Brexit – on Oct. 31. So far, no agreement has been reached between Britain and the EU about what shape the tangled web of trade and economic policies will take if Britain leaves. Mr. Johnson has said he will lead his country out of the bloc on Oct. 31 whether or not there’s a deal – a possibility that worries many in his own party.

There is certainly one exit that is being delayed, though: Vanity Fair reports that the Queen has pushed back her annual vacation to Scotland so that she can meet Mr. Johnson tomorrow. He will be the 14th prime minister the Queen has seen in her remarkably long reign.

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Two of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s closest advisers set up government-relations firms in the weeks after Mr. Ford was sworn in, and a Globe and Mail investigation has found that the two men continue to give political advice to the Premier while being paid by private clients to lobby the government. Chris Froggatt and Kory Teneycke, former federal Conservative aides who have roles in Mr. Ford’s re-election campaign, say that they do not advise the government on files for which they are paid to lobby. But ethics advocates say the connections are concerning.

In other Ford news, the Premier’s former chief-of-staff, Dean French, has dropped his libel case against MPP Randy Hillier.

Alykhan Velshi, vice-president of corporate affairs at Huawei Technologies Canada and a former senior Conservative staffer, said his company is concerned about the detention of two Canadians in China. The company is a subsidiary of a Chinese telecom giant whose chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Vancouver last December and is currently undergoing a court process to be extradited to the United States. Ms. Meng’s arrested kicked off a diplomatic dispute between Canada and China, which included the arrest of two Canadians in the Asian country, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says they would like to see the one-time doubling of the federal gas tax transfer be made permanent. None of the Liberal, Conservative or New Democratic parties would commit to doing so when contacted by The Globe.

The City of Calgary, which is struggling to balance its budget and plans to cut $60-million in spending this year, has reached a deal with the Flames hockey team to split the cost of a new $550-million arena. “The optics of this stink,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters.

And PEI Premier Dennis King, a Progressive Conservative who is leading the province’s first minority government in decades, says he’s been working with the opposition Greens on environmental legislation because the issue is important to Islanders. “My own view has always been that I don’t care where the ideas come from. If they’re good ideas, let’s turn them into good policy for Prince Edward Islanders,” Mr. King said.

Errol Mendes (The Globe and Mail) on Boris Johnson and Brexit: “The most likely way for Mr. Johnson to obtain his desired no-deal Brexit is to prorogue Parliament against the overwhelming wish of MPs. He has refused to rule out such an undermining of Parliament and thus could trigger a constitutional crisis.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the return of Gerald Butts: “Few things in this world are more difficult than managing a general election campaign. Different regions have different priorities. Polls and focus groups can only tell you so much. Managing the leader’s tour, and psyche, requires consummate skill. Only a handful of people in this country are up to the task. Mr. Butts is one of them.”

Andrew MacDougall (Maclean’s) on what the return means for the Liberal campaign: “While Butts has a well-deserved reputation as a partisan gunfighter on platforms like Twitter, his true value to the Liberal cause is his optimism. He is a believer in the power of big government to solve big problems, whether that’s climate change or middle class woes. His return is the strongest hint we have yet at the tone of the Liberal offer in 2019.”

Allison Hanes (Montreal Gazette) on reforestation: “In the race against time to confront the climate crisis, new research suggests a simple, powerful — and perhaps even obvious — solution has been under our noses all along. Trees.”

Chris Selley (National Post) on partisan sniping about the cost of fixing 24 Sussex Drive: “This being the case, instead of blaming each other for a situation for which they’re both responsible, the Liberals and Conservatives and any other parties that want to join in ought to take this opportunity to turn the page on the accursed house once and for all: Knock it down and turn it into parkland, give it away to some improbably deep-pocketed historical society — anything but this absurd, gormless pantomime.”

Globe and Mail editorial board on another way: “It would be very adult if Mr. Trudeau and Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer could reach a rhetorical truce and agree that, regardless of the election outcome, money will have to be spent on 24 Sussex Dr., and on the other official residences managed by the NCC.”

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