Canada is getting a new, national political party aimed at picking up support from disaffected members of other major parties.
The Centre Ice Canadians group is transforming into Canadian Future, a party that will go through the process of registering with Elections Canada.
And a former federal Conservative cabinet minister plans to join.
Peter Kent, who served as environment minister for Stephen Harper, said it has become obvious to him and many other Canadians that there is a gap of civility, logic, reason, evidence-based policies and political accommodation at the centre of the national political spectrum.
“In my postparliamentary life, I’ve heard from voters – of all parties – who are thoroughly disenchanted with current polarized choices of leadership and policy positions,” the former MP for the Toronto-area riding of Thornhill said in an e-mailed statement.
Mr. Kent, who left elected politics in 2021, said that he will have no role in the new party “other than to become an early member.” Wednesday, he said, he cancelled his Conservative Party membership.
Dominic Cardy, a former New Brunswick cabinet minister leading the new party on an interim basis, said on Wednesday that the path ahead is going to be challenging.
“This is not a walk in the park. This is going to be an incredibly difficult hill to climb,” the Independent member of the New Brunswick legislature said as the launch of the party was announced.
“I’m telling anybody who wants to get involved that there’s no guarantee of success.”
But Mr. Cardy said the party has been born of a particular exasperation with the federal Conservatives and federal Liberals.
“Current politics is in a bit of a mess. I don’t see either party offering a plan for what Canada is supposed to look like five, 10, 20 years down the road.”
The former NDP leader in New Brunswick joined the Progressive Conservatives, won a seat, and served as education minister from 2018 until 2022 when he broke with Blaine Higgs over the Premier’s leadership style. He was subsequently expelled from caucus, and now sits as an Independent.
During the federal Conservative leadership race in 2022, the group began as Centre Ice Conservatives making the case for a moderate path in politics.
Then, in May, Edmonton businessman Rick Peterson, a co-founder of the group, issued a statement saying Centre Ice was considering becoming a full-fledged centrist political party.
Mr. Cardy said the Liberals and Conservatives are talking about issues disconnected from the concerns of people he talks to.
“I don’t hear people being obsessed with trans kids. I don’t hear people believing that the World Economic Forum is something that we should be scared of. I certainly don’t hear people believing that climate change isn’t real.”
Mr. Cardy said announcements will be coming soon about who will be on the party’s national council, its governing body, and that current plans call for a national convention next year.
BREAKING - Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office says cabinet member Kaleed Rasheed has resigned from his role and from the Progressive Conservative caucus – a departure that comes in the wake of an Integrity Commissioner probe into the government’s Greenbelt land swap. Please check The Globe and Mail for updates on this story.
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.
Trudeau allegations prompt India to warn citizens against travelling to Canada - India is urging its nationals not to visit Canada, amid a worsening diplomatic crisis after allegations by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that New Delhi was involved in the killing of a Sikh leader in British Columbia. Story here. Meanwhile, Mr. Trudeau said he does not want to escalate tensions further with India. Story here. And Sikh and Muslim leaders are calling on Canadian authorities to do more to protect citizens under threat from foreign actors, given the allegations about Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s death. Story here. There is an Explainer here on the killing of Mr. Nijjar.
Bank of Canada unsure interest rates are high enough, deliberations show - Bank of Canada officials weren’t convinced that interest rates were high enough to get inflation under control when they decided to hold the policy rate steady earlier this month, according to a summary of deliberations published Wednesday. Story here.
Competing rallies on gender identity held across Canada - Thousands of people gathered in cities across Canada on Wednesday for competing protests, screaming and chanting at each other about school policies on gender identity. Story here. There’s an Explainer here on how gender-identity issues are gaining attention in Canadian politics.
Integrity Commissioner finds ‘gross mismanagement,’ says Defence Department broke whistle-blower’s protection act - The Department of National Defence “committed gross mismanagement” and broke the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act in its handling of whistle-blower complaints, the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner found in an investigation released Tuesday. Story here.
Canada loans $3-billion to Romania to complete construction of two nuclear reactors - The Canadian government will loan up to $3-billion to Romania’s nuclear power operator to build two nuclear reactors – funds that will be directed exclusively to Canadian providers of goods and services working on the project. Story here.
Legault rules out nuclear option for Quebec - Quebec Premier François Legault has closed the door on nuclear power, at least for now. “For the time being, we’re not touching it,” said Legault when asked about the subject at a press scrum in New York on Tuesday. Story here from CTV.
Chow heading to Ottawa next week to make case for financial aid - Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow will head to Ottawa next week in a bid to persuade the federal government to sign on to a new fiscal framework, after a provincial promise to help tackle the city’s structural deficit. Story here from CP24.
THIS AND THAT
Today in the Commons - Projected order of business at the House of Commons, Sept. 20, accessible here.
Deputy Prime Minister’s Day - Chrystia Freeland, in New York City, participated in a round-table discussion with the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board. Ms. Freeland then met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and later delivered the introductory address as Ms. Yellin received a 2023 Global Citizen Award from the Atlantic Council.
Ministers on the Road - Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, in New York City, participated in the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Ambition Summit opening session and moderated a panel discussion during a carbon-pricing event held by the federal government. Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu, in the Northern Quebec community of Kuujjuaq, opened a regional recovery centre, accompanied by Ian Lafrenière, Quebec’s First Nations and Inuit Relations minister. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly is in New York City as part of the Canadian delegation attending UN events.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in New York City for the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, attended a leaders’ breakfast of the high-level panel for a sustainable ocean economy. Mr. Trudeau then attended the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit. After that event, Mr. Trudeau held meetings with Chilean President Gabriel Boric and Kenyan President William Ruto.
Mr. Trudeau was scheduled to deliver remarks to the UN Security Council High Level Open Debate on Ukraine. Later, Mr. Trudeau was to participate in a dialogue on financing for development. His final commitment for the day was to participate in the Global Carbon Pricing Challenge event.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a media scrum in the foyer of the House of Commons.
Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre attended Question Period.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, attended the Protect Trans Kids! rally, the NDP caucus meeting and participated in Question Period.
No schedules provided for other party leaders.
On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Globe Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife explains allegations by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the Indian government was involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India has been quick to deny any involvement. The Decibel is here.
Mass Murder, Police Mayhem - The Mass Casualty Commission: The Facts, the Findings, and What Must Be Done by Dean Beeby. (Formac Publishing Company Limited).
In researching and writing his new book, veteran journalist Dean Beeby took a succinct approach to describing the April, 2020 fatal shooting of 22 people along the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia by a gunman on a rampage, as well as its aftermath.
The worst mass shooting in Canadian history was the subject of a public inquiry, but Mr. Beeby, a former Parliament Hill journalist for The Canadian Press and CBC, writes that the resulting report “can meander and overwhelm, with too much detail and too many secondary paths.”
Halifax-based publisher James Lorimer, writes Mr. Beeby, was looking for a less daunting read. “The task we set ourselves here was to condense the story into something direct and readable, in a single volume.”
Mr. Beeby reflected on his work in an e-mail Q&A with the politics-briefing newsletter.
Given the considerable media coverage of these events, as well as the work of the Mass Casualty Commission looking into this situation, what were you aiming to accomplish with this book?
The tragic story of Portapique needs space, much larger than daily journalism can provide. The Mass Casualty Commission provided this space, but far too much for the ordinary citizen. The 3,000 pages and seven volumes are meticulously researched, but inaccessible to most readers. The goal was to respect the commission’s findings, but provide a plain-language guide to the essential story.
Why was this project of interest to you?
The RCMP has been put under intense scrutiny in other inquiries over the last half-century. But the Mass Casualty Commission is unique. It dissected a basic police operation to catch an armed killer of multiple victims. I felt that this rare glimpse inside the operations of the RCMP must have a wider readership.
How did you go about pulling this book together?
The commission provided a rich trove of detail, so it was a matter of immersing myself in the reports and finding the plain language to retell the horrible story. The project took three months to write and edit. The challenge was discarding a lot of extraneous detail to focus on the fundamentals.
What, if anything, surprised you as a result of going through the facts of these events in order to write the book?
The surprise was the depth and consistency of the RCMP failure. There weren’t just a few missteps. At every juncture, the RCMP came up short.
Is there anything in the aftermath of this matter that you are monitoring and that, in particular, you think the public should keep an eye on?
Are the Nova Scotia and federal governments heeding the call for reform? The RCMP needs to be fundamentally changed – do our politicians have the courage to do the job? That’s the question. So far, things don’t look good.
Manitoba provincial election - During campaigning for the Oct. 3 provincial election in Manitoba, the NDP has secured a six-point advantage in polling over the incumbent Progressive Conservatives, according to research from the Angus Reid Institute. Details here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how more talk won’t build more housing: “There are no big new policy discoveries to be made in what can be done to address housing ails. It sounds almost too obvious to say but for all levels of government the solution is to stop pondering changes and start implementing them. Cutting the GST on purpose-built rental housing is one of numerous good ideas that sat around on a shelf while the cost to rent rose higher and higher. What could possibly help moderate rents? More rental buildings. What tools in the past helped build a lot of rental housing? A half century ago, major federal tax breaks spurred such construction.”
Brahma Chellaney (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Justin Trudeau has brought Canada’s ties with India under increasing strain: “Mr. Trudeau’s extraordinary statement was not about Canadian security agencies finding evidence of India’s involvement in the killing of a Canadian Sikh extremist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Rather, his statement was only about “allegations,” which he called credible, of a “potential” India “link” to the murder. More than three months after Mr. Nijjar’s killing, homicide investigators have not arrested a single suspect in connection with the shooting. In this light, why would Mr. Trudeau air such allegations at this stage, knowing that doing so would hold serious implications for Canada’s relations with India? It has already sparked tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats and plunged Canada-India relations to their lowest ebb.”
Catherine McKenna (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how oil giants’ climate-change cheap talk is why we need a hard cap on their emissions: “This summer scorched the Earth, breaking heat records globally and setting off wildfires that choked North American cities. And Suncor chief executive officer Rich Kruger? He chose this moment to announce that his company will double down on oil sands production and sideline its renewables strategy. Regrettably, Suncor is not a rogue producer.”