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Canada Soccer has cancelled a planned friendly with Iran in the face of growing criticism that included concerns raised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In a one-paragraph statement issued on Thursday, the governing body gave no reason for the cancellation of the scheduled June 5 game at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver.

At issue is whether Canada should be hosting Iran given the Canadians who died on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 when it was shot down on Jan. 8, 2020, minutes after taking off from Tehran, by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. The Canadian government says 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed.

Mr. Trudeau has said the game “wasn’t a very good idea,” and suggested that it would be up to the Canada Border Services Agency whether the Iran team is allowed into the country. Conservative MPs also added their voices to the protest.

The Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims called for Canada Soccer “to cancel the game immediately.”

There’s a full story here on the situation.

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

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MAY PARTICIPATE IN COURT CHALLENGE OF QUEBEC LAW - The federal government will participate in a challenge of Quebec’s controversial religious symbols law, known as Bill 21, should the case end up at the Supreme Court, Justice Minister David Lametti said Wednesday, prompting swift pushback from Quebec’s Premier. Story here.

UN OFFICIAL TO INVESTIGATE INDIGENOUS HUMAN RIGHTS IN CANADA - United Nations special rapporteur is planning a Canadian trip to examine the “overall human-rights situation” of Indigenous people in light of the discoveries of possible unmarked graves near former residential schools. Story here.

MANURE PROTEST AT JOHN HORGAN’S CONSTITUENCY OFFICE - Police say they are investigating manure left at the front doors of Premier John Horgan’s local constituency office in Langford, B.C. Story here.

CANADA FUNDS PROBE OF SEX CRIMES BY RUSSIANS IN UKRAINE - Canada is committing an extra $1-million to help the international community investigate sex crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine. Story here.

CANADA NEEDS TO INCREASE MILITARY SPENDING: U.S. AMBASSADOR - The Liberals talked a bigger game than they delivered in the spring budget, America’s Ambassador David Cohen says, arguing Canada still needs to increase military spending to reflect current global realities. Story here from The National Post.

WESTERN PREMIERS MEETING ON FRIDAY - Canada’s Western premiers are meeting in Regina on Friday and federal health transfers are expected to be the top item on the list. The meeting was virtual in 2021. Story here from CBC.

ORDER OF CANADA FOR SINCLAIR - Murray Sinclair received the Order of Canada Thursday for dedicating his life to championing Indigenous Peoples’ rights and freedoms. Story here.

B.C. GOVERNMENT EXPLAINS PLANS FOR $789.5M MUSEUM - The B.C. government has presented a business case for a new Royal BC Museum, which shows the $789.5-million cost of building a new museum on the current site in Victoria would be lower than repairing or upgrading the existing facilities. Story here.

ONTARIO ELECTION - Doug Ford is the top choice in the Ontario election on pocketbook issues, according to a new poll that also shows a large majority of respondents are uncomfortable with building homes on farmland and green space as a way to bring down housing costs. Story here. Meanwhile, in ONTARIO ELECTION TODAY: Party leaders target key ridings and issues with June 2 vote just a week away. And you can subscribe here to Vote of Confidence, The Globe and Mail’s twice-weekly newsletter focused on the 2022 Ontario election.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE.

FINAL SCHEDULED CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP DEBATE - Conservative leadership candidates attacked their opponents’ ethics during the only official French-language debate on Wednesday night, with Jean Charest, Pierre Poilievre and Patrick Brown highlighting past controversies, while also sparring over how to tackle the cost of living and protect the French language. Story here.

BROWN AND CHAREST DENY ANY AGREEMENT -Jean Charest and Patrick Brown say they are friends, but have no agreement to support each other’s campaigns in the Conservative leadership race.

Still, the pair have not been criticizing each other in the sometimes raucous debates among candidates seeking to lead the party.

The issue arose Wednesday night after the French-language leadership debate in Laval, Que. The former Quebec premier and Brampton, Ont., mayor were the only candidates, out of six, to meet with the media.

“We are friends. We have known each other for years. He came into politics with me when he was 15 years old,” Mr. Charest told journalists.

But Mr. Charest added, “There is no agreement among both camps, and he is campaigning very vigorously. I do not underestimate Patrick Brown.”

Mr. Brown declared there is no “gentleman’s agreement,” but that he has a friendship with Mr. Charest as with Leslyn Lewis, Roman Baber and Scott Aitchison.

He said he has differences of opinion with Pierre Poilievre, but has known him for awhile. Of his approach to the leadership race, Mr. Brown said the Ottawa MP is taking positions popular in some “corners of the country,” but added, “I think if Pierre Poilievre wins this leadership, we’ve already lost the next election.”

He noted that he was a volunteer for Mr. Charest in the 1995 Quebec referendum when Mr. Charest was Progressive Conservative leader. “Canadians owe him a debt of gratitude.”

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House has adjourned until Monday, May 30.

NEW CLERK OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL - Janice Charette will take over as the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, effective Saturday, after more than a year holding the title, which includes being head of the federal public service, on an interim basis. Ms. Charette, formerly Canada’s high commissioner in the United Kingdom, replaces Ian Shugart, who has been on medical leave and is retiring. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the news in a statement here and there’s information here on the role of the clerk, and those associated with the post.

NEW ROLE FOR MARK CARNEY - Former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has agreed to serve as the chair for a new advisory board of the Canada 2020 progressive think tank. The board will be focused on ambitious progressive public policy solutions as Canada looks ahead from the pandemic. Mr. Carney who was also governor of the Bank of England is also now serving as the United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Change and Finance, and vice chair of Brookfield Asset Management.

THE DECIBEL

On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Shribman discusses how America has come to find itself stuck in the intolerable position that has led to guns being the number one killer of Americans under the age of 20. The discussion comes as the United States is grappling with another mass shooting, with at least 19 children and two adults killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., on Tuesday. This marks the 27th school shooting and the 213th mass shooting this year in the U.S. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

In Ottawa, the Prime Minister held private meetings and was scheduled to visit a local community service centre to meet with families impacted by the recent storm in the region, then visit a local grocery store in Quebec to meet with families affected by the storm. The Prime Minister was also scheduled to vote in the Ontario provincial election.

LEADERS

No schedules released for party leaders.

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the Conservative leadership race: Jean Charest calls out Pierre Poilievre’s populism, but stopping him seems unlikely: If there was a message Jean Charest wanted to get across, it was the one he left to the last minute of the last scheduled debate in the Conservative leadership campaign. Let’s call it his “Stop Pierre” speech. It was in what can be called Mr. Charest’s home turf, Laval, Que., in the French-language Conservative leadership debate. But it’s a good wager he’ll be repeating it in English, in other places. The dynamic is clear now: Pierre Poilievre is the front-runner, campaigning with a populist appeal, opposition to vaccine mandates, support for the trucker convoy and a pledge to fire “gatekeepers.” Mr. Charest is chasing.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how the paranoid style in Conservative politics has deep roots: “Populism has deep roots in the Conservative Party, at least since John Diefenbaker gathered the disparate populist movements that had sprung up in the West under the Progressive Conservative banner. As the party of the “outs,” those who for one reason or another were excluded from the Liberal power consensus, it has always tended to attract its share of cranks – not just populists but crackpots. What’s different today? Three things. One, the targets of populist wrath are increasingly external to Canada: bodies like the WEF or the WHO, whose remoteness from any actual role in controlling our lives only makes them seem more darkly potent, to those primed to believe it. Two, the “outs” no longer simply reject a particular political narrative, but increasingly science, and reason, and knowledge: the anti-expertise, anti-authority rages of people who have been “doing their own research.” And three, the crackpopulists used to be consigned to the party’s margins. Now they are contending to lead it.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on why Pierre Poilievre is right: Fire the gatekeepers, starting with the lifelong politicians:The thing I like about Pierre Poilievre is that he says the things I’m thinking after I’ve stayed up all night drinking Red Bulls and watching Related Videos on YouTube. He will stand up to the Bill Gateses and Klaus Schwabs of the world, and ban ministers in his freest government ever from attending any World Economic Forum events (though they are still permitted to serve as his campaign co-chair). Mr. Poilievre understands the plight of the working man because he is the working man, with calluses on the sides of his pinkies where he rests his phone while texting. And really, is that so different from the hands of the truckers, the oil-rig workers, the brick masons he claims to represent? Are his Italian loafers so different from their steel-toe boots? Does his brow not bead with sweat after a hard day’s work when maintenance hasn’t gotten around to fixing the A/C?”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Quebec’s Bill 96 being more of a paper tiger than an assault on English-language rights: “With the Quebec National Assembly’s adoption this week of Bill 96, which aims to strengthen protection for the French language in Quebec, Mr. Legault has again thrown anglophone voters under the bus to bolster his nationalist credentials in advance of the election. While the new language law overreaches in several ways, particularly in pre-emptively invoking the notwithstanding clause and allowing for warrantless searches by the language police, it is not the existential threat that some English-speaking critics make it out to be. It may in fact prove to be more of a paper tiger than a law with teeth. The CAQ’s bark is worse than its bite, and the new law is likely to end up being engulfed in its own contradictions.”

Lisa Van Dusen (Policy Magazine) on how there are moments when it’s hard to fathom that Pierre Poilievre and Jean Charest are vying to lead the same party: “Watching the French debate as I write this, that’s the tension on display beneath the bouts of incoherent brawling, some of it in French dubbed “pénible” (painful) by Radio-Canada (except for Poilievre, who almost makes up for in fluency what he lacks in assonance, and Charest, who is bilingual/bicultural, accent-less in both languages). Charest is a serious politician with serious experience who finds himself vying to lead an entity that may or may not be willing to follow him. Poilievre is a canny chancer peddling an assortment of emotionally charged keywords, some of which are attached to ideas, others to fears and still others to threats. Which may be precisely what this Conservative Party of Canada wants.”

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