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Hundreds of members of the White Helmets, a group of volunteer humanitarian workers and their families, were rescued from southwest Syria this weekend in a daring overnight rescue operation. The evacuation was led by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) at the request of Canada, Britain and Germany. The several hundred people who were rescued are now in a United Nations refugee camp in Jordan awaiting resettlement, with all three countries agreeing to take in the members of the White Helmets and their families. Canada says it will accept up to 250 people. President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces, with the backing of Russian air power, swiftly retook Syria’s southwest in recent weeks, putting the White Helmets at risk – the IDF said in a statement that the volunteer group “faced an immediate threat to their lives.” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland brought up the issue as an “unscripted” addition at NATO talks between foreign ministers earlier this month and quickly found support from allies. The group has worked to save the lives of civilians in rebel-held areas during the civil war, with Germany Foreign Minister Heiko Maas saying that they have helped to rescue more than 100,000 people during the conflict.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Mayaz Alam and James Keller. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


Two victims are dead and 12 more injured after a mass shooting in Toronto by a lone gunman, who was killed after an exchange of gunfire with the police. The gunman’s identity has not been released and his motives are still unclear. This is a developing story. You can follow the updates on our website:

The Senate, just a few years after its spending scandal, has quietly loosened its financial accountability rules. The Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration passed two rule changes on June 14. Senators are no longer required to submit monthly housing expenses and are now allowed to use their hospitality budgets toward paying for better accommodations. “This is an interim measure to address the fact that some senators do not have sufficient budget to cover their living expenses, as budget increases have not kept up with inflation and the schedule of Senate work committees,” Alison Korn, a communications official for the Senate, said. Senators receive an accommodation budget of nearly $25,000 a year and $3,000 to cover hospitality expenses. Critics say it is a return to the honour system that existed during the time of the spending controversies.

After a 15-year stoppage, Statistics Canada will released data on crime reports deemed unfounded. The decision comes after a Globe investigation found that one in five reports of sexual assault were dismissed as unfounded by police forces. The information is available through Statscan’s The Daily.

U.S. President Donald Trump is warning Iran to “never, ever threaten the United States again.” The comments, which came on his Twitter account, were directed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who earlier told Mr. Trump that his hostile policies could lead to “the mother of all wars.”

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s president-elect, is urging Mr. Trump to agree to a swift end to NAFTA negotiations and is hoping to reset relations between the two countries. Mr. Lopez Obrador, who won in a landslide earlier this month, won’t assume office until Dec. 1.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya both say they are optimistic about NAFTA talks, even though trade tensions dominated the discussions at the G20 meeting of economic leaders in Argentina. Mr. Morneau said he will be in Mexico soon to meet with key members of the incoming administration.

The leader of Alberta's United Conservative Party is defending his handling of contentious nomination races by reiterating that anyone who promotes hate will be blocked. The party disqualified a candidate a week ago over public comments condemning the Muslim faith. Leader Jason Kenney said people who express "hateful views" are not welcome in the UCP.

Harley Frank, a former chief of an Alberta First Nation, has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court that could determine whether there are individual property rights on reserves.

As Vancouver prepares for a civic election to choose a new mayor this fall, the city's housing crisis has forced candidates to defend apparent connections to developers. The issue has already disrupted one potential city councillor's prospective mayoral candidacy with a major party.

Four First Nations in central British Columbia have signed an agreement-in-principle on a treaty with the provincial and federal governments, setting the stage for the latest treaty in a process that has been moving slowly since it began in 1996. Unlike other provinces, B.C. does not have modern-day treaties with most of its First Nations.

Federal Agricultural Minister Lawrence MacAulay and his provincial and territorial counterparts were briefed on a trade-war contingency plan during a conference last week.

Only 16 per cent of those surveyed in a recent poll say British Prime Minister Theresa May is handling Brexit negotiations well. The survey also found that 34 per cent of people say Boris Johnson, who recently resigned as foreign minister, would do a better job.

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Winnipeg's Portage Avenue: "Today, cities across North America are reckoning with the deadening effects of autocentric planning, and Winnipeg has joined the trend. After years of local advocacy for reopening the intersection to pedestrians, city council last week approved a referendum on the subject for its October ballot."

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on asylum seekers: “The tens of thousands of asylum claimants who have entered Canada illegally over the past year and a half pose a serious political challenge to both Liberals and Conservatives.”

Amy Knight (The Globe and Mail) on what happens after Helsinki: “Mr. Trump has promised that ‘big results will come’ from the Helsinki summit. But his ability to achieve such results is constrained by the U.S. system of checks and balances, as well as by America’s global alliances, frail as they are right now. Whatever results Mr. Trump had in mind, Mr. Putin and his Kremlin allies should not assume that they will all be positive for Russia, especially in the long run.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on the Federal Reserve: “Mr. Trump might not like that the Fed isn’t there to do his bidding for him, and he may not like where interest rates are going, or how they are affecting the U.S. dollar. But he created this situation. For the good of the strong economy that he claims to care so much about, he’ll have to learn to happily live with it.” (for subscribers)

Andrei Sulzenko (The Globe and Mail) on the trade file: “It will be important for the long-term health of the Canadian economy to resolve the trade challenges with the United States soon after the November elections. Indeed, to the extent that there is anything approaching a U.S. strategy, it is to drag out the negotiations, and therefore uncertainty, in order to weight business investment decisions in favour of the United States over Canada and Mexico.”

Doris Grinspun (The Globe and Mail) on national pharmacare: “It’s been estimated that Canadians could save $7.3-billion to $10.7-billion (42.8 per cent) a year under a national pharmacare system. The bulk of those savings would accrue to employers who currently pay for drug insurance as part of their employee health plans. Even if the government took back some of those savings via taxes to help cover the cost of pharmacare, the net effect would be a major competitive advantage for Canadian employers, much in the way medicare is.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on Alberta’s new Freedom Conservative Party: “There were bound to be former Wildrosers who were left feeling abandoned, ideologically, by the merger with the Progressive Conservatives that gave birth to the UCP. Disaffected Tories had the Alberta and Liberal parties to retreat to. Unhappy Wildrosers had nowhere to turn.”

Derek Burney and Fen Osler Hampson (The Globe and Mail) on geopolitical chaos: “Erstwhile allies such as Canada have little choice other than to sharpen their defences, hunker down against the storm and seek to dilute their dependence on the United States wherever practical. We also need to recognize that the seeds of discontent in the United States that Mr. Trump is fertilizing will continue to bear fruit after he leaves the White House. Attitudes about U.S. leadership and alliance solidarity will never be the same.”

Help The Globe monitor political ads on Facebook: During an election campaign, you can expect to see a lot of political ads. But Facebook ads, unlike traditional media, can be targeted to specific users and only be seen by certain subsets of users, making the ads almost impossible to track. The Globe and Mail wants to report on how these ads are used, but we need to see the same ads Facebook users are seeing. Here is how you can help.

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