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Canada will not send any diplomatic representation to the the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference Wednesday.

In announcing the move during a Parliament Hill news conference, Mr. Trudeau said Canada is “extremely concerned” by repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government.

Accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge, Mr. Trudeau said that Canada’s athletes will have the country’s full support as they compete in Beijing.

The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Lithuania have already announced their own diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Olympics.

Ahead of Mr. Trudeau’s announcement, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole said a diplomatic boycott would be appropriate.

“That way the athletes still get to compete and show our pride in their hard work and perseverance but we should not send a message that we accept the treatment of the Uiyghurs, we accept the situation in Hong Kong,” Mr. O’Toole said following a caucus meeting.

Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden, who represented Canada at four summer Olympic Games and won four medals- two of them gold - downplayed the issue of diplomats to the actual athletes.

“Respectfully, I don’t think the athletes are concerned with which diplomats are there when they’re there to compete,” Mr. van Koeverden, parliamentary secretary to the Health Minister and parliamentary secretary to the Sport Minister, said ahead of a Liberal caucus meeting.

“Our athletes are professionals and I think they have the ability to compete without concerning themselves with who’s in the audience.”

Senior Parliamentary Reporter Steven Chase reports here on the decision.

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.

By the way, there was no newsletter yesterday due to technical issues.


NO MONETARY POLICY CHANGE: BANK OF CANADA - The Bank of Canada left monetary policy unchanged Wednesday and reiterated that it expects to start raising interest rates in the middle quarters of next year. The statement-only decision kept the overnight rate at 0.25, where it has been since early in the pandemic. Story here.

CHARGES AGAINST EX-MILITARY PERSONNEL HEAD - The military’s former head of personnel has been charged with sexual assault and committing indecent acts, making him the third current or retired senior commander from the Canadian Armed Forces to face criminal charges this year. Story here.

MPS DEBATE AFGHANISTAN COMMITTEE - Members of Parliament debated a Conservative motion this week which proposes creating a special committee to examine events that led to the fall of Afghanistan, including the Liberal government’s contingency planning, and its efforts to evacuate Canadian citizens and Afghans who had assisted the Canadian government.

PAID SICK LEAVE ANALYSIS -Legislating 10 days of paid sick leave in federally regulated work forces will bring in $229-million in new tax revenue for Ottawa over four years, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says.

SENATE PASSES CONVERSION BAN - The Senate has passed legislation to ban conversion therapy in Canada.

“TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE” QUARANTINE HOTELS: MINISTER - The minister responsible for the federal government’s quarantine hotels says the conditions reported in some of the sites are “totally unacceptable.” Story here.

PC PARTY ACNOWLEDGES ERROR - Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative Party concedes, in a court submission, that it gave leadership candidates erroneous information before October’s leadership election — but says the actual ballots were counted fairly and accurately. From CBC. Story here.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS - Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Dec. 8, accessible here.

PEI PREMIER MAKES THE CASE FOR PROVINCE’S POTATOES - Dennis King, the Premier of Prince Edward Island, was in Ottawa on Wednesday, making the case for the province’s potatoes after Canada halted exports to the United States over a fungus outbreak. The initial fallout of the situation is covered here. “We’re up here trying to bring some common sense to a place, I think, that could sorely use it,” Mr. King told journalists on Parliament Hill. Referring to the economic impact of the federal decision, the Premier said, “we’re in a difficult situation in P.E.I.” There were plans to hand out P.E.I potatoes as part of an afternoon rally on Parliament Hill. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was unavailable to meet with Mr. King, according to the Premier’s spokesperson Adam Ross. However, Mr. King met with David Cohen, the new U.S. ambassador to Canada, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, International Trade Minister Mary Ng, and Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAuley, who represents a P.E.I riding. Mr. Ross said there were hopes the Premier would get to chat with Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh before the delegation returns home on Wednesday night.

FREELAND PLACES ON GLOBAL POWER LIST - Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has placed at 97 on the Forbes Magazine 100 Most Powerful Women List for 2021. It was released Tuesday. Number One on the list is MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire philanthropist. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris placed second.

NEW PMO ASSIGNMENTS - The Prime Minister’s Office has announced a shakeup in its communications team. Cecely Roy, most recently press secretary at Public Services and Procurement Canada when Anita Anand was minister, has joined the PMO as a press secretary. Ann-Clara Vaillancourt remains in the office, but is taking on the role of lead press secretary. Chantal Gagnon has departed to become deputy chief of staff for Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Alex Wellstead joins the office of Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

NEW AMBASSADORS ON DUTY - The new ambassadors of Israel and the United States have begun their work in Ottawa. Ronen Hoffman is an academic and former member of the Knesset, the legislature of Israel. David Cohen, the new United States ambassador to Canada, is a lawyer who previously served as chief diversity officer at the U.S. communications company Comcast. Both are taking up the work of full-time successors who left in 2019.

CAUCUS COMMENT - IMMIGRATION MINISTER SEAN FRASER - Following Wednesday’s Liberal caucus meeting, Mr. Fraser was asked about word that it will take two years to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees in Canada as part of a federal commitment. Among his comments: “Right now, this is an estimate of the timelines we’re dealing with. To the extent that we have the ability to move anybody faster than what’s predicted now, we’re going to do it as quickly as is humanly possible but we need to insist on certain measures to protect the integrity of the process of getting people here safely including using our referral partners in the region, including adequate security screening, including making sure that we set people up for success when they arrive.”

FORMER MARTIN AIDE TAKES CHARGE OF BRIDGE PROJECT - Tim Murphy, the former chief of staff to ex-prime minister Paul Martin, has been appointed chairperson of Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project to build a new span between the border communities. The authority is a not-for-profit Canadian Crown corporation responsible for work on the $5.7-billion bridge set to open in 2024.

THE DECIBEL - Health Reporter Carly Weeks joins the latest edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, available here, to talk, regarding the pandemic, about why a booster shot is being recommended, how it will help with waning immunity and what we should expect as we head into a second COVID-19 winter.


Private meetings. The Prime Minister attended the Liberal national caucus meeting on Parliament Hill. He was then scheduled to attend Question Period, and then, accompanied by Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen and Women’s Minister Marci Ien, meet with social activist Ilwad Elman to discuss human rights issues.


The Deputy Prime Minister attended the national caucus meeting.


Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a news conference at Parliament Hill on Bill C-2: An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole attended the Conservative national caucus meeting.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh attended the NDP national caucus meeting, held a media availability, and then attended Question Period. He was also scheduled to speak at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on why Canada and the EU should join the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Games:A decision to attend, or not to attend, the Winter Games sends a signal, and Beijing’s heated rhetoric in reaction to America’s symbolic snub proves it has been stung by the move and fears other countries will follow suit. Which is why Canada should do exactly that.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Liberals repromising to change Conservative crime policies, years later: “At the moment Justice Minister David Lametti touted his new bill as a landmark move to turn the page on the Conservatives’ failed crime policies, one was tempted to check the calendar. Yep, the Liberal government is indeed entering its seventh year in power. It turns out Bill C-5, the bill to repeal mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes and a series of firearms offences, is the same as Bill C-22, which was introduced in the last Parliament, where the Liberals sat on it till said Parliament was dissolved in August for an election.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly’s assertion that Canada’s departing ambassador to China “will be remembered throughout history as one of Canada’s great diplomats.”:We can debate whether [Dominic Barton] was too eager to improve commercial ties with China to remain as ambassador, given the deteriorating state of Sino-Canadian relations. We can wait for the histories and biographies that will fully reveal what went on during the Meng-Two Michaels affair. But there is nothing to suggest that Mr. Barton will go down in history as one of this country’s greatest diplomats, as he would probably be the first to say.

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on the succession crisis the Royal Family is facing: “Every discussion around the notion of Canada severing its ties with the monarchy bumps up against a hard reality: breaking up is hard to do. Our association with Buckingham Palace is written into our Constitution and to remove it would need the unanimous support of the provinces. Beyond that, deciding to change political systems is a major decision that involves great upheaval. Becoming a republic seems like a wonderful idea until you discover what’s actually involved. It took two decades of talking about the idea for Barbados to finally follow through with it. There hasn’t been anything like a serious movement to do the same thing in Canada. But after a few years of the reign of King Charles, who knows?”

Navjot Kaur and Bavneet Chauhan (Policy Options) on how we can improve our criminal justice system? : “The dynamics of the crime-control model continue to reinforce prison as the default response to crime – an approach which is inadequate and deficient. A more restorative-justice/healing process for offenders would help foster human dignity, respect and well-being. That’s why Canada should move away from the crime-control model in favour of a restorative-justice model.”

Vaughn Palmer (The Vancouver Sun) on former NDP MP Nathan Cullen, now a B.C. cabinet minister, challenging the RCMP over its handling of protests at the Coastal GasLink pipeline: “Cabinet Minister Nathan Cullen is challenging the RCMP over its handling of protests at the Coastal GasLink pipeline, claiming police used “undue force” in arresting two of his constituents. “I have seen a disturbing video in which two young residents in my constituency were arrested with undue force,” continued Cullen.”I have also participated in many recent meetings in my constituency in which concerns have been raised regarding force used by members of the RCMP during the enforcement action addressing protests.” Cullen, junior minister of state for land and natural operations in the NDP government, did give the RCMP the benefit of the doubt on one point.”

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