The Canadian economy grew by 0.3 per cent in May despite downward pressure from wildfire-affected oil and gas production but it looks to have slowed in June, Statistics Canada said Friday.
In its latest report on economic growth, the federal agency’s preliminary estimate suggests real gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of one per cent in the second quarter.
The May figure came in slightly lower than was expected by Statistics Canada as mining and oil and gas companies reduced their operations in Alberta at the outset of the record-breaking wildfire season.
The energy sector was down 2.1 per cent in May, the release shows.
“This was the sector’s first decline in five months and its largest since August, 2020,” the agency said.
Full story, from The Canadian Press, here.
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.
Federal government posts $1.5-billion surplus for first two months of fiscal year - Ottawa posted a budgetary surplus of $1.5-billion in April and May, the first two months of the 2023-24 fiscal year. Story here.
Quebec police violated investigation rules, faced minimal consequences after civilian deaths - Quebec police officers violated investigation rules in one out of every 10 cases probed by Quebec’s independent oversight body examining civilian deaths and serious injuries during police interventions, according to data and letters obtained by The Globe and Mail through an access-to-information request. Story here.
Major delay in the return of LRT service in Ottawa - The O-Train LRT in the country’s capital will be out of service for at least another 10 days to allow for what is described as “additional track infrastructure work” on the 12.5-kilometre line. The system has been out of service since July 17, forcing travellers into buses instead of trains. There were hopes the LRT would be back on Monday. Story here from CTV.
Liberals win pair of seats in Ontario provincial by-elections - The Ontario Liberals won a pair of provincial by-elections Thursday, including snagging a previously Progressive Conservative seat. Story here.
Trains roll on Montreal’s new light-rail network - Montreal’s electric light-rail train network has been officially inaugurated. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier François Legault and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante were among the dignitaries who attended a ceremony Friday to launch the first five stations of the 26-station, 67-kilometre electric rail network. Story here.
Ottawa should end funding for Calgary Stampede over handling of sex assaults: Liberal MP - A Liberal MP from Alberta is demanding that Ottawa stop funding the Calgary Stampede after the organization reached a settlement agreement tied to allegations that its officials failed for decades to protect boys from a sexual predator in one of its marquee youth programs. Story here.
Anti-racism trainer accused of bullying Toronto principal, who later died, welcomes Ontario review - An anti-racism trainer accused of denigrating a Toronto principal who later died by suicide welcomed a review launched by Ontario’s Education Minister, saying the allegations against her are false and mischaracterize what happened during two training sessions. Story here.
Freeland calls on CRTC to fix cellular dead zones in wake of Nova Scotia flash flood - Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called for urgent action from Canada’s telecommunications regulator, after politicians in Nova Scotia raised concerns that poor cellular service had prevented residents from receiving emergency alerts in an area of the province where four people were swept away by catastrophic flooding last weekend. Story here. Also, Ms. Freeland says Ottawa will “work harder” to provide relief to victims of N.S. flooding. Story here.
Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle leaves new Justice Minister with challenging portfolio - He came to Canada as an infant with his refugee family, South Asians expelled from Uganda in 1972, and taken in during the Liberal years of Pierre Trudeau. Fifty-one years after arriving, Arif Virani is the first Ismaili Muslim to become Justice Minister and Attorney-General of Canada, appointed this week by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pierre’s son. Story here.
New Heritage Minister says she will stand ground against Facebook, Google on Online News Act - The new Heritage Minister, Pascale St-Onge, says she will stand her ground against the tech giants, as Facebook prepares to push the button on its plan to block Canadians’ access to news in response to the Online News Act. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
Today in the Commons – The House of Commons is now on a break until Sept. 18. The Senate resumes sitting on Sept. 19.
Deputy Prime Minister’s Day - In Charlottetown, P.E.I., Chrystia Freeland visited a not-for-profit organization then held a media availability.
Candid talk on mental health - Lisa MacLeod, the member of the Ontario legislature for the Ottawa-area riding of Nepean, is speaking out here about her mental-health challenges.
Garneau on the schooling of ministers - Members of the federal cabinet were largely out of the spotlight Friday, getting up to speed on their assignments. Marc Garneau has been where members of the new federal cabinet are right about now. The former astronaut was a rookie federal cabinet minister of transport after the federal Liberals were elected to government in 2015. After years of cabinet experience, he was named foreign-affairs minister in 2021. He was dropped from cabinet later that year, and departed federal politics earlier this year.
The Politics Briefing newsletter reached out to Mr. Garneau for his thoughts on what the new members of cabinet are facing now.
“There are cases of experienced ministers who are switching portfolios and there are brand new ministers. Experienced ministers are pretty much expected to hit the ground running. You’ll already have a good understanding of how a ministry works, the relationship between the minister and his or her department because you have been in that place.
“You and your new staffers are now going to have to learn the many new files of your new ministry. Your deputy minister and his or her team are going to sit down with you and brief you on dealing with the most urgent files. You may be aware of some of the more urgent files because you have heard them discussed around the cabinet table or talked about in Question Period or the media. But you’ll have to dig much deeper because those files are now your responsibility.
“It’s your job, if you want to be a competent minister, to take it all in. If you don’t know how your ministry is working, if you’re not aware of your files, and the details of those files then you’re not going to make a good impression. You’re going to be limited in how good a minister you are.
“If it’s a radically different ministry from the one you came from, you’re going to be drinking from a fire hose for a while. In the recent shuffle, there are a few ministers going from one portfolio to another, which is different from what they used to do. They’re going to have a great deal of work ahead of them getting up to speed. The fact that Parliament is not sitting for a while is going to help in this case. There’s a little less pressure from the fact that there isn’t QP every day.”
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the Montreal-area municipality of Brossard, held private meetings and delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the Réseau express métropolitain automated LRT. He then took media questions.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre was in Ontario and held a news conference in Sudbury and a rally in North Bay.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is travelling.
No schedules provided for other party leaders.
There’s no new episode of The Globe and Mail podcast on Fridays in July and August, but recent episodes are available here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how the The Trudeau cabinet doesn’t need new faces. It needs new ideas: “For many Canadians this week, the news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had shuffled his cabinet was met with a shrug. Other than a few big names such as Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, someone they had never heard of replaced someone else they’d never heard of in a job they didn’t know existed (minister of citizen’s services?). And why should they care anyway.”
Tony Keller (The Globe and Mail) on how it’s time for Canada to take its foot off the immigration gas pedal: “The guy who cut my hair last week taught me something about the Temporary Foreign Worker program: It’s even looser than I thought. Fixing that, and a number of other things that aren’t quite right about the immigration system, comes down to the Trudeau government. So, don’t hold your breath. After Sean Fraser was shuffled from Immigration Minister to Housing Minister on Wednesday, he said Canada can’t “close the door on newcomers.” As if that’s what the government’s critics are calling for. Is it possible for Canadians to discuss a serious economic issue, seriously? Or is polarizing name-calling all that our politics has left?”
Marsha Lederman (The Globe and Mail) on what a former principal’s suicide tells us about what our workplaces owe us: “So many bad things can happen at work. Among the worst is being subjected to racist treatment. Harassment of any sort is up there too. The workplace should be a safe space. The lucky among us think of our jobs as a vocation, and our place of employment as a sort of second home. Another one of the worst things that can happen at work is being wrongly accused of being a racist. Such an accusation – even if it is challenged, disproved, dismissed – is a scarlet R that can be career-ending. Perhaps even life-ending, as we have learned with the tragic case of former Toronto District School Board principal Richard Bilkszto.”
Thomas Juneau (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada must rethink its friendship with Israel: “This week, the Israeli parliament approved a controversial law that constrains the Supreme Court’s ability to provide judicial oversight of government actions. According to many critics, this is only the first step in a plan by the coalition government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to concentrate power in the executive branch. The Netanyahu government, which includes Jewish supremacists and is the most extreme in the country’s history, has also taken steps, and will likely take additional ones, toward Israel’s further annexation of the West Bank. This raises difficult questions for Canada: Should we stand by as the assault on democratic norms and Palestinian rights continues? The easy answer would be to muddle along, perhaps offering timid condemnation. The status quo, however, is increasingly unsustainable.”