Skip to main content
politics briefing newsletter

Good morning,

New data from Statistics Canada show police across the country are dismissing fewer sexual assault complaints as “unfounded.” The agency has released data on unfounded cases for the first time since 1994, following a Globe and Mail investigation last year that found Canadian law enforcement disproportionately dismisses sexual offences as baseless compared with other crimes.

The new figures show that police discarded 14 per cent of sexual-assault accusations last year as unfounded – a term that means the investigating officer does not believe a crime occurred. This is down from the 19-per-cent rate that The Globe’s investigation found from 2010 to 2014.

In addition to Statistics Canada beginning to collect unfounded data, the agency and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police said they would update the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, which outlines the specific criteria for crime classification in Canada, which happened earlier this month. Some police chiefs blamed their high unfounded rates on administrative errors and insufficient coding options to clear out cases that had minimal evidence.

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 e-mail newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

The mass shooting along Toronto’s Danforth Avenue has drawn condolences from politicians at every level while prompting calls to tackle violence and gun laws. Two people and the shooter are dead and 13 are injured after the shooting on Sunday evening. Toronto Mayor John Tory describes it as an “unspeakable” and “cowardly” attack. He met with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, federal Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders to discuss public safety, including measures to restrict access to guns.

U.S. President Donald Trump called Mexico’s incoming president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador a “terrific person” at a White House speech about American manufacturing. Mr. Trump also added he expected to get “something worked out” on NAFTA, the trilateral trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo will be meeting with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this week to discuss the trade agreement.

The Canadian government officially requested the creation of a NAFTA panel through Chapter 20 of the trade deal to determine whether the U.S. is violating the agreement by slapping 30-per-cent tariffs on solar panels made in Canada. The trade dispute is the latest in a series of ongoing spats between Canada and the U.S.

Rona Ambrose and Laureen Harper are starting a non-profit foundation to mentor female candidates in the Conservative movement, focusing their efforts in particular on Alberta ahead of next year's election. The United Conservative Party, whose leader Jason Kenney will participate in a launch event tonight, has been pushing for more women to run for the UCP.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development issued its wide-ranging biennial report on Canada, stating that its economy would benefit from increased labour-force participation among women, youth and seniors, and by better integrating new immigrants into the workforce. The report also said Canada is among the OECD’s leaders in “delivering the best outcomes for its citizens,” but also recommended that Canada invest further in affordable child care, raise the retirement age and improve the way it matches potential immigrants with specific skills needs. The OECD also projects real GDP to grow by 2.1 per cent in 2018 and 2.2 per cent in 2019.

Jenny Kwan, an NDP MP from Vancouver, is pushing for a national day to commemorate the Nanjing Massacre — when, in 1937, invading Japanese soldiers raped and killed tens of thousands in the Chinese city. But the proposal, which has already been adopted in Ontario, has angered the Japanese government and some members of the community, who say it singles out Japanese Canadians and reopens painful wounds.

A 24-year-old man was detained after a security incident on Parliament Hill. Jesse Mooney was charged with assault and breach of probation, and investigators have confirmed that it was an isolated incident.

The sovereigntist protester who confronted the Prime Minister during the Fête nationale holiday weekend in late June appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to a count of obstructing a peace officer in the execution of his duty.

An external audit of the Immigration and Refugee Board is highly critical of Canada’s treatment of immigration detainees, fueling calls for reform.

B.C.'s government watchdog has seen a spike in public complaints about its social-services and children’s ministries. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke says the Social Development Ministry received 625 complaints in the past year, though he says he hopes an expected poverty reduction strategy will address some of those issues.

Harassment allegations against New Brunswick Speaker Chris Collins are “founded in part,” according to a report. The investigator concluded that a violation of the province’s workforce harassment policy had occurred. Premier Brian Gallant says he expects a remedy to be determined by the “appropriate authority within the legislative branch.”

As the trade war between China and the U.S. continues to escalate, China’s biggest bank is looking to Africa. Yi Huiman, chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, said “the African market is huge in potential” during a visit to South Africa. The state-owned bank is the world’s biggest by assets and has already invested billions in the continent.

Dr. Clara Ponsati, the former Catalan education minister, has become a hero for Scottish nationalists in the last several months, as they view her and the Catalonian independence movement as kindred spirits. Ms. Ponsati is an professor of economics at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and won a reprieve from her extradition battle when a Scottish court dropped Spain’s extradition warrant yesterday. She is one of many independence leaders living in exile after Spain’s central government declared last year’s independence referendum, where 90 per cent of voters chose sovereignty, illegal and dissolved the regional government.

The rescue mission of the White Helmets, the volunteer humanitarian group in Syria, is being described as a “‘Hail Mary operation” that is unlikely to ever be repeated. Syria’s government condemned the evacuation as a “criminal operation.” The White Helmets operated as a rescue service in rebel-held areas of Syria during the country’s civil war.

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on the premiers and interprovincial trade: "The premiers talk a good game about liberalizing trade within Canada – which is at least partly the point of having a country – but when the moment comes to shift their protectionist postures, it happens at a pace so sloth-like as to be imperceptible."

Holly Johnson (The Globe and Mail) on sexual assault and police services: “Many police jurisdictions have launched training for trauma-informed investigation and other victim-centred practices. Some have begun to facilitate third-party reporting through community-based victim services agencies. Greater police accountability and transparency may be possible, but only if the spotlight remains firmly on.”

Neil Desai and Graeme Moffat (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s innovation economy: ”If you look past the feel-good headlines, the analysis of Canada’s innovation activities is misguided at its best. It lacks the precise goal orientation necessary to deliver meaningful and sustainable economic growth relative to the significant public expenditures aimed at transforming our economy.”

André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on bike-friendly cities: ”What can Toronto (and other cities) learn from the Danish capital? How can they Copenhagenize? If there’s one overarching lesson it is that you have to invest in infrastructure: Build it and they will come. And to build the necessary infrastructure for safe cycling, you need political will and a firm plan – not just vague promises and a few white lines painted on the road.”

Andrew Coyne (National Post) on carbon pricing: ”If the provinces don’t want to play, Ottawa can and should proceed without them. A federal carbon pricing plan would not only offer the virtues of simplicity. It would also free the feds to tailor it to their own designs, rather than taking on whatever half-baked or watered-down plans the provinces threw at them.”

Michelle Cohen (CBC) on universal contraception coverage: ”If unintended pregnancy is a public-health issue, then we need a public-health approach, akin to how we treat vaccine-preventable illnesses. Universal coverage of contraception is not unlike universal vaccination programs: Both provide access to medications with far-reaching societal impact; they benefit population health and both are extremely cost-effective public investments.”

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.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop