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Hello,

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says his predecessor’s decision to hire his sister-in-law does not meet his ethical standards.

The Globe and Mail reported Monday that Saskatchewan MP and former Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer employs his sister-in-law, Erica Honoway, in his Regina constituency office and his wife, Jill Scheer, is employed by her sister’s company, Erica Honoway Interiors.

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At a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Mr. O’Toole noted that while Mr. Scheer followed the rules, he intends to speak to the Regina MP on Tuesday to talk about his “expectations which exceed that.”

Mr. Scheer has not explained his decision to use his taxpayer-funded office budget to hire his wife’s sister, but his office said both Ms. Scheer and Ms. Honoway’s jobs were cleared by relevant oversight bodies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to comment on the matter on Tuesday and said it was for Mr. Scheer and the Conservatives to respond. He said there will be reflections at the Board of Internal Economy around how to uphold the confidence that Canadians place in all parliamentarians.

Liberal MP Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the issue would be raised at Board, which oversees House governance and controls spending rules that MPs have to follow.

“This is very concerning, and will be raised at the Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons,” Ms. Petitpas Taylor posted on Twitter.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday. The Conservatives have also asked that the board review the case of former Liberal MP Yasmin Ratansi, who resigned from caucus last week after the CBC reported that she hired her sister to work in her constituency office.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, usually written by Chris Hannay. Kristy Kirkup is filling in today. 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.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

Senator Murray Sinclair says he has the support of Jane Goodall to propose legislation to protect captive animals and ban imports of elephant ivory and hunting trophies into Canada. Mr. Sinclair said his bill would ban new captivity of great apes and elephants unless it’s licensed and for their best interests, including for conservation and non-harmful scientific research. The bill would also ban the use of great apes and elephants in performances and establish legal standing for the protected animals. The senator also said the bill will be named after Ms. Goodall, who is best known for her study of interactions of wild chimpanzees.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Chinese telecom giant Huawei rose to dominance by stealing the technology of the defunct Canadian firm Nortel. O’Toole is levelling the charge against Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party as he announces that the Conservatives are pushing the Liberals to decide within 30 days which companies can provide Canada’s next-generation 5G wireless internet technology.

And a new poll suggests that the proportion of Canadians planning to get vaccinated for COVID-19 is on the rise. The survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that 69 per cent of respondents plan to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus once Health Canada approves a vaccine that is free and broadly available, representing a jump from the 63 per cent who said they would one month ago. About one in five respondents said they do not intend to receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine in particular if it’s ready in the spring, despite early results that suggest a 90 per cent effectiveness rate.

André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on whether we need a strict second lockdown to beat COVID: “Short-term pain for long-term gain is an appealing pitch. But at this point, what is our level of pain tolerance? It’s easy for experts with full-time jobs to propose textbook solutions; they answer to no constituency. It’s equally simple for politicians to embrace the rhetoric of a “balanced approach”; it’s ineffective but also innocuous.”

Editorial board (The Globe and Mail) on how Canada can bend the curve by putting our neighbours first: “But in a free society, there is no way to police every person’s every move. The choice to take precautions to protect others, or to not, comes down to each one of us. It’s the job of politicians to organize an effective war against the virus, but it’s up to Canadians to fight the little, unheralded battles that will make all the difference.”

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Lloyd Axworthy (special to The Globe and Mail) on why if trust in the vote can be eroded in the U.S., no one should take it for granted: “It’s time to overhaul our election system to open pathways for broader participation. An initiative to provide civic education would be a major boost to promote engagement. A plan to reform our own parliamentary democracy would be a good model to share with the world.”

Matt Gurney (The National Post) on the live microphone that caught Monsef unaware: “So it’s not about the money. I have no qualms with paying our elected officials well, even if, as in this particular case, one can fairly wonder if we’re getting value for money. It’s about Monsef serving a party that claims to be entirely focused on the economic prosperity and security of Canadians, particularly the middle class (and those working hard to join it!), while not knowing her own salary to within the nearest $20,000.”

Brian Mulroney (special to The National Post) on why the state of the Canada-U.S. relationship is strong: “The new president will offer the prime minister the opportunity to renew and refresh the relationship from the top down. There are two timeless tests of any prime minister — first, national unity, the pandemic being the latest measure of federal-provincial relations, and then his conduct of the Canada-U.S. relationship.”

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

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