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Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has announced a list of opposition critics that includes posts for his leadership rivals Scott Aitchison and Leslyn Lewis, but not former party leader Erin O’Toole.

Also missing from the roster of critics are veteran B.C. MP Ed Fast, who supported former Quebec premier Jean Charest in the leadership race that Mr. Poilievre won last month, and Alberta MP Michelle Rempel Garner, who supported Patrick Brown, mayor of Brampton, Ont., in his unsuccessful bid to lead the party.

In a statement, Mr. O’Toole said on Wednesday that he asked not to have a critic role to allow Mr. Poilievre an “unobstructed runway” to put forward his own team, and that he would be available as a “pinch hitter” on issues. “My focus will remain my riding and issues that I think are very important to the country,” said the MP for the Ontario riding of Durham.

The full story is here. A list of all the critics assignments is 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.


HIGHLY SKILLED IMMIGRANTS FORCED TO GO HOME – Thousands of highly skilled immigrants who in previous years would easily have qualified for permanent residence in Canada are being forced to return to their home countries as their work permits expire – the result of a backlog created by federal policy decisions intended to boost immigration during the pandemic. Story here.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND URGES DEMOCRACIES TO FACE HARD TRUTHS – Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister urged the world’s democracies this week to confront the hard economic truths of a perilous new world order and seek common cause in the shared values of prosperity, energy security, protecting the planet and free and fair trade. Story here.

SMITH EXPRESSES REGRET ON COMMENTS – Alberta’s new Premier is expressing regret about comments she made Tuesday about people who are not vaccinated. Danielle Smith explains here. Meanwhile, Ms. Smith says she will abide by decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada in rulings involving her proposed sovereignty act – a contrast to her pledge during the United Conservative Party leadership campaign that the legislation would give the province the power to disregard federal laws and legal decisions. Story here. Meanwhile, B.C. Premier John Horgan says Ms. Smith’s comments referring to the unmatched discrimination against people who did not get vaccinated against COVID-19 were “laughable.” Story here from The Victoria Times Colonist.

HOCKEY CANADA REBUILDING AHEAD AFTER CEO AND BOARD EXIT – The departure of Hockey Canada’s CEO and the mass resignation of its board amid a controversy over alleged sexual assault, are the first steps toward rebuilding the organization, MPs, corporate sponsors and provincial hockey associations say. Story here. Meanwhile, a Liberal MP says the House of Commons committee investigating abuse in sport needs to bring in experts to identify the best ways to hold sporting organizations, athletes and coaches accountable for their actions. Story here.

ALBERTA LOOKING AT NEW RULES FOR POSTSECONDARY INSTITUTIONS AND FOREIGN COLLABORATIONS – The Alberta government, which has a freeze on new partnerships between its universities and China, is hiring a former Canadian diplomat to draw up new rules for all foreign collaborations by the province’s postsecondary institutions. Story here.

SENATE COMMITTEE VISITS THE NORTH – The chair of a special Senate committee said the group travelled across the northern Northwest Territories and Nunavut last week to research security and defence projects that could also create beneficial infrastructure to the local communities. Story here from CBC.

PQ LEADER WON’T SWEAR OATH TO KING – Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is refusing to swear an oath to King Charles so he can take a seat in the legislature as a newly elected member. Story here from CBC.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House of Commons is on a break this week, with business resuming on Oct. 17.


FREELAND IN WASHINGTON – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, also Finance Minister, is in Washington, D.C., attending annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group. Ms. Freeland is attending the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting and also the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting.

ANAND IN BRUSSELS – Defence Minister Anita Anand is in Brussels participating in a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, held by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, to talk about co-ordinating international military assistance to Ukraine. She will also participate in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Defence Ministers’ meeting.

GUILBEAULT IN CHILE – Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault is in Chile as part of a visit that also includes stops in Argentina and Colombia before concluding on Saturday. Mr. Guilbeault is talking to his counterparts ahead of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and also playing host to the 20th Council session of the Canada-Chile Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

JOLY IN JAPAN – Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is continuing a visit to South Korea and Japan that ends on Saturday. On Wednesday, she was in Japan.

ST-ONGE IN SAGUENAY-LAC SAINT-JEAN – Minister of Sport Pascale St‑Onge is visiting Saguenay–Lac‑Saint‑Jean in Quebec as part of her ministerial responsibilities for the federal Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions agency that promotes economic expansion in the province. Her itinerary includes meeting with economic development players, as well as representatives of the agri‑food sector, and making a funding announcement.


On Wednesday’s edition of the Globe and Mail podcast, columnist Gary Mason talks about the situation at Hockey Canada, which has been embroiled in controversy for months over its handling of sexual assaults, specifically the fact that the organization used funds – paid in part by registration fees – to settle sexual assault claims. Mr. Mason explains the culture problem he sees at Hockey Canada and in hockey more generally, and what it might take to fix it. The Decibel is here.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ontario’s Durham Region, visited a local supermarket, held a media availability to highlight the government’s affordability agenda, and met seniors at a local community centre. In Toronto, Mr. Trudeau was scheduled to hold private meetings, and meet representatives of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association. On Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister was scheduled to attend a Liberal Party fundraising event in Toronto.


No schedules released for party leaders.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how the day that Russian President Vladimir Putin is going to have to talk about ending the war in Ukraine is getting closer: ”And then there are most wars. Most end with both sides reaching some kind of understanding. The antagonists don’t suddenly start holding hands and singing Kumbaya, but they talk to each other, however briefly, to at least figure out a way to stop shooting. The interest in transitioning from war to talk is usually triggered by one side’s knowledge that it is losing, and its fear of losing even more. That is how, someday, the Ukraine war is going to end.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how the war has gone on long enough so it’s time to negotiate with Mr. Hitler: ”June, 1944 ' … I’ll admit it, I didn’t think the German defences would collapse so quickly. Of course, that brings problems of its own. It used to be we worried what would happen if Hitler won. Now we have to worry about what will happen if he loses. It’s easy to say Hitler has to go. But have we given any thought to who would replace him? Can we be sure whoever it was would not be even worse? Of course, Hitler has to be driven out of France, I am not saying he shouldn’t be. But all of France? No one wants to leave the Nazis in Paris, come on be serious. But Alsace? It’s been back and forth between Germany and France for centuries. It’s arguably more German than French. It’s time someone sat the French down and said now look, I know it’s a tough pill to swallow but you’re just going to have to make some sacrifices if this is ever going to end. We have to provide Hitler with an exit ramp, some way of saving face; we can’t just totally humiliate him. He’s never more dangerous than when he’s cornered …”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s aggressive federalism may leave Ottawa weaker than before: “Canada is dangerously divided. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s aggressive federalism is to blame. When Stephen Harper was prime minister, he practised passive federalism. Ottawa raised revenue and sent money to the provinces to help fund health care, education and other services. It did not try to impose programs or standards or taxes on provincial governments without their consent. After a decade of Mr. Harper’s Conservative rule, the last separatist Parti Québécois government had come and gone in Quebec, at least for the foreseeable future. At the federal level, the separatist Bloc Québécois was virtually extinct, and after a contretemps with Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams that eventually blew over, Ottawa and the provinces were at peace – something not seen since the 1950s. But Mr. Trudeau, when he became Prime Minister in 2015, wanted to “get things done.” And he wasn’t prepared to waste time seeking provincial consent. Aggressive federalism.”

Mary Beth Kyer (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how now is the moment for sponsors to fully back women’s hockey: ”Hockey Canada, or some successor organization, could still redeem itself and lure back sponsors. But there is a better platform here for sponsors to cut a new path: give the women’s PHF teams here in Canada the sponsors and resources they need to become a fabulous connector among Canadians, and to restore the game to its rightful place, aligned with excellence and the values most Canadians hold dear.”

Ratna Omidvar (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how we can help Iranian women and girls by seizing the assets of corrupt officials: “And the truth is this: For far too long, corrupt Iranian officials have acted with impunity. They have not only stolen massive amounts of wealth from their own people, but they have also oppressed and disenfranchised these people. They have subjugated women and girls to the point that men dictate what they can wear, think, read or study. Calling them out is not enough. Listing the IRGC as a terrorist entity is not enough. We have to make them pay. Canada now has a unique tool to do so, and I urge my government to take immediate action.”

Murray Mandryk (Regina Leader-Post) on how Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe’s Western grievances sound like what we’ve heard from Quebec: ”It’s clear why Moe has now been emboldened to pursue his grievance list more aggressively – not that he’s ever needed much to be egged on. After all, he began his leadership as premier in January 2018 by telling people ‘just watch me’ take on Trudeau and the federal government. For too many politicians in this post-Donald Trump, post-COVID-19 era where feeding anger and validating grievances gets you elected, leadership has become a form of performance art. There was a time when even the most fervent Western leaders – Allan Blakeney or Grant Devine in Saskatchewan or Peter Lougheed or Don Getty in Alberta – did approach matters with the interests of the nation as a whole in mind. But there’s no longer much of a political price to be paid for being little more than a regionalist who’s uncompromising or perhaps a little irrational in one’s demands.”

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