Maxime Bernier, who narrowly lost the Conservative Party leadership last year, has decided that if he can’t lead that party then he is making his own. Many current Conservatives say Mr. Bernier was motivated only by his own interests. “It is clear that Max never accepted the result of the leadership vote and seeks only to divide Conservatives,” former prime minister Stephen Harper tweeted. Mr. Bernier, however, said the Conservatives just aren’t conservative enough any more. “I am now convinced that what we will get if Andrew Scheer becomes prime minister is just a more moderate version of the disastrous Trudeau government,” he said.
Tory politicians, organizers and supporters are currently gathering for their policy convention in Halifax. Ontario Premier Doug Ford told the crowd there they could get through this if they tried. “My friends, it will not come easy. It will take effort and discipline. And most importantly, you will need to stand together and you need to stand with your leader,” he said in a speech.
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Australia has joined the United States in banning Chinese telecom giant Huawei from the new 5G mobile networks. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won’t say if he’s considering doing the same in Canada.
Real estate boards across Canada could be compelled to re-examine policies that keep the public from accessing home sales data after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear a case involving Toronto’s board and a federal Competition Tribunal. The tribunal’s order that the Toronto Real Estate Board must remove obstacles for how brokers can use sales data only applies in Toronto, but other boards have similar policies that could be open to the same type of challenge.
The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear a case involving the Trans Mountain pipeline, effectively upholding earlier rulings that found the National Energy Board can override local bylaws when it comes to federally approved energy projects. The NEB ruled that Kinder Morgan could ignore City of Burnaby tree bylaws as it prepared for construction on the Trans Mountain expansion. Burnaby challenged the ruling but lost at the Federal Court of Appeal, whose decision now stands.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is taking the Ontario government to court over a reversion to an older sex-ed curriculum.
The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees says the diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia should prompt the federal government to buy back the Canadian Wheat Board. The union, which represents transportation workers in Churchill, Man., says Saudi Arabia’s decision to stop buying Canadian wheat and barley shows it won’t put the interests of grain farmers first.
Two Indigenous men from northern Manitoba who were switched at birth and didn’t find out about the mix-up for 40 years have reached a settlement with the federal government. Luke Monias and Norman Barkman of Garden Hill First Nation, a fly-in community 400 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, revealed in November 2015 that DNA tests proved they were switched at birth at the Norway House Indian Hospital in 1975. The terms of the settlement haven’t been released.
The Saskatchewan government is asking a judge to force the removal of an Indigenous protest camp on the grounds of the provincial legislature. Activists in the camp say they’re protesting racial injustice and the disproportionate number of Indigenous children apprehended by child-welfare workers.
And Australia has a new prime minister, it’s fifth in 10 years (six if you count Kevin Rudd twice). Scott Morrison, who has been dubbed the “accidental prime minister," says he’ll try to provide some stability to a government often in turmoil.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Bernier’s exit from the Conservatives: “He didn’t just quit the Conservative caucus to lick his wounds as an independent. He jabbed his fingers into the painfully sensitive areas of the Tory body politic.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on Bernier and Scheer: “This is the first true crisis of Mr. Scheer’s leadership and how he handles it will be revealing. The hope inside Tory circles is that it will toughen him up, help gird him for what’s expected to be a nasty campaign against a formidable, battle-tested foe in Justin Trudeau.”
Don Martin (CTV) on historical precedents: “Maxime Bernier’s backstabbing exit has the potential to unify the Conservatives in the same way that party’s runner-up leadership candidate Belinda Stronach’s defection to the Liberals in 2005, after insisting Stephen Harper was too extreme, energized a demoralized caucus.”
Robyn Urback (CBC) on Bernier’s appeal: “Bernier is here for the little guy — the Canadian who has a vague sense that things are bad and needs someone to do something. He will echo that plea right back to you, and together, everyone will feel like they are making a difference.”
Elena Merenda (The Globe and Mail) on sex-ed in Ontario: “Reverting to the old sex-education curriculum would be a step backward in ensuring the well-being of children. It would put them at greater risk of experiencing sexual abuse and physical harm.”
Jennifer Ditchburn (Policy Options) on the immigration debate: “The core issue our politicians are circling around but just can’t seem to articulate is social cohesion. Keeping the people in this country generally united should be priority number one for these guys. And yet the more they talk, the less together they make us feel.”
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Trump’s coal fixation: “From a Canadian perspective, Mr. Trump’s climate change denialism is maddening. It creates a temptation for governments in this country to throw up their hands: If our neighbours won’t do their part to curb their much larger share of global emissions, why bother doing ours?”
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