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The Conservatives and NDP both unveiled key members of their opposition teams this morning.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer appointed Toronto-area MP Leona Alleslev as his deputy leader. She replaces Lisa Raitt, a cabinet minister under Stephen Harper, who lost her GTA seat in last month’s election. Ms. Alleslev was originally elected as a Liberal in 2015, and crossed the floor in 2018. She was re-elected as a Conservative last month.

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The rest of Mr. Scheer’s senior team is largely unchanged: Manitoba MP Candice Bergen stays on as House Leader, B.C. MP Mark Strahl is the party’s whip and Alain Rayes is the party’s Quebec lieutenant.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh (who revealed his House team on the weekend) named his opposition critics. Some of the highlights: Mr. Singh will be the main critic of Indigenous issues; House Leader Peter Julian will be the critic for Finance; veteran Ontario MPs Brian Masse and Charlie Angus will the critics for industry (including telecom) and ethics, respectively; and new Victoria MP Laurel Collins is the critic for the environment and climate change.

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

The United States, Mexico and Canada are inching ever closer to a side deal on the free-trade pact that could finally get it ratified.

Mr. Scheer continues to face challenges to his leadership after many Conservative members were disappointed with the election result. A new group called Conservative Victory debuted this week, created by Kory Teneycke (campaign manager to Ontario Premier Doug Ford), Jeff Ballingall (founder of Ontario Proud and Canada Proud) and former B.C. MP John Reynolds. “It is absolutely clear that [Scheer] doesn’t command the respect, or the support, of the majority of the membership,” Mr. Teneycke said. Conservative MP Chris Warkentin, an ally of Mr. Scheer, dismissed the group as sour grapes because of its connections to Maxime Bernier’s unsuccessful leadership campaign against Mr. Scheer in 2017.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked his ambassador to the United Nations, Marc-André Blanchard, to come back to Ottawa to serve as a high-level adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office. Mr. Blanchard could play a role similar to what Gerald Butts did as principal secretary, before he resigned earlier this year. Mr. Blanchard is still mulling the opportunity. As well, sources tell The Globe and Mail that former Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose is on Mr. Trudeau’s list as a possible candidate to be Canada’s ambassador to the U.S.

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The Liberal government is promising to strengthen privacy laws, including penalties for violators.

Alberta’s elections agency has stopped publishing the names of those fined or sanctioned for violating elections law. The move comes after the United Conservative government eliminated the job of the elections commissioner. The agency is in the midst of reviewing its policies.

Senator Lynn Beyak says that she’s fulfilled everything her fellow senators asked of her, when she was suspended for publishing allegedly racist letters on her website.

And Prince Charles is gearing up to take over as head of the Firm. British newspapers are reporting that Charles’s sidelining of Prince Andrew is just the first sign of him taking the reigns of the Royal Family. That’s expected to happen in full once the Queen turns 95 in 2021.

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Andrew Scheer’s leadership: “Every Canadian is guaranteed the freedom of conscience to personally oppose abortion or gay marriage. But the idea that anyone would seek to deprive all Canadian women of the right to control their own bodies or prevent two loving adults of the same sex from marrying just to satisfy their personal moral code is abhorrent. Mr. Scheer’s inability to articulate that basic distinction is what cost Conservatives the election. If he stays, it will cost them the next one.”

Andrew MacDougall (Maclean’s) on Scheer’s challenges: “To watch Scheer become visibly distressed every time someone asks him about gay people is to understand how those Japanese soldiers must have felt when they finally came out of the jungles of Guam 28 years after the end of World War II to find out the world had changed without them.”

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David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz: “It’s a reminder that extreme household debt burdens were a major national worry – and, by extension, a key concern for the Bank of Canada – when Mr. Poloz applied for the job. Seven years later, that monkey still steadfastly clings to the governor’s back. But if that is the great failing of Mr. Poloz’s tenure, it must be said that in the ways that most matter in this job, he has unquestionably succeeded.”

Linda Nazareth (The Globe and Mail) on the labour market: “Unemployment rates around the world, including in Canada, are at or near historically low levels, but that seems to be almost meaningless when it comes to judging economic health. In these days of a complicated and messy labour market, perhaps the days of the unemployment rate as a top-tier economic indicator are, or should be, numbered.”

Allison Hanes (Montreal Gazette) on the ugly whisper campaign against Dominique Anglade in the Quebec Liberal leadership race: “There has been much discussion in recent years about the need for more women in leadership roles and more minorities to participate in politics. Quebec absolutely needs people from different backgrounds to bring their diverse perspectives to decision-making tables, to ask the questions and raise points the white, male-dominated establishment doesn’t think of. Yet when a bright, accomplished woman of colour steps up, oh no, wait, suddenly there’s a problem.”

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