The director of Canada’s spy agency advised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invoke the Emergencies Act to end last winter’s convoy protests, despite the fact that the blockades did not meet the definition of a national security threat outlined in the sweeping legislation.
David Vigneault, the head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, testified on Monday at the inquiry studying the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act. He said the act was “required” in the face of the protests that had gridlocked the capital and blockaded several border crossings.
The CSIS director testified publicly after first testifying privately on Nov. 5 to divulge classified national security information. A synopsis of that testimony was published by the inquiry on Monday. It says Mr. Vigneault “advised the Prime Minister of his belief that it was indeed required to invoke the Act.”
This week is the final sprint of the Public Order Emergency Commission, which has already heard from more than 60 witnesses over five weeks on the government’s response to last winter’s convoy protests. Story 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.
NOT BRIEFED ON ALLEGATIONS OF CHINA INTERVENING IN CANADIAN ELECTIONS: PM - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday he has never been briefed that any candidates in the 2019 federal election may have been influenced by financing from the Chinese government. Story here.
MILITARY RESOURCES COMMITMENT SHOULD AFFECT CHOICE OF NEXT NATO LEADER: U.S. SENATOR - A U.S. senator who attended the weekend’s Halifax security summit believes NATO should consider the resource commitment each country makes to the military alliance in selecting its next secretary-general, amid media reports that Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is one of the contenders. Story here.
MAY IS BACK AS GREEN LEADER - Elizabeth May said she decided to run for the leadership of the federal Green Party for a second time last spring over concerns that the world wasn’t acting fast enough to fight climate change. But after winning Saturday, one of her first priorities is to bring down the temperature within the conflict-riven party. Story here.
NEW CONSERVATIVE FINANCE CRITIC’S STORY IS ONE OF REDEMPTION AND OPPORTUNITY - Once an at-risk youth who was involved in Calgary street gangs, Jasraj Singh Hallan rose from humble beginnings to become the Conservative Party’s new finance critic. Story here.
FEDS SUPPRESSED INFORMATION ON SALMON VIRUS: CONSERVATIONISTS - Conservationists are accusing the federal Fisheries Department of suppressing information about a virus that may be causing heart, skeletal and muscle disease in farmed salmon in British Columbia – an illness they say is spreading beyond the farms and endangering wild salmon populations. Story here.
OTTAWA CONVENING TALKS ON CREDIT-CARD FEES - Over the next three months, Ottawa is convening a series of negotiations, with a goal of reducing credit-card fees, especially for small businesses. If a deal is not reached, the government says it will table legislation to set the fees itself. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Nov. 21, accessible here.
DAYS SINCE CONSERVATIVE LEADER PIERRE POILIEVRE TOOK MEDIA QUESTIONS IN OTTAWA: 69
NEW SENATORS - Three new senators have been appointed by the Governor-General, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. They are Dr. Sharon Burey, Andrew Cardozo, and Rear-Admiral Rebecca Patterson, all named as independent senators to fill Ontario vacancies.
WITNESSES, MONDAY, AT PUBLIC ORDER EMERGENCY COMMISSION IN OTTAWA:
-David Vigneault, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and Michelle Tessier, CSIS deputy director of operations, and Marie-Hélène Chayer, executive director of the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre.
-Bill Blair, President of the Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness.
MINISTERS ON THE ROAD - Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne begins a visit to Japan and South Korea to meet with business and industry leaders in such sectors as cleantech and semiconductors that runs until Friday. In Japan, he is leading a Canadian delegation to the annual summit of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence, taking place in Tokyo from Nov. 21 to 22.
International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan is in Qatar from Monday to Wednesday for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The visit includes participation in a trilateral sports diplomacy event with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, and Mental Health Minister Carolyn Bennett, in Montreal, made a funding announcement on home and community care as well as mental health and addictions services in Quebec.
Official Languages Commissioner Raymond Théberge appears before the Senate Committee on Official Languages as part of the committee’s study on francophone immigration to minority communities. The hearing is at 5 p.m. ET. Details, including video link information, here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returned to Ottawa from the 18th Sommet de la Francophonie in Djerba, Tunisia, and is, according to his office, on a “personal” day.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is in France on a trip that runs through to Nov. 26.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Vancouver, was scheduled to speak to the convention of the BC Federation of Labour, and to take media questions after his speech.
No schedules released for other party leaders.
Monday’s edition of the Globe and Mail podcast features Report on Business reporter and columnist Jeffrey Jones discussing issues around efforts by Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of Canada, to bring together the world’s financial institutions to help solve climate change through the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero effort. Just ahead of this year’s COP27 in Egypt, the alliance started to crack. The Decibel is here.
Jean Lapointe, the beloved Quebec singer, actor and comedian who was later appointed to the Senate, has died at age 86. Story here from CBC.
Data Dive with Nik Nanos: When it comes to food affordability, the numbers are unappetizing: “Where consumer anger leads, expect politicians to follow. For both the Liberals and the Conservatives, a consumer agenda scrutinizing the price of food falls well within their wheelhouse. For the Liberals, it fits within their progressive agenda of helping those at risk. For the Conservatives, it falls within their populist vision of fighting for the average Canadian against big business interests.” The Data Dive is here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Ontario Premier Doug Ford firing a shot through the heart of democracy: ”When Doug Ford became premier of Ontario in 2018, he told voters that his Progressive Conservative government would be ‘Ontario’s first ever Government for the People.’ Most people saw that random assertion as garden-variety political gas; a meaningless slogan from an inexperienced populist who had lucked into his party’s leadership at the last moment. What no one could foresee at the time was how truly vacuous it would turn out to be. Friends, Mr. Ford was having you on. Last week, his recently re-elected government tabled a bill that, if adopted, will sacrifice a fundamental tenet of democracy – majority rule – on the altar of his political agenda.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how Canada could not mount a whole Haiti mission even if it wanted to: ”Mr. Trudeau’s government is doing a lot of hemming and hawing, trying to find non-military ways to do something. It imposed sanctions on gang leaders. Mr. Trudeau announced $16.5-million in aid on Sunday, while at the Francophonie summit in Djerba, Tunisia. He also told reporters that “Canada is very open to playing an important role,” but that it wants to see a widespread consensus in Haiti first, with support for a mission that extends beyond the Haitian government. Certainly, there are lots of good reasons to be wary of going into Haiti, including the dangerous patchwork of bad actors, the lack of effective institutions, and deep mistrust of yet another foreign intervention. But there is another key reason Mr. Trudeau has to deflect when the U.S. asks Canada to take on a mission.”
David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on how Ottawa should stop clinging to any hope of deepening trade ties with China: ”But the Chinese leadership has shown that no matter how much Canada wants to pull its punches and keep lines of communication open, it isn’t that interested in what we have to say, and doesn’t much like it when we talk about China at all. If Canada wants to have an Indo-Pacific strategy with teeth, our government needs to fully accept that reality. We’ve spent too many years waffling and hoping.”
Sheba Birhanu (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Jewish voices aren’t heard when we call out hate: ”As a woman, I want to feel safe when I walk down the street at night. As a Black person, I want to feel safe when I walk past a police officer. And as a Jew, I want to feel safe when I enter a synagogue. But it can’t be that one fear is understood, while another is dismissed. Whether dealing with Ye’s threats, Nazi salutes or denying Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, like other minorities, Jews must be included in the conversation and permitted to define and describe the discrimination we face. Nothing about us without us.”
Don Martin (CTV) on how it’s time to call in the demolition crew for 24 Sussex Drive: “They may rate among Ottawa’s most secretive, staid and slow decision-making bodies, but nobody ever pegged the National Capital Commission for an evil genius. That changed Thursday when their secret strategy for bulldozing the prime minister’s residence at 24 Sussex Dr. became clear. By declaring even the kitchen a fire hazard and health risk to continued service, the very kitchen where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his family and his visitors have been catered to remotely for seven years, the NCC has officially mothballed the estate and nailed an unofficial demolition order on the gates. This is not a lamentable development. Having been inside the place for a number of media functions, I can say there isn’t a room on the main floor which would elicit a gasp from even the most easily-impressed visitor.”