Contrary to what Justin Trudeau has said, it appears a 2021 intelligence report about an MP being targeted by China was circulated beyond the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and reached the Prime Minister’s national-security adviser.
Conservative MP Michael Chong – whose family was being targeted by China – announced in the House of Commons Thursday that Jody Thomas, the national-security adviser, informed him of this in a telephone call.
This revelation sheds more light on the intelligence failure surrounding Mr. Chong’s case. He didn’t learn of this threat to him and his family until The Globe and Mail reported it Monday, citing a top-secret CSIS memo, dated July 20, 2021, and a national-security source.
Earlier Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced that Canada has summoned China’s ambassador over revelations Beijing was targeting Mr. Chong and his family.
Ms. Joly told MPs on the Commons foreign affairs committee that the Canadian government is also taking stock of what blowback it would face were it to expel any Chinese diplomats. There’s a story here on that development.
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.
BANK OF CANADA FACES RISK OF STICKY INFLATION: GOVERNOR - Canadian inflation risks getting stuck significantly above the Bank of Canada’s 2% target, and if that happens the central bank is ready to hike interest rates further, Governor Tiff Macklem said on Thursday. Story here.
UNION REPRESENTING CRA WORKERS REACHES DEAL WITH GOVERNMENT - The union representing 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers has struck a deal with Ottawa for a new collective agreement, ending a strike that lasted almost two weeks. Story here.
PM’S BROTHER DEFENDS FOUNDATION NAMED FOR THEIR FATHER - Alexandre Trudeau, a founding member of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the Prime Minister’s younger brother, dismissed reports that the charity was the target of foreign interference, saying two Chinese men who made donations are respected and admired in China. Story here.
FEW HOUSEHOLDS AIDED BY FEDERAL FIRST-TIME BUYERS PROGRAM - Fewer than 400 households in the Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria areas have received financial assistance from a federal program for first-time home buyers, despite changes that were intended to make it more useable in pricier markets. Story here.
UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO CUTS TIES TO HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES - The University of Waterloo is cutting ties with Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., saying its research partnership with the telecommunications giant is incompatible with federal security rules. Story here.
TWO NEW SENATORS ARE JOINING THE UPPER CHAMBER - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that two new senators will join the upper chamber. Story here.
TRUDEAU ENTOURAGE URGES DISCRETION ON ANAND OVER LEADERSHIP-BID ORGANIZING: RADIO-CANADA - As Liberals gather for their annual national convention, Radio-Canada is reporting here that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s entourage has warned Minister Anita Anand to be more discreet in her exploratory steps for a possible leadership race.
RAPPER SAYS BID TO BUY OTTAWA SENATORS IS NO JOKE - `This is a real ownership play,” rapper Snoop Dogg says of his bid to buy the Ottawa Senators hockey team. He told The Athletic sports website in an interview here that if his bid wins, he would not relocate full-time to the nation’s capital, but would expect to be visiting regularly. “If we make the playoffs, you’ll see me at least 10 times a year.”
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, May 04, accessible here.
CORONATION VISIT - Governor-General Mary Simon, and her husband Whit Fraser are in London for Saturday’s coronation of King Charles III. On Thursday, they attended an audience with the King. Also present: Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald as well as Kanatami Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and Cassidy Caron, president of the Métis National Council.
In a statement following the audience, the Governor-General said that during the meeting, the King showed his commitment to reconciliation. “The King understands the importance of walking the path of reconciliation with Canada and Indigenous peoples,” she said. “Discussions like these are vital. They will start slowly, and grow, forming the pillars of a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples that is based on respect and understanding.”
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller, in Ottawa, with the Chiefs of the First Nations forming the Regroupement Petapan hold a press conference on the Petapan Treaty project.
Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Treasury Board President Mona Fortier, also the MP for Ottawa-Vanier, announced federal support for local organizations working in food security at the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre.
Mental Health Minister Carolyn Bennett, in Ottawa, announced research funding for children and youth mental health.
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, in the House of Commons, were scheduled to talk to the media about the continuing situation at Imperial Oil’s Kearl Oil Sands Processing Plant and Mine.
LIBERAL GATHERING - As the federal Liberals began their three-day convention in Ottawa on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was on site mingling with party members at the downtown venue where the gathering was being held. Mr. Trudeau was scheduled to speak to delegates on Thursday evening, delivering a keynote address. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly was also scheduled to deliver a keynote address.
The Friday-evening schedule includes a conversation between former prime minister Jean Chrétien and Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne. Also, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland will hold a conversation with former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, also the 2016 U.S. Democratic presidential nominee.
“This is like our charging station where people will be re-energized, reconnect and get excited about the future,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said of the convention earlier this week. ” Asked about a convention resolution on balancing the budget, Mr. Alghabra said he loves the healthy debates associated with these conventions. “I look forward to this discussion and I look forward to voting on this and many other resolutions.”
Other federal parties are holding their conventions later this year. The Conservatives are meeting in Quebec City in September. The NDP is meeting in Hamilton in October.
BEER FIT FOR A KING - In co-operation with the British High Commission, an Ottawa brewery has created ‘Coronation IPA’ beer for the commission’s celebrations to mark the coronation of King Charles III. The Ottawa partner in the enterprise is Bicycle Breweries, which has been operating since 2014. For their part, a High Commission team chose the rebranded Velocipede IPA beer to complement cheeses from the four nations of the United Kingdom. The beer will be served at a private event in Ottawa on Sunday, hosted by British High Commissioner Susannah Goshko. Thirty-six cases have been commissioned, said Tom Walsh, head of communications for the commission.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa, held private meetings, and spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Mr. Trudeau is also scheduled to speak to the annual convention of the federal Liberal party.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, held a media availability to take questions from journalists, and attended Question Period.
No schedules released for other leaders.
Thursday’s edition of the Globe and Mail podcast spotlights the debate over the future of Ontario Place on the Toronto waterfront, with Decibel producer Sherrill Sutherland touring the closed park with The Globe’s architecture critic, Alex Bozikovic to learn about why so many people are fighting to keep it a public space. Plus, The Globe’s Queen’s Park reporter Jeff Gray explains the politics behind this lucrative piece of land. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has a new plan that he says will turn the 155 acres of land into a ‘world class’ destination. But the project is already mired in controversy, with critics saying the Premier’s plan is shrouded in secrecy and favouritism. The Decibel is here.
GEN Z AND HOME OWNERSHIP - Personal Finance Columnist Rob Carrick has run a survey to gauge the mood of Gen Z and millennials on home ownership. He writes that falling house prices have failed to make home ownership more affordable, and young adults are not taking it well. The results are here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how Canada needs to chart a clear course for increased defence spending: “What’s often less noted, and even more worrisome, is Canada spends a smaller percentage of defence funding on equipment than almost every other NATO member, well behind the likes of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Beyond the question of the need to spend more – it would amount to an extra $21-billion a year – there is the issue of what that spending would go to. More spending is good; spending it well is the real challenge. How much is relatively straightforward but then the questions of on what and when are more complicated. Submarines are an instructive example.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the Liberal gun-control bill with a glaring hole at its centre: “On Monday, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino put forward a gun-control package with a hole in the middle. The hard part of the Liberals’ attempt to outlaw “assault-style” guns, as Mr. Mendicino found out in December, is putting forward a ban of guns already on the market without raising a roar of complaints that commonly used hunting rifles are being outlawed, too. He put out a new version of his gun legislation on Monday, but that politically tricky part isn’t in it. It is to follow later, supposedly based on recommendations from a still-to-be-formed committee. It’s been punted. But, according to the government, it’s still coming.”
Vicky Mochama (The Globe and Mail) on how King Charles’ coronation marks the arrival of a generation: “A coronation, then, seems like a unique cultural rite to witness. I find it has provoked in me a recurring existential crisis: What does one wear to the ball? Wanting to prepare, I have been searching the news for clues. I was thrilled to stumble upon a headline from British tabloid the Express that said, “King Charles set to wear ‘more modern outfit’ for coronation – going against tradition.” This was designed to incense me – much of the internet is an attention algorithm, and it feels like its architects would have, in another generation, been kept busy as prison camp guards – and it worked. Some machine out there apparently knows that my brain will glitch and froth in the two-word gap between “modern” and “coronation.”
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how a drug-price dust-up has put the federal Health Minister in the hot seat: “Here we go again. After the SNC-Lavalin and WE Charity scandals, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is now being accused of inappropriately seeking to influence the decisions of the quasi-judicial body that oversees brand-name drug prices in Canada. At issue is whether Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos sought to “interfere” in the proceedings of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board last year when he sent a letter to the PMPRB asking it to halt consultations on proposed new enforcement guidelines that had the pharmaceutical industry and patient groups up in arms. Within days of the letter being sent, the PMPRB put the new guidelines on hold indefinitely.”
Justin Ling (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau trying to break the internet and not in the viral sense: “The Webbys aren’t exactly the Oscars, but in 2016, the media mogul Kim Kardashian had the honour of being the inaugural winner of the Break the Internet Award. Thanks to her enormous following (and a mega-viral bodacious magazine cover), the world’s most prestigious internet awards recognized Ms. Kardashian’s gift for monopolizing the public eye. “Nude selfies ‘til I die,” she proclaimed in her five-word acceptance speech. No one else has won the prize since. But I would like to nominate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in recognition of his government’s own efforts to break the internet – that is, to destroy the free and decentralized world wide web.”
Greg Mordue (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on what Ottawa bought with $13-billion given to Volkswagen: “What was it that really attracted Volkswagen to Canada? Clean energy? Our people? Critical minerals? That’s what some of our policy-makers have told us, but the real answer is this: an incentive package worth $13-billion. That’s the amount the U.S. would have paid for a similar investment, a consequence of the formula established by the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act for a similar-sized undertaking. Is this the new cost of doing business? In short, yes.”
Steve Paikin (TVO) on my dinner with Gordon Lightfoot: “At this point, Gordon was 78 years old. He was mentally very sharp but looked gaunt and spoke very quietly. So the one thing I insisted on was one conversation, so we could all hear him. I started it off by saying, “It all began for you in Orillia, eh?” Gordon picked up the story seamlessly and began talking about how his career got started as a singer and dancer for a local show there. The questions and answers kept coming, and so did the food, one course after another: salad, gnocchi, risotto, beef, red wine, white wine, chocolate mousse for dessert – it was amazing. Gordon was in an expansive mood, happily sneaking bites of food in between telling us stories of his life.”