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Good morning,

$37,542. That’s how much a family of four would have needed to earn in 2015 to stay above Canada’s new poverty line.

The federal government has established a new way to measure poverty as part of a national strategy, released yesterday, that pledges to cut poverty in half by 2030. The strategy, which aims to bring more than two million Canadians out of poverty, doesn’t include any new programs or funding to achieve that goal, but it does set out a very specific definition to track the government’s progress.

The new poverty line looks at the cost of a basket of goods and services – essentially, what a person or family would need to cover the necessities of life and achieve a modest standard of living in a list of 50 communities. The basket includes obvious items such as clothing, transportation, healthy food and shelter, as well as additional expenses including recreation, entertainment and school supplies.

For a family of four, the poverty line ranges from about $32,871 in parts of Quebec to $40,777 in areas of Alberta, as of 2015.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay in Ottawa and James Keller in Vancouver. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this email newsletter to you, you can sign up for Politics Briefing and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


Two former associates of U.S. President Donald Trump are facing jail time. Michael Cohen, the President’s former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty to eight counts that could see him go to prison for four to five years. Mr. Cohen said he was directed to pay hush money to two women – including former adult film star Stormy Daniels – during Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. Meanwhile, Paul Manafort, a former director of the Trump campaign, was found guilty of eight counts of financial wrongdoing by a jury. (The jury couldn’t agree on the other 10 counts.) Those charges stemmed from money Mr. Manafort accepted from pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine before he worked for the Trump campaign.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says she is extremely concerned about the treatment of jailed women’s-rights activists in Saudi Arabia.

The Canadian government has spent about $26-million over 10 years on an empty building in Moscow that it would like to turn into a new embassy, CBC reports.

The Trudeau government doesn’t plan to use this week’s cabinet retreat in British Columbia to make a decision about a potential handgun ban, following calls for restrictive gun control measures from city councils in Toronto and Montreal. Bill Bair, whose cabinet portfolio includes organized crime, says gun control is a complex issue that will take some time to sort out.

Public sector workers are asking questions about what happened in a settled harassment lawsuit this summer among executives for one of the largest unions, the Hill Times reports.

Health officials in Manitoba say they’ll inform cancer patients who may not have received the full doses of their medications – a problem that has also affected Ontario and Quebec. The Globe and Mail reported last week that more than 1,200 cancer patients in Ontario and Manitoba may have been underdosed because of problems with the way intravenous lines were set up or used. Manitoba initially said it did not plan to inform patients because the issue was unlikely to have affected their health.

The B.C. government says it’s making progress on a list of recommendations designed to make the province less susceptible to devastating wildfires. Premier John Horgan says the province has met about half of the recommendations in a review of last year’s wildfire season and is making the issue of dead and dying trees – which turn into fuel on the forest floor – a priority.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toured the area of B.C. hardest hit by the wildfires yesterday.

And Scotland’s government wants nothing to do with the founding prime minister of Canada, John A. Macdonald, whose treatment of Indigenous people prompted the City of Victoria to remove a statue amid a debate about his legacy. The Times newspaper reports that the government’s website has been wiped of any mention of Macdonald (old articles are now met with a 404 error) because, a spokeswoman told the Times, of “legitimate concerns expressed by Indigenous communities.” Meanwhile, a statue in Regina has been vandalized for the second time this year.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Canadian politicians in India: “Justin Trudeau’s botched trip to India in February was always ill-conceived because it revolved around lazy diplomatic tropes and shallow politicking to domestic audiences – now Andrew Scheer is going to compound the mistake.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on climate change: “I know that Canada is a small player in the grand scheme of things. And what we do to reduce GHG emissions will make an insignificant dent in bringing about overall change. But that is hardly the point. We have to do our part. We have to have the moral conviction to address this problem before it’s too late – if it’s not already.”

Sarah Kendzior (The Globe and Mail) on the U.S. President’s legal troubles: “Mr. Manafort is the symptom of a broader disease, and his conviction – while significant on a symbolic level – is the first step on a long road to strengthening the rule of law while the Trump administration simultaneously attempts to dismantle it. The crimes for which Mr. Manafort was convicted long predate his role in the 2016 campaign, raising the question of why this mobster multitasker was not stopped by law enforcement earlier.”

Paul Heinbecker (The Globe and Mail) on Canada-Saudi relations: “Urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to jump on a plane to Riyadh to apologize for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s tweet on Saudi human rights abuses is bad advice. Suggesting that we should seek U.S. President Donald Trump’s intervention with the Saudis is no better. And portraying Saudi Arabia as a friend and ally is preposterous.”

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on identifying homicide victims: “When victims’ names are not released by police, they can only be found in court records after charges are laid. That might have meant not learning about Tina Fontaine for nearly a year-and-a-half after her murder – and fewer Canadians ever learning about her at all.”

Help The Globe monitor political ads on Facebook: During an election campaign, you can expect to see a lot of political ads. But Facebook ads, unlike traditional media, can be targeted to specific users and only be seen by certain subsets of users, making the ads almost impossible to track. The Globe and Mail wants to report on how these ads are used, but we need to see the same ads Facebook users are seeing. Here is how you can help.

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