Dominic Barton, the global consultant and close adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, plans to step down as Canada’s ambassador to China now that Beijing has freed Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
Mr. Barton provided The Globe with a statement Monday saying he informed Mr. Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly that he would leave the top ambassadorial position Dec. 31.
“When I first accepted the appointment in 2019, Prime Minister Trudeau set my core priority to secure the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and to manage our relationship with China in light of severe tensions related to the Meng Wanzhou extradition arrest,” he said in the statement.
At a news conference Monday, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he would like to thank Mr. Barton for his services, but accused the federal government of mishandling Canada’s relationship with China. On the subject of a successor, Mr. O’Toole said, “I would hope Mr. Trudeau puts a professional experienced diplomat in that post, not a friend of the Liberal party.”
There’s a 2019 Globe and Mail story here on Mr. Barton’s appointment.
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.
O’TOOLE SEEKS STUBBS PROBE - Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has asked the House of Commons to investigate workplace harassment complaints against Alberta MP Shannon Stubbs, including an allegation that she pressured employees to paint her house. Story here.
BANK OF CANADA HIKE EXPECTED - Economists increasingly expect the Bank of Canada to begin raising interest rates as early as April, as employment rebounds smartly, wage growth picks up and inflation remains well above the central bank’s target range. Story here.
CANADIANS FEAR PAY SHORTFALL - The rising cost of everyday items such as food and gas is a top economic concern, and two-thirds of Canadians are worried their pay will not keep up with inflation, according to a new Nanos Research survey. Story here.
FERRERI VIDEOS - The Peterborough Examiner takes a closer look at the backstory around the controversial videos of Michelle Ferreri, the Conservative MP for Peterborough-Kawartha MP. Story here.
FEDS HAND OVER RESIDENTIAL-SCHOOL DOCUMENTS - The federal government will hand over thousands of previously undisclosed residential school documents to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
OPPOSITION PREPARES AID-PACKAGE REVIEW - Opposition MPs are getting ready to review the Liberals’ latest package of pandemic aid and grill Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland about myriad economic issues. Story here.
NEW AFRICAN-CANADIAN SENATE GROUP - Seven senators have come together to form the African Canadian Senate Group, working to fight racism and discrimination and help amplify voices of underrepresented Canadians by pressing to include them in the legislative process.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS - Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Dec. 6, accessible here.
MACPHAIL MILESTONE - Monday marks 100 years since Agnes Macphail became the first women elected to the House of Commons. Historian Allan Levine looks here at the life and legacy of Ms. Macphail.
COMMITTEE LOOK AT AFGHANISTAN - Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says the opposition will, on Tuesday, be calling for the creation of a special committee to review the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. At a news conference Monday, he said the Liberal government has fallen short in evacuating Afghan refugees as promised.
QUESTIONS ABOUT CPC PETITION - Marilyn Elliott, a national councilor of the Conservative Party of Canada for eight years, is challenging the party president’s dismissal of a continuing petition to move up a party vote on Erin O’Toole’s leadership. “Your interpretation begs the question of whether the Party is fearful of the results of such a petition,” Ms. Elliott wrote in her correspondence to Robert Batherson. The letter is here.
CULTURE SUMMIT NEXT YEAR - Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says the government will hold a two-day national summit on the arts, culture and heritage sector in Ottawa on Jan. 31 and Feb.1 at the National Arts Centre. The agenda includes such issues as the recovery of the cultural sector from COVID, bringing back and creating new audiences and the role of digital platforms. The summit will take place in a hybrid format, with an in-personal component hinging on public health guidelines.
THE DECIBEL - Today marks 32 years since the École Polytechnique massacre, which left 14 women dead and spurred a debate about gun control in Canada. On today’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, reporter Patrick White clarifies which guns are legal, how our gun laws compare to those in the U.S. and what gun-control advocates would like to see changed.
Here’s an excerpt as Mr. White responds to a question from The Decibel host Menaka Raman-Wilms on what actually needs to be done to put an end to gun violence:
“This is where there should be a little agreement between both sides of this issue. One of the things that has worked in many cities in the US is anti-gang initiatives. A lot of the gun crime in this country is taking place because there is demand for guns. And as long as there is a demand for guns because we live next to the world’s biggest gun dealer, those guns are going to keep flowing over this border and into the hands of people who are going to use them for criminal purposes.
“If you can tamp down the demand, and that means by having gang intervention, by having gang exit strategies and many other measures like that, then perhaps the supply of guns will dwindle, of criminal guns anyways, will dwindle in the country. It’s a difficult question to answer, and that’s why the issue remains so fraught in this country and many other countries. Many measures have been proven not to work. Gun control in Mexico, as we’ve found, does not work. Gun control in the UK, in Australia arguably has worked.”
You can hear the rest of today’s The Decibel here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Private meetings. The Prime Minister met with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey on Parliament Hill. In Montréal, the Prime Minister was scheduled to attend a vigil in memory of the victims of the 1989 École Polytechnique Montréal tragedy.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
Private meetings. The Deputy Prime Minister attends Question Period.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole held a news conference at West Block.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh participates in an online conversation on violence against women on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
No schedule released for Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how déjà vu 2021 election weakens Liberal hand in disputes with Parliament: “Where once the government fenced with the opposition majority in Parliament, rebuffing requests, stalling for time and sometimes threatening an election, they are now forced to offer compromise. The inconclusive 2021 election has done one thing: It has taken away some of the Liberals’ tools for stymieing Parliament. The Liberals can’t wield the ultimate weapon that minority government has when opposition parties band together to make uncomfortable demands – that is, threatening an election that one or more of those parties wants to avoid. This year’s election sent one main message: that the Liberal government should never have called it. They can’t pull the plug on this Parliament for a few years, at least. That makes stalling for time pretty tough, too.”
Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta benefits from higher crude prices, but anxiety also runs high: “Soaring prices for consumer goods is a complicated issue for Alberta. The province benefits wildly from high commodity prices, but just like everyone else in the world, people here are being hit by increasing costs in a still-shaky economy. The country’s inflation rate is speeding upward alongside those of other countries, including the United States, that are struggling with supply-chain issues as consumer spending rebounds. Households are paying more for groceries, new vehicles and fuels such as natural gas and gasoline.”
Allison Hanes (The Montreal Gazette) on how Dec. 6 remains a painful anniversary: “We may not have known les filles de Poly ourselves, but somehow their deaths and the coldblooded hatred of the man who shot them feel personal. Maybe it’s because many of us see ourselves in the fallen. The feeling that ‘it could have been me’ haunts both old and young. Whether we remember where we were when we heard the horrifying news or how we first learned about this dark day in history, the anniversary prompts us to revisit every sexist slight we’ve experienced, every barrier we’ve had to overcome, every time we’ve felt vulnerable because we are women.”
Paul Wells (Maclean’s) on some of the questions that prospective successors to Justin Trudeau as federal Liberal leader need to ask themselves: “If you’re François-Philippe Champagne or Mélanie Joly or Mark Carney or Anita Anand—names that often figure in speculation about Trudeau successors—you have to ask yourself two questions, starting right now. First, are you going to be a candidate for leader? Second, is there a subtle way to stop Chrystia Freeland?”
Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It's not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.