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Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government is launching its own constitutional challenge of the federal carbon tax, adding to the legal pressure against Ottawa’s climate-change agenda.

Mr. Ford’s Progressive Conservative government cancelled its cap-and-trade system last month, and has previously said the province would join a legal case already started by Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, in turn, says his province may join Ontario’s challenge as well.

The federal government has said its carbon tax will apply to any province that doesn’t have its own system in place, though it is scaling back the scope of the levy in an effort to lessen its impact on businesses' ability to complete. Critics, including Mr. Ford’s government, have said Ottawa should instead cancel the program entirely.

“The Trudeau Liberals are finally confessing that the risk of a carbon tax is that it will invite an economic catastrophe,” said Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Mayaz Alam and James Keller. 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.


Police departments across the country have seen a decrease in sexual assault cases written off as unfounded, following a Globe and Mail investigation last year that showed Canadian police were disproportionately dismissing allegations as baseless. Statistics Canada released data on unfounded rates last week – the first time since 1994 that the such statistics were tracked and published. Ontario showed the largest drop in unfounded cases, followed by the Northwest Territories and New Brunswick.

The U.S. government is reducing tariffs on Canadian newsprint, which could lessen the impact on struggling American newspapers. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said his department’s decision to reduce tariffs will address concerns raised about the potential risks while targeting “bad actors.”

Ontario’s Court of Appeal has overturned a change brought in by Stephen Harper’s government that made it more difficult for convicted murderers serving life sentences to apply for “faint hope” parole.

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to give cities the ability to ban handguns – a power Toronto has asked for in the wake of the Danforth mass shooting.

A triage system to help redirect asylum seekers from crowded shelters in Toronto and Montreal won’t be ready until as late as the end of September. The federal government announced the system in April after Quebec raised concerns about the lack of temporary housing facilities for asylum seekers. The feds say they are cooperating with municipalities in Ontario in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier says his stance on Canada’s supply management system of dairy and poultry makes him “the only one who supports real free trade with the U.S.” Mr. Bernier, who lost a leadership race to Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer last year, added that it would be a victory for Canadian consumers if the supply management regime were ended as part of a trade agreement with the U.S.

The Ford government’s media tactics are drawing the ire of journalists and opposition parties. The Progressive Conservatives have done everything from drowning out reporters’ questions by having staffers clap to using funds from their caucus budget to fund a “news service” called Ontario News Now. The caucus budget is funded by tax revenue and Ontario News Now has been likened to propaganda. Critics say that the government’s actions in just weeks in power go beyond the expected partisan messaging and posturing in politics.

Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat, the city’s former chief planner, says it is time to move on from what she described as Mayor John Tory’s “dithering” and “gimmicky press conferences.” In a sit-down interview with The Globe’s Jeff Gray she offered few specifics on how she would lead Toronto differently if elected mayor on Oct. 22. Ms. Keesmaat launched her campaign just a week ago, signing up before the deadline after seeing Mr. Tory’s press conference following Ontario’s decision to slash the number of councillors nearly in half.

Indigenous leaders in Montreal are raising questions about how officials handled the case of Mina Aculiak, an injured Inuit woman who went missing for nearly a week after being released by the city’s police forces at midnight. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante called the situation “unacceptable.”

A former instructor in a Chinese internment camp​ for Muslim detainees is speaking out, describing “mentally oppressive and cruel things” she was required to do to her students. Sayragul Sauytbay described her experience in an interview with The Globe and Mail after she fled to neighbouring Kazakhstan, which released her despite a deportation request from the Chinese government.

The White House asserts that there is a “vast, government-wide effort” to safeguard future elections. U.S. intelligence agencies and senior government officials have sounded the alarm about potential threats to the 2018 and 2020 elections. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said that there is a “pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States,” while Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that American “democracy is in the crosshairs.”

Prosecutors pressed their financial fraud case against Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair, during the third day of his trial. They presented documents and testimony in an attempt to show that Mr. Manafort misled his primary accountant and a bank about his finances.

Zimbabwe has declared a winner in its presidential election, the first vote since the fall of long-time leader Robert Mugabe and one that has sparked violent protests as the country awaited the result. President Emmerson Mnangagwa won the election with just over 50 per cent of the ballots as the ruling party maintained control of the government, but the opposition has refused to accept the results amid allegations of vote-rigging and excessive military force.

When talking about the conflict in Syria, Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman told reporters that from his vantage point “the situation is returning to how it was before the civil war, meaning there is a real address, someone responsible, and central rule.” Later in the day Israeli military forces conducted an air strike, killing seven militants they believe were from the Syrian wing of Islamic State.

China is urging the United States to “calm down” in the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies, saying U.S. tactics will not work. Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi called on the U.S. to carefully listen to the voices of its consumers and “hear the collective call of the international community."

France has moved to outlaw catcalling after a woman was attacked on the street by a man who harassed her outside of a cafe in Paris.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Catherine McKenna: “Ms. McKenna made a classic mistake in politics – letting a complicated change to a highly sensitive policy slip out in confusion, without first letting everyone know it was coming and what it means.” (for subscribers)

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on Ontario’s carbon-tax challenge: “Taking Ottawa’s carbon-pricing law to court in Ontario is a duplication of the province’s existing plan to join Saskatchewan’s ongoing legal challenge to the same law. There is no useful reason to open a second front, in a second provincial court of appeal.”

André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on the EpiPen shortage: “As troubling as the EpiPen shortage is, it’s part of a much larger problem of global drug shortages. Essential drugs like antibiotics, painkillers, blood thinners, vaccines, antidepressants and anesthetics are routinely unavailable.”

Joseph E. Stiglitz (The Globe and Mail) on the U.S.-China trade war: “This much is clear: If Mr. Trump’s objective is to stop China from pursuing its ‘Made in China 2025’ policy – adopted in 2015 to further its 40-year goal of narrowing the income gap between China and the advanced countries – he will almost surely fail.”

Patrick Leblond and Pascale Massot (The Globe and Mail) on trade: “A world in flux, disrupted by extraordinary U.S. behaviour, offers opportunities for policy innovation for middle powers such as Canada. Canada must not only be at the table; it can be a leader, providing transformative ideas and rallying others toward workable solutions.”

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