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Convoy protesters in Canada’s capital inflicted an unexpected level of “community violence and social trauma” on the city’s residents, the Ottawa police told an inquiry studying the February invocation of the federal Emergencies Act.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered the sweeping law with the aim of ending the protests that opposed government vaccine mandates and other public-health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The protests clogged border crossings across Canada and for three weeks brought Ottawa’s downtown to a standstill.

Under the Emergencies Act, the government is required to call a public inquiry each time the act is invoked. The public hearings for that commission began Thursday with opening statements from Commissioner Paul Rouleau, the inquiry’s co-lead counsels and the lawyers representing provincial and municipal governments, police organizations and other third parties who have standing at the commission.

Parliamentary Reporter Marieke Walsh and Reporter Marsha McLeod report 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.


FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT FORECAST AT $25.8-BILLION INSTEAD OF EXPECTED $52.8-BILLION: PBO –Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says in a new report that this year’s federal budget deficit is on pace to come in at $25.8-billion, which would be a significant improvement over the $52.8-billion estimate in the Liberal government’s April budget. Story here.

Reporter’s Comment, Deputy Ottawa Bureau Chief Bill Curry: “The PBO report provides helpful information as many have been wondering what recent economic trends will mean for federal finances. The report shows the $52.8-billion deficit that Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland projected in the April budget could be shaved in half, to $25.8-billion. It also shows the deficit could be nearly erased within four years if no new spending is announced. Many economic observers would say that’s a big if, given that the Liberal government’s history shows it usually decides to announce new measures when the bottom line beats expectations.”

HOCKEY CANADA FUND HANDLING FLAWED: REVIEW – A governance review commissioned by Hockey Canada has found the organization’s handling of the National Equity Fund was flawed, that the organization didn’t properly disclose it to parents and players or its membership, and didn’t have proper procedures in place to govern how it was used. Story here.

SAJJAN COMPARES RUSSIA STRIKES ON UKRAINE TO FAMINE – International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan says Russia’s strikes on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure have him thinking about a historical famine, but that it’s too soon to tell whether Russia is committing genocide. The Holodomor was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine that killed millions between 1932 and 1933, and Canada recognizes it as a genocide. Story here.

CSIS REPORTED AGENT TO BRITISH INTELLIGENCE – Canada’s spy agency informed British intelligence within 48 hours of learning, in 2015, that an operative had smuggled three British schoolgirls into Syria to join the Islamic State, two sources say. Story here.

N.B. PREMIER SLAMMED BY DEPARTING EDUCATION MINISTER – “You cannot change deadlines on large systems based on your emotional state, without undermining the quality of the work, or the morale of your team.” That was one line in a resignation letter that New Brunswick’s education minister, Dominic Cardy, sent Premier Blaine Higgs as he quit Thursday. Story, including the full letter, here from CBC. Also, Roger Melanson, the former interim leader of the provincial Liberals, became the third party MLA to quit. Story here from CBC.

CANADA EXPANDS SANCTIONS ON IRAN – Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Canada is adding more Iranian officials and entities to the sanctions list. Story here.

CHINA RAPS MPS’ VISIT TO TAIWAN – The Chinese government says the visit of five Canadian members of Parliament to Taiwan amounts to gross interference in Beijing’s internal affairs. Story here.

UBC STANDS BY TURPEL-LAFOND – The University of British Columbia is standing by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, a former judge and B.C. representative for children and youth, after a report that raises questions about the prominent law professor’s claims to Indigenous ancestry. Story here.

POLICE CHIEFS SEEK GUIDANCE ON MILITARY INVESTIGATIONS – Ontario police chiefs are calling upon the federal government to develop formal policies outlining how military sexual-assault investigations are handed over to civilian detectives – a demand that is being made one year after Defence Minister Anita Anand announced these transfers were effectively a done deal. Story here.

STEFANSON RULES OUT LEGISLATIVE PUSHBACK AT FEDS – Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson says she is not planning legislation to push back against the federal government over areas of jurisdiction, as Alberta and Saskatchewan are doing. Story here.

NEW QUEBEC CABINET NEXT WEEK - Quebec Premier François Legault will announce a new cabinet on Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. ET. Story here.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House of Commons is on a break this week, with business resuming on Oct. 17.


FREELAND IN WASHINGTON – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, in Washington, continued to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group, and also attended the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting.

MINISTERS HOLD NEWS CONFERENCE ON IRAN – Women’s Minister Marci Ien, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser and Justice Minister David Lametti were scheduled to hold a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday afternoon on Canada’s efforts to hold the Iranian regime accountable.

ALGHABRA IN WINNIPEG – Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, in Winnipeg, announced how the government is implementing $17-million over five years to streamline regulations and reduce bureaucracy across our supply chains.

DUCLOS IN QUEBEC CITY – Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, in Quebec City, delivered opening remarks at the Nature Quebec symposium.

ANAND IN BRUSSELS – Defence Minister Anita Anand, in Brussels, is attending the NATO defence ministers’ meeting. While there, Ms. Anand was also holding a meeting with Arctic counterparts to identify opportunities for collaboration on Arctic defence and security.

JOLY IN SOUTH KOREA - Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, in South Korea, continued a tour of that country and Japan that ends on Saturday. She was scheduled to make stops in South Korea’s two biggest cities, Busan and Seoul.

MARTIN AND CHRÉTIEN AGREE ON MARISSEN - Former prime ministers Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien, who were at odds in their political careers, have agreed on Vancouver mayoral candidate Mark Marissen. Last Sunday, Mr. Martin endorsed the political strategist, who led one of Mr. Martin’s campaigns in British Columbia, for mayor, saying, in a tweet, that he is proud that Mr. Marissen’s belief in the importance of government remains a priority. “We are lucky to have people of Mark’s calibre contributing to building a stronger and more equitable country,” he said. On Thursday, Mr. Chrétien endorsed Mr. Marissen here, saying his experience in provincial and federal affairs will be beneficial in his job as mayor. The election is Saturday.

NEW CURSE OF POLITICS LINEUP - The Curse of Politics podcast has a new lineup. Jenni Byrne, who provided a Conservative perspective, is departing the podcast. Ms. Byrne has worked on Pierre Poilievre’s leadership bid, and is now involved with his leadership of the party. “Jenni is officially moving on to do Pierre things,” regular David Herle said at the beginning of this week’s program, available here. Mr. Herle and Scott Reid, who have provided a federal Liberal perspective, are sticking around. The newcomers are Kory Teneycke, the campaign manager for the Progressive Conservative campaign in this year’s Ontario election, and Jordan Leichnitz, formerly a policy adviser to federal NDP leader Jack Layton, and now the program officer in Canada of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Washington office. The Herle Burly podcast started in 2017, and spun off the political panel featuring Ms. Byrne, Mr. Herle and Mr. Reid in 2019. The panel became its own podcast – namely The Curse of Politics – just before the 2021 federal election.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario, visited a local steel mill, held an event to highlight investments in Canadian clean innovation, and was scheduled to meet skilled workers and apprentices at a union training centre. The Prime Minister was also scheduled to attend a Liberal Party fundraising event in Brampton, Ont.


Green Party interim Leader Amita Kuttner held a media event on Canada’s preparedness for climate-related disasters at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver.

No schedules released for other party leaders.


On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, retail reporter Susan Krashinsky Robertson discusses the technology of driverless trucks. There’s an experiment under way on the roadways around the Greater Toronto Area. Loblaw Cos. Ltd. has partnered with autonomous vehicle company Gatik and is using five driverless delivery trucks to ship products. And since August, they haven’t had a human “safety driver” on board. Ms. Robertson talks about how the technology for these driverless trucks works, why Loblaw is investing in the technology, and what this means for shoppers and the grocery industry in Canada. The Decibel is here.


Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s shadow cabinet is no team of rivals: ”The message the makeup of the shadow cabinet sent was as much about who was out as who was in. Political leaders prefer their own supporters when it comes to divvying up party posts. Mr. Poilievre, who won the leadership by a wide margin, could afford to exclude some who sided against him. And he did. This was not the shadow-cabinet-making of U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, lauded by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in her book Team of Rivals for the genius of inviting competitors. Mr. Poilievre left out two of his most prominent leadership-race critics – and it looked like a warning not to get in his way.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on how Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has laid out a bold vision for a new global economic path, but it won’t be easy: “Veteran Canadian trade expert Robert Wolfe was having a quiet late afternoon Tuesday when he got a message from a friend – telling him to drop everything and go to a livestream on the Brookings Institution website. “She sent me an e-mail saying, ‘URGENT! Start listening to this speech!’” the Queen’s University professor emeritus recounted. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was addressing a modest-sized crowd at the policy think tank’s auditorium in Washington; but really, her audience was the top-level international economic leaders gathered in the U.S. capital for this week’s annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. For anyone interested in the future of the global trade and economic order, this speech was a doozy.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on the question of why the government was silent on Laith Marouf’s antisemitic tweets for an entire month: “One would hope, however, that a Minister of Diversity and Inclusion, whose portfolio’s entire reason for being is to root out bigotry and oppression, would be better able to recognize the difference between political commentary and contempt for the Jewish people – particularly when Mr. Marouf did the government a favour by hauling out all the regular antisemitic tropes about Jews as inbred, greedy and controlling of governments and the media. He also made a point of saying in one tweet that he deliberately does not share works by Jews, “even if anti-Zionist/anti-imperialist,” which should have dispelled the illusion that Mr. Marouf’s obsession was about Israel, not Jews. Yet government officials remained stumped for a whole month over just what to do with this supposedly anti-racist contractor. Ideally, it would have taken them all of 10 minutes to craft a statement deploring Mr. Marouf’s toxic tweets. Instead, it took weeks of navel-gazing, a slew of media reports, and a public pressure campaign for the government to clue into the obvious: This is bad, and we should say so.”

Thomas Mulcair (The Montreal Gazette) on how, now, after the Quebec election, there are choices for party leaders to make: ”Premier François Legault and Opposition Leader Dominique Anglade have Herculean tasks to accomplish in the coming week. Each will be measuring the strengths and weaknesses of their own and the other’s players as they prepare, respectively, to put their cabinet and shadow cabinet on the ice. Legault is in his 66th year, a whippersnapper compared to the octogenarian and septuagenarian avengers still in office south of the border, but 20 years older than the average of the other four party leaders. It showed during the campaign and ambitious members of his caucus, like Bernard Drainville and Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault, will be looking to make their mark, with a view to succession.”

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