There seems to be little appetite within the federal Conservative Party to follow Maxime Bernier out the door.
Mr. Bernier made a very public exit from the Conservatives last week as he assailed the leadership of Andrew Scheer and promised to start his own right-wing party. No other MPs stood alongside Mr. Bernier at the time, and now, almost every member of the Conservative caucus is ruling out joining him.
The Globe and Mail asked all 96 Conservative MPs whether they would consider joining the new party. So far, 92 have said they would not.
Four didn’t respond, even after follow-up phone calls: Kellie Leitch, Peter Van Loan, Scott Reid and Dave MacKenzie. Ms. Leitch and Mr. Van Loan have already said they don’t plan on running in next year’s federal election.
Despite the apparent lack of interest, Conservative MP Brad Trost predicts the new party will find supporters, warning: “Bernier’s a real threat."
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Canada is willing to open up some of its dairy market to the United States during North American free-trade talks, sources tell The Globe and Mail. Supply management has been a frequent target of Donald Trump’s ire. Concessions would not come cheap: the Canadian government promised to give billions in compensation to farmers when it gave up some access to Pacific Rim countries during trade talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
British Columbia is launching the first lawsuit by a Canadian government targeting opioid manufacturers, as the province attempts to recoup costs related to a growing overdose epidemic. Attorney-General David Eby and Minister of Health and Addictions Judy Darcy are expected to announce the lawsuit against companies including such as Purdue Pharma, which created OxyContin, this morning. Nearly 4,000 Canadians died of opioid overdoses last year, including more than 1,400 in B.C.
Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair has been assigned to examine the possibility of a federal ban on handguns and assault rifles. The Prime Minister included a potential ban in a mandate letter to Mr. Blair, who was recently appointed Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction. City councils in Toronto and Montreal have called for significant restrictions on firearms, including a handgun and assault-rifle ban.
Justin Trudeau’s new marching orders to the infrastructure minister suggest the Prime Minister is not happy with the slow pace of infrastructure spending.
Former Liberal cabinet minister Irwin Cotler says the government should revoke Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary Canadian citizenship for failing to prevent the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Mr. Cotler, a renowned human-rights lawyer, says Ms. Suu Kyi does not belong in the exclusive group of only six honorary Canadian citizens, which includes Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai and the Dalai Lama.
British Columbia’s NDP government says its first (partial) fiscal year in office ended with a small surplus. The New Democrats took power last summer and in September tabled a revised budget for 2017-18. The final public accounts for the year, released yesterday, show the province posted a small $301-million surplus despite significant losses at the Crown-owned auto insurer.
New Brunswick’s Opposition Progressive Conservatives are pushing to make the federal government’s carbon tax the defining issue ahead of next month’s provincial election. PC Leader Blaine Higgs, who has promised to join legal challenges already under way in Ontario and Saskatchewan, is promising to “refund” the federal carbon tax by offsetting it with provincial tax cuts.
And Alberta NDP MP Linda Duncan says she won’t run in next year’s general election, ending an 11-year career representing the riding of Edmonton Strathcona. More than half a dozen veteran New Democrats say they are retiring next year.
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on NAFTA: “Ottawa is backed into a corner. It can’t afford to see NAFTA collapse while Washington and Mexico work to ratify a bilateral package, which is extremely difficult given U.S. trade laws. Such an outcome would constitute one of the biggest negotiating failures in Canadian history.”
Meredith Lilly (CBC) on NAFTA: “Now that Mexico and the U.S. have moved forward without us, Trudeau must pay the piper and accept a worse NAFTA. If not, he should be clear-headed about the alternative: an all-out trade war with Trump.”
Bashir Mohamed (The Globe and Mail) on citizenship: “I was born stateless – that is, legally without a country. So I was shocked and disturbed to learn the Conservative Party of Canada passed a motion last week to end birthright citizenship in Canada. This move is reckless and dangerous – and risks making the world’s most vulnerable people even more so.”
Barbara Kay (National Post) on Maxime Bernier and the Conservative Party: “Bernier has nothing to lose with this dramatic gesture. He can’t win an election, but he doesn’t have to in order to force the national conversation rightwards, which is what the Reform Party did in its day. Then, when the CPC loses the next election, and a leadership review takes place, there Bernier will be, fresh as a daisy, and accompanied by a sea of followers ready to rejoin the CPC in order to crown him.”
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