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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.

A commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the mayor of Banff are among five newly announced senators.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointments today. Among the other new senators is a former Quebec economic-development minister. Three of the appointees are from Quebec, one from Saskatchewan and one from Alberta.

The appointment of the Alberta senator comes despite calls from Premier Jason Kenney to the Prime Minister to hold off filling the province’s two vacant Senate seats for two nominees picked in a non-binding election scheduled for October as part of this fall’s municipal elections.

By convention, the Governor-General appoints senators recommended by the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The appointees will serve as independent senators filling vacancies in the Upper House, said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The new appointees are:

David Arnot - Chief Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission since 2009. The former prosecutor was also a provincial court judge in Saskatchewan and was seconded by the federal government to be the Treaty Commissioner for the Province of Saskatchewan for a decade.

Michèle Audette - One of five commissioners responsible for conducting the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and, since 2019, a senior advisor for reconciliation and Indigenous education at the Université Laval in Quebec City. She was also president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

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Amina Gerba - Chair of the Board of Directors of Entreprendre ici, set up as part of a Quebec government initiative to support entrepreneurs from cultural communities. Also a member of the Canadian Council on Africa and the African Business Roundtable.

Clément Gignac - A former Quebec Liberal economic-development minister now senior vice-president and chief economist at iA Financial Group.

Karen Sorensen - Now serving her third term as the Mayor of Banff.

There have now been 60 independent appointments to the 105-member Senate made on the advice of Mr. Trudeau.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

EXPEDITED HEARING FOR FORTIN - The former head of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout will get an expedited hearing in his bid to get his job back while he faces an unresolved allegation of sexual misconduct dating back more than 30 years, the Federal Court decided on Wednesday.

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TRUDEAU ANNOUNCES $5.2B DEAL FOR NEWFOUNDLAND - Ottawa struck a $5.2-billion deal with Newfoundland and Labrador to help complete construction of the debt-plagued Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, a tentative agreement that would keep electricity rates from almost doubling while alleviating pressure on a province in the midst of a deep fiscal crisis.

GG LIKELY TO APPROVE ELECTION BID: EXPERT - The long-standing tradition of the Governor-General acceding to Canadian prime ministers’ requests to dissolve Parliament will practically push Mary Simon to accept a plea from Justin Trudeau to call an election, a constitutional law expert said Wednesday.

FIRST LEADERS DEBATE IN N.S - The first leaders debate of the Nova Scotia provincial election has been held. Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Iain Rankin defended his party’s record on health care and gender issues. Story here.

PRIEST BANNED FOR RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL REMARKS - A Catholic priest has been banned by a Winnipeg archdiocese from speaking publicly after accusing residential school survivors of lying about sexual abuse to get more money from court settlements, and after he joked about shooting those who wrote graffiti on churches, among other comments. Story here. From CBC.

THE STORY OF JOHN GOMERY’S RETREAT - The 140-acre farm the late Justice John Gomery, leader of the famed inquiry, and his widow, Pierrette Rayle bought 31 years ago as a respite from their demanding careers is up for sale. Recalling a first visit, Ms. Rayle says, “We came out and made an offer,” she says. “We just said, ‘This is what we need.’ We needed to stop that frantic pace and look after our health.” The farm is now up for sale. Story here.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

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Private meetings. The Prime Minister chairs the Cabinet meeting.

LEADERS

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet - No schedule provided by Mr. Blanchet’s office.

Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole - No schedule provided by Mr. O’Toole’s office.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul holds a virtual roundtable discussion on drug decriminalization.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Kamloops, B.C. meets with the Chief and Council of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, holds a media availability outside the former Residential School in Kamloops, and visits the Spring Back Festival.

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PUBLIC OPINION

VOTERS COOL TO PRIME MINISTERIAL OPTIONS - Ahead of an expected federal election, new data from the Angus Reid Institute suggests voters aren’t exactly enamoured with their choices for Prime Minister. Details here.

CANADIANS FEAR FOURTH WAVE - Cases of COVID-19 are surging among the unvaccinated and as Canadians prepare to head to the polls in an anticipated fall election, new polling suggested most people are worried about a potential fourth wave. Details here. From Global News.

OPINION

The Editorial Board of the Globe and Mail on why an election isn’t among the things that Canadians need: “Yet choosing to call an election means the country is about to spend the better part of two months in a state of distraction. A government that should be concentrating on difficult reminders of what still needs to be done to put the pandemic behind us will instead have every electoral reason to talk up anything and everything else. Elections are when politicians make easy promises to voters, not hard demands of them.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on why Canada must maintain its status as an immigration nation: “Earlier this year, former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who believes Canada should greatly increase its population, called for a white paper on immigration policy. Perhaps we need to go even further. Whoever forms the government after the expected fall election should consider creating a commission of inquiry into immigration, with a mandate to determine how many immigrants Canada should be bringing in and how best to integrate them. We must prevent the kind of polarization over newcomers that is tearing other countries apart, while preserving our diverse, open-hearted, multicultural society. Let’s just make sure we’re doing it right.”

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Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on the Conservative dilemma: The Liberals are still the natural governing party: “Modern history shows parties governing in roughly 10-year stretches. The Trudeau Liberals have been in power for six, suggesting the fatigue factor likely won’t do it for the Conservatives this time. To stop the Liberals they’ll need a series of fortuitous campaign surprises. Otherwise the beat goes on. Otherwise, the natural governing party wins again.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Quebec Premier François Legault withdrawing an olive branch to Alberta: “Last week, however, Mr. Legault’s government withdrew its support for GNL Québec. Environment Minister Benoit Charette concluded that an LNG project and the construction of an accompanying gas pipeline from the Ontario border carried “more disadvantages than advantages.” The midsummer move was a stunning change of heart for the CAQ government, whose ministers had previously spoken enthusiastically about what would have been the largest private investment in Quebec’s history. But the announcement signalled that the argument of LNG promoters – that their projects will help reduce global greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions by displacing oil and coal consumption – is no longer enough for even pro-business governments such as Mr. Legault’s to risk backing them. Despite Mr. Legault’s overall popularity, he appears unwilling to spend political capital on a project denounced by Quebec’s powerful environmental movement barely a year before the next election.”

Denis Gros-Louis (The Montreal Gazette) on why it is time for Indigenous languages to take their rightful place:On Monday, I was very pleased to hear Canada’s new Governor-General, Her Excellency The Right Honourable Mary Simon, use Inuktitut in her address to the people of Quebec and Canada, and the entire world. Now, I invite everyone to celebrate the founding languages of Quebec and Canada: the Indigenous languages of the First Nations and Inuit.”

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