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A former Saudi Arabian intelligence officer hiding out in Toronto says he was the target of an assassination squad mere weeks after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saad Aljabri made the allegations in court documents released in Washington today.

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Mr. Aljabri said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is after him because of “damning information” he has.

Mr. Aljabri alleges the assassination team was stopped by Canadian border guards, who were suspicious of the group. One person of the team was allowed into Canada on a diplomatic passport.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. 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.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil made a surprise announcement this morning that he would step down as premier as soon as the provincial Liberals name a new leader. Mr. McNeil, in office since 2013, is currently Canada’s longest-serving first minister.

The Canadian government is offering up to $5-million in humanitarian aid to Lebanon, with, it says, more help on the way.

In the Conservative leadership race, Erin O’Toole raked in the most money from fundraising in this year’s second quarter, with Peter MacKay and Leslyn Lewis not far behind.

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One of the experts that WE announced would lead a workplace review of the charity says she is not doing so. Also on the WE file, La Press reports that National Public Relations had been in talks to help WE Charity deliver its services in Quebec, as WE did not have enough French-language capacity.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is warning universities that China is using international recruitment tools such as the Thousand Talents Program to try to gain scientific knowledge for its economic and military benefit.

China has sentenced a third Canadian man to death over drug charges. It is not clear yet whether the sentence is part of the wider dispute between Canada and China, which led to two Canadians being arbitrarily detained in China.

And Canadians who started receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit in the early days of the pandemic could soon be moving on to Employment Insurance – but there are still a lot of policy questions about how they are going to get there.

Bessma Momani (The Globe and Mail) on the disaster in Beirut: “Lebanon prides itself on being resilient, especially after surviving a brutal 15-year civil war that tore communities apart along sectarian and geopolitical lines. But even before Tuesday’s explosion, the Lebanese people felt helpless and their future looked bleak. There was already mass unemployment, food insecurity and hunger, continuous electricity shortages, and a crumbling health care system hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The explosion at the Beirut port on Tuesday felt like the last nail in the coffin of a once-glamourous, fun-loving country.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on provinces’ return-to-school plans: “But elementary-aged students, about whom the science on COVID-19 is less clear, will see about as close to a return to normal as it gets: full-time in-class learning, normal class sizes, regular start times, no real physical distancing. Good luck, and hope it works out.”

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Mohammed Adam (National Post) on the lack of alternatives: “The problem is that many parents who put their kids through online studies during lockdown say it was not the best learning experience and are loath to use it again. Crucially, the reopening plan does not include a reduction in class sizes as many experts had suggested, and the fear is that overcrowded classrooms and lack of proper physical distancing could, potentially, pose a threat to children. But the government has stubbornly refused to reduce class sizes.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Derek Sloan’s candidacy for the Conservative leadership: “There are people who long for the Canadian equivalent of the populist, nativist U.S. President. Mr. Sloan appears to want to be their champion. If that’s true, not only will he not lead the Conservative Party, he may eventually not even be part of it.”

Sol Mamakwa (Maclean’s) on the pandemic’s impact on First Nations communities: “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the health and social inequities in Kiiwetinoong, and is starkly evident in the mental health crisis our communities continually face. Since the start of coronavirus, we have lost 10 people to suicide—the youngest only 13 years old. Our communities have limited doctors, minimally trained mental health specialists or facilities to address the crisis, and we do not have well-stocked pharmacies.”

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