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Good morning,

Pundits and political watchers were barely through parsing the words of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s phone call with Michael Wernick when Gerald Butts gave us a preview of the next chapter in the SNC-Lavalin affair.

“Having reviewed Ms Wilson-Raybould’s further testimony, I have tabled with the Justice Committee notes and texts between us related to the events Ms Wilson-Raybould describes,” tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s close friend, adviser and former principal secretary on Sunday.

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Mr. Butts’s latest submissions will not be released to the public until the texts and notes have been translated into French. A source told The Globe they deal with a Dec. 18 conversation with Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s former chief of staff, Jessica Prince. The source said Mr. Butts believes the evidence will show he was asking Ms. Prince for her views on the law and not directing her to take a specific action.

In that discussion, Ms. Prince said Mr. Butts spoke of former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s role in the eventual overturning of David Milgaard’s murder conviction.

“Gerry told some story about how Mulroney met with David Milgaard’s mom, walked into the [cabinet] room and told [attorney-general] Kim Campbell she had to fix it. She gave him all these A-G reasons why she couldn’t interfere but then she ultimately did what Mulroney wanted and was right,” Ms. Prince said.

Ms. Wilson-Raybould has said she subsequently met with Ms. Campbell, who said that account of the Milgaard case was not true.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Aron Yeomanson. 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.

ALBERTA ELECTION UPDATE

Rachel Notley says a re-elected NDP government in Alberta would introduce billions of dollars in new spending, largely to pay for a province-wide daycare program, while balancing the budget in five years.

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Alberta’s United Conservatives, meanwhile, say balancing the books will require a freeze on government spending for four years.

Jen Gerson (The Globe and Mail) on the UCP’s election hopes: “Mr. Kenney has run a shaky campaign, but if he and the UCP remain a credible vehicle for that anger, then that’s who Alberta will elect. But it’s still too early for him to begin a fitting for a crown just yet.”

Tony Coulson (The Globe and Mail) on the NDP’s election hopes: “As the NDP seeks a path to re-election, the votes of the undecided will be critical. Based on their values, it’s unlikely that many UCP supporters will switch to the NDP.”

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Canada and the United States are a step closer to redrawing the Safe Third Country Agreement covering asylum seekers.

A Thunder Bay consultant whose exposure of the mouldy and unsafe housing in a remote Ontario First Nation persuaded the federal government to pay to replace homes on the reserve says he will receive $1.28-million for that work under a deal he negotiated with the chief and council.

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Canadians in four provinces should expect to see a spike in pump prices – the most visible sign of the federal government’s carbon tax, which is meant to spur reductions in greenhouse gas emissions but at the same time has sparked a political storm.

Ontario will see its first handful of legal cannabis shops open Monday. Many more will remain closed.

New home construction in the Toronto region fell short of provincial targets by almost 100,000 units between 2006 and 2018, spurring higher prices and costing governments over $10-billion in missed taxes and fees, a new study has found.

Beto O’Rourke is emerging as the most-watched candidate in a crowded field of Democrats vying for the U.S. presidency.

Former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden said he believed he had never acted inappropriately after allegations by a female activist.

British Parliament will vote on different Brexit options on Monday.

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New Zealand’s government introduced a bill it plans to rush into law that would ban the types of weapons a gunman used to kill 50 people at two mosques.

Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan suffered stunning setbacks in local elections as his ruling AK Party lost control of the country’s capital, Ankara, for the first time since the party’s founding in 2001.

A comedian with no political experience raced ahead in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election.

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the Wilson-Raybould tape: “The tape of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s conversation with Michael Wernick does serious harm to Justin Trudeau’s already damaged brand. Unless the Liberals can change the political narrative, they could lose the next election.”

Robyn Urback (CBC News) on the Wilson-Raybould tape: “The fact that Wilson-Raybould recorded that call seems to be further evidence to some that the former attorney general is enacting some sort of coup. Maybe she is. But the theory that this is all part of an elaborate scheme assumes that she taped the conversation because she could somehow foresee a cabinet shuffle.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the Wilson-Raybould tape: “Is it worse for the Prime Minister now? Yes. There’s a recording on which we hear the country’s top civil servant failing to heed the warnings that the government was crossing a dangerous line. He wasn’t threatening, but expressing anxiety that the real heavy, Mr. Trudeau, wouldn’t be denied.”

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Christie Blatchford (National Post) on Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s latest documents: “As is now clear, both from the written submissions, including text messages and a surreptitiously recorded phone conversation with the aforementioned privy council clerk Michael Wernick, that JWR sent the parliamentary justice committee this week, some of those people threatened the former AG herself.”

Lori Turnbull (The Globe and Mail) on the SNC-Lavalin affair: “There is absolutely no path forward for Ms. Wilson-Raybould as a member of the Liberal caucus or as a Liberal candidate. She’s doing her level best to hand the election to the opposition, and there is no way for the Liberals to trust her. ”

Andrew Coyne (National Post) on Quebec’s religious symbols ban: “...it will take another level of cowardice to look the other way as jobs for teachers and police officers are posted with the unstated rider that no Sikhs or Muslims need apply.”

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