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Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu says that Erin O’Toole supports her plan to create a caucus of MP and Senators to look at issues around concerns about vaccination.

The Sarnia-Lambton MP said today she has been in touch with the office of the Conservative leader about her idea, which has come to involve about 30 MPs in what she says may be called the “Civil Liberties Caucus”.

“They are fully supportive of the fact that we are working on this as a mini-caucus, and that we will bring these ideas back to caucus when we have more information to inform our policy,” Ms. Gladu told The Globe and Mail today when asked about Mr. O’Toole’s reaction.

This newsletter has reached out to the Conservative leader’s office for comment on the plan, but received no response at the publication of today’s edition.

There’s a story here on the plans.

Ms. Gladu told The Globe and Mail that the group is still sorting out logistics. They have a virtual meeting on Monday to talk about next steps.

All of this comes amid questions about Conservative policy on the issue with Mr. O’Toole saying that Conservative MPs will abide by a decision of the governing body of the House of Commons requiring anyone entering the Commons precinct to be fully vaccinated. But he said the party will also challenge that decision once the House resumes on Nov. 22.

Ms. Gladu declined to say if she is fully vaccinated or talk about the vaccination status of other members considering the idea of the caucus, noting that the vaccination status members will become clear on Nov. 22 from those members entering the House of Commons.

She also declined to identify the prospective members of the group.

And she said the group is not a challenge to the leadership of Mr. O’Toole, noting his leadership has not been a point of discussion and that the Conservative leader has been clear in his support for reasonable accommodation for those who do not want to take vaccines.

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.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

ALBERTA MINISTER QUITS OVER ALCOHOL STRUGGLE - Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture has resigned from cabinet, pointing to his struggles with alcohol as the reason for the exit. Devin Dreeshen resigned Friday after the CBC reported allegations of heavy drinking in his office, including code words for staff members to enter the locked room when liquor was flowing. Story here.

FEDS PLAN INDO-PACIFIC STRATEGY - The federal government is designing its first strategy that encompasses the entire Indo-Pacific region, which will include the formidable challenge of dealing with an increasingly aggressive China. Story here.

AFGHANS FACE SAFE-HOUSE CONCERNS - Afghans who worked alongside Canadian military will be left on the streets of Kabul when safe houses close. Today, the funding for a network of such sanctuaries will run out, forcing families out of hiding and into streets controlled by the Taliban. Story here.

FEDERAL LIBERAL-NDP GOVERNANCE TALKS UNDERWAY - LaPresse reports that “informal” talks are under way between the federal Liberals and the NDP on the goal of giving the governing Liberals three years of NDP support passing annual budgets and the Speech from the Throne, in particular, while the NDP would see action on its key policy priorities. Story (translated) here.

BIG SHIFT IN HANDLING OF MILITARY SEXUAL MISCONDUCT CASES - The investigation and prosecution of sexual-misconduct cases in the Canadian Armed Forces will be moved from the military justice system to the civilian system, following years of calls for such a change.

MORE ON CANCER CHALLEGES FACING B.C. PREMIER - B.C. Premier John Horgan will soon step away from in-person events to begin radiation therapy on a growth in his throat that was recently confirmed to be cancerous. Story here.

TRUDEAU ON AIR CANADA CEO - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is weighing in on the controversy around Montreal-based Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau, who says he hasn’t had time to learn French in his 14 years in the city and is capable of living there without doing so. Story here.

SENIOR TORY SENATOR CITES LESSONS FOR CPC IN HARPER EXPERIENCES - A senior Conservative senator has appealed for support from party members by invoking the name of Stephen Harper, weeks after an election in which the Tories largely avoided public mention of the former prime minister.

MONTREAL MAYORAL ELECTION THIS WEEKEND - Quebecers go to the polls Sunday in municipal elections, with one key race being frontrunners Denis Coderre , a former federal cabinet minister, vying against Valérie Plante for the mayors job in Montreal. More here on that race.

INERVIEW WITH FIRST OUT LESBIAN TO BECOME CABINET MINISTER - CTV talks to MP Pascale St-Onge about being the first out lesbian to become a federal minister, with the Brome-Missisquoi MP, taking on the role as minister of sport and minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. “It’s a little bit surprising, because we are in 2021,” St-Onge told CTVNews.ca. Story here.

DAVIS REMEMBERED - Former Ontario premier Bill Davis was remembered Thursday at a funeral attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and many others. Story here.

THIS AND THAT

QUEBEC PREMIER MEETS ROYALTY - Quebec Premier François Legault had an unplanned meeting with Prince Charles during the United Nations conference on climate change - i.e. COP26 - in Glasgow. From The Montreal Gazette. Story here.

INNOVATION MINISTER TO EUROPE - Innovation Minister François-Phillipe Champagne is departing this Sunday for a six-day trip to Germany, Belgium and France to meet with his international counterparts as well as stakeholders across sectors of the economy and attend the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence Summit. Stops include Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Brussels, Belgium and Paris.

PRIME MINISTER'S DAY

Following private meetings, the Prime Minister received a seasonal flu shot, and then spoke to Heather Stefanson, Manitoba’s new Premier.

LEADERS

No schedules released for party leaders.

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Erin O’Toole being treed by his own party: “Erin O’Toole is stuck up in a tree, and he can’t get down. His own party is at the bottom, waiting, and he doesn’t know what to do. His voters are waiting. His leadership-race supporters are there too and, well, that’s a bit awkward. He doesn’t dare go anywhere people might ask questions about politics, or government, or issues of the day, because one of those questions might be about vaccines, and whether his MPs are vaccinated. So Mr. O’Toole doesn’t go out into the public eye much. He doesn’t say much.”

Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on how Canada has learned little on reconciliation: “Here is the truth – $40,000 will not fix a broken childhood. But it could help in some small aspect. And it will acknowledge wrongdoing. We know what it takes to grow healthy children – a high school; access to doctors and nurses; clean running water; a fridge full of food and a warm, loving home with parents or caregivers who tell a child, every day, that they matter. Historically and cruelly shortchanging First Nations kids costs Canada more in the long run. This lesson Canada never learns.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Doug Ford as the new best friend of Ontario workers:Well of course Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour is a crass re-election ploy. Do ducks swim? Is ice cream delicious? Will this government backpedal over just about anything if they think it might improve their popularity? There is a good argument to be made that Ontario’s minimum wage workers are long overdue for a raise. Yet the argument being offered by Mr. Ford and his ministers – namely, that the pandemic has changed everything, making now the perfect time for a $15 minimum wage – is less convincing.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on the tone-deaf Air Canada CEO stepping into a linguistic lion’s den: “Quebec Premier François Legault hardly needed any additional justification for plowing ahead with plans to toughen his province’s language laws. Polls already show that French-speaking Quebeckers overwhelmingly back Bill 96, the proposed legislation that forces more employers – including federally regulated firms – to ensure francophones can work in their mother tongue. In one of the more curious examples of tone deafness in the upper echelons of the corporate elite, however, Air Canada chief executive officer Michael Rousseau has managed to strengthen Mr. Legault’s case for stricter language laws after saying he is just too darn busy to bother learning French.”

Fen Osler Hampson (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why Mélanie Joly must aim for nothing short of an audacious foreign policy: “Over the past several years, a revolving door in the Global Affairs ministerial portfolio has meant that Canada has been missing in action on many key files. Ms. Joly can turn things around. But she will have to move quickly and maintain a laser-like focus on her key priorities. The temptation to succumb to virtue signalling as a substitute for real action, which has been the hallmark of Canada’s somewhat empty vessel “feminist” foreign policy in recent years, should be avoided.”

Andrew MacDougall (The Ottawa Citizen) on why Canada’s Conservatives need to start picking some fights they can win: The problem with losing is it begets losing. Whether you’re the Ottawa Senators or that other losing team in the national capital, the Conservative Party of Canada, once those Ls start piling up, it’s tough to find a way back. Losing fosters suspicion and division. It creates a siege mentality. Losing teams either tear themselves apart, or start doing useless things like blaming the refs (media). They blame their coach (leader). They blame the ownership (voters). Whatever the reason, an unalterable fact is the Conservatives have now lost three elections in a row. They need to start winning. And just like sports teams in a funk need to return to the basics, so do the Conservatives. That means avoiding unforced errors and picking fights they can actually win.”

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