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Hello,

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.

The federal government is offering assurances that Canada’s vaccine supply will not be affected by a new European Union export law.

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But as questions on the matter were raised, there was a report India has put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot made by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine-maker, to meet domestic demand as infections rise.

On the European Union issue, Indigenous Services Minister Mark Miller was asked at an unrelated news conference Wednesday to comment on the matter.

“The latest news that I have is that we have been assured that we’ll receive our supplies, but we continue to remain in touch with our European partners,” Mr. Miller said.

“That’s why our vaccine portfolio involves different sources and that’s what we have been doing since the very beginning, but I have been assured that our vaccine supply will not be affected.”

This week, The New York Times reported the bloc of countries was finalizing emergency legislation that would give it sweeping control over exports of the critical COVID-19 shots that are manufactured within its borders. The Times reported that the draft law would be made public on Wednesday.

Marieke Walsh reports on EU development here.

FedEx workers offload a plane carrying 255,600 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

TODAY’S HEADLINES

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Canada slapped sanctions on nine Russian government officials for the poisoning and prosecution of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, joining other Western allies who acted earlier.

Eight foreigners suspected of espionage, subversion or terrorism were removed from Canada last year, according to the federal government.

The Liberal government has set April 19 as the date for the first federal budget in over two years and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says in a letter to the Prime Minister that the government must bring in a clear plan for reopening the Canadian economy.

Erin O’Toole says he will disregard his party’s skepticism about climate change and fight the election expected this year with a new policy to help the Conservative Party compete for votes.

The Canadian Armed Forces must learn why approaches to address sexual misconduct in the military have not worked, the acting chief of the defence staff said Tuesday, while he emphasized the need to confront the use and abuse of power in its culture.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau virtually attends the National Caucus meeting as well as Question Period Mr. Trudeau does live interviews with CIBM 107 in Rivière-du-Loup, 107.7 Estrie in Sherbrooke, Quebec as well as an interview on The Bridge with Peter Mansbridge that airs on SiriusXM channel 167, CANADA TALKS.

LEADERS

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet holds a news conference on Parliament Hill on support for culture.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul makes an announcement in Toronto on COVID-19 vaccinations and adults in racialized and marginalized communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh attends NDP virtual caucus meeting then holds a news conference in Ottawa.

OTTAWA ROUNDUP

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Canada has a new ambassador to Ireland. Nancy Smyth, most recently director-general for social development in Global Affair Canada’s Global Issues and Development Branch, will replace Kevin Vickers as ambassador. Mr. Vickers, the former sergeant at arms of the House of Commons noted for helping end a lone gunman’s 2014 attack on Parliament Hill, was appointed ambassador to Ireland in 2015 by former prime minister Stephen Harper.

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Former B.C. MP Jay Hill, whose political career has spanned Canadian conservative politics, has announced the first three candidates of his new western-independence Maverick Party. The government house leader under former prime minister Stephen Harper, now Maverick interim leader, says the newly announced prospects are running in his former British Columbia riding of Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies (Dave Jeffers), and the Alberta ridings of Red Deer Mountainview (Mark Wilcox), and Calgary Rocky-Ridge (Dave Robinson). Maverick has established 15 electoral district associations in Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., Mr. Hill said in a recent interview, and is looking to run about 40 candidates if the election is not held until the fall. Additional candidates are expected. Maverick is a new political commitment for Mr. Hill, an MP from 1993 to 2010, carrying the banner for the Reform Party, the Canadian Alliance, the Democratic Representative Alliance and the Conservatives. Mr. Hill is working to get the six-month-old party going, but not seeking a seat himself for what he describes as a “very simple” reason. “Do I believe fervently, and am I putting in eight to 10 hour days right now for Maverick? Absolutely,” he said in an interview earlier this month. “But I was just starting to enjoy my retirement and spending time with my grandkids and I don’t intend to go back to Ottawa, potentially for four years, and be separated from them.”

OPINION

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on why the Conservative party should embrace a carbon tax:The carbon tax was, originally, a conservative idea. In Canada, the centre-right BC Liberals were first to introduce it (with the BC NDP at one time pledging to “axe the tax”). Since 2015, some Harper-era Conservatives have been making the case to embrace a carbon tax paired with income-tax cuts. Preston Manning long ago supported the idea, and former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown did, too. Polling suggests such a pivot could be a winner for Conservatives in vote-rich regions such as the Greater Toronto Area, and even in Western Canada.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the need for the quick appearance of a “new take-charge” Erin O’Toole: “The leader’s tussle with his party highlighted the difference between the Erin O’Toole who wooed the party and the one wooing voters. It won’t take that much to point out that he has already had two different political agendas, and his party may have a third. It makes it easy for opponents to spread the perception that he will say anything to get elected, and do what he wants once he is there. That is supposed to be Mr. Trudeau’s weakness. Now Mr. O’Toole gets to share it. Unless, that is, the new take-charge Erin O’Toole really is able to establish who he is, and what he stands for – quickly.”

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Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on why Erin O’Toole will have to disappoint “some of his closest friends” if he hopes to lead Canada: “This is the great test for Erin O’Toole. If he wants to be taken seriously by climate policy makers and the general public, he’s going to have to disappoint members of The Resistance. He’s going to have to say to Mr. Kenney, “Thanks for helping me win the leadership, but now I have to do something that’s going to upset you.” And he’ll have to have similar conversations with Mr. Moe, Mr. Pallister and Mr. Ford.”

Tom Mulcair (The Montreal Gazette) on the challenges facing Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade: “Montreal-born Anglade grew up facing far fewer barriers than her parents did, but she, too, has had to overcome numerous hurdles that still bar women, especially women of colour, from the top jobs. She is brilliant, determined and engaging. She was acclaimed leader of the Quebec Liberal Party amid the pandemic and, as our unprecedented health crisis begins to wane, Quebecers will get a chance to know more about this extraordinary woman who could well become premier after next year’s provincial election.”

READERS’ POLITICAL NEWSLETTER QUESTIONS

Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It’s not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.

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